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A ‘Leading with Honor’ Frequently Asked Question on Character and Courage

A ‘Leading with Honor’ Frequently Asked Question –

“In your book Engage with Honor, you highlight values such as character and courage. Please expand on the importance of these principles for modern-day leaders and why having courage is so important.”

Lee Ellis’ Answer –

“In my book, Engage with Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability, I do share three key attributes that set our POW Camp leaders apart and enabled them to suffer and sacrifice while inspiring the rest of us. They are –

  1. Character – They knew right from wrong; they embraced the military Code of Conduct for POWs as the standard. Have you clarified what you stand for? What are your non-negotiables?
  2. Courage – They consistently suffered torture and humiliation to do their duty, live up to the Code, and set the example for the rest of us. Do you cave in to your doubts and fears, or do you “lean in” to them to keep your commitments, make tough decisions, and do what’s right?
  3. Commitment – They did not waiver. They were beaten down, but they bounced back time and again. They believed in their mission, and they were loyal to our cause. Do you remain faithful to your values, and do you stay the course to achieve your goals?

If you’re growing in these three C’s, you’ll be leading by example—showing others what an honorable leader looks like. You don’t have to be perfect, but you can be authentically vulnerable and transparent, honestly admitting your mistakes and correcting back to course. This leadership philosophy attracts and inspires followers everywhere—not just in POW camps.”

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