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Summary: 'The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual"

The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual

Title: The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual: Battle-Tested Wisdom for Leaders in Any Organization;
Author: The Center For Army Leadership;
Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 2004;
ISBN-13: 978-0071436991;
212 pages

Review: The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual
By Rolf Dobelli, Chairman, getAbstract

As the army's touchstone for leadership, The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual stresses ethics, high moral character and the honorable refusal to obey unlawful orders. This volume makes you ask, "How could the prison abuse incidents in Iraq in 2004 have happened?" American army training repeatedly emphasizes moral leadership, character and integrity, as seen in this primary field manual of leadership, which is used by soldiers and officers everywhere. Read the principles that helped shape such leaders such as Marshall, Eisenhower, Schwarzkopf and Powell. You can employ many of their lessons of moral courage and determination in the corporate boardroom. getAbstract highly recommends this very readable book for those who seek to put current events into clearer context and to make use of their lessons.

Book Summary

Front and Center
General Tommy Franks, the military commander of the 2004 Gulf War, General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the first Gulf War, and Secretary of State Colin Powell all have something in common. With countless others, they are exceptional leaders who were trained in the United States Army. What does the Army teach that enables it to create effective, inspirational leaders?

Character Comes First
The key attribute for command in the U. S. Army is character. In other walks of like, what you know or do might be the foundation of your promotion - not in the Army. Army leadership begins with the leader's innermost character, the internal strength that enables him or her to do the right thing regardless of adversity. The Army motto describes this as "Be, Know and Do." Being a person of high character comes first.

Character is who you are. The core of who you really are doesn't change. It's the same when you're speaking to a group or when you are by yourself, when all eyes are on you or when you think nobody is watching. Character helps you know what is right and wrong, and follow right over wrong consistently. Army leaders must reflect the highest standards of character, and they must instill those principles in others.

The Army describes the essence of leadership in terms of the moral values of its leaders, which are: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.


In explaining loyalty, the Army emphasizes obedience to the proper civil authority. The model for this loyalty is George Washington. In 1781, when he won the battle of Yorktown as leader of the Continental Army, Washington set up camp at Newburgh, NY. The Army was to wait and remain prepared to fight until Great Britain sued for peace. Unfortunately, the central government was too weak to provision or even pay the soldiers who had won the War of Independence.

Months passed and many of Washington's officers, angry and frustrated, suggested a general march on the capital in Philadelphia, PA, in hopes of forcing the government to address the soldiers' needs. Washington immediately convened a meeting of his officers and emphatically rejected the rebellious suggestion. Even at the cost of its men's suffering, Washington said, the Army must remain obedient to the civil authorities. To do otherwise would undermine the very cause of liberty for which they had risked their lives.


Duty begins, but only begins, with what the law requires. One general defined duty as following your inner sense of what is morally and professionally right. A leader has a unique duty to take charge of a situation and prevail regardless of circumstances...

Please click here to receive a free summary of this book courtesy of getAbstract, the world's largest online library of business book summaries. (Available through March 28, 2010.)

By getAbstract

 |  March 22, 2010; 6:15 AM ET |  Category:  Books Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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