Leading Like Patton

If you want to be a good leader you will need to stop trying to be loved or liked by everyone. This is a common mistake made by many people because of their personality. They believe people must like them or they can’t lead them.

The Cholerics rarely make this mistake. They have no desire or need to be liked in order to lead. They feel they accomplish more when people don’t like them. This seems strange because most people think good leaders need or want to be loved. The Choleric personality thinks just the opposite. For them being loved has nothing to do with good leadership.

One of the great leaders in World War II was General George S. Patton. He was a commander in the American Army. He is best known for his leadership of the U.S. Army in France and Germany following the Allied Invasion of Normandy in June 1944. They called him “old blood and guts.” He was a leader that had no desire to be liked or loved.

Patton was in many ways what every leader should be. He was bold, decisive, self-confident and unpredictable. His enemies never knew what he would do next.  He was fighting to win and his philosophy was:

  • Better to fight for something than live for nothing.
  • May God have mercy on my enemies, because I won’t.
  • The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.
  • It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

He was a brilliant leader but he didn’t care what people thought of him. He preferred to be feared rather than liked. He knew fear produces respect when nothing else does.

The German high command praised Patton’s leadership. They said, “He is the most aggressive General of the Allies, a man of incredible initiative and lightning-like action.”

The Cholerics thrive on controversy and enjoy arguments with no desire to be liked.  They are unlike all the other personalities. The Sanguine lives to be liked. They would rather entertain you than lead you. They are the life of the party but they usually do not make good leaders.

Melancholics want to please because they need acceptance which to them means being liked and loved. They seek approval. They are good at encouraging people but they too are usually not good leaders.

Phlegmatics are easy going and satisfied with life. They hate change. They will stay with something when everyone else has left. They make good administrators but they do not make good leaders.

For the Choleric, leadership means doing what is right in every situation. They are hard workers, very productive and independent.  Along with this comes a tendency to be strong-willed.  Cholerics can easily organize and run just about anything. Leadership is what they do best.

Like Patton, Cholerics take charge. They are quick to tell you as Patton told his soldiers, “Lead me, follow me or get out of my way.”