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Leading With Honor

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Trenton, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Colonel Lee Ellis is the author of Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton. The book reflects the five and half years that he spent in a North Vietnamese prison camp and the skills he had developed while imprisoned.

Ellis took the time to discuss the political leadership in New Jersey and compared the principles in his book to that of Governor Chris Christie.

“I don’t know everything he’s done so far but I know he’s done some things right. And that is to take responsibility and to take action. Don’t do anything out of fear, come up with a strategy, and pursue truth and keep doing the next right thing. That’s all you can do,” he said.

Ellis gave examples of his time in the military and talked about how when he was confronted to collaborate with the enemy how he would refuse regardless of threat and torture.

“I would look them in the eye and tell them we are not going to do what you want us to do. And then confront our own doubts and fears because it’s terrifying,” he explained.

Ellis found the strength to stand up to these enemies through his commitment and the leadership of his superiors who were setting the example. This is a trait he admires in New Jersey’s governor who often displays control. Ellis offers advice for moving forward among the recent criticism.

“He must stay positive and he’s got to build a culture and pull that culture together about what the values are that we stand for,” Ellis said.

In the case of Christie it’s about using his courage to hold people accountable for their own actions even if it taints his administration. In essence, the media will pick politicians apart, but Ellis states that this is nothing new and it’s been going for a very long time.

When it comes to the oval office, Ellis has some life lessons for any presidential hopefuls. He said it’s most important to know who you are, what your values are, what you’re committed to, and how far your limits go. He expressed the importance of bringing people around you that have those same values to avoid being undermined.



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