In June 1944, just hours before the D-Day invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower wrote two speeches. The first was to be delivered to his troops if the invasion succeeded. The second, if it failed.
Fortunately, that second speech was never needed. The Allies prevailed, and Hitler’s Nazi regime soon toppled.
But Eisenhower’s handwritten words, preserved in his presidential library, offer a fascinating look at his humble leadership. After praising his troops’ bravery, Eisenhower took full responsibility for the invasion’s failure. In the final line, Eisenhower said, quote, “If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”
Achievement creates pride in many leaders. They become the person on top who takes credit for the hard work of others.
But humility is the essence of good leadership. The greatest among us are those with the humility to use their strength, intelligence, and talent to serve others.
Although few of us will lead at the same level as Eisenhower, everyone has responsibilities as a leader. Adults lead at home, in the community, and in the workplace. Children lead at school, in their social world, in theater, or in organized sports.
Whether you lead one person or an army, be humble. As author John Maxwell says, “Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”