Be, Know, Do: Character Matters!

Courage — not complacency — is our need today. Leadership not salesmanship. — John F. Kennedy

Last night’s final presidential debate could not have illuminated any more clearly that character matters. It makes no difference which side of the aisle or issue you stand to understand that we need our world leaders to demonstrate strength of character- to stand up for what they believe in-  to have an opinion and to fight for it and build upon their convictions. This is the least, not the most, we should expect from a leader.

And the words and actions of our leaders need to match.  Consistently. This is a basic essential leadership trait. In the long run the only way to win trust, loyalty, and create the necessary culture to ensure our safety and well being is to walk the talk.

We don’t need to look any farther than our military to understand how basic character is to leadership. According to the The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual or the book on the model, BE-KNOW-DO, Leadership The Army Way  the model is simply this:

BE –The “Be,” are the internal qualities of the leader that are possessed all the time. These qualities make up the character and identity of the leader.  They give you the courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances or the consequences.  As part of BE, you should be aware of your personal core values as well as your organization’s values.  For the Army, their values are:

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage

KNOW – “Know” refers to the knowledge of tactics, technical systems, management of people and resources. As the leader serves in different areas of responsibility, his knowledge increases. This is about the knowledge and skill sets you need to be competent as a leader and cover four areas:

  1. Interpersonal skills
  2. Conceptual skills
  3. Technical skills
  4. Tactical skills

Your mastery of the knowledge and skills required for your role are essential to the success of your organization.

DO – “Do” is the action of leaders. Combining character and knowledge, the individual must then act and perform his job as a leader.  They bring together everything they are, everything they believe, and everything they know how to do to provide purpose, direction, and motivation.  This involves the following three leader actions:

  1. Influencing
  2. Operating
  3. Improving

It’s not rocket science folks. This is the basics of leadership 101!

It’s the extra-ordinary leader who has creativity vision- who can see how the world can be and works relentlessly to realize it. While it may not always seem romantic or exciting to watch a real creative leader chip away at a square block of marble, slowly uncovering the beautiful sculpture concealed within, it is the only way true progress is made.

Let’s keep chipping.

About Lisa Canning

“Vowels are to words what creativity is to the world~ basic and necessary.”

Lisa Canning is the founder of IAEOU, the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship (IAE) and Entrepreneur the Arts.

What motivates you to explore your creativity? Follow me @IAEOU


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  • Emma

    In any profession or undertaking, a good attitude always stands out. There are entrepreneurial characteristics that one should possess in order to achieve success. Character is reflected in how we conduct business and how we treat others.

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