I love hearing stories about great military leaders and how they succeeded by having the utmost bravery in themselves and among their troops. And while I’ve heard a lot of accounts about Napoleon Bonaparte and his immense courage, I recently heard a new one that was truly inspiring.
Apparently, there was a time in battle when Napoleon felt he needed to retreat. He called to one of his commanders and ordered him to have the bugler sound the retreat. After the commander sent the message, the bugle player sounded out the call to charge! Surprised, Napoleon again told the commander to correct the bugler and call to retreat.
Once again, the player sounded out the call to charge! Now furious, Napoleon marched down to the player himself and began to question why he wouldn’t play retreat. At this point, the bugler looked at one of the greatest military leaders of all times and said, “You did not teach me to play the call to retreat—only the call to charge!” With that, Napoleon told the man to continue sounding the call to charge. The bugler did just that. And when the men saw Napoleon’s confidence, they charged and won the battle.
In leadership, we must realize as the Bible says, the anointing drops from the beard. In other words, your team will look like you do. They will do what you teach them. If you’ve taught them to be generous givers, they will be generous givers. If you’ve taught them to have no integrity, they won’t. And if you’ve only taught them to charge, they won’t know how to do anything else.
You see, your team gets their direction and their energy from you. As you are, so will they be. Whether the story about Napoleon is true or not, the illustration is priceless. Each day, you have to get up, look at yourself in the mirror and choose to be a great leader.
Question: When’s the last time you motivated your team to charge through doubt onto victory?