James and I conducted a leadership seminar yesterday in Huntington, WV for approximately forty ladies who work in health care. As James was speaking, he alluded to one of his favorite illustrations about leadership from the book of Joshua in the Old Testament. If you read Joshua's story, you will note God basically told him three things to do as a leader - be strong, be courageous, and behave. Yesterday, as James mentioned these qualities, he challenged the participants to think of each breakdown in leadership they have ever witnessed and ask themselves if it was because the leader failed to be strong, be courageous or behave.
After our seminar, James and I had a couple of hours to reflect on our day while we were waiting on his flight in Charleston, WV. As we sat at his favorite local cigar shop, we watched coverage of the penalties enforced upon Penn State by the NCAA. As we listened, I suddenly said, "You know, you're right. Every leader I have ever seen who failed, did so because of one of those three things." Amused - likely because I have heard James use that illustration before but have never been so passionate about acknowledging its brilliance - James smiled and proceeded to analyze the "players" in the Penn State matter: Jerry Sandusky? Didn't behave. Joe Paterno? Wasn't strong. Gary Schultz, Tim Curley, Graham Spanier? Weren't courageous. And many have suffered, are suffering, and will suffer because of their failures.
It takes strength, courage, and moral fortitude to become a leader. But it takes even more to stay a leader.
Be strong. Be courageous. Behave.