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NEWS | Aug. 21, 2018

Commentary: The three 'C's' of leadership

By Gen. Gus Perna Army Material Command Commanding General

The Army has given me no shortage of leadership training and opportunities over my more than 30 years of service.

Having commanded at all levels, in organizations of all sizes, three traits have stood out as non-negotiable in leadership: competence, commitment, and character.

Leaders must be competent. They must know their business. Good leaders surround themselves with technical experts, not to avoid having to know what they know, but so that they can learn from them. Competence requires doing the homework, reading, and studying the craft. This never stops; competent leaders never stop learning and never stop developing, personally and professionally.

In the Army especially, but in every other institution, as well, leadership requires a commitment to the team and to the organization. Leaders must be passionate about their mission; that passion and commitment will resonate through the ranks.

Leaders must be the example for others to follow, and that starts with upholding the highest character -- legally, morally and ethically. In the Army, as in society, there is no room for morality issues. The American public expects and deserves a higher standard from Army Soldiers and leaders. There is no gray here. Leaders' character must never be compromised.

Competence, commitment and character -- three equal, but required traits -- none more important than the other. Leadership is both an art and science, and requires practice to hone, but mastering the three "C's" will provide a strong foundation upon which to grow.

(Gen. Gustave F. Perna became the 19th Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command Sept. 30, 2016. . As Commanding General, Perna ensures that AMC succeeds in its mission as being the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness to ensure dominant land force capability for the U.S. warfighter and our allies.)