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 Posted: Sat Aug 30th, 2008 03:18 pm
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5fish
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There has been much debate over the way Gen. Lee issued his orders. Like: Gen. Lee would usual issue what are called discretionary orders with that famous end phrase "If Practical" or " If Practicable." There is a debate which word he used for they have different meaning.

Most historians claim that Gen. Lee like to encourage initiative in his subordinates; that is why he like to issue these discretionary type orders.

I argue that maybe Gen. Lee wanted initiative from his generals but unlike Gen. Stuart who developed a system to encourage initiative. Gen. Lee failed to develop a good system to encourage the development of officers taking bold action.

Just think: The only officers at the corp. level that truly took initiative{ or bold action ) was Gen. Jackson and Gen. Stuart for the rest that held that position for Gen. Lee never took bold action.

Why? History wants to blame those generals like Anderson, A.P. Hill and Ewell for their lack of initiative. I argue that if the historians say Gen. Lee wanted his generals to take the initiative then those generals under him knew this too.

So the question becomes if the generals under Gen. Lee knew he wanted his generals to take the initiative. Why did they never step up and be bold?

The only answer is Gen. Lee must have punished failure. It also means Gen. Lee never had a true system to develop initiative taking type leaders.

Gen. Lee may have wanted initiative taking type of leaders but in truth he discourage bold risk taking leaders and this does make sense. Why?

Everyone makes Gen. Lee to be this perfect person and he was a fine person but he had personality failures as any human. He was a control freak and neat freak but unlike most people with these traits who tend to be rude. Gen Lee was a southern gentleman which softens his control freak and neat freak nature to people.

Now think: a person who is a control nut and neat freak can he truly develop initiative in others rarely for their standards for one to meet is set to high. In most cases control freaks and neat freaks more often punish initiative then reward it.

A note: Gen. Lee did transfer out a lot of officers form his command and in many cases no reason can be found why. Historians just say Gen Lee was getting rid of dead weight like political appointees.

A note: An over looked item, Gen. Lee made his battle plans in private. He never develop a battle with his generals only used them for information gathering. The battle plan always came directly from Gen. Lee.


In summary: Gen Lee may have wanted his generals to be bold and take the initiative but his personal failing of being a control and neat freak made him unable to develop initiative taking leaders he wanted. He was his own worse enemy in developing the type of officers he wanted.

Remember, A control and neat freak is never able to recognized that he is one and that he discourages people from taking the initiative. JUST THINK! Of the control and neat freaks you have worked under over the years. They are demanding and hard to please. So what do you do? You wait tell they tell you what they want, Why? Because if you take the initiative and it is not what they want. You catch hell.

Think of those poor generals under Gen Lee.

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