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West Point Cadets
West Point cadets and instructors

West Point Cadets

A group of 13 cadets and four instructors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point take on the weekly 'On Leadership' questions. Who better to explore the gray areas of leadership than members of The Long Gray Line?

Public displays of character

Q: As the de facto leader of Golf Inc., how did Tiger Wood perform at Monday's pre-Master's press conference? What did he need to accomplish to resuscitate his brand? What lessons could other embattled leaders, such as the Pope and GOP chairman Michael Steele, draw from Tiger's handling of the press?

Monday's pre-Master's press conference not only served as a defining point in the progression of Tiger Woods as an individual, but revealed to the world the composure and empathy needed to manage difficult matters of public interest.

Sincerity was key in determining the success of his press conference, as his previous public appearance, when he read his public apologies from a piece of paper, left many speculating about the authenticity of his remorse.

The Tiger Woods present at Monday's press conference, however, seemed more confident and sincere. He displayed a sense of calm despite rigorous and highly personal questioning from the media, and he demonstrated his empathy toward his family and other players on the tour. This public display of character was important for Tiger Woods to win back the eventual love and support of his fans.

Leaders, such as the Pope and GOP Chairman Steele, could learn from Tiger's composed and empathetic demeanor, which he invited the world to witness. A true leader not only accepts responsibility for his or her actions, but takes responsibility for the misconduct of their followers as well. Leaders do not seek to blame others for their recent misfortunes, but instead seek to rectify them in any way possible.

Monday's press conference serves as proof of Tiger Woods' true commitment to repairing not only his individual self, but his public image through action. -- Cadet Lawrence Brown

Rebuilding a leader

Tiger's stand in front of the press was both humble and thought provoking. His response concerning his immoral behavior a few months ago should be applauded. The first thing he needed to do to resuscitate his image was to admit that his past actions were wrong!
He has accepted full responsibility, and I feel it takes a courageous leader to put one's self in front of the world's stage, admit that he has made a series of mistakes, and is ready to face the consequences for it.

The difference between Tiger Woods and the GOP chairman is that Tiger is taking a serious look at himself and reflecting on how far astray he has gone from his core values and beliefs. He has destroyed his carefully crafted image and hurt so many people who love and care about him; however, Tiger has listened to the critics and has taken the steps in rebuilding himself as a human being.

I do not believe the GOP chairman has truly faced his audience and admitted that there have been discrepancies in his behavior. On the contrary, he seems opposed to addressing the accusations directed against him and his party and instead wants the media to believe they are directing negative attention toward him because of his race!

As for the Pope, I believe the media has spun a web of accusations without acknowledging the facts. The Vatican has admitted that, like Tiger Woods, it is ready to answer to the critics and accusations as long as they are just. -- Cadet Melvin Walker

Time to stop caring -- about your reputation

Tiger Woods addressed the media with complete honesty and sincerity Monday afternoon. After being dropped by his sponsors, the best thing Tiger could have done to regain the support of his sponsors was... to not care about his sponsorships at all.
In response to a question, he said, "It's that it's not about the championships. It's about how you live your life." His display of commitment to something larger than golf and larger than his own reputation indicates the level of personal growth Tiger has undergone in the past few months. Already he is beginning to amend his relations with the public.

It is evident when leaders apologize and their words are not sincere -- it's something the public can sense immediately. Such leaders might continue to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse within their own organization or take advantage of the limelight to promote a personal book. There can be no compromise between a leader rationalizing his actions while still projecting an image of remorse.

The best thing the Catholic Church can do right now is to neglect its reputation. Instead, it should focus on genuinely caring about its people and improving the institution. The best thing that Chairman Steele can do is amend his relations with the GOP instead of rationalizing them and promoting himself by writing his own book. Take a lesson from Tiger. With sincere efforts, their reputations will improve with time. -- Cadet Katie Miller

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

By West Point Cadets

 |  April 6, 2010; 10:36 AM ET
Category:  Wrong-Doing Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The world fills and empties very quickly. Fools and their money were lucky to get together in the first place. Wealth can be harmful to your health, so retreat rather than fight. Killing ourselves over these nothings and unfaithfuls.

Posted by: tossnokia | April 6, 2010 1:05 PM
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