Lt. General Paul Van Riper: Qualities that make for Great Leadership
Lt. General Van Riper discusses the qualities that make for great leadership. There is a tremendous amount of wisdom in this 13 minute segment, which I would highly encourage anyone in any kind of leadership position or intent to watch. I have also provided a summary below.
Lt. General Van Riper made headlines in 2002 following the Millennium Challenge 2002 war game exercise, where using only low tech and unconventional means he managed to get the upper hand on what was at least on paper a vastly superior force. Even with the rules being changed against him, he still kept winning, at least until the the event descended into such a rigged farce that Van Riper finally quit. You can read more on that particular story here.
There are generally 3 types of leader:
- Dictatorial leader
- Indecisive leader
- Listening Leader (best type of leader)
Too many leaders don't want to listen to what peers or subordinates have to say and look upon it as a sign of weakness.
Strong confident leaders have no problem listening to the ideas and advice of others.
The best leaders never stop learning and never assume that they know it all. They want to have input and mentor others.
Good leaders realise that delegation and outside help is eventually necessary.
If you don't reach out to other fields and experiences, you won't be able to tackle new and unique problems.
Don't be focused inward - cast your net widely.
Training and education should permeate what you do.
When assigning tasks most leaders fail to explain its wider objective and why it's important. The Intent or purpose is always more important than the task.
Those who understand that the purpose rises above the task are able to find alternative ways to achieve that objective - thus creating a self-organised system.
You should have a mental vision of what you want your organisation to be. You then need clear objectives to achieve that vision and assign tasks based on those objectives.
Too many fields like to coin slogans - many of which are meaningless.
We need to get back to speaking a clear, simple and concise language.
Far too many leaders focus on technology and organisational structure, while not focusing enough on the people.
Treat the people in your organisation as family.
Physical, mental, moral, ethical and spiritual fitness are all important and require training to remain active and fit.