Marshall’s Leadership Principles

GCMUlrich425These five principles defined George Marshall’s leadership qualities:

Candor – Speak honestly and responsibly
Commitment –  Faithfully adhere to what is right
Courage – Be bold in speech and deed
Integrity – Speak and act with honor
Selflessness – Service above self-interest

Author and lecturer Jack Uldrich expanded the list in his captivating book, Soldier Statesman Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall, American Management Association, 2005.

  • Doing the Right Thing: The Principle of Integrity
  • Mastering the Situation: The Principle of Action
  • Serving the Greater Good: The Principle of Selflessness
  • Speaking your Mind: The Principle of Candor
  • Laying the Groundwork: The Principle of Preparation
  • Sharing the Knowledge: The Principle of Learning and Teaching
  • Choosing and Rewarding the Right People: The Principle of Fairness
  • Focusing on the Big Picture: The Principle of Vision
  • Supporting the Troops: The Principle of Caring

Listen to Jack Uldrich describe Marshall’s Leadership Priciples.

Marshall’s Character defined him as an individual who could be trusted by colleagues, subordinates and superiors alike. His strong character is one reason why Congress supported his many requests for funding and superiors listened to his thoughtful, yet strong arguments.

Speaking before the Institute for Honor in 2005, Brig. Gen. Casey Brower said, “Optimism, stamina, love of one’s soldiers, determination, and loyalty were qualities for Marshall that distinguished successful officers from the common pack. They were the solid qualities on which a commander could depend, qualities that would make a large organization function effectively, qualities that would be the bedrock of readiness.”

“Finally, Marshall valued loyalty enormously as a leadership virtue,” he said. “The most successful officers, in his view, made ‘a point of extreme loyalty, in thought and deed, both to their superiors personally and to one’s efforts to execute their superior’s plans or policies.’ There could be no role for individual ego in a soldier’s respect for superior authority, Marshall counseled. Indeed, ‘The less you agree with the policies of your superiors, the more energy you must direct to their accomplishment,'” said Marshall.