Principles of Military Leadership  (Part 2)

By | December 22, 2021

[December 22, 2021]  Leadership is hard.  Military leadership (that applies to leaders preparing for and being in combat) is tough.  There are several famous writers on leadership (e.g., Druker, Maxwell, Bennis) who provide insight into several principles of leadership.

Yesterday, I wrote Part 1 and listed many of those principles.  These “principles” are commonly found by those writing about successful leadership.  It’s hard to come up with a better list, and I like the list from yesterday.  You can’t argue that any one of them can be dismissed.

Can I do better?  I’ll let you be the judge.  Regardless of what is listed, there are some prerequisites.  First, you must lead by example, develop your family and community, be decisive, show loyalty, and never assume any damn thing.  If you are religious, that also gives you an advantage.  You do all this by working hard and being smart.

Here is my list of 10 core military leadership principles that have stayed with me for decades.  I found them helpful everywhere I went.

  1. Lead from the front
  2. Take care of your Soldiers
  3. Think, write, speak, and stay focused
  4. Know evil and do not tolerate it
  5. Be prepared
  6. Tell the truth
  7. Create more leaders
  8. Be a cheerleader for your team (loyalty)
  9. Stand up for and protect the weak (courage)
  10. Be responsible in everything you do

Like yesterday’s “list,” without putting in the hard work required to be a successful leader, you will not get there.  There are just too many obstacles along the way.

It is easy to add to this list.  I have only 10, more might be helpful, but I’ll put a period on the end of these.  I have found that the more informed we are, and the more detail provided to us, the more folks get tangled up in the details of life and fail to follow through.  Don’t get caught in that trap.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

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

24 thoughts on “Principles of Military Leadership  (Part 2)

  1. Wild Bill

    Great mini-series, Gen. Satterfield. Anytime I get the chance to read about military as an art and science, my interest peeks. You have written generally on this topic before, so thanks for bringing it all together. IMHO, these are principles of a good life too. All the best to our folks thru the holidays. I look forward to 2022 as a year without fear and yet faced with great courage.

  2. Jeff Blackwater

    Gen. Satterfield, this is indeed a useful set of military principles. I recommend that you make space for future articles that go into more detail on each of these. Well done. keep up the great works you are doing. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

    1. American Girl

      Yep, and exactly why I read this website leadership mini-bites every day.

  3. Silly Man

    Part 2, Principles of Military Leadership. HUGGGGEEE topic. Great setup and discussion, Gen. Satterfield. Loving it. Keep up the great works you are doing here for your free website. We know you have been now doing this site for over 8 years. Congrats on the website and on your new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq.”

  4. JT Patterson

    Merry Christmas to all here. Regardless of your religion or lack thereof, Merry Christmas. I say that as a Christian. But also to say I might not be back reading this blog by Gen. Satterfield because I have family coming over today. So, I will take a moment and recommend Gen. S’s new book, ‘Our Longest Year in iraq.’ Get the book now. You can still get it BEFORE Christmas if you order it now.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Thanks JT, and for what you’ve done for us by your comments over the past few years. Both you and I are some of the longest readers of this blog and have been regular commentators. Have a Merry Christmas! And also to your family.

    1. DocJeff

      Yes, more on how to be a great leader and great person. You will find it all here.

  5. Ernest

    The military —— lead from the front. That is also courage. Best on the list and first for obvious reasons. Too many leaders lead from the rear. Pres B. Obama for famous for leading from behind. That might work for the junior leader but senior leaders always lead from the front.

    1. Joe Omerrod

      One of the many advantages of this leadership website is that it is for everyone regardless of level of leadership position, experience, or desire to learn more. Just spend a few minutes a day to read more and you will “see” what I mean. Read this website and learn. Comment and put your ideas out there for positive criticism. It works. Believe me, it works.

      1. Randy Goodman

        👍👍👍👍👍👍 and don’t be resistant to new ideas or old ideas that work. Follow the rules but be willing to break them too.

        1. Willie Strumburger

          You guys are great. Funny. Gen. Satterfield has given us this leadership forum for a good reason and I see it played out in the comments every day.

  6. Army Captain

    Living the dream! Thanks to Gen. Satterfield, I am a better leader of soldiers. There are others out there who may help, like my commander, but I learn more here than anywhere else and it only takes a few minutes a day.

  7. Desert Cactus

    I wrote yesterday about your article (excellent BTW) that the Bible is where you can truly get the best advice and lists of principles of being good (being a leader). I reiterate that today. Also, thanks to the author of this website for giving us such excellent coverage of key topics.

    1. Valkerie

      You got it DC. Oh, there are other seminal works out there that are not as good as the Bible but works. The downside to the Bible is that we don’t teach young people how to understand what is written there. Remember it was written by people and they/we have flaws. It is told in story form.

      1. Dog Man

        Excellent point, V, of course. Read the Bible, but also THINK about what it says and what it means. That takes some research on your part.

    2. Len Jakosky

      What else is there to say but that you are right. I also will note as others have that we have to be taught to understand the Bible in its full meaning. We spend, IMO, too little time talking about its meaning and spend too much time just reading the words.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.