Leadership: Never Let Them See You Sweat

The opening scene of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan finds us in an American military Cemetery in present-day Normandy, France. An older Ryan, accompanied by his family, searches for one particular grave — Captain John Miller. When he finds it he’s overcome with emotion and his memory sweeps back in time to D-Day, the Sixth of June 1944. 


There’s a lot to see in the movie Saving Private Ryan, in this scene there are two character traits that stood out in Captain Miller’s leadership worth sharing.  

(1) NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT: The first scene for Captain Miller was him in private dealing with hard times.  This is something he wouldn’t dare do in front of his troops in which is understandable.  

 Quote:  “I don’t gripe to *you*, Reiben. I’m a captain. There’s a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, so on, so on, and so on. I don’t gripe to you. I don’t gripe in front of you. You should know that as a Ranger.”   Captain Miller


(2) COOL HEAD:  When the troops start to get out of hand Captain Miller calms a dangerous situation with words:  

Quote:  “I’m a schoolteacher. I teach English composition… in this little town called Adley, Pennsylvania. The last eleven years, I’ve been at Thomas Alva Edison High School. I was a coach of the baseball team in the springtime. Back home, I tell people what I do for a living and they think well, now that figures. But over here, it’s a big, a big mystery. So, I guess I’ve changed some.”  Captain Miller


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