George Washington as a Great General
George Washington is one of the greatest generals on the revolution. He is considered as “the father of his country” for his crucial role in fighting for, creating and leading the United States of America in its earliest days. He was a surveyor, farmer and soldier who rose to command the Colonial forces in the Revolutionary War. He held the ragtag Continental Army and eventually led them to victory over the British. His success in the war made him a tremendously popular figure in America. He was the natural choice to serve as the country’s first president in 1789 after the new United States Constitution was ratified. He was commissioned as Commander in Chief of the Army and this made him one of the greatest generals in American History.
According to Historic Valley Forge, George Washington’s military career presents the most outstanding illustration of a characteristic peculiarly his own, that he did not mark time in any of the important positions of his life. His passion for education caused him to concentrate on hard study, to acquire the necessary knowledge to excel, whether it was surveying, farming, building forts, shipping produce, or leading armies. To his military training he undoubtedly gave the same concentrated study that distinguished his school life and the study of surveying. He seemed to have been possessed of a passion to acquire all available knowledge on matters of paramount interest to him.
He succeeded in the Revolutionary War and always wants a free, democratic and united country. Washington was a great soldier. His training, whether theoretical in military elements or practical in surveying and frontier life, had fitted him for the duty. Through his knowledge of the rugged, hazardous life of the scattered, isolated pioneers beyond the settlements and the extreme hardships and emergencies of dangers to be met and combated in transportation, afoot, on horseback, or by canoe, he was not only grounded in self-reliance and resourcefulness, but what was a marvelous advantage for the man destined to lead a nation through eight years of war to victory was that he was wholly fearless. Never was George Washington known to feel or exhibit any fear in any situation. He is credited with saying that fear was absent from his make-up, and he could not tolerate cowardice in others.
In every battle that Washington is facing, he never thought of giving up and surrender. Washington continued his march and held parleys with the Indians. He even attacked and captured a reconnoitering French force, and in doing so started the French and Indian War. Not succeeding in attaching the Indians to the English side and finding his advanced position otherwise untenable, he started to retire, but on July 3 surrendered to the French his hastily constructed works, called Fort Necessity. He had put up a valiant fight and was permitted to continue his march back to the Potomac. This was the only time he ever surrendered.
The above proves that George Washington had a grasp of military matters that was extraordinary.
George Washington as a Great Leader
From the beginning of his career, Washington was concerned about his image and reputation. He set high standards and lived up to them. He believed in personal discipline and integrity and considered it his duty to set a precedent of impeccable character as the United States ‘ first elected leader. He was the First President of the United States did not relish power and stayed away from making the Presidency ‘monarchical’. He warned against ‘permanent foreign alliances’ in his Farewell Address. He was also the one who formed the Presidency with future Presidency with future presidents. Furthermore, he was unanimously elected President of the Constitutional Convention 1787 and elected President of the United States twice, 1789 and 1792.
Washington is a principled leader with visions in his country and countrymen. As a visionary leader, Washington also attracted both military and civilians to follow him to victory. He faced the realities of short term enlistments, desertions, very poorly clad and equipped soldiers, recalcitrant congressional and state legislators and wavering loyalty to the Glorious Cause among the populace. Yet enough soldiers and civilians so trusted him, believed in him, loved him that they stayed with him and his ideas. His leadership skills are extraordinary. He was not after the position but he was after of serving the people and making great difference. He was the man who could have been a king but refused a crown and saved a republic. Servant leadership is in the heart of Washington. Though he has o been criticized, along with other members of the founding generation, for his ownership of slaves, but he took it as a challenge. At one point, he expressed the sincere desire to see “a plan adopted for the abolition” of slavery, but he backed away from initiating such a plan by looking to legislative authority for its conception and execution. While he provided generously for his slaves in his will, he did not free them in his lifetime. Nevertheless, a year before his death he remarked to an acquaintance, “I can foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union.” And most of all, his character was sterling. He possessed an unflinching belief in freedom, justice, and the principles upon which our nation was founded. In every aspect of his incredibly busy life, George Washington was virtuous. And perhaps never in the history of the world has a single man been admired by so many.
We can relate his leadership in “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” of John Maxwell.
The Law of Influence – The true measure of leadership is influence: nothing more, nothing less. Positional authority may help, but influence is everything. Hard work and character are the keys.
Washington influenced and inspired a lot of people. Until today, he is considered as a treasure and still in the hearts of his countrymen.
The Law of Process – Leadership develops daily, not in a day. Leadership is not a one day thing; it’s an every day thing. It’s the disciplined, consistent effort to improve a little bit each day that reaps great harvests over a lifetime.
His continuous struggles proved the Washington’s leadership is a process. Even after his presidency, he still continues in realizing all his visions for hic country.
The Law of Solid Ground – Trust is the foundation of leadership. Leaders cannot take shortcuts. Mistakes based on ability can be forgiven, but lapses in character are lethal, for it is character that makes trust possible. And no one will follow someone they do not trust.
Washington builds trust in his people and he valued character. His character is surely as important now as ever before. “While most other things have changed dramatically over the past two centuries,” writes the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, “the qualities of a just and effective leader remain the same, and no one has better reflected these qualities than George Washington.”
The Law of Connection – Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. Even in groups, connections are made and relationships built one individual at a time. To move people to action, a leader must first move them with emotion.
Washington touched a lot of people through his good deeds. For him, building a smooth relationship to your fellowmen would earn you respect and integrity which he valued. He is indeed a good servant leader.
The Law of Sacrifice – A leader must give up to go up. A popular misconception is that it is all “peaches and cream” at the top. Yet, no one has ever ascended to a leadership role without paying a price, not just once, but many times.
Washington sacrificed a lot of things in the name of service. His sacrifices made him a great mark in American History.
Lastly, I believe that just as leadership is an every day thing, so too sacrifice is an ongoing element in leadership. “Effective leaders sacrifice much that is good in order to dedicate themselves to what is best.”