[December 31, 2016] Ending the month of December with a senior leader’s profile is a good way to push into next year’s leadership topics. It is somewhat difficult to get an accurate idea of leadership qualities in modern senior leaders due to a number of factors. However today, I’ll be profiling U.S. Army General Raymond Odierno, who I served under twice during the Iraq War.
Too often we hear about leaders just padding their résumés; caring little about those who work for them. Or perhaps we hear that a senior leader is more concerned about their company’s “bottom line” than the workers employed there. General Odierno is the best example I can provide of someone what is the opposite of such a leader. More than anything else, he cares about soldiers, all military members, and their families.
“You’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going after them and rooting them out.” – U.S. Army General Raymond Odierno
There is a harsh reality that military leaders must deal with everyday they put on the uniform. Sometimes that means telling senior political leaders that their ideologies have little value on the battlefield. General Odierno made it clear to President Obama that they only way to destroy the Islamic State terror group was to place troops in harm’s way1; to hunt down terrorists and kill them.
General Odierno will one day be considered one of the best military leaders of the Iraq War. His leadership traits are:
- Morally and physically courageous
- Genuinely cares about the troops
- Loyal to the American people and senior political leaders
- Values professional education
- Trusts his subordinate leaders and gives them the authority to complete difficult tasks
- Believes leaders must trust their instincts, be flexible, and adaptable
- Affable yet stoic in demeanor
- Intelligent, mentally resilient, proactive, trustworthy, and reliable
General Odierno has more combat time than any other senior leader I’ve known. He is aware of the effects of the stress of combat and does those things to lessen the burden on the combat soldier. For this, I say he is the epitome of a true soldier.
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- Lessons from the General – http://nypost.com/2008/03/07/lessons-from-the-general/
- Raymond T. Odierno – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_T._Odierno