This I told my children
, now grown. Some I heard from my father. Others I picked up along the way. I value them; you may or may not.
Leadership is having enough energy to anticipate events
and act in an ethical effective manner. Continuously ask, "What's next?" And then do something about it. Don't drift.
Leaders help teammates achieve their best, and protect the weak. They make it a habit to be aware. Leaders have good judgement - that is, they can quickly and accurately size up the value of something or someone. And they can smell a rat. Leaders trust, but verify.
Leadership means "doing something about the situation," i.e., summoning the discipline (or fortitude) to act. That is, when you detect something wrong or out of place, summon the will to act. Investigate the odd instead of shrugging your shoulders - it is indicative of something amiss and needs action. That is leadership.
Anticipate continuously and take appropriate, commensurate, timely action - keep your head
in the game
, play to win. Leaders shouldn't drift - remember Omar Sharif chastizing Peter O'Toole for dozing on his camel in "Lawrence of Arabia?" Be alert. Think! Or rather force yourself to think - even when you're tired, hungry, or hurt. What's next, and then what? You cannot lead if your teammates are frequently a step ahead of you.
Leaders care for teammates, doubly in harm's way. Stress safety
preparedness. Certainly be bold, but make sure you know where the fire exits are located. ALWAYS have a contingency plan, or two. "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
gang aft agley..." - Burns
Leaders are responsible for the safety
and well-being of their teammates. That means willing yourself to act when it is all but impossible. Don't give up when on the water
; as long as there is pain, you're alive, and that is a good thing. "...keep your head
when all about you are losing theirs..." - Kipling.
Show consistency between voice and action. Be clear that you will stick by a teammate as long as he is right, but part with him when he is wrong; leaders do not defend the absurd. But refrain from correcting your teammates in public. Tennyson phrased it: "...by slow prudence to make mild a rugged people, and thro' soft degrees bring them to the useful and good..." And admit when you are wrong.
My assertion is: If you can do at least three of these things very well, and the others well enough, then you will gain the respect of others. Good luck.
P.S. Christopher wrote of William F. Buckley in "My Old Man and the Sea", "Great men always
have too much sail up."