The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground. —Sir Winston Churchill
One of the clearly observable characteristics of Winston Churchill was that he was a person who led out of his strong personal convictions. As one famous example, he distrusted Hitler from the start, warned his nation and the world of the danger Hitler represented, and never wavered from this clear initial position. During the same time-frame, other world leaders wavered from non-concern to awakened concern when later the evil intentions of the Fuhrer had become blatantly clear to everyone.
Simply defined, the word “conviction” in this context means a strong belief or persuasion. It indicates that the individual has a point of view that serves as the “North Star” in their leadership position.
There are numerous other examples throughout history of leaders in government, industry, education, and social concerns who each possessed the quality of strong personal convictions. As we survey history, it may not be overstating it to assert that no leader has effected positive (or negative) change who lacked strong conviction. And therefore looking forward we could likely assert, by extrapolation, that only those who demonstrate strong personal conviction are the ones who are likely to achieve real momentum resulting in measurable practical leadership impact.
The consequential consideration for each of us as we ponder this characteristic and its meaning is this: There is substantive value in sorting out our own sense of what we believe and, thereby, in clarifying for ourselves and others the priority of own personal leadership convictions. The questions that follow are simple, if not straight forward: What are my convictions? Do they play out in my role as a leader? In what way?