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Leadership Qualities of Dwight D. Eisenhower – John Addison

My wife and I recently went with friends to Europe for a two-week vacation, and we went to Normandy. I want to take some of the lessons I learned there and apply them to a historical leadership context for you.

Real leadership takes guts, it takes commitment, it takes toughness—and Eisenhower used his skills to free Western civilization. Most of us will never be called on to do anything that great, but we need to go out every day and put principles to work and be the best leader we can be.

Be a Likeable Leader: “Morale is at one and the same time the strongest and the most delicate of growths. It withstands shocks, even disasters of the battlefield, but can be destroyed utterly by favoritism, neglect or injustice.”

Practice Optimism: “Optimism and pessimism are infectious and they spread more rapidly from the head downward than in any other direction.”

Control Your Ego: “Always take your job seriously, but never yourself.”

Know Your Purpose: “Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, you’re about to embark upon the great crusade toward which we have striven all these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

Take Responsibility: “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold, and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”


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