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Lack Character

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf:

I’ve met a lot of leaders in the Army who were very competent—but they didn’t have character. And for every job they did well, they sought reward in the form of promotions, in the form of awards and decorations, in the form of getting ahead at the expense of someone else, in the form of another piece of paper that awarded them another degree—a sure road to the top. You see, these were competent people, but they lacked character.

I’ve also met a lot of leaders who had superb character but who lacked competence. They weren’t willing to pay the price of leadership, to go the extra mile because that’s what it took to be a great leader.

And that’s sort of what it’s all about. To lead in the 21st century—to take soldiers, sailors, airmen into battle—you will be required to have both character and competence.

Speech to the Corps of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, in Reader’s Digest

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