Lessons in Leadership – Introduction


William Clay McGehee Commander, U.S. Navy

[Number 1 in a series]

Lessons in Leadership will be an on-going series published here on Confederate Colonel. We will look at the traits of good leaders and how we can develop those traits. Some men are born leaders, while others of us have to study, learn, and develop the traits of good leadership. Leadership is a skill that can be learned just like any other skill. As with any skill, it comes easier to some than to others, but everyone can learn and improve.

What does leadership have to do with the objectives of Confederate Colonel? Everything. It is our goal to see Southern Gentlemen become leaders so that they can have a positive impact on our society and Southern culture. Leaders make things happen by turning unorganized random individual activity into well-disciplined, organized, and focused effort to accomplish a goal. The Confederacy did not just happen; it was the result of hard work by men who were leaders – men who had a vision and made it happen. Confederate Colonel is about building Southern leaders.

It is important to note that we are not just talking about the high profile leadership positions such as political and military leadership, though they are certainly a part of it. Just as important in the overall scheme of things is leadership in the home and in the community. In fact, we will start off with one of my favorite examples – my father as Scoutmaster when I was in the Boy Scouts in the late 1960’s.

Louis was my best friend in Boy Scouts. One day, we were talking about Scouting and what we liked (or didn’t like) about it. He said what he really liked was the way my dad addressed the scouts. He didn’t talk down to us as though we were little boys (although we certainly would have deserved it much of the time). He talked to us as men. We would be standing as a troop in formation and he would say, “When we get to the camp site, I want you men to get with your patrol leaders and set up a neat and orderly camp under their direction.” For young teenagers trying to learn our place in the world, this would be the first time many of us were treated as adults. Our reaction was that if he treated us as adults, then we must be adults and act accordingly. To not act as an adult would be to show that we were not worthy of being treated as men, and no one wanted to let that happen.

Lessons Learned:

  • A leader understands what motivates those he leads.
  • A leader always treats others with respect.
  • A leader acts as though his commands will be obeyed. The assumption is that a command is given and it will be obeyed. After all, it is a command and not a pleaded request that the leader just hopes will be obeyed.

About Stephen Clay McGehee

Born-Again Christian, Grandfather, husband, business owner, Southerner, aspiring Southern Gentleman. Publisher of The Confederate Colonel and The Southern Agrarian blogs. President/Owner of Adjutant Workshop, Inc., Vice President - Gather The Fragments Bible Mission, Inc. (Sierra Leone, West Africa), Webmaster - Military Order of The Stars and Bars, Kentucky Colonel.
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