Summary: 'George Washington's Leadership Lessons'
Review: George Washington's Leadership Lessons
By Rolf Dobelli, Chairman, getAbstract
Summary 'George Washington's Leadership Lessons'
This book is rich with colorful vignettes, interesting facts and fascinating lore about George Washington, the first president of the United States. Author James C. Rees (writing with Stephen Spignesi) is both blessed and burdened with an abundance of facts, stories, quotes and tidbits of trivia about Washington. The author works mightily to correlate illustrative incidents from Washington's life with character lessons for today's corporate executives. Unfortunately, the connections are often a little forced, although the narrative remains interesting.
Some of the things that Rees includes are fresh and valuable, such as his sidebar about Washington's Revolutionary War spy ring. But others are less compelling, like the verbatim rundown on all 110 of the civility rules that the Jesuits developed in the 1500s to instruct young men. They have passing relevance, in that as a child Washington copied them in longhand so he could memorize them; many of the arcane dictum's seem to have little to do with the famed general's life or character. Still, this intriguing, easy read provides a fond, useful lens for seeing Washington as a remarkable leader and a leadership role model on many levels. If your goal is to learn about leadership, getAbstract believes that George Washington has a lot to teach.
A True Leader
When America's founding fathers decided to rebel against England and fight for their fledgling country's freedom, they immediately turned to one man, and one man alone, to lead them in this vital struggle: George Washington. They all clearly understood that Washington was their natural leader. The life of this fabled American hero exemplifies 15 character lessons for today's leaders:
"Leadership Lesson 1 - A Leader Has Vision"
Although he was a slaveholder, Washington did not like slavery. He once said, "There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery." He freed his slaves in his will. Few of the other colonial leaders took such a bold step, but Washington believed that the new country could not sustain itself as a nation over the long term without eliminating slavery. He also allowed black men to serve in the Continental Army.
"Leadership Lesson 2 - A Leader Is Honest"
During the Revolutionary War, Washington's troops were poorly supplied and often went abjectly hungry. Nevertheless, Washington did not permit the soldiers under his command to commandeer victuals from the local farmers. That was stealing and Washington would not tolerate it. Later, America's other founding fathers asked Washington to lead the Constitutional Convention. Why Washington? Everyone thoroughly trusted him to deal honestly and forthrightly with their various - and sometimes conflicting - concerns.
"Leadership Lesson 3 - A Leader Has Ambition"
From his earliest days, Washington worked extremely hard to improve his lot in life. As a teenager, he carefully studied the Jesuits' 110 venerable rules of civility and then he worked hard to apply them to build his character. This is one reason others always regarded him as a gentleman. He learned to be a surveyor so he could go to work at age 17, and he was paid handsomely for his well-honed skills. Early in his career, he joined the British Army in America because he believed it offered him the best chance to advance. As an up-and-coming leader, Washington even paid for dance lessons so that he could excel at this then-crucial social skill...
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April 9, 2010; 3:03 PM ET |
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