Character Counts

“But character counts, and it counts mightily.” – General Martin Dempsey

One role of a leader is to be able to flex their leadership abilities to the demands of reality. Last week on an episode of Rock Center with Brian Williams, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was addressing the issue of General Petraeus and his career-ending affair, and in doing so he touched on two of the most critical characteristics of a leader: competence and character.

In referencing what they’ve learned from that situation, he said:

We had a conversation about competence and character. I think over the last ten years when you’re at war, you tend to value competence above all else. Naturally, the nation’s well-being is hanging in the balance. So the first lesson I think would be not that we’ve neglected the character side of this equation, but we probably are at a point where we ought to reemphasize it. (more…)