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Eisenhower Leadership Lesson: The Key to Morale in Battle (and Business) Is Compassion & Connection

There is no excuse for business leaders not to be able to create a high-morale work environment with employees that are highly motivated and engaged in helping their company achieve its goals.

I’ve always been a believer in that.

I’m continually amazed by the number of questions I get from readers of this blog about how to communicate to create a motivated team with high levels of morale.

After reading former president Dwight D. Eisenhower’s book Crusade In Europe on my vacation back in July, I’ve become enamored with his leadership style during the fight to defeat Hitler, the Nazi’s and the Axis Powers in World War II.

Eisenhower wrote, “I must have those (commanders) who appreciated the importance of morale and had demonstrated a capacity to develop and maintain it.”

I can think of no more difficult an environment than on the eve of battle, especially on the eve of June 6, 1944 (D-Day) to try and maintain morale when hundreds of thousands of soldiers were being herded into amphibious transport units to head off towards a most uncertain future.

According to Eisenhower: “Morale is the greatest single factor in successful war. Endurable comparisons with the enemy in essential factors – leadership, discipline, technique, mobility, supply and maintenance – are pre-requisite to the existence of morale.”

This is a great reminder for business leaders.

In working with my clients some of the most common complaints I hear from employees who struggle maintaining their morale and motivation is they are not supplied with the proper tools and equipment to do their jobs. As Eisenhower points out with that quote, it all starts with having the right equipment to do the job.

“The methods employed by successful leaders in developing morale differ so widely as to defy any attempt to establish rules.”

But, he did go on to say, “One observation, however, always applies; in any long and bitter campaign morale will suffer unless all ranks thoroughly believe that their commanders are concerned first and always with the welfare of the troops who do the fighting. A human understanding and a natural ability to mingle with all men on a basis of equality are more important than any degree of technical skill.”

In my Employee Motivation Equation, which I created last year about this time, I included in the calculation a leaders’ ability to communicate with compassion, and that was way before I read Eisenhower’s WWII memoir.

What Ike is also talking about is Level 3 Leadership Communication, which I wrote about briefly in last week’s blog article as an overview of my new series on The 3 Levels of High-Performance Leadership Communication.

To take a personal online assessment on The 3 Levels of High-Performance Leadership Communication and to get a complimentary, private 1:1 Strategy Session to identify ways to begin applying strategies to improve the results you get from your leadership and team communication (a $297 value),
go to

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

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