George Washington
Leadership Case Study

George Washington Leadership Case Study is a part of Leadership Stories, a series of biographies of great leaders in history that have impacted the world in a huge way.

George Washington Leadership
Who was He?

George Washington is the first President of the United States and is known as the “father of the country.”

Before he stepped up as President of the United States, he was the military commander in chief of the then US forces who drove out the British from America alongside the French and helped established an independent United States of America.

Washington was known for his high standard of character and his commitment to his soldiers’ welfare and discipline.

A Short History

George Washington was born in Feburary 1732, as the third son of Augustine Washington. Washington worked as a surveyor in his youth and through that, understood his native Virginia extremely well, something that would have been useful to him in American Revolution later on in his life.

His first brush with the military was when he applied and obtained command of a small militia army at the age of 20.

Pretty soon, he had been tasked to several military campaigns to drive out the French as Lieutenant Colonel. He had several successes during this campaign, coupled with his share of failures. This was before he decided to resign from active military service.

However, soon after began the American Revolution and Washington was called upon to lead the American army to drive out the British forces. So began his leadership as Commander in Chief. This war was fought against superior numbers where he had his share of defeats and victories.

However, his excellent leadership was seen during this period, where he won over a lot of his soldiers and allies’ admiration and support.

Eventually, the campaign successfully drove out the British from America with the help of the French.

Although he was reluctant, he eventually became the first President of the United States. He was an effective leader and administrator; bringing his country from a post war state to unity and the first step toward becoming the United States of today.

Awards and Honours

1. Congressional Gold Medal
2. Thanks of Congress
3. General of the Armies of the United States
4. The first President of the United States

George Washington 
Leadership Lessons

1. Character builds credibility like nothing else

Washington had such an impeccable character and it won him a lot of support before the revolution, during it as well as after it as the President of the United States.

More than all the marketing gimmicks you can do for yourself about your own great leadership ability; your character is the one that speaks the loudest. A lot of people believe that great leadership is about being vocal and speaking your mind, but it is your character that really causes your name to be spread around.

When you have great character, people can trust you and they want you to lead them. You don’t have to try to find followers, you attract them.

So wherever you are in your life, focus on building character, because it builds your credibility like nothing else.

2. Take care of your people

Washington took good care of his soldiers’ welfare during the war. It won his army and his allies over and this aid him in his future endeavours as Commander and even as President.

You have to constantly watch out for your followers' welfare. The saying goes; people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. 

By genuinely caring for each individual under you; you win them over to your side. They buy into you and they will choose to follow you because of your genuine care. Washington could do it during a war, and as a leader in peace time; all the more you should commit to ensuring the welfare of your team.

3. Discipline is key

Washington saw that the discipline of his army of key to winning the British who were superior in numbers. As a result, he produced such an excellent batch of soldiers that his allies and enemies alike marvelled at.

Whatever organization or team you’re building, it’s important to instill discipline because this discipline will help them perform their task with excellence. Although it is more pertinent in the military, but having discipline in an organization will bring it far ahead of any sort of competition.

Related Books on
George Washington Leadership

Best Quotes from
George Washington Leadership

“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”

“Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.”

“Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”

“It is better to be alone than in bad company.”

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

“Nothing can be more hurtful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.”

“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”

“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.”

“Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.”

Video on
George Washington Leadership

Other Links

Wikipedia: A highly detailed account of George Washington
White House.gov: A short biography of George Washington

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» Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was the first Black President of South Africa and he was one of the most instrumental figures that helped end apartheid in South Africa. After his term as president, Nelson Mandela went on to become an advocate for a variety of social and human rights organizations.

» Martin Luther King Junior
Martin Luther King Junior was an Americian Baptist preacher, an activist and a prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. His greatest work was probably to fight for the civil rights of the African-American people.

» Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is the 16th President of the United States and deemed by many scholars as the greatest President of the United States. He led the Republicans to defeat the Confederates who were challenging for a democratic United States.

» George Washington
George Washington is the first President of the United States and is known as the “father of the country.” Before he stepped up as President of the United States, he was the military commander in chief of the then US forces who drove out the British from America.

» Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was the head and leader of Nazi Germany who started the World War II. He was most known for his for his central leadership role in the rise of fascism in Europe, World War II and The Holocaust.

» Barack Obama
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States, having taken office in 2009 after winning the electoral campaign against John McCain. He is also the first African American to have taken the office of the President in the US.

» Colin Powell
Colin Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State serving under President George W. Bush. He also served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War.

» Tony Blair
Tony Blair is a British Labour politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He is one of the most respected and admired world leaders in the last 50 years.

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