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America Best Leaders

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Nikki Schwab writes in this week's US News and World Report about a "National Crisis of Confidence" regarding our leaders:

"Americans have steadily lost confidence in their leaders since 2005-the year the government bungled its handling of Hurricane Katrina-according to the third annual "Center for Public Leadership"/U.S. News poll conducted this fall. More than three quarters of the respondents say they believe the country is going through a leadership crisis, up 7 percent from last year, a trend stretching across all demographic and political groups. Nearly 80 percent feel that unless it gets better leaders, the country will decline, while 51 percent believe that the United States is already falling behind other nations. And about two thirds say that today's leaders pale in comparison with those of 20 years ago."


But who do you think comes in with the highest scores? Military leaders. Forty percent of respondents expressed the highest confidence in those in uniform. Now while the survey principally focuses on public leadership, it is interesting to note what leadership traits were deemed as important in effective public servants:

* Honesty and Integrity
* Intelligence
* Ability to Communicate well
* Ability to bring people together
* Decisiveness
* Having new ideas
* Understanding and sympathizing with others
* Experience

It's no secret formula. This is what I call the business of leaders. Whether in private or public sectors, we need leaders of character who have battle-tested leadership skills that are capable of inspiring people to change. It also highlights that critical leadership traits "can" be developed. Most of the skills on the list are part of military education programs (character, decision making, communication, consensus building). The rest come from OJT (On the Job Training) - with reinforcement coming in the way of feedback from caring leaders. This leadership stuff seems to be working pretty well for the military! That's what "Leader Business" is all about.

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