52 Leadership Quotes of Stanley A. McChrystal

” Leadership contains certain elements of good management, but it requires that you inspire, that you build durable trust. For an organization to be not just good but to win, leadership means evoking participation larger than the job description, commitment deeper than any job contract’s wording. “
” There’s an art to asking questions. Briefings are valuable but normally communicate primarily what the subordinate leader wants you to know, and often the picture they provide is incomplete. “
” You can get knocked down, and it hurts and it leaves scars. But if you’re a leader, the people you’ve counted on will help you up. And if you’re a leader, the people who count on you need you on your feet. “
” Mike Hall was my old friend and, more important, the finest soldier I’d ever known. After over 30 years of service and then 18 months at a good civilian job, a phone call had brought the retired command sergeant major back on active duty to become the senior enlisted adviser of all international forces in Afghanistan. “
” Anyone in a position of power is either corrupt or assumed to be corrupt, and the assumption of corruption is as bad as the reality of it. “
” Change is painful, and people are always reticent to accept a lot of pain. “
” Over my career, I’d watched senior leader visits have unintended negative consequences. Typically, schedules were unrealistically overloaded and were modified during the visit to cancel parts of the plan. “
” Like leaders in many walks of life, my business has been to serve with, and for, others. “
” Many leaders are tempted to lead like a chess master, striving to control every move, when they should be leading like gardeners, creating and maintaining a viable ecosystem in which the organization operates. “
” Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer. “
” With my resignation, I… left unfulfilled commitments I made to many comrades in the fight, commitments I hold sacred. My service did not end as I would have wished. “
” Empowering, cultivating, and ultimately serving those who follow you will unlock massive potential within your organization, allowing you to solve for problems in real time. “
” There is no avoiding the realities of the information age. Its effects manifest differently in different sectors, but the drivers of speed and interdependence will impact us all. Organizations that continue to use 20th-century tools in today’s complex environment do so at their own peril. “
” Wars often begin with enthusiastic vigor but typically settle into costly, dirty business characterized for soldiers by fear, frustration, and loneliness. “
” Leaders must establish common purpose and build trust within an organization. “
” I came to believe that a leader isn’t good because they’re right; they’re good because they’re willing to learn and to trust. “
” By nature, I tended to trust people and was typically open and transparent… But such transparency would go astray when others saw us out of context or when I gave trust to those few who were unworthy of it. “
” In my life as a soldier and citizen, I have seen time and time again that inaction has dire consequences. “
” America needs a restart. It has long devoted its energies to solving its many big problems – unequal opportunity, crumbling infrastructure, lagging education, inadequate training in a changing economy, and threats to peace around the world. “
” I was raised with traditional stories of leadership: Robert E. Lee, John Buford at Gettysburg. And I also was raised with personal examples of leadership. This was my father in Vietnam. And I was raised to believe that soldiers were strong and wise and brave and faithful; they didn’t lie, cheat, steal, or abandon their comrades. “
” When I became commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force, I was leading thousands of individuals, from Special Forces to the broader interagency effort. I quickly realized that while we had the most best and most effective operators and small teams in the world, we were unable to scale. “
” How Americans restore trust may be an existential question for their country, then, but it’s ultimately a practical one: What U.S. society needs to answer it in the coming years aren’t lamentations but practical measures, especially among the emerging generations that will define America’s future. “
” If who you were was entirely based upon the position you were in or the headlines you got in the newspaper, or you had essentially subcontracted out your self-worth to the judgments of others, then you’re going to be like tumbleweed. You’re going to be blown. “
” Public television works hard to engage young learners and build the skills needed for a jump-start on life. We need our youngest to be curious, resilient and empathetic, and prepared for the jobs of the future. “
” I think, at the end of the day, you do better when you tend toward being transparent, even though there’s some risk. “
” When I was a lieutenant in Special Forces many many years ago, I thought I was getting fat. And I started running, and I started running distance, which I enjoyed. “
