Character is Crumbling in Leadership

Ebctnb5Dale R. Wilson, who publishes Command Performance Leadership, is one of my oldest blogfriends. He doesn’t publish as often as he used to, which is a shame, but when he does, his posts are always incisive, and important. This is no exception.

In military and civilian academic institutions around the world, above and beyond their core curriculum, character is taught and inspired.  In each of the military academies in the United States, as well as college Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs, the purpose and responsibility is to produce leaders of character.  To accomplish this, they incorporate the values of integrity, respect, responsibility, compassion, and gratitude into the daily life of cadets and midshipmen who aspire to become tomorrow’s leaders. […]

At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point character development strategy promotes living honorably and building trust.  West Point believes that their approach not only develops character, but modifies behavior over the course of the 47-month cadet experience.  Ultimately, the desire is for cadets and rotating faculty members to depart West Point with the character, competence, and commitment to build and lead resilient teams that thrive in complex security environments.  Most importantly, everyone commits to living honorably and building trust, on and off duty.

The Cadet Honor Code at West Point:

A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.[iv]

Recommended Reading: Duty, Honor, Country [Go there, if you haven’t read this lately you owe it to yourself, to see what built our country! Neo] […]

No matter what our challenges happen to be, either driven by stress or human urges, we must strive to reach deep within ourselves to overcome the temptation to make poor decisions; no matter if we are in uniform downrange, or in daily life with our family or friends.  Our country, society, superiors, peers, subordinates, family, and friends are relying on our steady and consistent moral courage to translate into professional decorum and behavior; always.

Many respected military leaders of the past espoused the vitally important qualities of a leader.  Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps said, “Leadership is the sum of those qualities of intellect, human understanding, and moral character that enables a person to inspire and control a group of people successfully.”  Among General Douglas MacArthur’s 17 Principles of Leadership, which essentially acts as a leader’s self-assessment questionnaire, there is this question: “Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment and courtesy?”

via Character is Crumbling in Leadership | Command Performance Leadership

Well, are you? Frankly this isn’t something just for the military, nor is it just something for Americans. This is the essence of leadership, and servant leadership, at that. It is the ideal,the pinnacle of leadership. None of us succeed all the time, but if we wish to have a free society, we must try, and even more to the point, so must those we appoint to lead us.

Frankly, I learned this early, my dad, showed this, almost as strongly as General Marshal did, but even so, ROTC codified it for me in the saying.

First: the Mission

Second: the Men

Last: yourself

That is what I’ve always strived for, and in whatever measure I’ve been successful, it is that striving that is responsible. But, in business today, like our military, I see little of this. What I see is a selfish, uncaring of anybody but oneself attitude, that assumes that everybody is looking out for themselves. They may be right, to a point, but they (and their companies) will not find long term success, using this rubric, nor will America. Because much too often they’ll not lead, but manage, and bring that down to the level of the next quarterly bottom line. In every case that I have seen, that has led to losing the best people, and the ruination of the reputation of the brand, and often the demise of the company.

Not a good recommendation, for our companies, nor, especially, for our churches, and our military, and, emphatically not for our country.


About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

12 Responses to Character is Crumbling in Leadership

  1. Indeed I thank God for my providence in being trained ‘an officer and the gentleman’. Almost all my Irish family were at sometime in the British military, WW 1 and 2. Btw too, the American military was early patterned after the British. Indeed Semper Fi! (Always Faithful) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Indeed so, but we changed and improved the model to make a democratic officer corps, rather than the extant British model. Made a great tradition even better.


      • Yes the British Officer Corps has been made through time and trial and error, but mainly just the good old guts and glory of combat! The British Commando’s of WW II set a high mark! Not to mention the RAF in their standards of just flying and survival, again just good old guts and glory! I pray it may continue, in both!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. the unit says:

    Fascinating picture of leader ghosts over cadets.

    Then there is this…Obama’s graduation speech for West Point, 2014…
    “The ‘enemy’ chosen by Obama to animate America’s grand strategy is climate change. The nation’s existential goal, therefor, is ‘to energize the global effort to combat climate change, a creeping national security crisis that will help shape your time in uniform,’ the commander-in-chief told his new troops at West Point. Apparently, the new second lieutenants will spend their careers fighting the weather.” (from the Daily Signal)
    Some news outlets said no more than 25% of the cadets stood to applaud.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      Yep, The picture wasn’t the one I was looking for, but very close, and makes the point very effectively.

      Yeah, they didn’t seem impressed, I wonder why? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        I doubt they approved of Air Force 1 becoming Choom Gang Van, #, well maybe to the nth. number with this sorry bunch. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I doubt it as well.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. the unit says:

    I being sort of prejudiced…, that ghost with goggles is Patton. Right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Looks like him to me.


      • the unit says:

        Just wanted to be sure. I got swim goggles, for pool maintenonsense. Him one character that made all possible for me to be all that I could be.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:


          Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: My Article Read (4-19-2016) – My Daily Musing

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