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Chief David Brown's Two-Minute Take on Leadership

Former Chief of the Dallas Police Department David Brown led during the 2016 shooting of Dallas police officers, making tough decisions to save lives and helping the city heal in the aftermath. He talked with Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program scholars about his experience and the principles that drive him, and he offered his take on leadership after his remarks to the class.

Article by David O. Brown June 14, 2018

How do you define leaders, and what principles do you think are important to be a good leader?

I think leadership is the culmination and development of people to achieve high goals. I have this saying, ‘If you’re leading and no one is following you, you’re just taking a walk’. So you have to inspire people to follow you. That’s one of the characteristics that I believe is necessary to be a good leader.

In addition to that, I think you have to sincerely care for people and issues...I think it’s almost impossible if you don’t care about these issues and care about people.

The Stand-To program is focused on veteran leadership and how vets can continue to serve. Whether its veterans or police officers, after they’ve left service, why do you think their continued leadership is so important?

Leadership gets in your DNA. Once you get a little taste of this team-building and all the things it takes to accomplish these high goals, you get to the point where it’s who you are. You see the benefits of accomplishing these types of things that are difficult to the country. You can’t let it go, you can’t stop.

I ask myself the same question- how much is enough of being involved, of being helpful, of trying to drive and push the ball up the hill? It’s never enough. There’s always a need, and it’s to the benefit of others. That’s the most rewarding thing. It really is a priceless thing to be involved in an organization in any way, whether it’s military, policing, or even the corporate environment to where you achieve high outcomes that benefit people.