Great and Good, part 3: Mastering the Tensions and Paradoxes of Leadership

“Of course, life would be easier if leadership was just a list of simple rules, but paradoxes are in inherent in the trade.” – Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of GE

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Great and Good, part 2: Extraordinary Achievement and Virtuous Character as the Model of Excellent Leadership

Lord Byron (source: shutterstock)

“Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”

– Henry Ward Beecher (1813 –1887)

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Great and Good, part 1: Rethinking Greatness as the Ideal Form of Leadership

“They’re only truly great who are truly good.” – George Chapman, 1559-1634, English dramatist, translator, and poet; translator of Homer

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What’s So Special about Special Forces? – 12 Lessons in Leadership and Elite Team Performance from 12 Strong Men

“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me.” —Isaiah 6:8; “Inscription on the dog tag resting on the flag-draped, homeward-bound casket of an American Special Operations warrior killed in action in Afghanistan, July 2005” – Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior

As growing leaders we should eagerly learn from all types of professions and fields. For many, there is no better source than the military. Whether its character, accomplishing a mission, adapting to adversity, selflessness and teamwork, it’s hard to beat the lessons we can learn from the military.

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The Paradox of Character: The Two Core Character Traits that Determine how we Influence Others

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say”.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is character?

In order to be a leader you’ve got to have followers. So leadership begins by influencing other people – your followers. There are many ways to influence people. You can guide, direct, prioritize, incentivize and order someone around. But I’ve learned through my experience that most effective and authentic way to influence others is through your example, through who you are. In other words, your character.

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Primary Greatness: Internal character is more important than external title, position and popularity

“If you want the secondary greatness of recognized talent, focus first on primary greatness of character.” ~ Dr Steven Covey

You’ve probably come to know Dr Steven Covey from his famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. For the study of character and its role in leadership I recommend another one of his books: Primary Greatness: The 12 Levers of Success. This book is a collection of Dr. Covey’s essays that never appeared in previous books and were published after his death.

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Character as the foundation for servant-leadership: The military’s type of leadership

The military offers a unique perspective on the importance of character for leadership. Unique among most organizations, the military will specify the virtues they expect their leaders to embody. As Donovan Campbell explains in his book The Leaders Code, “…the military goes far beyond simply creating a “culture” with four or five key pillars. It actually tells its members the type of people they need to become.”

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