CHURCHILL: Leading from the Front

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill


Churchill, unlike Hitler, had faith that the cause he was representing was right. Instead of hiding away in the London bunker when the bombs were dropping throughout Britain, Churchill chose to stand with his people as a beacon of hope. Hitler, in contrast, shut himself away from the German people he claimed to represent. In his bunker, Hitler lived in a private world of his own, from which the ugly and awkward facts of Germany’s situation were excluded.

Following the bomb raids, Great-Grandpapa would visit the worst hit. At great personal risk, and against all advice from his bodyguard Commander Walter Thompson, Churchill would mingle with the crowds, comfort those who had lost family, friends and property, and was even found holding the hand of a woman who was trapped beneath the rubble. Once freed, the woman reluctantly let go of Churchill’s hand, and as he watched her disappear on a stretcher into an awaiting ambulance, he remarked to the gathered people, “There goes a true hero!”

Hitler refused to visit the bombsites of Germany. his deep psychological compulsion to appear the great leader aloof from the suffering of his people, but busy fighting for them, was a disguise for the deeper-rooted truth that he could not face. He refused to read reports which contradicted the picture he wanted to form. He chose to believe the Goebbels propaganda, not because negative thinking might breed negative results, but instead because reality might confront him with the enormity of what he had done. Evil finds it hard to look itself in the mirror, but the reflection of good, while showing reality, shines a ray of hope.

Great leaders are great leaders, only because they represent great causes that are not in contradiction to ethical and moral values. When one compromises ethics, the slope become slippery, and, as with Hitler, we lose our footing. To lead like Churchill, with courage, faith and integrity, you need to choose a cause that is morally and ethically sound.



BULLOCK, Alan: Hitler A Study in Tyranny
HICKMAN, Tom: Churchill’s Bodyguard



This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

wsc-008My great-grandfather would often argue with his longtime bodyguard, Walter Thompson, on whether he should hide in the bunker when the bombs were dropping on London. I have asked these people to risk everything, he said. How can I possibly expect them to take these risks if I too am not prepared to do so?

Churchill often stood atop the government buildings and watched as the Luftwaffe mercilessly bombed his people below. “You do your worst,” he told Hitler. “And we will do our best!”

Leadership is from the front, not the back, hence the reason it’s called ‘leadership’, and not followship.