In Praise of Negative Leadership

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I was interested in a recent article which appeared in Thomas Rick’s admirable Task & Purpose in light of the Death of the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.

 

The article, was by a former Lance Corporal (“L/Cpl”) in the US Marine Corps who served in combat in Operation Enduring Freedom ("OEF") in Afghanistan.  The article, disagreed with another  recent article by a retired First Lieutenant ("1LT") in the United States Army which talked about the advantages of negative (or, at least, courser) leadership.

 

I agree with the author.  I also think George H.W. Bush is an exemplar of positive leadership.  However, I also believe there is a role for negative leadership, especially in a training environment.

 

Positive leadership, people who put the people they lead and the mission ahead of themselves and who have empathy where that empathy enhances the accomplishment of the mission, adds a great deal. George H.W. Bush, who enlisted in the US Navy during World War II rather than starting Yale, who became CIA Director when that organization was at a low ebb and needed effective leadership (even though he believed it would have a negative effect on his political career), and who became an uncommonly supportive Vice President to a man who had run against in the 1980 Republican Primaries, is representative of these principals.

 

However, although it is counter intuitive, let me speak of the value of negative leadership.

 

In the first place, not everyone leads from the front.  Some people put their own interests ahead of the interests of those they lead or even their mission. 

 

Although this is a bit Randian for my tastes, some of these negative leaders  have such an importance to the organization in terms of their abilities and contributions that their interests may arguably outweigh, or at least are equivalent to, those other interests.

 

Donald Trump, unlike George H.W. Bush, does not send nice notes to people.  However, at least arguably, he gets things done.  While Trump is cordially disliked by many Republicans and hated by most Democrats, George H.W, Bush was also subject to some disdain by both sides of the aisle, as the "Wimp Factor" Newsweek cover indicated.  

 

In the second place, especially in a training environment, negative leadership is effective in giving a stark example of what to avoid.  Negative leaders, even toxic ones) give you a perspective on the contributions of more positive leaders that is invaluable.  Also, in a training environment, there is value in letting junior leaders consciously chose to be a positive leader.

 

About 25 years ago, one Friday afternoon, I was talking to my Division Artillery Commander about something (I believe it related to captured Iraqi weapons from the Gulf War two years before).  For some reason, we started talking about leadership.

 

The Colonel (a fine man, who retired as a Lieutenant General) was a Citadel graduate, who had been a Cadre Corporal as a Cadet at The Citadel, as I had been at VMI.  I said that I thought the value of the position was that you give a 3d Classman/College Sophomore great power over a squad of Knobs/Rats/College Freshman . . . and you see what he (at that time) does with it.  Does he (at that time) lead them or does he (at that time) push them?  Does he (at that time) develop them or does he (at that time) oppress them?

 

Few things test your leadership, your ethics or your character more thoroughly in a training environment. 

 

You think, as a Rat or Knob that the purpose of the process (perhaps better, the ordeal) is to teach you to follow, but the deeper purpose may be to teach the Corporals, Sergeants and Company Executive Officer and other 1st Classmen/Seniors how to lead.  (A point made by my VMI Classmate [“Brother Rat”] Tom Berry, XO of Band Co., when we were 1sts in the Fall of 1983)

 

The value of VMI or The Citadel (or the Service Academies) is that these are environments where the stakes are lower.  If someone fails as a leader at these places, they are removed from a leadership position and may be embarrassed.  If someone fails as a leader in a war zone, they may have blood on their hands.

 

Something that was largely missing when I was a Cadet was any formal introspection on these issues.  Most of us thought about these things.  Many of us talked about it among ourselves, as my conversation with Mr. Berry attests.  However, there was, at that time, no formal system for capturing these “lessons learned.”

 

I wonder how the experiences of 17 years of war have been incorporated into these systems.  VMI now

has a Center for Leadership and Ethics.  I wonder if they have formally studied this issue.

 

Finally, there are two men I would like acknowledge for their contributions to my (very modest) military career:  John S. Koch, my Rat Squad Leader, and Thomas Scott Fairburn, my Rat Company Master Sergeant, both Marine-Option Cadets.  Both men exemplified positive leadership traits that I tried (at best, probably with limited success) to emulate.                             

  

Comments

FacePalm Added Dec 4, 2018 - 3:29pm
John-
Maybe i'm just obtuse or lacking in discernment, but i never did see where you actually defined or gave examples of "negative leadership," nor where it was contrasted with positive leadership, nor what you mean by either concept.
 
