Good Morning everyone, welcome back to Black Sheep Heritage, we appreciate all the love and support we’ve received this past year. Whether you joined at month one or month 8, all we can say is Thank You! Now, today I’ll be touching on a professional topic that both confuses me and eludes me in answer. Leadership? Is it declining in this day and age?
Now, this article will be filled with both professional observations and cited sources so not to worry!
Throughout this year, while building the Black Sheep brand, working through multiple back-breaking injuries, being a dad, working at a Charity Organization, school, and working with government organizations, I’ve continuously observed and deciphered the different leaders throughout my professional career.
If you’d read my about me you know I’ve worked for the NFL, Olympics, Hospitals, the Marines…etc, (click here for more), needless to say I’ve had 20 years working in many fields and many different organizations. But don’t let that fool you, I started off as nothing more than a humble brick layer at the age of 9. Throughout my lifelong quest/career, I’ve wondered what makes a great leader? What sets apart an individual, man or woman, to be a beast of burden and carrier of greatness all at the same time. We all know that becoming a leader brings a heavier load of responsibility while not always yielding equal returns.
So, this is what I came up with, a leader is not bound by predictably obvious scenarios or problems. No, leaders must be highly adaptable, self-aware individuals with a spark of creativity.
And yet, throughout my professional career I’ve found that would-be leaders are not always at the front or top of an organization, for many corporate facilities, it is those with the most “experience”, the most “time in position”, the most “networked”, and unfortunately those who are able to bend over backwards to “adhere” to corporate culture.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying an individual placed in said leadership position can’t learn to become a leader in time or with more experience and guidance. Hell, I love to hear of those at the bottom getting promoted because they show their company love and loyalty. However, the bigger question is, for this scenario, does the risks outweigh the benefit (and vise versa).
Much like our article on variables and paradigm, every situation is different and cannot be seen through the same lens.
However, the problem lies within the society, organizations, and the individual as a whole. From my many years of observation, along with reflections of my colleagues, we are now starting to see a problem that I call, “check off the box/list.” What I mean, is that companies are now beginning to treat this particular subject as a menial task just for the sake of saying you put in the effort.
To give an example, I’m sure many of you can recall a time at the beginning of employment of undergoing countless hours of online “training”, a so called training that many of us know is there to relieve the company of liability. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is a huge NO-NO within the Black Sheep community. Much like our previous Black Sheep, we hold our values higher than a paycheck and are not afraid to do what is right at the cost of what companies like to lord over us as “careers.”But not to worry, it is not up to us to decide the ethical dilemma of companies and organizations, I mean not yet anyways, not until we can hold ourselves accountable.
So, back to Leadership? Is it declining in this day and age?
Let me give you the 411 on this interesting predicament. Now, to be clear, most of the data I’m about to give you is coming from leadership in the medical, political, law, and professional sport industry. In the beginning of this article, I gave you my observational evidence of what I saw throughout my career, however, these next few sections are derived from research. These research articles will hit on either declining industries or the importance of leadership impact within said industry.
Over the past decade, we as a nation, have witnessed a sudden growth of technology, medicine capabilities, and entertainment. Throughout this Big Bang, we have seen many capital giants burst onto the scene with innovative and pioneering products or services.
From Amazon to Zynga, there are many in-betweens, yet throughout our capital gains we’ve created a demand for leaders. Hell, we’ve cried, fought, argued for leaders in this country. Even with a sizable amount of influencers, it seems that leadership is currently influenced by the all “inspired” dollar. Don’t believe me, this has been a long rooted system of bad decisions, but lets focus on leadership. We’ll touch on this next time.
First, and let me be clear, great leaders, are a sum of values, experience, and highly adaptable individuals with the communications skills that can give rise to revolution. And, most importantly, have the common trait of high levels of self-awareness not only in themselves, but everything in their environment.
Don’t get it twisted though, self-awareness does not always equate to control of their environment. No, they do the best they can with what they have and are able to innovate their own decision making skills in response to both their internal/external atmosphere. Much like Dr. Martin Luther King, great leaders are a rare commodity. They’re so rare that not only can they impact culture and ROI, they can also prevent death. Don’t believe me?!Well, funny enough, the military, well known for its leadership training, did just that by decreasing the overall deaths of preventable casualties on the battlefield.
After a statistical analysis of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 to 2010, researchers found that proper leadership had the most impact on saving a soldiers or marines life. Regrettably, the Department of Defense had a rate of 17% of KIA and 6% death from wounds at the time, but thanks to the organizational leadership and training, those numbers were reduced to 11% KIA and 2% death from wounds. This was a complete shock and revamp to previous statistical models all thanks to proper leadership. Think about it like this, if 100,000 brave men and women went to war, then we saved 6,000 from being Killed in Action and 400 from wounds.
As a fellow marine, let me tell you this makes all the difference. Nothing would matter more than being able to save more of my brothers and sisters than to die needless deaths. For more click here.
Lets look at more examples.
As time passes, we improve upon our processes and institutions, yet we still hit pit falls along the way. Any decent leader knows pitfalls are a great tool to reassess and innovate. This does not differ in hospitals, where the sole purpose is to save a life. This next research article analyzed top performing hospitals in the Cardiac Arrest unit. Of the 9 hospitals, 158 individuals, these researchers found that the difference lie in the leadership and practices held by each different unit. Heres the research, here, here, here, here, and here.
