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The originality and benign effectiveness of MacArthur's treatment of subordinates, and the malign ineffectiveness of too many of my military and civilian bosses later, inspired me to tabulate the cardinal features of his leadership. I was then curious to see how other leaders had acted. I found all those who had had no troubles from their charges, from General Sun in China long ago to George Eastman of Kodak fame, followed the same pattern almost to the letter.
I know, every time I violated his principles, I had a bad reaction. There were other proofs. For example, when General Devers in London was disturbed over the bad results his subordinate officers in the field were getting with their soldiers, I showed him the pattern; he at once grasped the idea of sending it out over his signature to colonels and lieutenant colonels. In order not to be preachy, we put it in the form of questions. General Devers told me, before he left for another Theater, that morale had gone up unbelievably.
Here is the interrogative, MacArthur pattern:
Do I heckle my subordinates or strengthen and encourage them?
Do I use moral courage in getting rid of subordinates who have proven themselves beyond doubt to be unfit?
Have I done all in my power by encouragement, incentive and spur to salvage the weak and erring?
Do I know by name and character a maximum number of subordinates for whom I am responsible? Do I know them intimately?
Am I thoroughly familiar with the technique, necessities, objectives and administration of my job?
Do I lose my temper at individuals?
Do I act in such a way as to make my subordinates want to follow me?
p171 Do I delegate tasks which should be mine?
Do I arrogate everything to myself and delegate nothing?
Do I develop my subordinates by placing on each one as much responsibility as he can stand?
Am I interested in the personal welfare of each of my subordinates, as if he were a member of my family?
Have I the calmness of voice and manner to inspire confidence, or am I inclined to irascibility and excitability?
Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment and courtesy?
Am I inclined to be nice to my superiors and mean to my subordinates?
Is my door open to my subordinates?
Do I think more of position than job?
Do I correct a subordinate in the presence of others?
Most everyone who has read these hints has volunteered there'd be no labor unrest, mutinies or strikes if the correct answers were followed. The proof lies in the fact that those firms and organizations which adopted these tenets had no unhappy reactions.
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History of West Point
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Page updated: 22 Jun 16