So in short, i'm left rather scratching my head and wondering what the point of this article is, other than a tip o' the hat to former classmates and some reminiscences.
 
That said, i've always been right fond of Lincoln, i believe it was, who said something akin to "If you want to really test someone's character, give them a little money or a little power, and observe what they do with them."
 
For example, we've had several authors here recently who've used their power to delete and revealed themselves as petty tyrants, tin-pot dictators, control freaks, and etc.
John Minehan Added Dec 4, 2018 - 4:13pm
Sorry, I actually used a link to the another Task & Purpose article.  Additionally, I used Trump as an example of a more self-centered leader than George H.W. Bush.
John Minehan Added Dec 4, 2018 - 4:37pm
"That said, i've always been right fond of Lincoln, i believe it was, who said something akin to 'If you want to really test someone's character, give them a little money or a little power, and observe what they do with them.'"
 
My point exactly, although another part of it is to ask, "What did they learn from it?"  
FacePalm Added Dec 4, 2018 - 5:22pm
As far as HW goes, i highly recommend a book by investigative reporter Russ Baker, entitled "Family of Secrets."
John Minehan Added Dec 4, 2018 - 6:16pm
The man went back to a former time, when the aristocracy had a sense of noblesse oblige. 
 
That did not survive the replacement of the old American aristocracy by a meritocracy beginning at the time George H.W. Bush came back from the war.
 
In many ways that change was an improvement but it also reflected certain losses.
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 11:17am
Another one along the same lines . . . . 
@ John M. - I always thought that the best leaders were what the pirates called "Pistol-proof. One superior in knowledge and boldness". Corporate America and others seem to have that ass-backwards, judging by the amount of clueless, ignorant, risk-averse, and outright incompetents that have been appointed over me over the years. I'm in a good place now, and plan on enjoying while it lasts, because it NEVER does.
 
You definitely need different types of leaders (if one could call them that; more like "tamer" at best, depending on the crowd) for different situations, and, of course, different types of people. When I worked in manufacturing, the main qualification of the production leads was the ability to scream at people in Spanish, and not much else. Many of the dumber ones are also more on the animalistic side of the house, and don't respond to a softer approach, often seeing such people as weak, and even dumb..."Why he so nice to us? He's stoo-peed!"
 
Changing conditions also obviously affect leadership, like when Hitler dismissed Field Marshal von Manstein and other talented officers and replaced them with ones like Model and Schoerner (a bitter rival of Rommel during WW1), telling Manstein that the time of the grand strategic offensives were over, at least for the time being, and he needed the most ferocious and tenacious defensive fighters, like the aforementioned and Gotthard Heinrici.
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 12:41pm
Very true.
 
When I was an HHB, DivArty XO, my first BC was very "Theory 'X.'"  The next BC was very "Theory 'Y.'" 
 
When I was leaving, one of the staff officers had told me that I had adopted my own interactions with the Staff and the Battery to compensate for my respective BCs' styles; with the Theory 'X' BC, I had been more Theory 'Y' to compensate and the reverse.
 
I think you have to do that, although I was not consciously aware of doing that.   
@ John M. - Interesting, I never heard of the X-Y thing until just now...thanks, I'll have to read more on the subject. Yeah, no matter what though, someone in charge has to take the Moe Green approach from time to time:
 
"I got a business to run. Sometimes I gotta kick a few butts to keep it running right." lol.
Jim Stoner Added Dec 5, 2018 - 1:07pm
If I understand you correctly, "positive leadership" is providing an example, vision, and praise, while "negative leadership" is providing corrective guidance (in whatever form needed).
I hope you're not referring to personal abuse and hazing as negative leadership.
 As a manager, I was taught that leadership is providing the support or feedback required in the situation, which places emphasis on observing, listening, and communicating clearly. 
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 2:23pm
Although, that didn't work too well for Moe Green.  Moe got an eyeful in the end . . . .
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 2:26pm
"I hope you're not referring to personal abuse and hazing as negative leadership."
 
A certain amount of this can teach other leaders a great deal, not least what NOT to do . . . .
@ John M. - Yeah, what's the old saying, if you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Another way of putting that is payback's a bitch. At my last job, there was a very bitchy and dictatorial production lead whose car kept getting keyed, and at least one occasion where someone scattered wood screws all over the parking lot and a heavier concentration of them where the higher-ups parked. In the military, the ultimate expression of that would be fragging. I've found out repeatedly that one reaps what one sows; if you mess with people long enough and/or for bad reasons, they'll always find ways to get back at you one way or the other.
 
