28 Oct Leadership is Not a Knee Jerk Reaction
Last week I flew to Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Last week an innocent soldier was intentionally run over in Quebec.
Last week he was 53.
Last week an innocent soldier was gunned down in our Nations Capital.
Last week he was 24.
Last week I turned 44.
Like all of you; my life has been littered with hard times and good times, gut wrenching times and exhilarating times. Unique moments and awesome adventures, mind bending pain and escaped accidents.
There were many heroic efforts on October 22, 2014 in Ottawa. The people who ran to Corporal Cirillo’s aid, who performed CPR, who spoke kindly to him as he approached death with calming thoughtful beautiful words of love, who called 911 and who focused on him and not the shooter, and more importantly, did not focus on themselves. They were leaders.
Tragedy shines a light on leadership. Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is a decorated Police veteran who is in charge of Parliament Security. Kevin Vickers shot and killed the terrorist who was wreaking havoc on October 22, 2014. I imagine the possibility of an event of this nature crossed his mind. I can imagine that his training prepared him for that very moment when the shooter entered Parliament. I can imagine that he thought no more than a second, if that, before retrieving his gun and marching into the unknown; I can imagine that he did not consider his own personal safety. I can imagine that he considered the safety of everyone else. That’s leadership.
People who know Mr. Vickers from his policing days said ‘he was always different. He wasn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to work. He was a professional. And for him to use force, it would have had to have been life or death.’ That’s leadership.
Leadership is not a knee jerk reaction. Your job is to be ready. Your job is to be prepared. Your job is to be trained. Your job is to do the dirty work, the hard stuff, the risky stuff, the stuff that will use you and the stuff that will make you better. Because ultimately, it is not about you.
Leadership is not just knowing the right thing to do, its knowing it and doing it.
When you know the right thing to do, and you do it no matter the cost to your own personal safety – that’s Leadership.
Selfless acts of bravery. That you take the risk, for the betterment of the whole. That you sacrifice so that others won’t have to – that’s leadership.
For people to follow you, they have to know that you are willing to do anything to help them, protect them and keep them safe. As much as Mr. Vickers does not want to be held as a hero, he is, and he is because he acted in a selfless manner to improve and make better the situation for the whole no matter the personal cost. That’s leadership.
There are often so many good examples of leadership found in tragedy. I encourage you to look within your own team or organization and ensure that the bullies (or dare I say, without minimizing the reality of our world, terrorists), know without any ambiguity that if they will not respect you or your team or your company that they are not welcome. And that you will not tolerate nor be intimidated by their manipulation and violence as a method to control you. You will not be bullied.