” The military likes to figure out how to do something, put it in a manual or an operating procedure, and perfect doing it, and have everyone do it the same way. I don’t like that. “
” The reality is when you make ‘America First’ a bumper sticker and pump it overseas, what you’re telling them is ‘America Only’. “
” Trust is an amazing commodity. The Afghan people often talk to me about having to develop trust in America, because they believe that we deserted them in 1990 and 1991. “
” I said if you want me to go back to Afghanistan and work, I’m happy to do that. If you think accepting my resignation is best for the cause and for the nation, then I have no complaint with that. “
” We could do good things in Afghanistan for the next 100 years and fail. “
” I think life is hard at the combat outposts, and anything that distracts us from supporting them, in my mind, is something that we shouldn’t do. “
” You’re going to find out who your friends are. Anything that happens in your life is one of those challenges. It may not be at the level of celebrity, but everybody’s going to travel that road. “
” The basic DNA we’ve got to implant in leaders now is adaptability: not to get wedded to the solution to a particular problem, because not only the problem but the solution changes day to day. Creating people who are hardwired for that is going to be our challenge for the future. “
” When I arrived in the summer of 2009 to command the war in Afghanistan, I entered an effort that was failing. Many Afghans, some ISAF coalition members, and much of the American public had lost confidence in both the trajectory of the war and our ability to correct it. “
” My dad was always the soldier I wanted to be. “
” Americans enjoy the exciting, cinematic vision of a squad of muscle-bound Goliath boasting Olympian speed, strength, and precision – a group whose collective success is the inevitable consequence of the individual strengths of its members and the masterful planning of a visionary commander. “
” A fundamental principle that I learned in my career, and a principle that my consulting company McChrystal Group helps American civilian companies to adopt, is that winning units and organizations ensure that the time they actually spend – daily, weekly, and yearly – must hew closely to their priorities. “
” I think my biggest achievement was being part of a team of outstanding, entrepreneurial military leaders and civilians who helped change the way in which America fights by transforming a global special operations task force – Task Force 714 – that I commanded. “
” If you sit down with British officers or British senior NCOs, they understand the sweep of history. They know the history of British forces not just in Afghanistan but the history of British successful counter-insurgencies – Northern Ireland, Malaysia. “
” Any war or conflict you enter where you are likely to lose more Americans and expend more treasure is something worthy of very detailed debate. There ought to be a lot of skepticism. There ought to be a lot of discussion. “
” Political campaigns offer Americans an opportunity to adjust direction, reaffirm values, and recommit to the covenant that binds them together. “
” I want the American people to understand, we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. “
” Strength is leading when you just don’t want to lead. “
” In June 2010, after more than 38 years in uniform, in the midst of commanding a 46-nation coalition in a complex war in Afghanistan, my world changed suddenly – and profoundly. An article in ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine depicting me, and people I admired, in a manner that felt as unfamiliar as it was unfair, ignited a firestorm. “
” There is only one Army in which you serve. When that identity is gone, it is gone forever. “
” One of the great things about America is we should not judge until we know the facts. “
” President Obama had voiced strong support for the effort in Afghanistan during his campaign, pledging to add two brigades, which he did. But since the inauguration… the administration had signaled that the U.S. commitment needed careful assessment, and we needed to recalibrate the strategy and objectives. “
” When you go through some controversy and you see your face on the news in a negative way for 48 hours… you doubt yourself. And your friends make the difference. They become a safety net that come in and say, ‘That’s not the case.’ And the relationships that you’ve built… come to the fore. “
” I don’t miss the bureaucracy of being in the Army. But I still love the relationships you can build. And it doesn’t have to be in military service – it can be anything you’re doing with someone that matters. You develop a bond. “
” My very identity as a soldier came to an abrupt end. I’d been soldiering as long as I’d been shaving. Suddenly I’d been told I could no longer soldier, and it felt as though no one really cared if I ever shaved again. “
” In every relationship, there are two perspectives to it. “