Regarding hazing, I think it is invaluable as long as it doesn't go too far. I still remember some of the more comedic parts of it when I was in the Army, such as being told to go find things like the keys to the firing lock, lanyard grease, the in-flight projectile wrench, illuminated grid squares, etc. The only one I fell for was "the train ticket to Graf"; I was told to go straight to the BC, a certain CPT Liptak, who chuckled before telling me none were necessary.
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 2:52pm
I heard of a 2LT who famously thought he had to buy hs own ticket to Graf for a Rotation . . . but since he was a 1LT by the time I got there, I never said anything to him about it. 
 
A very sharp guy, but he was also the same guy who was told the way you ask for a check in German was to say," :Herr ober, Ich habe schisse enmein hosen."  
@ John M. - LOL...luckily for me, I knew some German before I got there, so I didn't fall for any of that.
 
Judging from what I remember, I'm also thinking that maybe drill sergeants are also good examples of negative leadership, because they routinely say things like:
 
"If ignorance is bliss, you gotta be the happiest motherfucker on the planet!!!"
 
"Private, you have a face only a mother could love!"
 
"You're so fucking stupid, if you were an amoeba, you'd be too dumb to split!!!!"
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 3:46pm
Very tough job that, but Recruiter might actually be worse.
 
I had a 1SG who had been "On the Trail"  a few times. 
 
Some of what he saw was tragic, some was funny . . . and some might have made for a decent case study in abnormal psych (guess the Recruiters were having trouble making mission in those weeks . . . .).   
Yeah, now that you mention it, the Recruiters always seemed a little bit stressed out. I remember mine very well - SSG Monzingo, a tanker and a very straight-up one at that. He didn't give me any illusions about what to expect, lol. I was in the delayed-entry program for almost a year before I went off to basic, and a week didn't go by when he didn't call or even come over to check up on me. He had a mild freakout when I told him I had a little brush with the law, but it was nothing that affected my status.
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 4:01pm
I had two very good platoon sergeants, who said they would take DA Bars rather than go back to Recruiting if asked.
 
The one good thing about being re-branched to MI was the fact that I would not have to be a Recruiting Company Commander or Battalion XO . . . .   
A lot of people think that Recruiters and Drill Sergeants are a career; as far as I know, they are one for two or three years before they're reassigned back to their MOS or something related to it. I'm sure their jobs were made both easier and harder after 9/11.
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 4:24pm
Being a Drill Sergeant is not an MOS, but it used to be an MOS, some folks kept it as an SMOS. 
 
Around 2005 or 2006, I did some grocery shopping on my way back from work.  In front of me was a Recruiting Sergeant who, among other items had a bouquet of flowers.
 
I said to the guy, "Gee, I knew it was hard to get people to sign up, but I didn't know it was that bad . . . ." 
FacePalm Added Dec 5, 2018 - 5:00pm
John-
Just a guess, as i don't speak German, but:
Herr ober, Ich habe schisse enmein hosen."    
 
Mr. Boss, i have shit in my socks?
FacePalm Added Dec 5, 2018 - 5:01pm
An FYI:
Your link to a "linked in" page requires one to have a membership in order to read.
Dino Manalis Added Dec 5, 2018 - 5:02pm
 We need strong leaders with morals!
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 5:14pm
"Mr. Boss, i have shit in my socks?"
 
Very close, more like, "Waiter, I have s--- my pants."  He was also told that the Waite's comment of "Vas???" meant he could not hear and to say it louder . . . .  
John Minehan Added Dec 5, 2018 - 5:16pm
Dino, very true, but how best do you prepare them?
 
To me, give them the freedom to learn from their challenges . . . .
Ward Tipton Added Dec 6, 2018 - 1:33am
"That said, i've always been right fond of Lincoln,"
 
Ach. The Great Dictator. 
When I was there, I met a very anti-American woman named Frau Schad, but I kept calling her Frau Schaden, because that's what I thought her name was. She was a friend of someone else I knew, so we would have the misfortune of encountering each other once in a while. One time at a neighborhood gathering, I greeted her as per usual, but noticed several people snickering. I asked someone WTF, and she said, "Michael, when you say Frau Schaden, you are calling her...Mrs. Damaged." I made a point of calling her that from then on. It never occurred to her I was doing it on purpose; to her, I was such a stupid American dumbass, I couldn't even get her name right. One time I greeted her that way when her husband was there; he started laughing heartily and added, "You think she's damaged? You should see her cakes! Hahahahahah!"
FacePalm Added Dec 6, 2018 - 3:37am
Ok, i meant that particular observation.
You're right; he was indeed a tyrant, and he is the one at whose feet can be laid the "War Powers Act," which Unconstitutionally granted him powers not delegated by the the Constitution, which every subsequent president has re-authorized, mainly because they LIKE having these powers.
 
