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Leaders Inspire Integrity by Being Consistent Themselves

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.

“Can do, sir!” That statement was music to my ears as a young Army Lieutenant. When one of our non-commissioned officers responded with “Can do” my day was about to get better. The mission, the task, the conversation was going to happen – and happen without my need for oversight. Once I left the military, that can-do attitude became harder to find. More often than not, the answer was not “can do” but something less committed. Something that always left that person some wiggle room if they failed. It usually was some statement that set them up for an excuse for failure later.

In every profession, in every company there are some people who always seem to make things happen and others that don’t. Some sheriffs or police chiefs build cohesive teams with limited budgets and some don’t. Some city managers find funds for training city personnel and some don’t. Some sales managers always find new customers to help them make this year’s higher quotas and some don’t. But why? Is it skill? Or is it attitude?

A Leader of Character doesn’t allow their brain to focus on the obstacles that make accomplishing the mission difficult. A Leader of Character knows the obstacles are present and still says, “Can do.” The obstacles are real, but they are not used to begin a pattern of CYA thinking. I have sat in many meetings and when an obstacle is identified, there are people in the room who begin to prepare their narrative for failure. Before solutions are even discussed, some people are preparing their excuses:

● “We may not have the manpower for this.”

● “Last time the city manager said ‘No.’”

● “Company X moved out of our region after they set up these quotas.”