Vietnam War Hero Offers Leadership Lessons

American Icons, Americana, Home & Family, Kids, People, Traditions
on May 24, 2011
Courtesy of Hal Moore Hal Moore, who became a lieutenant general in the U.S. Army, has spent a lifetime studying and perfecting the art of leadership—both during times of combat and peace.

Considered one of the top battlefield commanders in world history, Lt. Gen. Hal Moore established his place in military history in 1965 when he led his vastly outnumbered troops to prevail in the first major battle of the Vietnam War. Both on the battlefield and off, he has spent his lifetime studying and encouraging strong, principled leadership as a soldier and a human being. Here are his 17 leadership precepts:

  1. Three strikes and you’re not out! There is always one more thing you can do to influence any situation in your favor.
  2. A leader must ask, “What am I doing that I should not be doing, and what am I not doing that I should be doing?”
  3. A leader must be visible and exhibit confidence under any set of circumstances. The determination to prevail must be felt by all.
  4. A leader must always be ready! When there is nothing going wrong, there’s nothing going wrong except there is nothing going wrong.
  5. Trust your instincts. Instincts and intuition give you an immediate estimation of a situation.
  6. Everything in leadership boils down to judgment. Intelligence and good character does not imply you have good judgment.
  7. Study history and leadership qualities. Pay special attention to why leaders fail.
  8. A person in a position of authority does not automatically become immediately respected or trusted. This is earned.
  9. Every person in an organization is as important and necessary to a mission as the next person. That goes from the top to the bottom.
  10. Instill the will to win. There can be no second-place trophies on display—awarded or accepted.
  11. Never deprive a person of their self-respect. NEVER!
  12. To do well in any field of endeavor, it is an advantage to work with good people.
  13. Strive to have one or two people around you who are totally trustworthy.
  14. Spend quality time with the team, learning who they are and what motivates them. Create a family.
  15. Great leaders learn to lead self first. Before you can lead others, leading self successfully must be accomplished day in and day out.
  16. Successful leaders create the future.
  17. Leaders must lead. Be the first boots on the ground and the last boots off.

“When we go into battle, I will be the first one to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off. And I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will come home together. So help me God.” —Lt. Co. Hal Moore, August 1965, Fort Benning, Ga.