This last week Iâ€™ve observed how individuals and organizations have responded to the tragic loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. It began shortly thereafter with President Obamaâ€™s remarks on Friday, â€śWeâ€™ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few yearsâ€¦ As a country we have been through this too many times. Whether itâ€™s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children and weâ€™re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.â€ť
As I heard the words my immediate thought was â€śgun controlâ€ťâ€”and that heâ€™s really sticking his neck out on this one. I hoped it wasnâ€™t just a knee-jerk reaction. And then my mind drifted to the topic of leadership, and thatâ€™s where it stuck. Good leaders take a well-reasoned stand and act to make it happen. This takes courage, an essential leadership element.
The following Tuesday Cerberus Capital Management LP, owner of the Freedom Group which made the Bushmaster rifle used by the shooter in this tragedy, announced that it will sell the group. While the motives of the sale may be many, the important point is that Cerberus is also taking a stand and moving forward. Thatâ€™s leadership.
So when a time of crisis emerges remember that itâ€™s time for you to earn your paycheck and your stripes. Ask for opinions, remain open for a while and then begin to formulate options and strategies. You donâ€™t need to be 100% sureâ€”thatâ€™s analysis paralysis, but once youâ€™ve got a good feeling about the path forward lay out the steps to make it happen, including clear concise communications and go!
- Times of crisis are when leadership is needed and desired
- Listen, learn, determine options, then choose and take the position
- Communicate the path and reasons behind it
Keywords: leadership, courage, communication
- Iacocca, L. (2007). Where Have All the Leaders Gone? New York: Scribner.
- Spreitzer, G. M., McCall, M. W., & Mahoney, J. D. (1997). Early identification of international executive potential. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(1), 6â€“28.