Upsize Your Leadership podcast, hosted by Dr. Mike Armour on the C-Suite Radio Network

Toppled Statues

The Inevitable Flaws of Great Leaders

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One of the weightiest questions in the study of history is how to judge leaders from the past. Not in terms of their military, political, or other achievements. But in terms of their character and morality.

Should their behavior be measured by our standards today? Or should they only be accountable to the standards of their own era?

Recently mob action has toppled several statues of renowned American leaders. The rationale for this action is tha the statue depicted a person who was guilty of grave immoral behavior, at least by today's societal norms, morals, and mores.

But what consequences ensue if we use that standard to determine which leaders from the past we respect and which ones we treat dismissively. The fact is, all leaders are flawed. They are, after all, human. In that regard, they are like the rest of us.

Great leaders, however, are men and women who, though flawed like the rest of us, had exceptional traits which set them apart from the crowd. And we can recognize those things which were exceptional about them without condoning the things which they did amiss. To do otherwise sets in motion a process which little-by-little robs us of the heroes whose example inspires us to become everything which we have the potential to be.