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Bloviating Zeppelin: Leadership

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


United States Army Colonel David Hackworth had his vision set by VMI Commandant Colonel Glover Johns. We would do well to incorporate these philosophical tenets into our military, leadership and daily lives.

  • 1. Strive to do small things well.

  • 2. Be a doer and a self-starter -- aggressiveness and initiative are two most admired qualities in a leader -- but you must also put your feet up and THINK.

  • 3. Strive for self-improvement through constant self-evaluation.

  • 4. Never be satisfied. Ask of any project, How can it be done better?

  • 5. Don't over-inspect or over-supervise. Allow your leaders to make mistakes in training, so they can profit from the errors and not make them in combat.

  • 6. Keep the troops informed; telling them "what, how, and why" builds their confidence.

  • 7. The harder the training, the more troops will brag.

  • 8. Enthusiasm, fairness, and moral and physical courage - four of the most important aspects of leadership.

  • 9. Showmanship-a vital technique of leadership.

  • 10. The ability to speak and write well-two essential tools of leadership.

  • 11. There is a salient difference between profanity and obscenity; while a leader employs profanity (tempered with discretion), he never uses obscenities.

  • 12. Have consideration for others.

  • 13. Yelling detracts from your dignity; take men aside to counsel them.

  • 14. Understand and use judgement; know when to stop fighting for something you believe is right. Discuss and argue your point of view until a decision is made, and then support the decision wholeheartedly.

  • 15. Stay ahead of your boss.

Some basic principles never decline with age.



Blogger Gayle said...

I don't believe most drill sergeants follow number 13!

These really are good rules for all of us to live by, BZ.

I have trouble with number 14. I've never managed to stop arguing for something I think is right. I do know how to compromise though, as long as I'm not compromising my principles, so I guess that counts. :)

Wed Feb 28, 08:28:00 PM PST  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

Hackworth was a maverick, outspoken against the VietNam and
Iraqi actions:
"October issue of Playboy magazine, he proclaimed:

Vietnam used to be our worst military mistake. But of all the major wars the US has fought, Iraq is now the biggest military miscalculation our country has ever made."
..he was one heck of a soldier and officer as well as a free-thinker.
His advice..
Never use trails.

* Always take it for granted that the enemy's watching.

* Always have a go-to-hell plan.

* Never assume anything.

* Always expect the unexpected.

* Talk to the Grunts, they always have the best feel for what's going down.

* Keep operations sledgehammer simple and remember: if it can be fucked up, it will be.

* Train your force like a good football coach. Teamwork is the key and this is done by relentlessly repeating squad drills over and over until they are executed automatically and flawlessly. Then do them again!

* And remember, squads who live by the basics of their trade make great armies; armies don't make great squads. And these squads must be perfectly trained in the basic fundamentals of the killing trade.

* And most importantly, NEVER, NEVER be in a hurry.

Colonel Hackworth started as a pvt
and received a battlefield commission..he carried the many medals of a true warrier. In my own short career as an Army officer, I found that "talk to the grunts" was such sage advice that I carried it over to my career in
civilan life management. Agree or disagree with Hackworth, he was one impressive man.

Thu Mar 01, 12:26:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Gayle: it counts!

BB-I: there were issues I found in contrast to his, but I respected him for his view on how one treats one's personnel. I too have people I'm responsible for in dangerous situations, and taking care of my troops in order to enable the mission of the job is Job One. I figured if Hackworth admired the man, his tenets must be spot-on, and they are.

And again I concur: he was one impressive man.


Thu Mar 01, 01:51:00 PM PST  
Blogger Unknown said...

I remember Glover Johns well - I was a 2nd and then 1st while he was VMI Commandant - we didnt always see eye-to-eye (I was editor of the Cadet newspaper) - and i thought him something of a psuedo-Patton matinet - but he was tough minded - and fair - and a stern physical fitness/leadership freak - my last act on graduating, and going into the Marines, was to get his autograph of The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo - it's worth reading!

Sun Mar 04, 07:24:00 PM PST  

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