Confidence, Consistency, Consideration, Courage, Charity, Competence, Compassion, Communication, Courtesy, Comedy, Curiosity, Creativity, and Collaboration put ordinary leaders in the extraordinary category.
Confidence. The best leaders have self-confidence unmarred by arrogance. Good examples in the military were Colin Powell and George Marshall. In industry, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in the media, Judy Woodruff, David Gergen, David Brooks, and Tom Friedman, in the CSRA, Shell Berry, CEO of the Community Foundation and Kim Evans, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Augusta are among the best and brightest.
Consistency. Leaders should practice consistency in their actions and decisions. Those who constantly flip-flops are tough to work for. When leaders do change their minds, they should explain why.
Consideration. Years ago, my golf partner was a handicapped veteran, Jack Berlin. The opposing players gave Jack one extra stroke per hole (which was not enough). On the second nine, the kind and considerate, Herbert Elliot, gave Jack two strokes per hole. To his delight, Berlin won three holes and carried our team to victory.
Courage. Samuel Johnson said, “Courage is the basic virtue. Of what use is wisdom, if you don’t have the courage to act wisely? Of what importance is truth, if you don’t have the courage to speak it?”
Charity. Many folks throughout the CSRA dig deep to support worthy causes. However, some wealthy folks do not have the “gifting gene.” Maddeningly, they give one or two percent of their income and declare themselves generous.
Competence. This quality does not require explanation. President Eisenhower who is ranked by presidential historians as the 5th Best President, tops my list.
Compassion. Medal of Honor and Carnegie Medal recipients can be our guide. In many cases, these people acted heroically because of the compassion they felt for those in grave danger. Throughout the CSRA, thousands of folks are deeply compassionate as they provide care for others.
Communication. Getting into the minds and hearts of folks requires good speaking and writing skills. Extroverts have an advantage with speaking skills—especially if they are charismatic.
Courtesy. My wife, Connor, was with Jimmy Doolittle on his 90th birthday. When the elevator door opened, the spry American hero quickly moved so Connor could be the first to get on the elevator.
Comedy. Humor can play a positive role in organizations, large and small. The self-deprecating Ronald Reagan set a fine standard for all of leaders to emulate.
Curiosity. Those leaders who are not constantly looking for new and better ways to accomplish tasks tend to be stuck in the past. The status quo is often a dead end.
Creativity. Here are four aspects of creativity. being creative yourself; recognizing creativity in others; implementing novel ideas; protecting creative people from their bad ideas. To make creative folks happy, implement some of their ideas and give them credit.
Collaboration. The best leaders work well with folks with whom they differ. A strong conservative, Ronald Reagan, and a dedicated liberal, Tip O’Neill, often found workable solutions to tough problems.
Leaders who follow the thirteen “Cs” make our world a better place.
Finally. Please come to the Night at the Museum event on August 10 at the Augusta Museum of History. Shows are at 6 PM and 7:30 PM. Light snacks and beverages will be served. Please bring some friends along. I will be playing the role of Dwight Eisenhower (when he was in his late 70’s). Also featured will be Margaret Mitchel, Emily Tubman, James Brown, and others.
Perry Smith is the author of seven books. Rules and Tools for Leaders is his most successful with 350,000 in print. Jeff Foley was the co-author of the 4th edition.