In his book Soft Skills in Hard Places, retired Army Colonel Fred Johnson makes the bold claim that soft skills, not technical abilities, were the most important factor in the success of both Union and Confederate leaders at the Battle of Perryville in 1862, the bloodiest clash in Kentucky during the Civil War. Johnson marches with the reader alongside the soldiers who fought for the Open Knob and Starkweather’s Hill and those that assaulted into the Valley of Death. The fate of Kentucky and the nation rested in the hands of Union General Don Carlos Buell and Confederate General Braxton Bragg, commanders who were technically and tactically competent, but lack the soft skills to be effective leaders. However, men like George Maney and John Starkweather, who did not have the benefit of the technical training afforded at the U.S. Military Academy, demonstrated aptitudes like thinking outside the box, initiative, and empathy. They were the leaders that provided the greatest opportunities of victory for their armies. Colonel Johnson also weaves in soft skill lessons from current wars and his own personal experience to show the enduring relevance of emotional intelligence in combat leadership. Having served with General David H. Petraeus, Johnson shows how, arguably the greatest General since WWII, expertly employed soft skills to great success. Johnson not only demonstrates the significance of soft skills on the battlefield, he provides a methodology to teach them to civilian business executives and their staffs so they can excel in the boardroom. 

Join Fred on the Perryville Battlefield Leadership Experience to learn how Civil War leaders used soft skills to be effective in Kentucky's bloodiest battle.  Contact Fred today to schedule this one-of-a-kind leadership workshop for your team or make an appointment for a one-on-one session.  

Colonel Fred Johnson exceeded all expectations delivering one of the best professional development and leadership workshops we’ve experienced. Fred is a dynamic and inspirational speaker who captivated members of my staff of senior executives from the very beginning of the program.”

                           —Lyle Donan, President and CEO of Donan Forensic Engineering 

Click here to purchase Soft Skills in Hard Places

Studies by Stanford Research Institute and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation among Fortune 500 CEOs found that 75% of long-term job success depended on people skills and only 25% on technical skills.