One of the most intense proving grounds of Leadership and Management is the battlefield. The risk based model of leadership is at its extreme where the risks entailed are life and death. It is a domain I have looked at before (eg. 100 Decisive Battles from Ancient Times to Present, Powell v. Rumsfeld) and I’ve found it curious that great leaders are often described as being the first as well as the last. They are the first ones out of the trenches, up the hill, leading the charge, but they are also the last ones ‘over the bridge’, off the battlefield or off the ship. This duality inspires my Distinction #19:
“The Leader is the first man out of the trenches onto the battlefield; The Manager is the last man over the bridge off the battlefield. Both together ensure committed and cohesive fight for a cause.”
One of the most eloquent oratories expressing this sentiment (and a brilliant example of ‘Level 5 – Personhood’ leadership) comes from the movie We Were Soldiers based on the legendary Lt. Colonel Hal Moore time in Vietnam.
“I can’t promise you that I will bring you all home alive. But this I swear, before you and before Almighty God, that when we go into battle, I will be the first 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 all come home together. So help me, God.”