Vince Lombardi - Legendary Coach and Leader
The genesis of this post began a few years ago when I delivered a presentation on Leadership toa group Fortune 500 executives. As with every talk or presentation, I begin by framing a fewquestions and then build out from there. In this case, the primary question was, ‘What roledoes character play in leadership?” I trust you will enjoy what follows…Leadership is all about one enduring quality: character. Popularity is temporary; change isoften unpredictable; and interest rates always fluctuate. The one true constant is a person’sdisposition—their character.Leaders who possess good character are those who — through repeated good acts — achieve anappropriate balance of the virtues in his life. Therefore, like a successful athlete, the virtuousperson plays a consistently good game. As Aristotle rightly noted, ‘we are what we repeatedlydo.’A company or team’s underlying spirit is created from the top. If an enterprise conveys a greatspirit, its top people display a positive attitude. If it decays, however, it does so because thetop rots; just as a fish rots from the head.Character is shaped by drive, competence, and integrity. While many leaders possess the driveand competence necessary to lead, far too many lack the moral compass. These types of leaders tend to be self-serving, and sabotage the spirit of an enterprise. As these peopleassume greater power and authority, it works to create an Achilles heel of pride and arrogance.This serves only to erode the trust of followers.People have an indisputable, divine right to expect and demand good character and exemplaryconduct from their leaders.The true test and strength of an enterprise is not to be found in a company’s products orservices, but in the character of its leaders. It serves as the conscience of the community.