Don’t Wait To Be Called; Mobilize Others; Take Risks

Three Characteristics of How Leaders Respond in a Crisis

I was checking in with a friend of almost 20 years who lives south of the city of Houston. When hurricanes come to Houston, they usually hit him first. So, we were checking on each other. That’s what friends do.

He also mentioned during our conversation that I was probably developing several leadership articles from the events and activities over the last 6 days. He was right. I wrote one before the rain even began to fall. A friend provided a symbiotic article on Monday. And here we go on Thursday night with some of my thoughts so far on leadership lessons from Hurricane Harvey.

What does real leadership look like in a crisis?

I have a friend. His name is David. Actually, he is really an acquaintance. In fact, I haven’t ever actually met him in person. Although I would certainly like to. I would like to shake his hand and tell him what an amazing leader he is. For I have been following his exploits on Facebook for the past 6 days.

Houston is not your typical city. We are deeply independent and we believe in the value of self-reliance and responsibility. So, while many in similar circumstances would sit and wait for the police, fire, or other government entity to come and rescue those in need, folks like David dive in (literally!) and rescue those whose lives are in danger.

Watching David over the last 6 days has shown me a few things about leadership in new and fresh ways. Here are some things that I have watched over the time that Hurricane Harvey was wreaking havoc on Houston.

Leaders don’t wait to be called

The rain was still falling. In fact, we were still in the worst of the storm and David, a former special operations combat veteran, left the comfort of his own home and grabbed his gear and waded out into the water and then swam to trapped folks and began to rescue them.

No one called David. At least not externally. He was called by an inner voice that told him to get up, go out, and use his unique skills for the sake of his fellow Houstonians. Day after day he would perform heroic acts and then report back to his wife via Facebook about his rescues and recount not the heroics, but the humor and craziness that he experienced throughout the day.

No one called him. He just went.

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The Holy Trinity of Combat

Leadership Lessons from Special Warfare

The Holy Trinity of

First and foremost, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. I recently received my Merry Christmas and “Year in Review” from a friend and former teammate, and was reminded of some things that I hadn’t thought about in a while. I thought there was a leadership lesson in there as well. Plus, this is the perfect time of year to consider three things.

In the special warfare community, there is something called, “The Holy Trinity of Combat” and it is Buddies, Weapons and Options. I am going to try and explain them in the next few paragraphs and apply them to leadership so please bear with me for a few more minutes. I promise there is a point here.

First, there is BUDDIES. This applies to our teammates. Where are they? Where are they in relation to the enemy? And last but not least is what is our ability to fight? This was first in our trinity because it was important to know where your teammates are, where are they in relation to the goal and what is everyone’s status or injury? Chances were always good we were outnumbered so moving and fighting as a team was paramount.

What is the leadership point here?

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A Leadership Mission . . .  Statement 

Leadership Mission Statement - 1As I have mentioned before, I am involved in a men’s biblical study at my church.  It is the book “Stepping Up” by Dennis Rainey.  Its good stuff and I suggest it, if anyone is looking for something.  One of the things I like about it, is it could be adapted to anyone in any walk of life, including young men.  Last night we had some discussion on a mission for our lives, this turned into a discussion that maybe we should write a mission statement for our lives.  On the drive home, it occurred to me, that maybe to be a leader, you needed to have a mission statement.  More on that in a bit . . .

Where I developed the vast majority of my leadership skills and techniques, our missions were given to us.  We were never really privy to how they were selected, or who selected them.  However it was up to the team members to develop the plan for achieving a successful mission.  Now we always had some operating parameters that we had to deal with, “rules for the playground” we called them, but rules nonetheless.  So our typical mission briefing was — Here is the objective, Here are the support options, How do we get this done? Then there was typically an hour of how, what, why and when questions.  My point is only that the goal was ever revealed to us in that setting.

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