As Commander in Chief of the Continental Army that won American independence from England, president of the convention that wrote the U.S. Constitution, the first man elected President of the United States, and “the Father of His Country,” George Washington was an outstanding leader, one we would do well to learn from. It is said that on a cold day in winter during the war, Washington wrapped himself in his huge coat, turned his collar up, pulled down his hat and walked out to inspect his soldiers as they fortified their camp. Dressed in this way, no one could distinguish him from a common infantryman. A group of soldiers caught his attention, and he stopped to watch as they pushed a huge log toward the top of a barricade. A corporal stood to the side, screaming directions while the men struggled. “Push, men, push!” ordered the corporal. “Up with ‘er, up, up, up!”
…and learns the importance of leadership by example.
“Blast you lazy swine!” yelled the corporal. “Again! Together this time! One, two, three, lift!” Again the men nearly pushed the log to the top but it was still too much for them, and it fell back. “You’ll do it if it takes all winter!” the corporal threatened. “Again! Lift!” Another futile struggle ensued, but this time, just before the log rolled back, Washington himself rushed in and pushed with all the strength in his towering six-foot-two-inch frame. Finally the log rested atop the barricade, and the nearly exhausted men thanked the stranger. Washington immediately turned to the corporal and said angrily, “Why don’t you help your men with such hard work, when they need a hand?” “Me?” responded the corporal, indignantly. “Can’t you see, man, I am the corporal!” “Indeed,” replied Washington, as he threw back his coat to reveal his uniform. “And I am the Commander in Chief! The next time your men need a hand with some heavy work, perhaps you should send for me!”
The log nearly reached the top, but it was too heavy for the men, and they had to let it roll back down.