Leadership Profile: Fightin’ Joe Dunford

General Joe Dunford

It would be so easy to make this leadership profile all about a great military man.  Many of you may not know him.  Some of you may not have even heard his name before.   His nickname is “Fightin’ Joe” Dunford.

Gen. Joe Dunford was the Commander, U.S. Forces, Afghanistan.  He is a Marine four-star general and was the leader of NATO’s coalition in Afghanistan.  He “is probably the most complete warrior-statesman wearing a uniform today,” says a former Marine commandant.

That is high praise indeed.  And, in fact, today, he is the 36th commandant of the Marine Corps.  Having recently taken command as the 35th commandant retired.

In a recent article with Fortune magazine, Dunford tells the interviewer what his first battalion commander told him as a young Marine.  His battalion commander told him that there are three rules to success. The first? Surround yourself with good people. “Over the years,” says Dunford, “I’ve forgotten the other two.”

Why should I write a profile on “Fightin’ Joe Dunford?”

LP - Joe Dunford - 2

General Dunford clearly understands the value of your troops that surround you.  In fact, he, like his first battalion commander, has elevated that principle to such a lofty location that all others have paled in comparison.

In his speech at the ceremony marking the change of command he gave brief remarks.  That alone is another mark of a great leader!  But he also gave us some insight into his priorities as the Marine Corps highest-ranking officer.

Dunford said, “My focus in the coming years will be to take care of our Marines and their families and to ensure that our Corps remains the expeditionary force in readiness that our nation has come to expect,” he said. “God bless you all, Semper Fidelis, and for those still in uniform, continue to march.”

Here are a few quick points that I have pulled out of that very brief quote:

  • His goal is to take care of his troops and their families.
  • His goal is keep his troops ready for anything.
  • His goal is to seek God’s blessings on all around him.
  • His goal is to continue to march.

I am struck by that last one most of all.  One of things that separates real leaders from those around them is that even in the face of adversity they continue to march.

I hope this Leadership Profile on Gen. Dunford inspires you.  Are you continuing to march?


Photo credit: isafmedia / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Foter / CC BY

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I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

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