Leadership & Training

JS Tip 279: The Leadership Elements

The second of a five-part series.

Leadership has three elements:

  1. Character
  2. Competence
  3. Action

Notice how the parts have numbers and not bullets. There’s a heirarchy here. Character is the most critical of the leadership parts. (The Army field manual on leadership spends twenty-five pages on character, two pages on competence, and three pages on action.)

We’ll talk about competence and action in each of the next two tips.

Character is critical to leadership for at least two reasons: It’s the best guarantee of long-term success, and it’s the right thing to do.

Demonstrate character. Be honest. Be transparent. Be fair. Care about your people. Twenty-four hours a day. Seven days a week.

Emphasize character. It’s not enough just to walk the walk. You have to talk the talk. People have finite attention spans, and they deal with a lot of competing information. Your talk complements your walk. It’s a package deal.

Create a climate in which character flourishes. Pay special attention to rewards and punishments. What behavior gets rewarded? What behavior gets punished? Your people take their cues from what you value as worthy and unworthy.

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If you have questions or suggestions, let us know.

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Next week, we’ll talk about the second of the elements: Competence.