Let me be clear, although research does give us a great, much better picture of the subject in question, science teaches us that there is still much to be learned and that at times the research is not as infallible as they make it seem. Again variables! Think! Lets move on.
Categorically speaking, leadership has been past seen as a qualitative subject, but if the 21 century has taught us anything, its that sometimes its the intangible, qualitative items that matter most. It is visible in medicine, politics, and entertainment. Its most tangible in sports with team captains, industry leaders such as Elon Musk, and select individuals in entertainment such as The Rock.
Now let’s keep going with something more recent
As we know 2020 has been a rough year for all of us. No matter the race, gender or creed, we have all experience hardship, frustration, anger, and sadness. Unfortunately, some of us have lost more than others, but let us not diminish the fact that we’ve all been having a tough go at life no matter what side of the fence you’re on.
Little do many know, that these extreme times actually started to emerge in Wuhan, China, in the winter of 2019 (for those who may not have caught on, yes I’m talking COVID). This is when many reports began to surface of a strange respiratory illness. Regrettably, it wasn’t until late December, early January, that the virus would be identified as the novel coronavirus. Fast-forward to the present, today, the virus has spread to all major continents affecting over 30 countries.
In response to these dire circumstances, these countries hastily implemented measures to help contain the spread of the virus, unfortunately with mixed results. While some countries fared well, others did not. Countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan, and South Korea had much more successful countermeasures of the novel coronavirus due to solid, well prepared healthcare infrastructures, economic relief packages, and implementation of increased testing and tracing. South Korea for example, upped testing into the thousands while only having a few hundred cases, offered a huge stimulus package (Click here for more info), all the while keeping their economy relatively open.
The underlying theme in their success rate was proper consideration of the possible hazard lying in wait.
Evidence has shown us that proactive approaches can yield much better results then their reactive counterparts. For example, countries that took a reactive approach meaning they didn’t take the virus seriously have payed dearly, both in their political and economic ventures. It’s safe to say, that airing on the side of caution was the best approach when weighing out the risk to benefit ratio.
Let’s me give you an example of a reactive approach now.
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro, who referred to COVID as a “little flu” took a skeptical approach to the virus. Today, Brazil has more than 4 million cases with over 141,000 dead. Mexico, also led by a president who did not take the virus seriously, especially in the beginning, has more then 700,000 cases and over 70,000 deaths.
Let’s look at the US response.
When the virus first began to plague the United States, many political leaders on both the Democratic and Republican parties downplayed the virus. On one side, many claimed it to be a hoax, hell, several representatives took to wearing gas masks as a way of belittling the situation and deeming it unworthy. While on the other side, Nancy Pelosi, who is not well versed in health or any such guidelines, claimed that it was safe to visit China Town in San Fransisco. Bad move if you ask me! Furthermore, we have the leader of the free world, President Trump saying that the virus would simply disappear.
Unfortunately, this was far from the truth and a shocking reminder that these people are our leaders and idols to some. Present company excluded lol. But let’s continue…
With over 200,000 deaths, and leading the world in cases, the United States had a very weak initial response to the virus. Why? one answer, political leadership. In the United States, we are living in an age of divisiveness, where politics has influenced even science and misinformation has taken root in our every day lives.
Think about that for a sec, ask yourself this question, Leadership? Is it declining in this day and age?, and let me paint you a picture?!
Due to these issues, many haven’t taken the virus seriously, believe its a hoax, and pushed aside logic. I know it’s hard, it’s either you’re damn if you do or damn if you don’t in this kind of environment, but let’s think things through.
Let’s play Devil Advocate if you will. Or what I like to call let’s think like Black Sheep.
Let’s say this was a hoax, you aired on the side of caution and took necessary precautions, well, you’re alive aren’t you? You and yours are healthy. And to top it off you lost several months not several years or death. However, let’s say, it’s not a hoax, but it’s on par with the common cold, well people still die from a common cold. So, let me get you in on something I learned as a marine, “do whatever you can to bring you and your brothers/sisters home.”
Contrary to popular belief, many marines stay in the service because of their strong bonds with other service members. They don’t do it for honor or glory. Those are cheap words used in commercials to capture and intrigue poor unsuspecting souls. Lol I mean c’mon did you really think you were slaying a dragon (click here if you don’t know what I am referring too.)
Anyways, even if the percentage is small we do what we can to bring everyone home and I’m sure if you asked a fellow service member they would agree. Last part, let’s say this is as serious as they say. Well, that one is quite obvious isn’t, keep abiding by the fact not fiction and be on your way. You’re Black Sheep, this shouldn’t be too difficult to choose logic.
If further explanation is needed let’s talk please.
Back to the task at hand, Leadership? Is it declining in this day and age? who knows for certain, seems like it, but until some curious fellow or lass researches this wide topic throughout all industries, with all variables accounted for, will we know for sure. All we can do now is observe, and improve ourselves as Black Sheep. As leaders who think and adapt for what is not only best for themselves, but others as well, not for money, or fame, but simply for improving continuously. It is having high level of self-awareness and inclination for growth and participation that separates a leader from a boss or manager. Its, obvious isn’t it. And yet, were still messing it up. But not us right? No! We strive to be the best Black Sheep we can be! Until next time, thank you-The Black Sheep
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