As I shared a couple days ago, it was with much admiration I was reviewing General David Patraeus’ “Rules for Living” in preparation for a future blog post.  Literally three days later Patraeus self-disclosed his adultery situation.  Although that took the wind out of my sails for a moment, I also mentioned my decision to move ahead with the leadership-related posts because Patraeus, like so many others, reminds us about the permanence of leadership lessons in spite of the person.  Today, I have a few closing thoughts about the Patraeus situation, leadership, and our response.

Here are a few things I have come to learn about leadership over the years:  With leadership, comes authority; with authority, comes responsibility; with responsibility, comes accountability; with accountability, comes consequences.  These are the inarguable dynamics and requirements of leadership.  But, perhaps most important, with leadership should come humility.

These leadership dynamics—all of them—cannot be diminished or ignored.  They must be fully exercised.  In situations like the Patraeus one, they are all important to everyone.  Yet when it comes to how you and I respond to these kinds of situations, the most important response is humility.

It is easy to criticize people for their leadership failures.  We all seem to have a natural gift for that.  Nevertheless, if we are functioning from a place of humility, then we will think twice before we cast that first stone.  Humility reminds us any one of us could have a leadership failure.  None of us is immune.

And as for me, I will be holding General Patraeus and his family very much in my thoughts and prayers.  Obviously, this is no easy road to walk.

Hopefully, the Patraeus situation prompts each of us to reassess our leadership and all that feeds into it.  That, after all, is the only way we can benefit from this tragedy, and move forward with our own leadership.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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