Leadership Lessons from Band of Brothers

It's Memorial Day weekend, and the History Channel is showing all of the episodes from the award-winning Band of Brothers series, an HBO film series created back in 2001 with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks as Executive Producers.  One of my favorite movie series of all time.

In the series, part of the main storyline is the leadership of Captain Dick Winters. He is a straight laced Quaker, starts out as a lieutenant, continues to progress in leadership as a Captain and then Major, who leads well and wins over the hearts of his company, E Company, otherwise known as EZ Co., part of the 101st Airborne. 

There are several lessons from the series and from the individual story of Captain Winters and his tour of duty during World War II worth mentioning.

1. Leaders lead the way. They make the right decisions, and even if it is not the right decision, they are always decisive. Always.

2. Leaders seek to understand and have empathy for the people who follow them.

3. A leader is always first. They never send someone else in their place. And no job is "below" a leader. Especially in battle.

4. Those you lead always come first. No matter what. And because of this, your team will follow you anywhere. 

5. Leaders follow the rules unless circumstances deem necessary to not. 

6. Leaders invest in their long term team players. And trust them implicitly. In the case of EZ Co. and the US Army, it was the NCO's, or non-commissioned officers. These were basically "middle management" and the key to maintaining morale and focus with the troops. 

If you haven't taken time to watch this series, do yourself a favor and watch this weekend or go out and rent or buy it.