How Does a Great Leader Earn the Undying Loyalty of Others?

It is the winter of 1777-78 and the Continental Army has fought one losing battle after another. The seat of the Continental Congress and largest city in the Colonies, Philadelphia, has fallen and is now occupied by the Redcoats. There, the British Army rests while dining bountifully in warm colonial homes.

Meanwhile, the Continental Army has made its winter encampment at Valley Forge. There, they face shortages of everything; food, medicine, warm clothing, shoes. The soldiers sleep in cold, drafty, log cabins that they have hastily built. The soldiers witness the departure of many officers who request, and are granted, leave to go home to sleep in their own beds and eat well with their families. They also note that one officer does not leave. Promising to share their every hardship, Washington stays with the army at Valley Forge.

Great Leaders lead by example and do not ask those that they have the privilege of leading to do things that they would be unwilling to do themselves. They share the work, the good times, and the bad times. They know and understand what their teams know and have experienced because they, too, have shared the experiences of the team.

In the spring of 1778, the Continental Army marched out of Valley Forge led by a Great Leader who had earned their undying loyalty by remaining with them; by sharing their experience, their privations, their hardships. In June of that year, the Continental Army defeated the British at Monmouth Courthouse, the last major engagement in the Northern Theater of the Revolutionary War. Following the battle at Monmouth Courthouse, the British withdrew to New York City and shifted the focus of their campaigns to the Southern colonies. Ultimately, the British would surrender at Yorktown and a new nation, The United States of America, would take its place among the nations of the world … in large part because a Great Leader stood shoulder to shoulder with the troops and led them to victory.

If you have had the privilege of following a Great Leader who has earned your undying loyalty, click “Comment” and share your story here.

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

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