Great Leaders Take the Time to Know Their Team Members

Walking the battlefield at The Cowpens in South Carolina, I was reminded of General Daniel Morgan’s use and handling of the militia at that battle. The night before the battle, Morgan moved from campfire to campfire, speaking with small groups of men at each, encouraging them and telling them what he wanted them to do. He spoke their language, the plain talk of the Wagoner he had been before the war.

He did not ask the militiamen who would be in the first line of colonial forces to stand and face the feared British bayonet charges. Knowing and understanding these citizen-soldiers, he knew that was something they would not do. Rather, he asked them to stand and fire two (some reports say it was three) well aimed shots before retreating to the second line held by the Continental soldiers.

When, after firing their shots, the militiamen began running back to the second line, the Redcoats began chasing what they saw as a defeated army running away only to find that they were running directly into the trap set by Daniel Morgan. This led to a crucial victory for the Continental Army.

As I thought about General Morgan’s campfire instructions to his troops, I realized that he had carefully crafted his message to each audience he was facing; and, isn’t this what Great Leaders do when leading their teams? They recognize that each team member has his/her own communication style (based on personality type) and each has his/her own goals and desired outcomes. Great Leaders craft communications to their intended audiences and assign roles based on the strengths of each team member.

Have you had the privilege of working with a Great Leader who knew how to work with and communicate with you in a manner that was conducive to clear communications? Click “Comment” and share that experience.

Tom Hoisington is a speaker, trainer, and author whose goal is to provide leaders and potential leaders with tools that empower them to build teams that are creative and cost effective along with a clearer understanding of how personality types interact within those teams. He can be contacted at