Of course I’m talking about inner strength, not physical ability (although physical health is important for leaders). What are some of the types of strength that leaders should possess to be effective?
When I think about character, I draw on Aristotle’s cardinal virtues: Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance, and Justice. How do these virtues represent the character strengths of a leader?
Fortitude, or Courage, is an easy one. A leader needs courage to lead effectively -- the courage to stand by his or her convictions, the courage to take calculated risks, and the courage to do the right thing. Followers also need courage – the courage to stand up FOR and support their leaders when they are doing the right things, and the courage to stand up TO their leaders when they are wrong or doing the wrong thing.
Prudence, or Wisdom, is another cardinal virtue. The character strength associated with Prudence involves questioning the validity of your personal perspective, or your preferred way of doing things. Instead, the prudent leader listens to and considers others’ input. It takes strength to say, “I was wrong, and she is right,” when you are in a leadership position.