The opinions expressed by Entrepreneur members are their own.
Lieutenant General Harold Gregory “Hal” Moore Jr. was a United States Army officer renowned for his outstanding leadership during the Battle of Iya Drang, the first major battle between US forces and the People’s Army of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star and Purple Heart (among other awards), he was commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry. The heroism of its participants is immortalized in the book Once we were soldiers… and young and in subsequent screening We were soldiers. Simply put, he demonstrated – then and in the future – the qualities of a strong, effective leader, and this essay is an attempt to assess the lessons that can be learned from his life and experience.
1. Importance of preparation
Moore understood that the key to success in any mission was to be as knowledgeable and prepared as possible. He spent countless hours studying enemy tactics, analyzing intelligence reports, and studying the terrain and culture of Vietnam and its people. His dedication in this was never more evident than in the way he trained the troops: he pushed them to their physical and mental limits, but always made sure they were ready for the challenges ahead, including anticipating the actions of opponents.
Key takeaway: Leaders need to know their industry, organization, and team members well, and be prepared for the unexpected. devote time educationplanning and strategizing lead to smarter decisions, and teams strive to achieve.
Connected: From the battlefield to business: 3 principles of leadership for the development of corporate culture
2. Adaptability and flexibility
The Battle of Yadrang convincingly demonstrated the importance of both these qualities. Moore faced numerous problems during this clash between the U.S. Army and North Vietnamese forces, including his troops being vastly outnumbered and surrounded. These difficulties did not stop him. Instead, he adapted tactics, including moving forces to create a strong defensive perimeter and calling in air support to level the playing field. Moore’s ability to adapt and maintain a clear vision of goals eventually led to victory in a close fight.
Key takeaway: When faced with obstacles or unexpected changes, leaders must remain open to new ideas and be prepared to change strategies to meet the changing needs of teams and organizations.
3. Front Lead
During the battle, Moore was at the center of the action, fighting alongside his troops and sharing their risks. His presence not only demonstrated commitment to the mission, but also became a source of inspiration and motivation for fellow soldiers. By personally participating in battle, he built trust and confidence among the soldiers, reinforcing a sense of unity and purpose.
Key takeaway: Effective leaders must actively participate in the day-to-day work of teams, demonstrating their commitment to goals and providing support and guidance when needed. Leadership from the front promotes trust and creates a sense of common purpose.
Connected: When does the CEO have to go about day to day business?
4. Caring for subordinates
One of Moore’s most notable leadership qualities was his commitment to the welfare of the troops. He became famous for making personal connections with men, including listening carefully to their concerns. After the Battle of Yadrang, he also took the time to write personal letters to the families of every soldier who died in action, expressing his condolences and sharing memories of their loved ones. This level of concern also showed in the way he led troops in battle: Moore prioritized their safety and did everything he could to minimize casualties, even when that meant making difficult and costly decisions.
Key takeaway: Managers must prioritize the well-being of team members and demonstrate genuine care and concern for their personal and professional lives. By creating a supportive environment and promoting a culture of empathy and compassion, they build trust, loyalty and morale.
Connected: 3 Easy Ways to Show Your Employees You Care About Them
5. Lifelong learning
Throughout his career, Lieutenant General Moore sought out opportunities to advance his skills and knowledge, including attending advanced military courses and earning degrees in international relations and strategic intelligence. He also encouraged his troops to engage in education and personal development, recognizing that a well-rounded and knowledgeable team is more likely to succeed.
Even after he retired from the military, Moore continued to learn and share his experiences, co-author We were soldiers once… and young and speeches on leadership and military history. His commitment to lifelong learning has demonstrated his conviction that there is always room for improvement.
Key takeaway: By looking for opportunities to grow and encouraging teams to do the same, leaders can create a culture that better supports both individual and organizational success.