Leadership Part 3

“True leadership is not found in those that point the way, but is found in those who physically lead for others to follow…” — Rick Cox

Part 3

We discussed in the first part of this series the three ways people become leaders. The first was the Natural Trait theory in that there are those who rise to the top through the process of following their natural traits. These people are like the cream naturally rising to the top. We also learned the majority of those in this group never go beyond their natural gift meaning, they do not study and work to hone in their natural gift and turn it into a skill and as a result their natural gift, for the most part, never reaches true potential.

The second type was The Great Events Theory. These are the people who become leaders during an emergency, crisis or important event. I have seen this form of leadership nearly as often the first. I have a different name for this type of leadership however; I call it, situational leadership. These people are seemingly able to rise up in leadership capacity during any traumatic occasion, but may not otherwise exhibit leadership qualities. I commend these people for their leadership abilities during these times of emergency and crisis; without them stepping up, these traumatic situations would be much worse with disastrous outcomes.

Situational leaders are those who happen to be there when a home is burning or some other major disaster is occurring. They take the lead by being calm, cool and collected, all the while focusing on that which is necessary to avert disaster. They do this through helping as well as placing the safety of others ahead of their own. Previously, I said true leadership will put others ahead of self. Those who are true leaders always put others first. May I say there are some who rise up in these traumatic times putting themselves forth as leaders during times of crisis or emergency, but their motives are not pure and true. They are not there to serve but be served by the event. The outcome of most of these events almost always turns a bad situation worse.

Two events come to mind, both of which were caused by flooding. The first was the flooding of New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina. There were so many who sought to use this “occasion” to bolster themselves and further their own agenda. The results of this we all know. Many of the people who lived in New Orleans did not leave and would not evacuate. The politicians or “so called leaders” did nothing to offer guidance or direction. Entire neighborhoods and commercial developments were decimated. Lives were lost. In the end it became the fault of the federal government and not the fault of those political leaders in government in the state of Louisiana.

When you examine the situation from the outside, it is apparent there is no one in Louisiana that had any leadership capabilities therefore; they were quick to lay the blame elsewhere. The second was the flood in Iowa in 2008. A most interesting fact to know is there was more damage done in Iowa by far than that which was done in New Orleans yet, less loss of life. There was more damage in Iowa, but somehow less media coverage. Although the flood waters were much worse, situational leaders rose up to help thus, what could have been much worse wound up being averted due to the leadership shown by these amazing Iowa residents.

Then there are those I have watched who rose up when a death occurred in the family. Be it a man or woman, I have watched either take hold of the reins to see their remaining family through the crisis. Rising up, they became the strength, the bulwark, the corner piece of the family. They offered hope and comfort to family and friends never taking time to think of themselves. In my own experience there are two which come to mind: the first was our next door neighbor to our place in Lake Havasu City. Her husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctor gave him six months but he only survived four months. He had been the strength of his family, the glue that held it together and yet, he would soon no longer be around to make this happen.

To make matters worse, his wife on two previous occasions had “lived through” similar situations where her mom and dad were diagnosed with and succumbed to cancer. We thought she would fall apart and would not have blamed her if she had, but she rose up to see her family through this trying time. Reaching deep inside and pulling the family together she orchestrated and held a celebration of her husband’s life. To date, it has been the most inspiring celebration of life (funeral as it is called by many), I have ever attended.

The second was been my younger brother’s wife. My brother was diagnosed with a terminal disease known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s. Although he lived longer than most his body finally shut down and he passed on to a better life. My brother did everything for his family. He took care of all the bills, handled all of the decisions and ran all of his businesses. He did this because it was his desire to have his wife at home with their two girls and available to them during the day. As the reality of my brother’s passing came more into view, I wondered what she would do and how she would handle it all let alone their business. To my surprise she continued to rise up as my brothers condition worsened. She handled the entire decline of my brother’s health with grace and strength. She started looking over and after things including paying the bills. She began to make decisions for the business. After his passing she fought for what was rightfully hers. The amazing thing about her was she started as a situational leader, but progressed to a transformational one.

It has been my experience to find the best situational leaders in mothers, who by in large lead on a daily basis for it seems to be part and parcel of motherhood. We all know children need a leader, but it appears at times, the husband needs one as well. Just watch and you will find when entering a restaurant it is the mother/wife who is walking up to the desk to put in their name. Continue to watch and you will see it is the mother/wife who is also taking care of the children while putting in their name. During the entire time this is going on the husband is usually looking around, but not taking any responsibility or exhibiting any leadership. When things are not going well for the children it is usually the mother who exhibits the leadership thereby, showing the right path to follow. If there is a crisis, it is the mother who usually is found taking care of everyone else, but herself.

Situational leadership can “afflict” us all. The question is, are we ready to rise up and be counted as a leader? Are we willing to lead selflessly?

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox