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FCW : January 2014
It is time for leaders to step up or step aside Jack London, CACI Internation- al's executive chairman, argues that character is more impor- tant to leadership than any skill taught in business schools. In this excerpt from his recent book, "Character: The Ultimate Success Factor," he explains how leader- ship and management are two very different things. Who's in charge here? Is your rst instinct to think not me? Is that because you don't believe you're in a leadership position or don't want to be in a leader- ship position? If you're not willing to take responsibility for what's going on and what will go on in the future, then read no further. What is leadership? Admi- ral Arleigh A. Burke (U.S. Navy admiral and former chief of naval operations) de ned leadership as "understanding people and involv- ing them to help you do a job. It takes all of the good character- istics, like integrity, dedication of purpose, sel essness, knowl- edge, skill, implacability, as well as determination not to accept failure." Leadership is not a title or posi- tion. Far too many executives have been terrible leaders. Have you ever worked in an of ce or on a project where the person everybody looks to is not the per- son with the highest title? That's because leadership and manage- ment are not the same thing. Managers typically work by consensus even though, in my experience, always doing things by consensus leads to mediocrity or failure --- accepting the lowest common denominator. Lead- ers are driven by the mission at hand and by their personality and energy. They have knowledge and skills, answers and direction. They set the goals, identify the tasks and drive forward to make things happen. Leaders convince others of the importance of the mission. They also refuse to fail. People look for leadership, not just management. A manager tells you what you're supposed to do. A leader inspires you to do it. No one says, "Take me to your manager." It's "Take me to your leader." People want to follow their leader. Leadership is driven by pur- pose. There is a goal to achieve, a cause to ful ll, a problem to solve, or an opportunity to seize. Good leaders aim to do the right thing. They respect and trust the people they lead, empowering them to achieve their best. Certainly, there are ego-driven leaders who achieve results, but their narcis- sism undermines them over time. People don't want to be around them, much less work for them. Strong yet humble leaders who focus on developing those they lead, while accomplishing the mis- sion, are typically successful more often and for much longer. From mentoring a colleague to launching a major initiative, leadership opportunities abound. So ask yourself, why do I want to lead? Why do I want to be a lead- er? Do you enjoy the power and perks that come with a leadership position? Do you see leadership CACI International's Jack London offers his take on the four essential characteristics that de ne the best leaders Bookshelf 26 January 2014 FCW.COM