BEFORE THE BATTLE: A COMMONSENSE GUIDE TO LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
“The most important precept of leadership that I know is that one can learn how to be a leader. Nonetheless, some men and women are born leaders - or so it seems”
1. This book is about Military Leadership, Organization, Management and Operations. All the topics in the book strive to do one thing: make one a more successful leader. The book ‘Before the Battle’ is an analytical and descriptive type of book. It is a compilation of seventy seven articles starting from Administration to Wives including Introduction, Summary and Epilogue which address the main issues of the army – Leadership and Management. In this book the author very simply & elaborately has highlighted the various aspects of the military leadership & management under the topics which are very commonly used and practiced in day to day affairs of a unit. As stated in the introductory chapter of the book, the main aim of the author is to put down in one place the things he has learned about military leadership, organization, management & operations under various topics spelling out in words making his meaning clear.
2. The aim is to give a review on the Book titled ‘BEFORE THE BATTLE: A Commonsense Guide to Leadership and Management’ written by Lt. Gen. Edward M. Flanagan, Jr. U.S. Army (Ret.)
3. The basic information about the book is enumerated below:
a. Title. BEFORE THE BATTLE: A Commonsense Guide to Leadership and Management.
b. Author. Lt. Gen. Edward M. Flanagan, Jr. U.S. Army (Ret.)
c. First copyright date. 1985 by Presedio Press.
d. Type and Subject matter. Military leadership and management.
e. Publisher. Presidio Press, 31 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94947.
f. Audience. Expected audiences are the military personnel.
g. Price. TK. 438.00.
h. Total pages. 227.
i. ISBN. 0-89141-210-7.
4. Lt Gen Edward M Flanagan Jr. was a retired general from US Army. He was a gunner officer who served in various appointments. He commanded units of various levels from Battery to Army. He commanded Parachute Artillery Battery, Parachute Artillery Battalion, 674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion, 674th Parachute FA Battalion, and 3rd Armored Division & was also Deputy Commander of 8th Army. After retirement he has also served in a management job in a civil farm for nearly six years. ‘BEFORE THE BATTLE’ is a very useful book which the author has written from his own experience in the army.
5. The contents of the book are as followed:
(1) Battalion Command.
(2) Boss, Relation with.
(3) Chain of Command.
(5) Do it Yourself.
(6) Esprit de Corps.
(11) Mind, Military.
(14) Open-Door Policy.
(15) Physical Fitness.
(16) The Principles of War.
(17) Problem Solving.
(20) Research and Development.
(25) Taking Charge, A Guide to.
(26) Time, Training.
(28) West Point.
(2) Athletics, Auto Repair Shops, Hobby Shops.
(3) Automatic Data Processing.
(5) Boards, Councils, Committees.
(9) Commander’s Comments.
(11) Community Relations.
(14) Desk Drawers.
(17) Efficiency Reports.
(21) Informing the Troops.
(26) Letters to the CO.
(30) Military, What’s Wrong with Being.
(32) Morning Parade.
(34) Nothing, Something for.
(35) Officer Evaluation.
(36) Officers Call.
(38) Rap Sessions.
(41) Story, Two Sides of.
(44) Three-by-Five Cards.
6. The book is about Military Leadership, Organization, Management and Operations. It deals with the day to day routine affairs of the unit and its administration. To make the book easy to read and ideas easy to find the author has arranged the topics in alphabetical order and has listed them in the Table of Contents.
7. The topics the author has narrated in this book are very simple & of day-to-day routine affairs of the units which are very much essential for effective and successful leadership and good management and administration of the units. This book serves the purpose of the very basics of leadership and soldiering. All the topics in the book strive to do one thing: make one a more successful leader. Each chapter seeks to be yet another piece of the whole – like of a jigsaw puzzle, all of which is needed to make a complete picture.
Sources used by the Author
8. All the topics he has written in this book are of his own experiences which he has gathered from his long army career. Serving in various appointments at various levels, acquiring knowledge on routine administration of the unit and the basic technique and requirements of leadership and management, the author has arranged all these materials in this book giving examples developing it chronologically as a good reading material for the leaders particularly the junior leaders.
Analysis of the Book
9. The analysis of the book will be unfolded into following headings:
a. Leadership. In this part the author has given his views about the most important precept of leadership that one can learn how to be a leader. He argued that leadership can be learned through a process getting men and women to do a job well, economically and willingly and by developing some character traits. In support of this argument the author has highlighted the essential elements which help in understanding & developing leadership qualities which he has described very simply & in short to have an easy understanding of his thought on leadership.
b. Management. In this part the author has also highlighted and narrated about management which is one of the most important aspects of leadership. The author has given his own views on management gathered through his own experience & he has defined management as: “the way to get things done”. It follows that good management, which is the elusive pot of gold at the end of the manager’s rainbow, is simply the way to get things done better, smarter, easier, cheaper, and quicker.
c. Summery. In this part the author summarized forty-three commandments about leadership and management.
d. Epilogue. In this part the author illustrated a highly successful raid named ‘The Los Banos Raid’ related to leadership and management.
10. The book ‘BEFORE THE BATTLE’ is a very educative and helpful book to study for the leaders particularly the junior NCOs as it provides useful materials & also deals with how to be successful. The method the author has advocated & the topics he has narrated in the book are not complicated rather practical. As the desired result of all military is success in combat where there will be always monumental challenges & problems of different levels, studying this book will definitely be helpful tools to understand the leadership & management & thereby improve upon. Though there are many books written on Leadership and management, army and military have been so successful in devising, developing, disseminating, and determining the principles of leadership then why another book on the subject? Reading this book one can easily understand the necessity of writing such book as the book in very short & simple form highlights & narrates the essential aspects of leadership and management which the author has experienced & gathered through practice and service with the many splendid leaders and that he has assembled chronologically in this book for the future leaders.
11. According to author Army is a full-time job. It must be tough, lean, disciplined, well trained and ready to fight. For this, leaders and led are to inculcate the basic character traits, know the job properly to run and administer the unit effectively and efficiently and ultimately fight the battle confidently and at ease and for these reasons the author felt the necessity of writing this book where he has very simply given his ideas and views stating that these ideas have worked for him and further hopes that these will also work for others and would help to have the finest unit of its kind and size in the army.
12. To conclude, it can be said that, the author could do justice in giving his views and ideas about leadership and management describing and narrating the topics related to the subject and theme of the book. The author has been very frank and candid in elaborating these topics giving various examples and narrating his own experiences in giving his views and philosophy on leadership and management.
OBC (Sigs) – 34
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]