Serving as President of the United States in difficult circumstances ensures there will be times when he or she must give orders that are in the best interest of the country, even if it puts military personnel in harms way. It’s part of the job, especially when national security is at stake.
In the latest episode of television drama’s Designated Survivor, we find President Kirkman – the designated survivor-turned-president – in such a dilemma. He has given orders for the Navy SEALs to invade Algeria and capture a terrorist who is suspected of bombing the U.S. Capitol. Viewers watch the scene unfold through Kirkman’s monitor as the SEALs succeed. Mission accomplished!
Most striking to me, though, are Kirkman’s actions as the scene plays out. He’s nervous. His hands shake and his voice is even shakier. He is constantly being reassured. He appears to be happier that the SEALs escaped unharmed rather than completing the mission he ordered.
I appreciate the pure authenticity Kirkman shows leading up to and through the end of the mission. This is transparency at its finest. But to his staff and the remaining leaders of the government, his actions reveal a lack of confidence in his decision.
Being assured in what you do is a hallmark of an effective leader. Leaders are the most confident when they align their leadership to the overall strategy of the organization. To do this, leaders must understand their role and context within the larger organization. They must recognize and quickly react to change, and they must give clear direction when leading their teams.
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