by Mike Few
Love and Hate
by Captain Michael Few, Small Wars Journal
One of my best commanders preached a very simple command philosophy. "Mike," he would proclaim, "sometimes you got to give the love, and sometimes you got to give them the hate."
To emphasize his point, he would clench both fists and extend mock punches: one representing the love and one representing the hate. This philosophy served our squadron well both in leading his airborne reconnaissance squadron and clearing Al Qaeda held safe-havens in Northern Iraq.
The premise behind this philosophy reflected many years studying the art of leadership and his straightforward assessment coupled a deep understanding in discretion and discernment tempered in the pragmatism of the complicated realities of real life mutually exclusive to the black and white moral world view preached at the academy.
In 1879, MG John Schofield declared that "the discipline which makes the soldier of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh nor tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army." Conversely, the leadership of coddling and friendship is marked with disrespect and irreverence from one's subordinates.
Simply put, soldiers desire neither a dictator nor buddy in a commander. They demand leadership.