Don't know if SCOTUS ever ruled on that; more likely than not, they've accepted it as "precedent" and/or "Public Policy," their weasel-words for approval of something patently NOT delegated by the doc to which they swore their allegiance and fealty.
Ward Tipton Added Dec 6, 2018 - 5:43am
He actually assumed a great many of those powers before the final implementation of hostilities which he initiated ... quite on purpose as evidenced by his correspondence with General Fox I believe it was. If it had not been Sumter, he was looking at the same options in Castillo De San Marcos if I remember correctly. 
FacePalm Added Dec 6, 2018 - 8:48am
Yeah, so much for "deriving it's JUST powers from the consent of the governed," right?
 
That said, i do commend him for his welcome embrace of the defeated Southern States and their full reinstatement - unfortunately for him, after the assassination, Reconstruction and military occupation became the standard, as demonstrated by the feckless and tyrannical Congress; some say that military rule is not ended today, as evidenced by the presence of yellow/gold-fringed US flags all over the place.
 
4 U.S.C. chapter 1, §§1, 2, & 3; Executive Order 10834, August 21, 1959; 24 F.R.6865 reveals this truth.
Ward Tipton Added Dec 6, 2018 - 11:13am
You mean like, kicking out all of the duly elected representatives from the Southern States and replacing them with his lackeys? Or was that Johnson? 
Ward Tipton Added Dec 6, 2018 - 11:14am
The gold fringed flag is just symbolic for Admiralty law, though all courts are still run under the general law of contracts or UCC ... which is actually based on Admiralty Law ... did you know there is actually a floodline marker somewhere towards the top of the Washington Monument? 
John Minehan Added Dec 6, 2018 - 3:43pm
'You should see her cakes! Hahahahahah!'
 
That could be taken a NUMBER of ways . . . .
John Minehan Added Dec 6, 2018 - 3:52pm
"The gold fringed flag is just symbolic for Admiralty law, though all courts are still run under the general law of contracts or UCC ... which is actually based on Admiralty Law ... did you know there is actually a floodline marker somewhere towards the top of the Washington Monument?"
 
OK, a "Sovereign Citizen."  I was talking to another lawyer today at the Post Office and his description was "Paper Terrorists."
 
I have a bit more charitable view, there is no rational legal basis for these views. 
Ward Tipton Added Dec 7, 2018 - 2:13am
John Minehan, 
First, I am not a sovereign citizen, nor even a legal person at the moment as my legal fiction apparently, meaning my natural life, ended in 2012. Thus, I am disenfranchised and stateless, which may make me sovereign in a sense, but not in the context within which you use it, and certainly not a citizen (also referred to as a Subject) of any nation at this point in time ... nor have I been since 2012. I do know that in the days when we still had a nationalist government, I would have remained a denizen of the Republic of Nevada, but as a US Citizen of the STATE OF NEVADA, I no longer legally exist there either. 
 
If you are interested in the references for the position I take, please read my articles here, most notably perhaps, America the Legal, But not Lawful. 
 
You may also want other references, many of which will be listed at the end of that article. Perhaps you could share it with your lawyer friend so he could point out how the SCOTUS is just lying, and the organic act of 1871 was not real and all of this is just a figment of the imagination. 
@ John M. - Herr Schad was an interesting and colorful character. I may have told this story before, but I'll tell it again, because it is such a good real-life example of the effects of Communism that I witnessed:
 
Herr Schad was a construction contractor, and I asked him if he had hired any East Germans. He said he did. They were doing a job somewhere, and they ran out out of bricks around lunchtime. Just after lunch, a load of replacement bricks arrived, but the East Germans, whose labor was needed to finish the job that day, were nowhere to be found. It turned out that the "Ossies" were so conditioned to shortages of materials, that whenever they ran out of them, before they were replenished, it would be days, weeks, months, years, or most likely, never, as the needed materials were siphoned off by a Party favorite, which explained their departure. Hans von Luck also details this very well in describing his post-war captivity, merely for having a "von" as a middle name.
John Minehan Added Dec 7, 2018 - 3:15pm
Michael, in 1992 or 1993 there was an article in the Field Artillery Journal by Bundeswehr Artillery Officer who had been given command of a 2S1 (122mm SPH) Battalion in the newly combined German Army.
 
