Leadership Challenge: Always On Point

By | February 4, 2019

[February 4, 2019]  The motto at the U.S. Army Infantry School is “Follow Me.”  Implicit, but utterly clear is their message that a leader is always on point; out in front of others and making things happen properly.  This is where we get the old saying that great leaders forever lead from the front.  Real leaders never lead from behind.

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” – 1 Timothy 3:1, Qualification for Overseers

While the concept of being always on point is spoken about most often in military circles, the idea is not unknown elsewhere.  The quote above from the Christian Bible tells us that leaders (in this case, the overseer) must be trustworthy if he is to aspire to office.  And, it follows, that being a leader means, therefore, to seek a noble task.

Only through shouldering great responsibility, achievable by being on point, can this be a noble cause.  The requirements of this responsibility are laid out well later in the Bible (see footnote 1).  But to be on point is not an easy task for anyone.  It is difficult because it requires the leader to be “sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard …”

In my leadership blog, there has been a consistent and long-running theme that good leadership is difficult and complicated; requiring hard work and possession of the right individual character traits.  This means taking on responsibilities that are uncommon and hard to achieve.  It also means having personal discipline, relevant experience, as well as, the traits of loyalty, selflessness, honor, integrity, courage, and more.

For example, there are many unspoken responsibilities in nearly all militaries.  If I were to select one for evaluation, ‘going to the aid of your fellow soldiers’ ranks as one of the most desirable.  Why?  The answer is easy.  Going to the aid of others entails great personal risk.  This is what we mean by being on point; an idea that has existed and admired throughout the history of humankind.


  1. Qualifications for Overseers: 1 Timothy 3  The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Leadership Challenge: Always On Point

  1. Jake Tapper, Jr.

    i’m a new reader and also new to the comment section.
    good article.
    look forward to reading more.

    1. Eva Easterbrook

      From the “gang of commenters” I extend my welcome too.

  2. Sadako Red

    Quallity, ethical, and moral leadership matters and it matters much more than we normally think. That is why I’ve written about the failure of high-level leaders for Gen Satterfield’s blog on many occassions. Yes, I live in Washington DC and witness all the goings on here. But I write about the failure of the city of Baltimore and use their failed leadership as an example of how not to be a leader.

    1. Maureen S. Sullivan

      Thanks Sadako Red for pointing out that it takes more than being “on point” for a leader to be successful. They must have the moral fiber to do what is right. Right being defined as a Christian-based ‘right’ and not something you make up in your mind. I’m not denegrating other religions here but since I’m familiar with Christian faith, that is what I write about. Thanks all.

    2. Len Jakosky

      Thanks “Red” … big fan of yours. Looking forward to your next article.

    3. Shawn C. Stolarz

      Another fan of your article, as is my whole family. I hope you publish another article soon.!

  3. José Luis Rodriguez

    Being on point does mean being out front. This could be in innovation, doing hard work, leading by example, or any of the many crucial traits a leader possesses. This is why psychologists note that people are more satisfied if they are a leader with responsibility and why they report having a better life. Interesting!

  4. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

    We all know that leaders are always on point. But they should also never forget they owe an obligation to take care of those who follow them. This is important. Overlooking people is not a good thing. Last night, I had a friend pass away. He was a good man. That’s why we never forget.

    1. Anita

      Good point and sorry to hear about the loss of a good friend.

  5. Yusaf from Texas

    Your article is very much appreciated, General Satterfield. Timely and ‘on point’ also.

  6. Lady Hawk

    There is even a commercial site dedicated to improving leadership in education. Their name says it all. “On point Leadership.” https://www.onpointleadership.org/
    Worth it to cruise their website. Some good info here. They are about what they call ‘leadership development.’

  7. Army Captain

    Like a great football game (Patriots win, yeah!), leaders are always on point. Thanks for another great article.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      🙂 Thanks Army Captain, as usual, you beat me to the comment. Leaders are always out front where they can be seen, heard, and followed in the right direction.

    2. Scotty Bush

      I always enjoy the morning, reading what you folks have to say.

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