People You Should Know – LTG Hal Moore and the Four Things…
While most people outside the military may never have heard of LTG Hal Moore, it’s hard to find someone inside the military who hasn’t. LTG Moore’s story as a battalion commander in Vietnam is chronicled in the book We Were Soldiers Once which was later immortalized in a popular movie. LTG Moore’s thoughts on personal leadership and what it takes to be “in command” is the stuff of just about every relevant leadership lecture at the United States Military Academy (AKA West Point) and more than likely was mentioned a time or two at the other military academies (even if he was a paratrooper).
LTG Moore’s four fundamental leadership principles are relevant to every leader or team functioning today because they speak to the necessary relationship between those who share in a task-driven effort. They transcend the battlefield, where they were forged, and should find a home in any leader’s bag of leadership “stuff”.
In summary, LTG Moore’s four principles are to remain cool in the face of adversity and provide a source of inspiration, never give up and keep your efforts focused on the “one more thing” that can influence things in your favor, remain vigilant and alert regardless of the appearance that all is well, and have the confidence to trust your instincts.
Every day, we are presented with situations that often appear to be hopeless, or beyond our control. We may feel defeated, or depressed, or not confident that we can or will prevail. We can be lulled into believing that because of early success, we can relax, and dial back our focus and concentration. We second guess ourselves, and spread the contagion of our doubt to those who trust us to lead. And, we can talk ourselves into thinking that we have truly done “all” we can do to influence the outcome of a given situation.
In the words of LTG Moore, a leader must be present in order to affect things. They must be visible, seen, felt, heard. Your team should not be guessing how you will react or handle a given scenario – they must know to a fault because you have demonstrated it time and time again in such a way that they draw strength from you. You are positive, always, and look to find the successful route in every journey. And they must know, that you are absolutely committed to sharing that journey, and doing your utmost to ensure that they will make it safely to the destination.
There are two things a leader can do. He can contaminate his environment and his unit with his attitude and actions, or inspire confidence – LTG Hal Moore
LTG Moore’s words speak to his service experiences on battlefields in Korea and Vietnam. They are timeless and as relevant today, and for the past decade of war, as they were 50 years ago when he was a young officer, learning the hard lessons of leadership. On Veteran’s Day, we thank soldiers like LTG Moore who served their country when called, and whose deeds and experience continue to provide a service by building future generations of leaders.