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D-Day Can Still Inspire Leaders Today

D-Day Can Still Inspire Leaders Today

Kent Ingle By Thursday, 06 June 2024 08:39 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

This year marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when more than 150,000 American, European and Canadian soldiers converged on five Normandy beaches in France by land, air and sea. Their courage and tenacity resulted in the capturing of an essential stronghold for the Allies and ultimately helped turn the tide of the war toward an Allied victory.

Celebrations are taking place around the globe to remember those who served and honor the more than 4,000 men who lost their lives that day.

There was a ceremony to remember the fallen American troops at the site of the first World War II American cemetery established on European soil in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. The official international ceremony took place at Omaha Beach, with heads of state, veterans and officials coming to commemorate the anniversary.

Closer to home is a special ceremony at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, commemorating our soldiers’ bravery with representatives from each of the Allied nations, military personnel and veterans.

It’s important that we honor the memory of the brave men who fought and died for our country, both as a nation and as individuals. One way we can do that is by being challenged, inspired and humbled by their sacrifice.

And as leaders, we can follow their example of bravery, selflessness and excellence.

Here are three key lessons leaders can learn from the brave men who fought on D-Day.

First, we can lead by example.

I can’t begin to imagine what those young men were feeling as they waited to storm the beaches on their landing crafts as they heard the distant gunfire and shells falling. I can’t comprehend what it was like to feel the small boats jolt as they hit the shore and hear the call to charge into the battlefield, only to run directly into gunfire.

For the first soldiers who stepped off the boats, most were immediately gunned down by German artillery. However, their sacrifice inspired those around them to continue fighting and eventually to win the battle.

Would we have the courage today to step out of the boat first, knowing full well that we probably wouldn’t make it home? Many of the soldiers were between 18 and 25, yet, they faced this harrowing mission with courage, resilience and boldness.

As leaders, we need to be willing to lead the charge and take a stand, no matter the cost. We need to emulate what we are asking of our teams and be a living example for them to follow.

Just as those brave young men knew their mission and led the charge, we need to do the same for our teams, with integrity, excellence and courage.

Second, we can stay firm in the face of uncertainty.

When the first waves of troops landed on the Normandy beaches, they faced disorganization and confusion. A number of the plans were incomplete at the time of the invasion or were unable to be implemented due to unforeseen circumstances.

Many of the paratroopers were blown off course and landed outside of their targeted areas, some of them several miles away. Not to mention, there were weather challenges, tumultuous water conditions (resulting in only two of the 29 tanks making it to shore), and delays, turning the odds against them.

Yet, the soldiers at D-Day managed to adapt to the seemingly impossible situation and, in the end, win the battle. These brave men exemplified what it means to stay strong in the midst of uncertainty.

As leaders, we are often met with difficult situations and unforeseen circumstances that require us to adapt quickly. It’s crucial that we maintain a level head and continually evaluate the situation.

We need to work with our teams to answer the challenge at hand and make adjustments as needed, without compromising our values or forsaking the mission.

Third, we need to work toward our common goal.

Despite the chaos of the battlefield, the tremendous losses around them, and the uncertainty and confusion, the soldiers were able to keep their primary mission in mind. The battalions had different goals and drop points, and yet, they were able to work together to secure the five beaches necessary for continued advancement.

Their actions on D-Day secured a key area for further Allied movement into France. But more than that, it also marked a crucial turning point in the war toward an Allied victory.

Imagine if the brave men had succumbed to the horrors of the battlefield and lost sight of their goals, or if the separate battalions abandoned their orders or changed targets. In the already challenging and horrific setting, many more lives might have been lost, and the eventual victory may have been delayed or missed entirely.

As leaders, we need to remember that our actions have far-reaching impacts, affecting not just ourselves. While our individual efforts can feel inconsequential, they can have major ripple effects throughout our teams and our organizations, for better or for worse.

It’s important that we work alongside our employees to maintain our focus in times of uncertainty, change and turmoil. We need to work together to hold to our ethics, our organization’s mission and vision, and continue pursuing our goals with uncompromising excellence and morality.

As we celebrate our soldiers this D-Day, take time to reflect on the sacrifices these brave individuals made for our nation and freedom. Go out of your way to bless a veteran and thank them for their service.

Let’s honor the legacy of our courageous soldiers by continuing to fight for the good of our nation and our fellow citizens, with bravery, selflessness and excellence.

Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the president of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the author of "Framework Leadership.'' Read Kent Ingle's Reports — More Here.

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It’s important that we honor the memory of the brave men who fought and died for our country, both as a nation and as individuals. One way we can do that is by being challenged, inspired and humbled by their sacrifice.
d day, leadership
Thursday, 06 June 2024 08:39 AM
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