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The Journal Gazette

July 08, 2016 1:13 PM

Retired colonel saw leadership through POW experiences

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Some of the most painful, challenging times can develop and sharpen leadership skills.

A retired Air Force colonel has written a book, sharing lessons from his service days that he suggests can translate into industry-oriented success.

"Engage With Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability" by Lee Ellis is scheduled for release in September.

Ellis, whose plane was shot down in 1967 over Vietnam, believes the five years he spent as a prisoner of war taught him invaluable leadership skills. He saw character, courage and committed from men he was around, despite difficult circumstances.

“They were tortured and beaten horribly, and yet, they continued to lead and stuck with their principles that they believed in,” Ellis said in a statement promoting his book. “The example that I saw in them made me want to be that kind of leader, and to realize the power of that kind of a leader to build a culture of success.”

Ellis has an assessment tool called the Leadership Behavior DNA Discovery Process that reveals a leader’s strengths and struggles in leadership. It assesses several traits, such as whether someone is more cooperative or take charge; reserved or outgoing; fast-paced or patient; cautious or a risk-taker; skeptical or trusting. The assessment may clarify an individual's tilt toward results or relationships.

The book also explores "dangerous impediments to accountability, including pride, fear, laziness, and negativity."

For more than 15 years, Ellis has served as an executive coach and corporate consultant in areas including hiring, leadership development and succession planning. He is president and founder of Leadership Freedom and FreedomStar Media.

lisagreen@jg.net