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General George S. Patton's 23 Leadership Principles to Die For

Aug 17, 2007
General George Smith Patton Jr. was one of the greatest military leaders in history. His determination and leadership ability was legendary.

Patton decided during childhood that his goal in life was to become a HERO. How many of you choose as your life's goal to be a hero? How many of you even thought of such a thing?

His leadership principles are must reading for anyone serious about leadership. Read and study his 23 leadership principles below.

His ancestors had fought in the Revolutionary War, the Mexican War and the Civil War, and he grew up listening to stories of their brave and successful endeavors. His up bringing was a driving force behind his ascent to leadership.

Patton graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point on June 11, 1909. He married Beatrice Ayer, whom he dated while at West Point.

In 1912, he represented the United States at the Stockholm Olympics in the first Modern Pentathlon. Twenty-six year old Patton did remarkably well in the multi-event sport and finished fifth overall.

In the summer of 1913, Patton received orders to report to the commandant of the Mounted Service School in Fort Riley, Kansas, where he became the school's first Master of the Sword.

Patton's first real exposure to battle occurred when he served as a member for legendary General John J. Pershing's staff during the expedition to Mexico. He accompanied Pershing as an aide on his expedition against Francisco "Pancho" Villa into Mexico.

In 1917, Patton became the first member of the newly established United States Tank Corps. He took full command of the Corps, and along with the British, achieved victory at Cambrai, France, during the world's first major tank battle in 1917.

Patton organized the American tank school in Bourg, France and trained the first 500 American tankers. He had 345 tanks by the time he took the brigade into the Meuse-Argonne Operation in September 1918.

Patton worked out a plan where he could be in the front lines maintaining communications with his rear command post by means of pigeons and a group of runners.

Patton continually exposed himself to gunfire. While directing tanks, he was shot in the leg. His actions during that battle earned him the Distinguished Service Cross for Heroism, one of the many medals he would collect during his lifetime.

Patton saw tanks as the future of modern combat. Patton studied, wrote extensively and carried out experiments to improve radio communications between tanks. He also helped invent the co-axial tank mount for cannons and machine guns.

After WWI, Patton held a variety of staff jobs in Hawaii and Washington, D.C.

When the German Blitzkrieg began in Europe, Patton convinced Congress that the United States needed a more powerful armored striking force. Patton became the Commanding General of the Second Armored Division on April 11, 1941.

Two months later, Patton appeared on the cover of Life magazine. Also during this time, Patton began giving his famous "Blood and Guts" speeches in an amphitheater he had built to accommodate the entire division.

By November 1942, Patton was commanding the Western Task Force, the only all-American landing force for Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa.

After success in North Africa, Patton commanded the Seventh Army during the invasion of Sicily in July 1943. His army and the British Eighth Army restored Sicily to its citizens.

In 1944, Patton commanded the Third Army in France. Patton and his troops raced across Europe after the battle of Normandy and exploited German weaknesses with great success. When Patton's Third Army liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp, Patton slowed his pace.

He instituted a policy, later adopted by other commanders, of making local German civilians tour the camps. By the time WWII was over, the Third Army had liberated or conquered 81,522 square miles of territory.

Patton assumed command of the Fifteenth Army in American-occupied Germany in October 1945. In December, he suffered injuries as the result of an automobile accident. He died 12 days later, on December 21, 1945. He was 59 years old.

General George Patton is buried among the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge in Hamm, Luxembourg.

Here are the leadership principles that he stood for:


1. Commanders must lead and they must have the authority to match their responsibility.

2. Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.

3. Leaders always protect their followers first.

4. Leaders always do what they ask their followers to do.

5. Leaders select people for leadership positions based on accomplishment and not affection.

6. Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.


7. Do not go to war when you gain nothing by winning.

8. No one is thinking if everyone is thinking alike.

9. Always, have something in reserve.

10. Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.


10. The mission is all-important. Standard rules and policies can wait.

11. A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.

12. Communications must be quick and effective.

13. In landing operations, retreat is impossible; to surrender is as ignoble as it is foolish. Above all else, remember that we as attackers have the initiative; we know exactly what we are going to do, while the enemy is ignorant of our intentions and can only parry our blows. We must retain this tremendous advantage by always attacking rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, and without rest.

14. A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.


15. Have all of the facts! You must have the facts!

16. Know what you know and what you do not know!

17. Grab them by the nose and kick them in the pants.

18. Be timely with your decisions, never too early or too late.

19. You cannot make good decisions while you are sitting in a swivel chair. Get out and get up front.

20. You are never beaten until you admit it.


21. By perseverance, study and eternal desire, any man can become great.

22. Success is how far you bounce after you hit bottom.

23. Live for something rather than die for nothing.

Copyright 2007 Robert L. Bergeth
About the Author
Bob Bergeth currently consults with and leads hundreds of network marketing entrepreneurs. His specialty is recruiting, training, motivating and leading. Currently he is President of International Mergers & Acquisitions. He publishes a popular newsletter, The Freedom Express: An Insiders Analysis of Home-based Businesses. Contact Bob at 763-274-0143 or
Wealth Building 101 and http://www.mymangosteen.com/dream/
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