Apparently, there were cultural adjustments on both sides.  A combination of patience and a willingness to ruthlessly get rid of those who could not adjust was apparently vital.
John Minehan Added Dec 7, 2018 - 3:22pm
Mr. Tipton, this may explain why I have difficulty taking any of this seriously.
Ward Tipton Added Dec 7, 2018 - 3:45pm
So in accordance with that, having grown up in Rosedale, an Unincorporated Township in West Virginia, it was not "incorporated" as part of the United States? So I was a foreigner all along? 
 
Is that not the argument they are making? Or does it only work at the State level ... or State and County perhaps? Or it only works when it does not? 
John Minehan Added Dec 7, 2018 - 7:52pm
This may help.  In NYS, they are generally called "Towns."
Ward Tipton Added Dec 8, 2018 - 1:50am
Your primary source was much more well laid out and presented I believe. I am not one to trust anything on Wikipedia for more than cursory information. They do lay out a very sound and reasonable sounding argument, though it hardly addresses the issues I referred to in their entirety. 
 
However, going back to your original source: 
 
"Being incorporated means being part of the United States proper (AKA being incorporated into the United States). A legal part of the U.S. in terms of rights, not only property of the U.S."
 
So the converse would be? 
 
I will not try to change your mind but let me try another tact ... 
 
I do not know what your personal beliefs are, but suppose the stories ... sorry, the crazy conspiracy theories about the Masons are true. Do you believe it possible that each and every kid invited to participate in Demolay and each and every Shiner with a Fez and a Hawg would be informed about all of the apocryphal goings on behind closed doors at the top? Or do you think perhaps they would think those were just crazy conspiracy theories? 
 
In the seventies, people called me crazy and a conspiracy theorist for believing in the Bilderberg group ... these days their presence is accepted as common fact. 
 
Just for the record, I have read and reviewed your references, have you even glanced at mine? I assure you, it is well referenced with sources you would find reliable, including the SCOTUS, where they have a singular reference. 
 
 
John Minehan Added Dec 8, 2018 - 7:24am
1) 'Being incorporated means being part of the United States proper (AKA being incorporated into the United States). A legal part of the U.S. in terms of rights, not only property of the U.S.'
 
This comes from an article on The Organic Act, which relates to the District of Columbia, rather than "incorporation" more generally (which is what the second source dealt with).
 
2) "I do not know what your personal beliefs are, but suppose the stories ... sorry, the crazy conspiracy theories about the Masons are true. Do you believe it possible that each and every kid invited to participate in Demolay and each and every Shiner with a Fez and a Hawg would be informed about all of the apocryphal goings on behind closed doors at the top?"
 
I'm not a Mason.
 
As I understand it, Masons are a "secret society" and there are "ranks" within that "secret society."  At each level within that "secret society" more esoteric information is imparted to the initiate.
 
So, no, not every kid in Demolay nor  every Mason at the lodge is "read onto" the conspiracy.
 
However, as a general rule, most secrets disappoint.
 
In the 18th Century (and probably into the19th), being a Mason was very trendy and all the best and the brightest were doing it.  The table talk was probably worth listening to.
 
Now, not so much.  The "Bowling Alone" phenomenon means fewer people join anything.   Being a Mason is sort of stogy and middle-American and 1950s, the very antithesis of "trendy" and nothing that generally attracts the "best and the brightest."
 
Now there may be people with old family traditions of Masonic involvement and those might be the very people likely to carry forward some vast conspiracy.  However, it seems a little "irony challenged" for bright millennials.
 
3)  "In the seventies, people called me crazy and a conspiracy theorist for believing in the Bilderberg group ... these days their presence is accepted as common fact."
 
Its existence has never been in dispute. 
 
But think about this does it (or the Trilateral Commission, etc.) have any power OTHER than being a place for the bright and able to meet? 
John Minehan Added Dec 8, 2018 - 7:33am
There is an episode of the old Barney Miller  show, where Dietrich is interviewing a crazy conspiracy theorist who is frothing at the mouth about the Trilateral Commission and Dietrich calmly explores the facts . . . and reveals he is a member.
@ John M. - I actually looked up the article you mentioned, which appeared in the June 1993 edition. I found it significant that he wanted to be assigned to Potsdam, lol. For some reason, it reminds me of when we dissolved the Iraqi army, instead of finding ways to change and/or assimilate them, as Oberstleutnant von Selle details in that very interesting article.
 
