“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.” – Norman Schwarzkopf
Character. Not the ones in cartoon strips, or the ones you identify in your law firms. I’m talking about the various components of your personality and temperament that define you. Virtues like courage, loyalty, empathy, and honesty.
Today we salute those who served our country, which some might argue (Sun Tzu in The Art of War, for one) that the roots of leadership are in the ultimate service – for our country. And without character, those same leadership skills are for naught.
My father served in the military for more than 20 years, and my fascination with leadership began with our conversations about the Soviet Union and the Cold War. We mused about the arming of nations and the devastation of war. We sorted out the possibilities of peace and the necessary leadership to get there. We disagreed. We agreed.
And isn’t all of that leadership? Being strong enough to let go, and smart enough to understand the landscape? I think so.
And today, as I pause to salute those who serve, I give an extra nod to the leadership skills that protect our country. Thank you for your service!