Words of Wisdom from American Military Heroes

Veteran’s Day, originally Armistice Day, started in 1919 to celebrate the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1938, it became an annual national holiday. Today, we observe Veteran’s Day as a way to honor American military heroes who fought for us, and also to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.

While reflecting on this American holiday, I thought about how the military is perhaps one of the best examples of a well-run team. While we don’t face imminent danger every day in our offices or on our campuses, we do try to build teams that can weather any crisis. We want team members that we trust, who help each other out every day. Just like those in active duty, we know we can only do amazing things if we work well together.

To learn from some of these Veterans, past and present, I pulled together some quotes about what it means to work on a team.

Check out these quotes from American Military Heroes:

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – George S. Patton

I can’t expect loyalty from the army if I do not give it.” – Gen. George C. Marshall

“The thing we all had in common wasn’t muscle; it was the will to do whatever it takes.”
– Chris Kyle, American Sniper*

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – George S. Patton

“You manage things; you lead people.”  – Rear Adm. Grace Murray Hopper

“A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary, an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.” – Gen. John J. Pershing

“The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch what their leaders do. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow.” – Gen. Colin Powell

“Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success from the weak and esteem to all.” – George Washington

“What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.”  – Vice Adm. James Stockdale

You’ll notice that a big theme here is that the leader is only as good as his team, and vice versa.  When soldiers work together with their leader, and with each other, they are much more successful in their mission. There must be trust, discipline, and a common goal.

Thank you to all American military heroes, past and present. We salute you and thank you for the great lessons you’ve taught us, as well as the freedom you’ve given us.

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