Our friends at Success Magazine have shared these 4 lessons from World War II U.S. General George Marshall. Put these into practice as you communicate with and lead your team.

While stakes in the office aren’t as high as those on the battlefield, Gen. Marshall’s lessons can be translated into regular practice.


Choose to Demonstrate Optimism

When things look grim, if a manager approaches a situation negatively without hope, it’s not likely to inspire others.

“The new product isn’t doing well. Sales aren’t where we expected, we’re losing money so we probably have to scrap the whole thing.”

What if, instead, the manager approached it with a positive attitude?

“The new product launch isn’t going as well as we expected. It’s a great product and the opportunity for growth is there. Let’s take a look at how we might change our approach.”

Attitudes can be infectious – let positivity spread.


Do Not Pull Punches

Being a great leader means being truthful with your team. The bare truth may not be easy to hear, but situations are rarely improved by sugar coating.

Be honest with your co-workers, superiors, and subordinates. If an issue is present, address it head-on. Share critical feedback respectfully, in private, with those that need to hear it. Having difficult conversations privately won’t publicly embarrass anyone and opens the door for improvements. 

“People want and need to know when they are underperforming. They value positive reinforcement and encouragement, and it’s up to their leaders to provide it.”


Never Surrender to Failure

Success 100% of the time in every situation is impossible. There will be failures and missteps. Use those as learning moments to make adjustments and corrections.

If you give in to every failure you’ll never have a chance to succeed.


Lead with “Why” to Empower Others

Rather than tasking others with a project and telling them what to do, by sharing the “why” of the task, letting them know why it is important that something is completed, let’s them in on the goal of the task without telling them exactly how to do it.

Team members can come up with their own ideas for how to accomplish the task. This requires them to take ownership of the task and allows them to utilize their own ideas and skills to do so.

You can bark orders and tell others exactly what to do and how to do it OR you can be a great leader and inspire them. Teams made up of individuals that feel valued and have contributed their own ideas and processes are happier and more successful than those that are ruled by an iron fist.


What kind of leader do you want to be?

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