A Study of General George S. Patton Jr's. Leadership Style


A study of General George S. Patton, Jr. is in deed very interesting. General Patton has been considered as one of the greatest leaders of modern times. What type of leadership style did he have? His style varied to some degree according to the situation at hand. He may have been an autocratic / hard nosed type with an orientation towards strong discipline, however he seemed to also use a situation leadership style.

General Patton had certain principles that guided him in his life. Besides being strong physically, emotionally, and mentally; he also had a strong spiritual life (he read the Bible everyday). Upon an evaluation of his life I tried to convert his techniques and principles into short statements. These principles that guided him through life are listed below in the following areas: command, management, life, success, and leadership.

Principles of Command

  • Establish a Command Presence
  • Use Your People - Delegate
  • Require Accountability
  • Reprimand When Required
  • Say What You Mean
  • Always Be Alert for Trouble - Anticipate
  • Anyone Who Thinks They Are Indispensable Ain't

Principles of Management

  • Get the Facts, When Making Decisions
  • Use the Input From Your People
  • Utilize Partcipative Management
  • Priories Must Be Established
  • Always Prepare Alternative Plans
  • Manage By Walking Around
  • Use Consensus if Possible
  • Timing is Very Important
  • Keep Lines of Communications Open
  • Select Your Leaders From Accomplishments Not Affection
  • When Responsibility Is Given So Must Athority

Principles for Life

  • Stay Physically Fit
  • Keep the Mind Active
  • The Mind Can Control the Body
  • Maintain A Strong Code of Honor
  • High Integrity
  • Always Tell the Truth
  • Strong Spiritual Character
  • Study the Bible
  • Don't Judge Others
  • Keep The Golden Rule

Principles for Success

  • Have Pride in Appearance
  • Study and Prepare
  • Training is Very Important
  • Show Dependability
  • Use Visualizations
  • Establish a Positive Mind Set
  • Have Strong Determination
  • Keep an Attitude of Optimism
  • Be Confident
  • Always Keep Something In Reserve

Principles for Leadership

  • Use Active Listening
  • Develop Your People
  • Develop Trust and Cooperation
  • Respect Others
  • Use Positive Motivation
  • Empathize With Your People
  • Develop a Win/Win Attitude
  • Be a Role Model for Your People
  • High Integrity is Necessary
  • Be Flexible in Your Approach
  • Encourage Your People
  • Develop an Effective Conflict Resolution Technique
  • Collaboration and Cooperation is a Key to Leadership


General Patton was a very strong leader. He was well verse in military tactics and was successful at his job. He had a leadership style that may have been misunderstood at times. He was very people oriented and keep their best interests in mind. He actually may have been before his time on some of his thinking in the area of leadership. We as a county is just now getting around to transforming to some of his concepts. Today when people search for proper leadership skills, they find them in the character's of history sometime. General Patton had many of the leadership skills that most of us should emulate.

Reference: Porter B. Williamson, Gen. Patton's Principles for Life and Leadership, MSC, 1988