One of my favorite "Willie and Joe" Bill Mauldin cartoons is that of a broad-beamed and erect German MP telling the dogfaces, "Button dot pocket, Dummkopf". The caption explained that the Germans actually kept armed MPs on duty to maintain order as the Allies rolled into Northern Italy as the war drew to a close; as an MP told me once, “Don’t confuse your rank with my authority.”
 
Anyway, I was wondering if you knew any of these officers I'll list as best as I remember:
 
MG Graves – Commander of 3rd Armored Division. I encountered him later as LTG Graves, commander of III Corps.
 
MG Griffin – Commander of 3AD after MG Graves. I had an AAM pinned on me by him after winning the DIVARTY section eval, and got a General’s Coin from him after firing the salute for the 8th ID change of command.
 
3AD DIVARTY Commander – COL Rogers, the COL MacGruder
 
The commanders of 2/3 FA – LTC Siket, then LTC Gloriod.
 
Various names like Liptak, Cunniff, Jones, Beach, Matusewic, Phelan.
 
John Minehan Added Dec 8, 2018 - 9:24am
Some men I had the highest regard for were MG (later LTG) Griffin,  COL Rogers and COL Magruder.
 
MG Griffin was a capable leader who knew how to present himself.  He was somewhat like COL Johns as described in Dave Hackworth's memoir About Face.
 
COL Rogers was both a great officer and a genuine character. 
 
He loved the 3d Armor Division (not something people generally loved, like they do the 82d ABN or the 1st CAV) and he loved being the Sub-community Commander in Hanau North, something most Brigade-level Commanders looked at with all the enthusiasm of a LT who is Battery Tax Assistance Officer. 
 
He was always a gentleman.  I went to Mass one Sunday over on the Kasserine next to Hutier.  The Church was crowded so I gave up my seat for a family to sit together.  COL Rogers came in with his wife and (surprisingly) young (like grammar school) kids.  He stood so his wife and kids could sit.
 
I was impressed . . . and uncomfortable since I had to stand next to him in the back during the rest of Mass.
 
COL Magruder was a good man and a good commander.  He was very much like COL Rogers in that . . . and totally unlike him in style. 
 
COL Magruder always reminded me a bit of Douglas MacArthur in his demeanor.  He was the first Artillery Commander I had seen who really emphasized his role as FSCOORD and he did a really good job in REFORGER 88.  He let MAJ(P) Brown, the DivArty S-3, actually be the Force Artillery Commander, as the doctrine calls for.  It was the norm when I was in 1st CAV but seemed rare in 3 AD.
 
I didn't know either LTC Siket or LTC Gloriod (although I had to write him a couple of times when I was S-1 in 2-27 FA).
 
I went to FAOBC with Steve Beach, who I did not know well but who seemed like a good guy.  I did not know him well in German, as we did not have a lot of contact with 2-3 FA.
 
The one guy I knew from 2-3 FA was MAJ Rudy Veit, who was brought to DivArty to be the S-3, then who got grabbed by Division to be the Secretary of the General Staff ("SGS"). 
 
Veit seemed almost superhumanly able.  He apparently commanded the same battery for 3 years as a CPT (not 3 years in command in two or three different Batterys, 3 years in the same Battery).  He also seemed to be the Battalion XO who had the best 2715 Turn-ins from what I had observed turning in HHB, DivArty's 2715.
 
As for LTG Graves, his was one of two III (US) Corps changes of command I had to march in, a side effect of being S-2 for both a maneuver Brigade and DivArty.
 
Someone told me (about a year after the war, at NTC) that during the Gulf War, when all the Reservists were staging at FT Hood, some CPT from 155 BDE was in the little shoppette   by III (US) Corps HQ with his .45 and some little old guy standing I back of him corrected him.  The CPT said, "Who are you old man?"  To which the guy responded, "LTG Graves, the Corps Commander . . . and who are you?"
Spartacus Added Dec 9, 2018 - 9:48am
John, I am critiquing your article and acknowledging that it is well written with some thought-provoking points.
 
