AFCEA’s Signal Magazine Chief Editor, Bob Ackerman, hosted a recent “Five Questions” Series interview with Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Wow. I highly recommend this to anyone who has ever aspired to effective leadership in any capacity.
For those who are new to the Washington DC area, please be reminded that not too many years ago, stemming from violence in the decade of the 80s, and flowing into the 1990s, Washington DC was suffering from a “murder capital of the world” reputation. No matter if it was fully deserved or not, Chief Lanier had her work cut out for her when she took over as Police Chief in 2007.
What a great case study in a leadership. Yes, there were others who preceded her and supported her who enabled her make huge progress; but we can all learn from exemplary leadership when it’s exhibited. Here are some recorded answers, although not verbatim, they communicate the essence of here lessons on leadership:
Ackerman: What are the characteristics that mark a person as an effective leader?
Lanier: Personality and character… and qualities like persistence, positive attitude towards daily activities… and the application of that attitude during daily activities (such as level of commitment)… stand out quickly and differentiate a leader.
Ackerman: What is the most important skill in leadership?
Lanier: Communication, Communication, communication: sincere, relevant to the audience, persuasive and being able to build consensus.
Ackerman : Is there any way to facilitate this?
Lanier: The answer stems from one’s core personality… being able to convey sincerity and commitment and genuine caring… will make one effective.
Ackerman: When do you know that your leadership approach is working? What are the indicators?
Lanier: When you notice that the daily team is truly pulling their weight in all directions and there are working together and there is excitement towards the overall goal.
Ackerman: Leadership is built on success.. but what was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it.
Lanier: Not listening to my gut feelings when I believed I was correct ... and taking action as a result.
Ackerman: Who are your heroes?
Lanier: Only one: my own mom. She embodied dogged persistence and a positive attitude.
Folks, it does not get clearer than this, in any walk of life. Whether you are leading the generation of revenue in the Defense sector or intelligence community markets… or stopping murders in the nation’s capital, this is how to get the job done. We need more leaders like Cathy Lanier in this world.
My question to our readers: Have you been inspired by any quality leaders recently?