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Three Leaders - One Virus

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

This morning I watched a video and found the message about leadership, fear and hope deeply inspiring. It aired on CBS Sunday Morning on 4.12.20 and is an interview with: General Stanley McChrystal, Retired Four Star General

Father Joseph McShane, President Fordham University Dr. Penny Wheeler, President and CEO Aline Health


Most Important Elements of Leadership Fr. McShane 1. Self knowledge 2. Know what your priorities are 3. Wise enough to ask for advice 4. Humble enough to accept it Dr. Wheeler - My job is to learn and get barriers to care or their growth out of the way. 1. Don’t be in denial of what the true situation is and get information from every vantage point you can.

2. Learn as much as you can from people closet to the work - there’s genius out there. 3. Collaborate as much as you can - communicate, communicate, communicate. General McChrystal - You have to care. You can pretend you care about the organization and your people but if it’s not true, over time, it will come out. There will be a difference between what you say and what you do. People will forgive you for not being the leader you should be. They will not forgive you for not being the leader you claim to be.

The Nature of Fear General McChrystal - Fear is natural. It is not a sign of weakness. Fear is usually good sense. Fear shouldn’t put us into inaction. It should be a motivator, something that causes us to be more cautious but not slower in the way we operate. Dr. Wheeler - Fear is an ailment too. We want to do what we do best, which is to care compassionately with our expertise in the lives of others. Healthcare is more about love than anything else.

Sharing Bad News Dr. Wheeler - Be as open as you can, appropriately contextual, not an alarmist. If people experience something different than what you’ve said before, the trust factor goes down significantly.

Sharing Truth About The Danger General McChrystal - Leaders have to be brutally honest with themselves about what the real situation is and what they’re trying to do. They must be extraordinarily candid with their followers - one it's a sign of respect and two it's essential for long term effectiveness.

As a leader I knew that if I was not honest, not straight forward and I put them in harms way, very quickly they would figure out that what I had told them was incorrect or understated, and they’d lose faith in me. The leader has to stand up. When it gets hard, gets morally questionable, physically dangerous, anything that tests the organization, the leader has to stand up. That means the leader may get killed, criticized or removed, but that’s the leaders job.

Sharing Concerns

Fr. McShane - I’m sharing the same fears, concerns and sadness that others are experiencing. In this very complicated moment, a moment of peril, there is great goodness that’s showing itself now, great heroism, great love.

Spark Of Hope

Dr. Wheeler - I wonder if maybe a new greatest generation will be born. That’s my greatest hope out of this, out of the collective we and what we will accomplish and go through together, something new will be born. That’s hope renewed.


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