There is no bigger responsibility than to be called on to be a leader of men. The job description requires a specific set of qualities that very few can uphold and even fewer get the chance to implement. What is always true about being a leader is that it takes a level of hard work, insistence and personal expense that will test and exhaust you. Although anyone who think they are ready to undergo the demanding challenge of becoming a leader certainly can do so, anyone who gets on this path needs to be prepared to be put through perhaps his greatest trials.

We can learn lessons from those like Martin Lloyd Sanders, who have passed the test, and use these lessons as a guideline if we are interested in going down this road. Here are the key qualities and lesson needed:

A Champion for Working Hard

If there is one quality that is consistent with successful leaders, it is consistent hard work. Whether it is a business head or an army general he must put in long and tiring hours to plan and implement winning strategies. He must align and motivate the troops answering tough questions and providing a winning spirit that they can cling to when times get tough.

He must be there when things are at their toughest to comfort and remind everyone that there is a larger goal and set of beliefs that guide them. A leader must undertake the work to get everyone on the same team and be prepared to go toe to toe with anyone who challenges your leadership.

Leaders are on the front lines and the first to hit the beach when it’s time to fight it out. They put other things aside to make sure that what is needed to be done to prepare everyone, gets done, This requires late nights and long weekends. They sleep in the offices or the trenches if needed and set an example that others can follow and be proud of.

Accepting Failure in Stride

Every leader fails and every good leader fails big. The best military leaders look at failing as part of the process that makes them stronger and better prepared for future battles. They take the position that each defeat gets you closer to success, so without them, there might not be a chance to win.

The greatest naval leaders have seen some of their most prized ships go down during a battle and have had to retreat on many different occasions. It is during these retreats that they are tested the most. They must call upon their courage but also their belief that they can and will win, just not today.

Failure has been one of the factors that stops many people from becoming leaders. They cannot handle the feeling or having to face the troops when they fail. But real leaders like Martin Lloyd Sanders know that failing builds character and if you handle it well. It also builds respect from those you lead. He has been a brave and valiant captain who has led his countrymen in many tough situations.

As he has, he has shown the best a leader can offer and the true qualities of leadership.