Somali pirates

Somali pirates

FORWARD: This writing is completely non-political, in spite of appearances to the contrary.  It is simply my general observations and comments on true leadership and executive skill in political and military arenas.

It was prompted by an email I received concerning the apparent lack of leadership in the recent handling of the Somali kidnappers by our Commander in Chief.

This compelled me to throw in my own “two sense“about the way I see it.

In business, there is a definition of leadership, commonly shared and agreed upon among those experienced in the field.

In its essence, true leadership in an organizational role involves:

(1) establishing a clear vision,

(2) communicating (sharing) that vision with others so that they will follow willingly,

(3) providing sufficient information, knowledge, and methods to realize that vision,

(4) coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all of those involved, and

(5) possessing the ability and willingness to get it done!

A leader comes to the forefront in case of crisis, and is able to think and act in creative ways to resolve difficult situations. And most importantly, he or she is a stabilizing influence and is willing to act in such a way to get something done.

Point (4) is particularly relevant in the instant case of the Somali pirates kidnapping the Captain of a U.S. merchant ship earlier this month.  The Somali pirates obviously had their own interests in mind which were in direct conflict with the interests and purposes of our military forces.

Our Commander in Chief was presented with the way to “balance the conflicting interests” – but he was not ready drop the hammer when the chips were down.

As it turned out, those “conflicting interests” were resolved terminatedly in our favor.  But, absent the one person willing to observe, decide and act decisively in the face of the clear and present danger, (the unnamed Navy officer), the outcome might have gone terribly wrong.

As is apparent, any group may have many good fellows; this does not give success. Any group can see and agree that something needs to be done; this does not give success. Any group can come up with plans, programs and strategies; this does not give success.

The group without an individual in the drivers seat, with the willingness and ability to lead in good times as well as bad, is no more effective than a group of casual friends . . . without a clear and effective leader, nothing gets done!

In the final analysis, good leadership requires the willingness to give the order necessary to implement any particular step of a program.  This commonly requires an individual who is looking out for the welfare of the group first, and themselves second – as in the case of the unnamed Navy officer.

When the one holding the title of “executive in charge” is unwilling or unable to assume the responsibility to give the order, we have only unexecuted, insipid leadership.

True leadership comes unbidden from an individual willing to hold a position, see what needs to be done, and who possesses the requisite testicularity to give the order when it needs to be given.

In the end, a true leader is one who can do what they’ve got to do when they’ve got to do it and get something done!

Sadly, this is quality is singularly missing in our current political “leaders” –  focused only on self-preservation and re-election.

It’s a good thing we’ve still got some military commanders who still value an demonstrate the qualities of true leadership.

daniel w. jacobs
(c) 2009 – 2020, all rights reserved


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