1. The Leader’s Greatest Victory — Victory over Self.
We commonly think of a leader’s greatest victory as being over others, as defeating an opposing team or a rival business. However, as Plato wrote, “the first and best victory is to conquer self.” Every leader faces a struggle against self-interestedness. Yet whereas followers tend to think of themselves first, leaders have learned to put others ahead of themselves.
2. The Leader’s Greatest Asset — Confidence.
Confidence in oneself is the cornerstone of successful leadership. Only those who believe in themselves have enough optimism to see the best in those around them. Self-confidence breeds confidence in others.
3. The Leader’s Greatest Weight — Final Responsibility.
During World War II, General Dwight David Eisenhower was responsible for planning the Allied invasion of France. He knew that thousands of young soldiers would be killed in the assault. He also knew that the invasion would be a pivotal point in the war against Nazi Germany. Success would be a tremendous boost to the Allied cause, but failure would be a crushing blow.
In the hours prior to the attack, Eisenhower sat down and penned a press release to be used in the event that the attack should be repelled.
Our landings have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold, and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.
Eisenhower had made up his mind in advance that he was going to bear full responsibility for whatever happened. He was not going to place blame on his advisors, bad weather, superior Nazi strength, or any other contributing factor. It was his responsibility and his alone.
4. The Leader’s Greatest Discipline —Taking Time to Think.
One of the reasons people do not grow as leaders is that they try to change their results without changing their thinking. Our lives today are a result of our thinking yesterday, and our lives tomorrow will be determined by what we think today. If we desire to rise above our circumstances and to move up to another level in our careers, then we need to improve our thinking.
5. The Leader’s Greatest Handicap — Pride.
Pride gives people an overinflated sense of their own importance and causes them to devalue the contribution of others. Always wanting the credit for success, prideful leaders push others aside to seize the spotlight. As a result, they alienate their best people, who end up looking for another team on which their hard work will not be taken for granted.
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