First, "positive" or "negative" leadership is only based on an individual opinion.  There is no objective test for these qualities and certainly, the military is not testing anyone to distinguish these traits either.
Military training is primarily to answer these questions for the individual:
1) Can they pass a minimum athletic requirement
2) Can they follow orders from authority
3) What is their pain threshold
4) Can they pass a minimum intellectual test while enduring pain/fear
5) Could they kill someone (25% cannot)
 
"Positive" or "negative" leadership is fiction.  All great leaders have the quality of knowing which to motive people in any given situation.  This is why they are good leaders . . . they use both positive and negative motivational tools appropriately and not vested in one method.
 
As a leader, one continually asks themselves how they can get people to do things they do not want to do.  You can elect to "convince" them with the "positive" approach -- this takes much time.  Or . . . you can "convince" them with fear -- or more directly with pain. 
As a military officer or as a CEO of a corporation, time equates directly to a loss of life or loss of corporate profits.  There is very little room at the top for "positive" leadership as you have vaguely described it. 
Trump (Make America Great Again) would not be a good example of either positive or negative (and neither was Lincoln) which probably make both candidates for good leaders.
 
Koshersalaami Added Dec 9, 2018 - 11:55am
One of you mentioned Noblesse Oblige earlier. The lack of it may be what is most wrong with America right now. Noblesse Oblige is all about with power and wealth comes responsibility to those who have neither. As wealth and power get concentrated, this lack of any sense of responsibility is becoming more and more of a problem. You can see it here with people whose idea of helping those with neither is to reduce help in order to avoid dependency. 
John Minehan Added Dec 9, 2018 - 12:00pm
There is a great Bill Mauldin cartoon that sums up my reaction to your comment.
John Minehan Added Dec 9, 2018 - 12:05pm
I am not trying to be condescending (although I probably am), but have you ever served? 
 
 
John Minehan Added Dec 9, 2018 - 12:40pm
"The lack of it may be what is most wrong with America right now. Noblesse Oblige is all about with power and wealth comes responsibility to those who have neither. As wealth and power get concentrated, this lack of any sense of responsibility is becoming more and more of a problem. You can see it here with people whose idea of helping those with neither is to reduce help in order to avoid dependency."
 
To some extent, that is a natural outcome of the replacement of the aristocracy with a meritocracy after WWII.
 
If, you are Michael Bloomberg (for example)  and you grew up in a middle class Jewish family in Massachusetts and got into Hopkins and HBS on merit and then went out and built a business and became a billionaire, you probably have a different view of this than, say, George H.W. Bush. 
 
That Bloomberg has done a lot of public service and donated large amounts to charity is praise worth, but it was his choice, rather than something he felt was expected of him.
 
The June class at Harvard don't join the Army because there is a war on . . . and that may be an improvement, a better use of human capital.
  
 
 
Koshersalaami Added Dec 9, 2018 - 12:41pm
No. My comment is not in the context of military service. That’s a different equation. 
 
If I’m going to address an environment more like the service environment, assuming that the ultimate goal is as universal success within the organization as possible, what I’ve been told by those who study leadership is that the most successful formulas figure out how to balance challenge and support. If I were to attempt to apply that concept/formula to your environment, with insufficient challenge comes insufficient toughness, resilience, and the ability to handle emergency responsibility with anything like innovation, but with insufficient support comes both a lack of trust and actual enmity toward the CO, neither of which are productive in a critical mission environment. 
 
I do not find your question condescending at all because sometimes it takes experience to really grasp certain concepts. In other conversations on this site I run across this phenomenon among people who don’t belong to a minority. An awful lot of them can’t relate to the intrinsic vulnerability that comes with that status, they don’t understand the ramifications of identity, and they don’t understand how integration works without total assimilation. And, as you probably find in trying to get people who haven’t served to grasp what you’re talking about, you find that you can’t teach the perspective, and that can get frustrating as Hell, particularly when the people you’re trying to teach about the perspective aren’t interested in learning about it and don’t accept that they don’t already grasp it completely. 
 
 
Koshersalaami Added Dec 9, 2018 - 12:55pm
Sorry our comments crossed. I obviously wasn’t answering your last comment. The problem we’re running into now is that we’re running into the children of the meritocratic achievers who are not achievers themselves but inherit wealth and so end up functioning as a new aristocracy but without the noblesse oblige. 
John Minehan Added Dec 9, 2018 - 1:06pm
Sorry, that was a response to Spartacus!
 
I liked your point about Noblesse Oblige, but hasn't it changed in a society based more (but, obviously, not exclusively) on merit more than heritage?
 
