371: General Stanley McChrystal explores a variety of different genres of leaders, including geniuses, founders, politicians, reformers, heroes, and zealots. While he asserts that a group’s performance is less about the leader’s ability and more about the surrounding factors, General McChrystal claims that the best leaders are those who are empathetic to the group’s position at a given time and are able to constantly adapt. Throughout our conversation, we also discuss General McChrystal’s evolving opinions on Robert E. Lee, his experience with his nemesis in Al Qaeda Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and why he dedicated his book to John McCain and John Lewis.
General McChrystal is a retired four-star general of the US Army and the author of multiple books, including his most recent one, Leaders: Myth and Reality. Following a 34-year career in the United States Army, General McChrystal founded the McChrystal Group, an advisory services firm that specializes in leadership consulting.