Virtuous Leadership at the US Army War College (Carlisle, PA)

On October 11, 2011 Alexandre Havard lectured to 425 senior military officers at the US Army War College (Carlisle, PA)

The military has a long and distinguished reputation for character formation and leadership training. What they specifically appreciated from Alex’s lecture was the distinction he made between virtue and values. Virtues come from within. They are habits of the heart, mind and will that give us strength of character and power for action. Values are outside of ourselves – things like family, love of country, duty, and service to our fellow man. These are great ideals, but they do not give us the strength and power to achieve them like the human virtues of self-control, courage, justice, prudence, and humility give us. Finally, they loved Alex’s emphasis on Magnanimity and Humility as the “virtues specific to leaders,” which Alex summed up as greatness and service. Alex told them you can’t have true humility without magnanimity and true magnanimity without humility. The two are tied together. The lose of understanding today about the true meaning of magnanimity leads to a deficient understanding about authentic humility. These military officers understand what it means to live for something greater than yourself, and that real leadership is not self serving but requires great sacrifice and understanding of the dignity of those you lead.  Alex’s illustrations and clarification of the two virtues of magnanimity and humility really connected with them. To give words and definition to what is deep within your heart can be a transformational moment for a person.
Lee Thomas