Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Robert E. Lee on Leadership : Executive Lessons in Character, Courage, and Vision Paperback by H.W. Crocker III ( Crown Forum)
I am always a bit distrustful of books that claim to provide leadership lessons for business. In my opinion, leadership is a universal concept that transcends a particular setting and applying leadership lessons so narrowly always ends in somewhat stretched examples to fit the narrow definition. Better is the approach of conveying leadership skills for life or for character. The author rightly points out in his introduction that everybody plays a leadership at some time in their lives. That alone is reason enough to look for heroes we might emulate. And in that we find Robert E. Lee.
The bottom line is, Lee was a great leader because he had a well-formed character. Mr. Crocker is wise to continually return us to that fact again and again in this work. Mr. Crocker is also wise to identify the primary role model in Lee's life - Jesus Christ. Lee's deep abiding faith was the furnace that forged the human epitome of a servant leader. Servant leadership is probably the most antithetical form of leadership to the business world. Mr. Crocker recognizes that as well and perhaps that is why he attempts to force the issue in order to prove the point against the tide of conventional thinking. But even with those stretched points, Mr. Crocker conveys the importance of servant leadership in everyday life. A good leader is not simply the person identified to play the role of leader - a good leader is one who has earned the respect required to lead and who inspires others to follow.
Short of the New Testament, you will not find a more perfect example of servant leadership of this type than you find in Robert E. Lee. Mr. Crocker has chosen his example well and correctly applied the lessons to a life of character. Leaders of all persuasions, and not just business, will find leadership personified in these pages.