If I were to ask you to imagine a heroic commander of a 100,000-man army what would your mind’s eye see?
Would you picture a 42-year-old, awkwardly-tall, pear-shaped, over-weight guy?
Could you imagine someone who was a failed teacher, failed insurance salesman and a failed real-estate developer?
Well, that was Lieutenant General Arthur Currie.
During WW1, Currie was the Deputy Commander of the Canadian Corp during the Battle of Vimy Ridge and became the Commander of the Canadian Army in Europe. Postwar with his high school education in hand became the Principle of McGill University.
This isn’t a retelling of a great moment in Canadian history. It is a story of a relative under-achiever who rose to face an unbelievable challenge and the lessons for the rest of us mere mortals.
There is only so much space in history for an Eisenhower, Churchill or Caesar and history is replete with unnamed regular folks like us who work hard and play our parts in achieving greatness.
Here are five characteristics demonstrated by General Currie, and all people, who become great leaders in their own time & right?
Uncompromising Integrity. Do not cut corners or cheat. Though others may be smarter, more forceful, and more creative, never compromised in your work and life.
Work Hard. Often when others play or waste time, continue to work. Feel like they are stealing from the company unless you give your best efforts.
Be Personally Responsible. Never blame employers and employees or complain because someone else in the organization was recognized or received a promotion.
Be Decisive. Know that slow decision-making is poor leadership and that analysis paralysis can kill an effort. Instead of living in fear of making the wrong decisions, move forward just as soon as you have sufficient information, not complete information.
Read about making decisions
Read. Good leaders read books, articles, and anything they could to make them a better person and a better leader. Ordinary men and women became extraordinary through constant and continued learning, regardless of the sacrifice.
Like General Currie, most of us are not the smartest, the best educated, or most articulate.
But Like Currie, we can hold high principles & work hard, and through these character traits, we common men and women can become extraordinary leaders.