As you read this...think about becoming the leader God would you be be, at work, at home, and even about your faith. Inspire others to become better by becoming better yourself. It's the right thing to do and it models the way for those around you.
Remarks by Senator John McCain at the Tailhook Symposium honoring the Centenial of Naval Aviation in Reno, Nevada
September 10, 2011
"Today, we hear a lot about ‘management’ and not enough about leadership. That worries me. One thing of which I am certain – there is a great difference between managers and leaders. Good managers are plentiful – in fact, our nation graduates over 150,000 MBAs ever year. But true leaders are rare. And believe me, there is a difference
--Leaders inspire people; managers, well, they “manage” people and assets.
--Leaders think about protecting and promoting their people; managers think about protecting their own careers.
--Leaders take charge and accept responsibility; managers often pass the buck to higher authority for fear of making a wrong decision.
--Leaders take risks when necessary; managers are taught to avoid risks whenever possible.
“Ronald Reagan was a leader – Jimmy Carter was a manager. Halsey, Nimitz, and Spruance were leaders. Henderson, McClusky, and Waldron were leaders. If any one of them had opted for caution rather than courage when their moment of testing came, the outcome at Midway would have been radically different.
“My father – who was not an aviator but knew something about leadership – used to say that technical experts are a ‘dime a dozen’. You can always find a man who can tell you how many foot-pounds of force are in a piston, or what the aerodynamic effects on a plane will be at a certain airspeed and altitude. But, he said, ‘The business of leadership is another matter entirely. It’s one of the most difficult subjects there is – to inspire in people subordinate to you, the desire to do a better job.’ That is where true leadership trumps management – in the art of inspiring others to perform far beyond their self-imposed limits.
“In recent years, I have often wondered if we have forgotten some of the more salient lessons of history, particularly as they apply to the development and selection of our military leaders. Have we allowed ourselves to be knocked off course to the point that we strive now to produce the ‘ideal manager’ rather than the next generation of true leaders? Have we focused too much on the strategy and tactics of the battle – and not enough on the leadership skills of those who really decided the outcome, not just at Midway, but at countless other critical battles throughout the past century?"
“I am at heart, and always will be, a Naval Aviator. It was my first profession and will always be my favorite. And just in case there is someone here tonight who does not understand why I place so much emphasis on leadership over management, let me be clear. The very nature of our profession demands it. No manager, however competent, will ever be able to inspire people to endure the hardships and make the sacrifices that we all know must come with Naval Aviation. Enduring those hardships and making those sacrifices is the price we pay for the privilege of defending our great nation.
“So as we celebrate the centennial of Naval Aviation and begin to contemplate the next 100 years, I encourage all of you to look back on those who led us through our first century. I urge you to study their lives and their leadership styles. Then strive to be like them. Learn to inspire the men and women who work for you. Learn to lift them up, to give them meaningful responsibility, to allow them room to grow, and yes, even to make mistakes. Be slow to judge, and remember that many of our most gifted leaders would never have survived in a ‘one strike’ or ‘zero defect’ environment. If instead, your style is to be quick to criticize, slow to praise, and you are unwilling to forgive, I urge you to seek a different profession. And if you have not yet learned the power of redemption, I encourage you to read the biographies of Nimitz, Halsey, Boyington, Henderson, McClusky, and Waldron – just to name a few.
“Now as I look around the audience – at some of the younger faces – I see another reason why I love Naval Aviation. I can imagine myself, 50 years ago, sitting in this audience, with a wide grin on my face, because I knew I was very lucky to be in this position. I envy you, with your ability to do the same things I did, only better. I can’t turn back the clock, but I can live a little vicariously through you. Make us proud. Make us better. Our future belongs to you now. Make the next 100 years of Naval Aviation something old ‘Slew’ and John Waldron and Wade McClusky would be proud of.
“Thank you and God Bless.”