Michael J. Kerrigan

One of the more influential readers of my posts recently stated, “There have been many effective leaders of relatively low character, and high character people who were not effective leaders.” He also stated “ Leadership as I see it, comprises a set of skills that can be learned at most any time.”

In my view, character can also be learned but slowly and carefully. I subscribe to teachers of the distant pass, such as Aristotle and Plato who taught that, whether teaching leadership or character, it is a long, hard and broadly based process.

One of America’s preeminent management consulting companies takes a slightly different view, as Accenture believes, ”leadership does not require formal authority or personal charisma and that every person has the capacity to lead effectively with integrity and that this capacity can be developed over time through discipline practice.”*

I was pleased that the Accenture Leadership Center (ALC), includes leading effectively with integrity and that can be developed over time through discipline practice. However, the statement that “every person has the capacity to lead with integrity” is a bridge too far for me and I doubt Aristotle or Plato would agree. Does that claim make sense to you?

While I am encouraged leaders can be trained to be effective, I am waiting to hear from my character scholars friends to understand the daunting problem of high character high effectiveness. Who beyond our military academies are teaching high character leaders to be effective?

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Restoring Character in AmericaRestoring Character in America identifies the decline in character in our country, but then gives the reader hope for the future by showcasing leaders whose careers are successfully turning around this trend in our schools, communities, businesses, and the military.

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