Book of the Week: Patton on Leadership By: Alan Axelrod3 min read

“In the Third Army, we knew what General Patton expected us to do, and we believed if we did it, we would win, that’s what generalship is all about.” This quote by General Omar Bradley of A Solders Story essentially prepares you to what lessons and value you should expect to gain from reading this book.

As commander of the Third Army, General George S Patton’s wartime success inspired remarkable performance of his troops, and grudging admiration of his enemies. Having stormed across France and Germany with lightning speed, Patton revealed himself as a courageous warrior, a gifted strategist, an inspiring communicator, a masterful motivator and most importantly a brilliant leader.

For those of you who may not be familiar. George S Patton Jr was a 4 star general that served in World War II from 1941 – 1945. Remembered for his fierce determination and ability to lead soldiers, Patton is now considered one of the greatest military figures in history. The 1970 film, “Patton” starring George C Scott in the title role won seven Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Picture, and immortalized General George Smith Patton Jr as one of the world’s most intriguing military men.

Patton on Leadership; Strategic Lessons for Corporate Warfare is actually one of my personal favorites on Leadership. This book distills Patton’s brilliance into 185 essential lessons every leader must know to win in today’s business world. Whether you own a business or not, whether you even know who General Patton was, this is still a must read to everyone that wants more from themselves and their team.

Reading this book and applying Patton’s lessons will show business owners and managers how to develop and project a leadership image, communicate effectively, establish clear priorities, build a winning team, mentor future leaders, resolve conflict, sustain optimum performance against all obstacles, and instill the kind of loyalty that inspires consistent outstanding achievement. These are all positive attributes that are essential in being the best leader of any organization that you can possibly be.

Some of my favorite lessons from the book:

  1. Qualities of a Great General
  • Tactically aggressive
  • Strength of Character
  • Steadiness of Purpose
  • Acceptance of Responsibility
  • Energy & Good Health

These are all strong traits of both a winner and a leader. I personally like the last as in business you must have stamina to keep on keeping on, and to have stamina you must practice and possess energy and good health.

  1. Use all available talent.

Leverage your team and managers when making a big decision as it’s always helpful to think it through with trusted thoughtful colleagues. It allows you to leverage their brain power while also respecting their opinions and advice.

  1. Always have a plan B.

Always proceed with an all-out effort on a plan once a decision has been made however always hold something in reserve in case you have to adjust if plan A isn’t working.

  1. Always Follow Through

The issuance of a plan is only about 5% of the responsibility of the command. The other 95% is making sure the plan is carried out.

  1. Praise must be timely and public

Effective leaders identify and publicly praise exceptional achievement. This not only reinforces productivity, however in addition it celebrates achievement, lifts moral and provides future incentives to further achievement.

  1. Bounce

When you are on top, there is only one place to go but down. Success is all about how high you can bounce when you hit bottom.

In conclusion, if you are a leader, manager or business owner, follow my lead and read this book as I did, use it as a reference guide when searching for certain secrets to bringing out the best in yourself and your team. After reading I trust you will find yourself equipped with a new found purpose and strength to be the best leader you can possibly be.