GHWB might have thought he owned the country postponing going to Yale to fight in WWII, but should, say, an Hispanic kid, probably the first one in his family to go to a four year college, who wins a National Merit Scholarship do the same thing?  Should that kid be expected to?
 
Our society is more diverse and more accepting of that diversity, but it is also somewhat less secure as a result.  GHWB probably joined the Navy secure in the knowledge that he could probably eventually go to Yale.  The hypothetical Hispanic kid does not have that assurance.    
John Minehan Added Dec 9, 2018 - 1:11pm
"As a leader, one continually asks themselves how they can get people to do things they do not want to do.  You can elect to "convince" them with the "positive" approach -- this takes much time.  Or . . . you can "convince" them with fear -- or more directly with pain. 
As a military officer or as a CEO of a corporation, time equates directly to a loss of life or loss of corporate profits.  There is very little room at the top for "positive" leadership as you have vaguely described it. 
Trump (Make America Great Again) would not be a good example of either positive or negative (and neither was Lincoln) which probably make both candidates for good leaders."
 
"Is it better to be loved or feared?"
 
Neither.
 
It is better to be respected.  It is better they know you know your business and that you put the mission and the people first.
 
Unless you are doing things punishable under the UCMJ, they are never going to fear you as much as they fear being killed by the enemy.
  
John Minehan Added Dec 9, 2018 - 2:44pm
"The problem we’re running into now is that we’re running into the children of the meritocratic achievers who are not achievers themselves but inherit wealth and so end up functioning as a new aristocracy but without the noblesse oblige."
 
That's a good point.
 
But the question is does it actually work that way, or is it more that the child of two very bright people very likely to be very bright?
 
The issues raised about the admissions at very competitive educational institutions discriminating against  Asians might be evidence that is not the case, or is only partially the case. 
Koshersalaami Added Dec 9, 2018 - 3:54pm
What the competitive educational institutions are doing regarding admissions and Asians is Chapter Two. Chapter One was Jews. And those admissions still favor legacies. They have to. They need contributors, and the parents of legacies tend to be better contributors than immigrant families are. They also need yields to keep their rankings up, and legacies have a major tendency to come if accepted. 
 
Sure, bright parents can raise bright kids, but not always driven kids. 
John Minehan Added Dec 9, 2018 - 6:37pm
"Sure, bright parents can raise bright kids, but not always driven kids."
 
I agree. 
 
But a lot of these kids are the sons and daughters of parents who went to  someplace like Siena or St. Francis or Manhattan on some kind of academic scholarship and who now want their kids to go to Columbia or Penn or something and they have pushed their kids to be able to go there.
 
They were smart but not smart enough, but maybe their kids will be. 
 
It's kind of an attainable faux meritocracy for the children of someone from Troy or Endicott.  And those kids probably have a sense of being cogs on the wheel and that no special virtue is expected from them. 
@ John M. - I vaguely remember MAJ Veit. I believe he was the Bn XO. I can't remember who the S-3 was, but according to one of my buddies who was his driver, he was a prick, lol.
John Minehan Added Dec 11, 2018 - 2:19pm
I always felt bad for anyone who was assigned as a Command Driver.  I think you see too much of the Army too early in your career.
 
I thought it was a good job for a good Soldier, who wasn't re-enlisting and had about 18 months to a year left.
John Minehan Added Dec 11, 2018 - 2:20pm
As someone said, "No one is a hero to his own valet." (Or command driver, in this case.)
@ John M. - I actually read Chief, Darryl Gate's autobiography; not like I had any love for the man, but I was interested in his story and what he had to say. He was Chief Parker's driver for a while, and according to Gates, it was a tutorial on how to be a police chief. The character of Mr. Spock of Star Trek was supposedly inspired by Chief Parker. Gene Roddenberry was a LAPD motorcycle cop, so it doesn't seem like much of a stretch to me, lol.
 
Regarding Command Drivers, I cannot think of anyone I knew that did that job that liked it. Of course, to their fellow enlisted men, they were a bunch of cheese-eaters, lol.
John Minehan Added Dec 11, 2018 - 3:09pm
"Of course, to their fellow enlisted men, they were a bunch of cheese-eaters, lol."
 
I had the impression they were being force-feed something else very often.  Not a fun job. 
 
I suspect the Officer analog  was being a General's Aide de camp.  My last year at VMI, during the Marshall Awards, I filled in as one.  Tough job, no matter how decent a guy, like a baby, they cannot have down-time.
 
I never got put in for that, for which I am unstintingly grateful.