Gen. Douglas MacArthur on Leadership

On Dec. 7, 2021, the world memorialized the 80th anniversary of one of the more tide-shifting events in modern history. The bombing of the U.S. naval fleet at Pearl Harbor thrust the isolationist nation into a war just over two decades after the Great War, the war to end all wars. This moment mobilized an entire nation and quickly turned boys into men, bystanders into leaders, and homemakers into heroes.

True leaders are individuals who rise to the occasion and answer the call when others need them. One of these individuals was Gen. Douglas MacArthur. After studying at the West Texas Military Academy and West Point, he rose through the ranks of the United States Army, serving in both world wars. In WWII, MacArthur was appointed the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. To say he was a successful leader is an understatement, and his views on leadership still ring true today.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

According to MacArthur, the keys to leadership are confidence, courage, and compassion. And while cultivating leadership takes time, trust, and experience, the foundation exists on integrity and equality of actions among others. Simply put, great leaders don’t proclaim themselves ones, they live it.

Leading others into battle may not be the type of leadership you aspire to; however, the keys remain the same. Have the confidence in your ability and skills to complete goals. Have the courage to stand up for your values and the organizational culture you’ve cultivated. And have the compassion to empathize with your employees to do what’s best for them and meet their needs.

How has confidence, courage, and compassion helped your leadership approach? What other individuals do you look toward for leadership advice? Let us know in the comments section below!


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