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Everything Counts: 52 Remarkable Ways to Inspire Excellence and Drive Results by Gary Ryan Blair

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Chapter 3. Leadership Counts

"Good leaders have good character and good ethics; they do not lie, cheat, or steal."

A leader doesn't have to be brilliant, charismatic, nor charming; you can hire and buy those attributes. However, you can't buy courage, decency, or honor, and you certainly can't rent a strong moral compass. Strong character provides a leader with a commanding competitive advantage, whereas a weak character is a competitive liability that will ultimately undermine all efforts.

In the widening chasm between what we want and expect from our leaders and what we get, it is important to take a close look at leadership itself. Leadership is all about one enduring quality: character. Popularity is temporary, change is often unpredictable, and interest rates always fluctuate. The one true constant is a person's disposition—their character.

Leaders are stewards—caretakers who hold something in trust on behalf of others. Leaders exist to protect cherished values and core beliefs, sustain and inspire hopes, and help drive positive results for all. A steward is a caretaker, a person who holds something in trust on behalf of others. It is not a behavior that is motivated out of self-interest.

Leadership is truly about choosing service over self-interest. Properly performed, leadership is an exercise in outgoing and ongoing concern for others, including the definition and enforcement of boundaries as needed. For leaders to be effective, however, there must be uncompromising emphasis ...

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