Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Initiative and leadership

"Churchill also understood, better than his own generals and admirals, the vital important of taking the offensive. As he told his generals in 1940, "the completely defensive habit of mind, which has ruined the French, must not be allowed to ruin all our initiative."

[Winston Churchill, as quoted in Carlo D'Este's Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 187-1945, reviewed by Robert Kagan in The New York Times Book Review (November 9, 2008), 48.]

I used to think that once you pass a certain point in your career, then you can take on leadership roles. While that might be true for some situations, my current feeling (based on current books and articles) is that you have to take such leadership steps from the outset of whatever you do. You have to be active and show that your leadership qualities are an integral part of your personality, of who you are. You can not be passive; you must be active.

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