Thursday, November 17, 2011


I've seen a lot of motivational speakers in my day, working as I have in high tech.  Most are terrible: washed up has-been Quarterbacks reading someone else's words, that sort of thing.  While some have been quite entertaining - credible journeyman performances - not one has spoken from the heart in a way that has made me hang on every word.  Not one has been able to twist the great success they've had into a lesson of the humility of leadership.

This talk leaves me speechless.  I literally don't know what to write, other than that this touched my soul.

The world has two sorts of people: those that want to be something, and those that want to do something.  The best leaders are those who want to do something, who strive to be worthy of those they wish to lead.  The best leaders have a sense of humility - as General Welsh displays through this talk - even when they've got the biggest swinging one around.  Especially when they've got the biggest swinging one around.
Leadership must be based on goodwill. Goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and of tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.

— Admiral James B. Stockdale

This is the best fifty minutes you will spend this week, easy.

Via Gerard.


MSgt B said...


I love you, man.

(I mean that in a totally manly, mucho-macho way)

It's like this. In all other branchs of the Armed Forces. Great leaders develop their troops, train them, lead them into battle, and order them forward into what may very well be their deaths.
It is a terrible burden to carry, and I respect those men and women with every fiber. I would follow them anywhere.

In the Air Force. Great leaders develop their troops, train them, prepare them for battle, then saddle up and go do the fighting themselves while their troops wait for them back at the base. That takes a special something not required of officers in other branches.

doubletrouble said...

You were right, BP.
I took the time to listen/watch the vid last night- very moving- that man has the marks of a leader.

Also interesting to see older (1999 vintage) vids of him on YT.

Southern Belle said...

If only I had heard that speech when I was younger. Wow, you were right, very inspirational and touching on so many levels.
Thanks for posting it.