[June 4, 2023] It is often said that a leader’s performance in a peacetime environment cannot predict how that leader will act in combat. This well-known knowledge of human performance has been recorded since the Roman Empire. Under peaceful, less dangerous circumstances, the military leader has priorities that differ from combat, where death is expected.
“Inquiries are now no longer made about customs that have been so long neglected because, in the midst of peace, war is looked upon as an object too distant to merit consideration.” – Vegetius
In peace, the military leader’s priority is to ensure that the welfare of his troops is sustained. The leader shows great interest and cares for those things that support them. Such is the basis for the success of a military commander. The credibility and prestige of the leader are at stake by those who serve under such a leader. Out of necessity, this includes the proper training, housing, feeding, and attention to the troops’ morale so soldiering skills are carefully honed.
In combat, the priority of the leader shifts. This commander takes a keen interest in the tactical problems of the troops. The leader in combat must prove to those who serve him that all things possible will be done to help them solve those problems. Such is the nature of combat as compared to all other times. The best leaders take a personal interest in solving those problems because the lives of the troops depend upon them.
It takes direct experience in combat to understand and appreciate this basic rule of human performance … and that is why so many leaders fail in combat that was successful in peacetime. They are unable to make the transition of priorities from peace to war.
Please read my books: