Character and Integrity

I came across an interview on TV last night.  

David Rubinstein was hosting Doris Kearns Goodwin on his show about her book ''Leadership in Turbulent Times''. It is an history book, zooming on the Presidents of USA who led their nation through through tough times showing extraordinary leadership. I also searched other appearances of the author on the same topic. 

I immediately ordered the book. Let me try to summarize what precipitated after listening to the author a couple of hours: 

  • Using the legacy you aim to create as a compass is quite critical. It will correct your course in case you move away from it. 
  • It is a deliberate choice to build up vs tearing down. And it is more difficult than the latter. 
  • Trust is the cement that sticks the team together. 
  • Being aware of your vulnerabilities and not shying away to be transparent about them is a source respect and learning. 
  • Regardless of what you call it ‘’grit’’ or ‘’resilience in adversity’’, it is the ciritical ingredient. 
  • Humility is not about being humble, it is about knowing your limits. 
  • Have an ‘’intimate relationship with the people’’ and create the means for it. Be connected to them. 
  • Be willing to compromise and win followers through collaboration. 
  • Empathy will help you learn how to deal with all sorts of people. 

However, I think what summarized everything the best is the story that Doris Kearns Goodwin tells about Leo Tolstoy talking about Lincoln to a Circassian tribe in Caucasus. She says ‘’Character and Integrity are the ultimate standards we can judge leaders with’’