David Gergen offers a short interview with Robert Gates in Parade
magazine. He notes that, “As the former president of Texas A&M University, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates holds a solemn distinction among top federal officials: He is the only man in America to have signed the diplomas of young college graduates, then signed orders sending some of them into combat, and then signed letters to their families saying they weren't coming home. Consequently, he considers himself responsible for the lives of U.S. troops ‘as though they were my own sons and daughters.’”
- A Legacy of Leadership
by David Gergen, Parade
David Gergen: You take their nurturing very seriously.
Robert Gates: These kids are the next great generation. But how do we avoid suppressing them when they come back to a desk job after the war? I'm trying to instill the importance of independent thinking and moral courage. If you see something that needs to be fixed or done better, persist—respectfully, loyally—but don't give up. So much of leadership training is about team-building and collaboration. I say, "That's all very important, but there will come a time when you will have to stand alone and say, 'This is wrong' or, 'This is my responsibility—I don't agree with you, and I'm going to do what I think is right.'"
Read the complete interview in Parade
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