Campus News

Stavridis discusses changing leadership in Signature Lecture

In his Oct. 17 Signature Lecture, James Stavridis quoted Napoleon Bonaparte, who once said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.” As he further outlined the qualities necessary for the changing environment, he emphasized the importance of developing hope and confidence.

“Hope matters,” Stavridis said, “and hope is a more powerful force than fear.”

Stavridis, a retired admiral from the U.S. Navy and former supreme allied commander of the NATO Alliance, delivered a talk titled “Geopolitics and Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus,” which was hosted virtually by the School of Public and International Affairs and the Center for International Trade and Security.

Stavridis, who is operating executive of The Carlyle Group, began his lecture by examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state of powerfully perceived countries and regions. He noted challenges and strategies countries will have going forward regarding trade, cyberforce, territory control and allyship.

According to Stavridis, the United States should continue to engage with the world.

“International engagement continues to be necessary, even during a time that challenges the conventional pattern,” he said.

Stavridis emphasized the importance of learning from this setback and added that many of the causal issues are due to the gridlock nature of the political environment within the response to the pandemic.

Stavridis discussed leadership tools, citing President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt was greatly challenged during his time as president from the Great Depression to World War II, but his ability to communicate with a calming and captivating demeanor assured future prosperity. His leadership capabilities, according to Stavridis, offer a rare union of innovative communication, attention to detail, team orientation, policy management and empowerment.

Innovation, which Stavridis described as “the ability to accelerate change,” continues to progress in a variety of areas that will affect geopolitics through military, technological and biological advancements. Innovation generates international competition, capability and influence.

As many countries continue to face ongoing issues, there is a clear role for organizations to assist with a collaborative effort, according to Stavridis. Collaboration is necessary at all levels of power.