We comment endlessly on the performance of our federal, state and local leaders in the time of COVID-19. It is perhaps time to discuss what successful wartime leadership at the top levels looks like without discussing individual personalities so that we have a common standards with which to measure them. I offer the following:
The characteristics of success at the highest level leadership in times of crisis include:
- Remain calm in the face of the enemy.
- Possess training and experience at lower levels of command to understand the characteristics and implications of leadership success and failure or, less often, find oneself to be naturally gifted without such preparation.
- Have a strong belief in oneself.
- Be able to inspire or command the support of enough skilled people to achieve victory.
- Be able to sort through strategic options offered by staff to choose the right ones in roughly the right order.
- Be more concerned about strategic results than tactical ones.
- Maintain the strategic picture in the face of sequential narrow advice by specialists/
- Be a master of messaging and presence to inspire one’s own forces and create fear in adversaries.
- Harness personal ambition to deal with an existential threat
All of that adds up to being a supremely skilled patriot. A great leader must not be a master of all of these, but certainly most. Badly implemented, these characteristics can existentially threaten. Appropriately harnessed, they produce greatness.
— James C. SherlockThere are currently no comments highlighted.