Something else that goes without saying … or should, anyway

Thanks to my friend The Regimental Rogue for this:


George Francis Robert Henderson was a soldier, and a brave, skilled and thoughtful one, too, scholar, teacher and author. His most famous work, Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War (1898), was still being used as study material in the 1960s when I was writing promotion examinations.

He was an insightful student and teacher and he saw, in the late Victorian era, the way the conduct of war was changing and his thoughts on subordinate leaders are as valuable today as they were 110 years ago.

The premise is simple, but important: if we get the business of selecting and training the most junior leaders, say the corporals and master corporals, and the second lieutenants and lieutenants right then, the whole of the army (and the navy and air force) will be right, too. If, on the other hand, we get junior leadership training and development wrong then nothing that political masters and admirals and generals do will matter in the slightest … we will lose on the battlefield. It really is just that simple: master corporals matter more than major generals and assistant deputy ministers.

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