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Champion Leadership Blog

Small Business Leadership Lessons from a Civil War Hero

Over the July 4th holiday weekend I began reading a biography on Civil War hero and 17th President of the United States.

As a youth I wasn’t much interested in American history. So, I’m trying to make up for it as an adult.

For the last 10 years I’ve read one or two presidential biographies each year, and I started back with the Founding Fathers.

Half of the Grant biography is about his time in the military and leading the Union Army to victory keeping the United States intact. I just got past the Civil War over the weekend and was enamored by what I learned about Grant.

History hasn’t left us with that great impression of Grant, often portrayed as a heavy drinker or drunkard, but it certainly didn’t seem that way through his Civil War exploits. I may learn more as the book moves into his political career and presidency, but as a military general and leader of men, he was outstanding.

Three leadership concepts that you can apply to your teams that served U.S. Grant well leading the Union Army to victory:

  1. Don’t worry about what your opponent is up to, focus your thoughts and efforts on your own strengths and strategy. Worrying about what your opponent is doing, or will do, is a distraction.
  2. When you’re winning keep the pressure on, don’t sit back and rest on your success, build on it and stay aggressive.
  3. Grant’s cardinal rule was “do not speak ill of a brother officer.” Grant, after much bickering and blaming of others by General William Farrar Smith, and a failure of Smith to own up to his own failings, relieved him of his command. Too many small business owners enable and tolerate gossip in the work environment causing negative, toxic work environments.

All three of Grant’s philosophies are all about communicating as a leader.

And, all three speak to a new, deeper concept I’m developing called, The 3 Primary Workplace Communication Mistakes. I’m almost finished creating a video training series about them.

If you want to get notified when the free video training is available go to this link FREE, 3-Part Workplace Communication Training

Which of these three do you need to get better at? Leave a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going.

‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!

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