(Startup) Leadership at the Point of the Bayonet – Major Dick Winters

In honor of D-Day and the greatest generation, I wanted to share an excerpt from the book, Beyond Band of Brothers by Major Dick Winters.  Much of his advice came from his experience in combat during WWII leading Easy Company at the Normandy invasion and much of that experience helped him in his success later in life in business.  It is impossible to equate combat to business (although some have tried), Maj. Winters’ Leadership at the “Point of the Bayonet” and his Ten Principles for Success are guidelines for any leader to follow. I think some founders and executives in today’s tech startup world, based on recent events and behavior should take note.

Leadership at the Point of the Bayonet

Ten Principles for Success

  1. Strive to be a leader of character, competence, and courage.
  2. Lead from the front.  say, “Follow Me!” and then lead the way.
  3. Stay in top physical shape- physical stamina is the root of mental toughness.
  4. Develop your team.  If you know your people, are fair in setting realistic goals and expectations, and lead by example, you will develop teamwork.
  5. Delegate responsibility to your subordinates and let them do their jobs.  You can’t do a good job if you don’t have a chance to use your imagination or your creativity.
  6. Anticipate problems and prepare to overcome obstacles.  Don’t wait until you get to the top of the ridge and then make up your mind.
  7. Remain humble.  Don’t worry about who receives the credit.  Never let power or authority go to your head.
  8. Take a moment of self-reflection.  Look at yourself in the mirror every night and ask yourself if you did your best.
  9. True satisfaction comes from getting the job done. The key to a successful leader is to earn respect – not because of rank or position, but because you are a leader of character.
  10. Hang Tough! – Never, ever, give up.

Major Dick Winters

Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment

101st Airborne Division

Band of Brothers

Thank you to “The Greatest Generation”!

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