Leadership Means Reaching Their Souls

By | September 15, 2019

[September 15, 2019]  In the past, I’ve written about the importance of caring for your people (e.g., articles here and here).  What this means is that a great leader can reach the souls of others and doing so matters more than any technological advancement, money, or strategy.  Win their hearts and you will win the battle.

“As an officer, you need to win only one battle – for the hearts of your troops.  Win their hearts and they will win the fights.” – U.S. Marine Corps General Jim Mattis

Much is written about leadership and how difficult it can be.  While that is true, what proven leaders find most challenging is perhaps not what we might expect.  The first step any experienced leader will take is to build trust and confidence.1  That way, they have followers who are loyal, dedicated, and motivated.  That is how great leaders get the job done.

Money, prestige, and comfort are unimportant to those who have their souls captured by leaders.  These leaders are rare.  If you are looking for someone to lead your team and you happen to find one, grab them immediately even if you don’t have a position for them to fill today.  Do what it takes to keep them but remember they are not motivated by tangible things like a corner office or title but by those around them.  They draw energy from others and return it tenfold.

The question is, HOW do they capture the soul of others?  There are, of course, as many paths to this as there are leaders.  One path is through competence, caring, and conviction.  A leader who can show that he knows what he is doing demonstrates a real caring for his people and that the leader will stand up for them (and what you won’t stand for).  Such a leader can properly capture their hearts.

A few years ago, while in South Korea, I worked for an exemplary U.S. Army Lieutenant General.  He was able to simply the most complex and difficult mission, discussing it in plain English we all could understand.  More significantly, he could grasp what we all wanted and seemed to make us all feel important.  We were drawn to him by some force that is hard to describe.  He is one of the few I ever met with the capability to capture our most inner being.

The greatest of great, the most beautiful of things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart and the soul.  When a leader can touch that, he is truly great.


  1. This was so important for me that it was the second article I published on the Characteristics of a Leader: https://www.theleadermaker.com/characteristic-2-building-trust-and-confidence/
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.

19 thoughts on “Leadership Means Reaching Their Souls

    1. Scotty Bush

      But the college snowflakes will give this a pass. Great to be here in Gen. Satterfield’s blog. I find it so interesting, I now have may family on board.

  1. Karl J.

    Excellent and great point. Anyone who doesn’t believe, just join the military and see.

  2. Bryan Lee

    Some practical and philosophical guidance. I do believe Gen. Satterfield is right about this and moreso than we might think.

    1. Fred Weber

      Yes, Bryan and I was thinking the same thing. His last few blog postings have been especially enlightening.

  3. Max Foster

    While I agree fully with your arguments, I can see a high risk to those who leave their souls open to capture by a malevolent person. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and history has a long and horrible list of men (and women) who are evil but also can capture the soul of a person. Danger lurks, the risks are large but also clear.

    1. Doug Smith

      I saw this happening when Obama was the US president. Many young people flocked around him like he was some kind of god. He loved it and thought too that he could make the ‘oceans stop rising’ and the ‘people throw off the yoke of tyranny’ across the world. Didn’t work out that way.

      1. Tracey Brockman

        Yes, and while Obama was doing this for eight long years, the world ascended into greater violence, death, and destruction. People of American began hating each other once again and race, sex, etc. became how we judge others.

    2. Mikka Solarno

      I voted for Pres Obama the first time and regretted it ever since. He is now in hiding.

  4. Gil Johnson

    I enjoyed today’s article very much. Thanks, Gen Satterfield for another spot-on posting.

  5. Dennis Mathes

    The idea captured in this article is one that has beguiled leaders since the beginning of our time here on Earth. Leaders are expected to do great things but, as we all know, that is not the case and never will it be. Leaders does mean doing hard things but it is not all learned. I suppose that there is some element inherent in the leader that makes them effective. I don’t see how they can just study it and be a great leader.

    1. Doc Blackshear

      I don’t think Gen. Satterfield has stated, nor implied, that leadership is inherently an inborn trait but one that is a mix of experience, study, and genes.

    2. Lynn Pitts

      Agreed! Excellent article of a useful and timely subject matter. This is why I keep coming back to the site. Occasionally we also get a great guest blogger like Army Vet or Sadako Red. There are more, naturally, but these two are my personal favorites.

  6. Bart Rhodes

    Great job on this article, Gen. Satterfield. “Keep ‘em coming” to quote you.

  7. Willie Shrumburger

    Good to see you onto another relevant topic. Entertaining and informative. Thanks for making my day start off with an article worth sharing with my co-workers.

    1. Big Al

      I’ll be sharing with my family and friends. Occasionally I share these articles, the best ones of course, and this post will be going out in a few moments. Articles that help us understand humans better is always a plus in my book.

  8. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    The building of trust and confidence is not easy, it takes time and energy, and it can be lost in an instant with a stupid act. That is why great leaders are so rare as they know how to navigate the choppy waters of leadership.

  9. Walter H.

    Fantastic. Loved the entire article front to end. The point is that only the best leaders can capture the best of our souls. They can reach into us and provide the motivation we need to go beyond our ordinary selves.

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