The 3 Leadership Traits We Learn From Failure

It is my belief that one of the best places to learn about leadership is in the military. Not everyone gets a chance to join the military leadership so watching documentaries is one of the easiest way to get information. I always look for case studies, where someone has put in the effort to analyze the outcome of some of the decision made in battle or during planning.

Hindsight is 20/20 but learning about mistakes and successes helps to shape my worldview. This will then translate to the intuition that I need in time when quick decision is needed.

I thought this was a good review of some of the blunders of leadership and the cost of lives that comes with bad decisions. I especially liked the first case, which was a lesson where lack of discipline and culture ends up having the army decimated by the enemy. I particularly recalled this scenario as one Queen Victoria’s regrets in the miniseries.

History shows that there are 3 unpredictable factors that affect whether a leader is good or bad.

  1. First is the quality of those who joined up
  2. Second is the training of a leader to deal with battle stress
  3. Third is the psychological make of of the individual

Westpoint is also looking for the intangibles

  1. The ability to work under pressure
  2. The ability to produce good quality work when things around you are chaotic
  3. and those that can set their own goals given the fuzzy guidance which tends to be the nature of the battlefield.

Reflecting on the show, there’s many similarities between leading and engineering organisation and the army.

At the end of the day, a leader is judged based on his actions and decision that was made under stress. The decision that will make make or break the organisation. One more thing I learned is continue to keep the pressure on the enemy. Even when things are going well, continue to keep pushing forward, continue the momentum and we will reach the goals set up. Seems like those who dug in, typically gets over run.

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