An Exercise In Leadership

SAM_0082A few years back my pastor took five or six of the men who were leaders in the church on a brief leadership exercise. The day was intended to strengthen their resolve to strive for unity in purpose and fellowship as well as sharpening their following and leadership skills.

This encouragement exercise would come from fighter jet simulators. The men would sit in a jet cockpit and communicate via radio with the other teammate, in another simulator, and with the control tower who would monitor the whole event. The pilot was to follow his team leader as they dodged “bogeys” and engaged in dogfight simulation.

flight1Richard, a retired motorcycle cop, was teamed with the pastor and the game began. As the enemy bogeys were encountered, the announcement, “Guns, Guns, Guns!” would be shouted and then the firing began as lasers traced the effectiveness of each pilot’s activity while following the team leader to avoid the enemy planes and firing on the same.

Richard’s call sign was “Cowboy” and he immediately immersed himself in the dogfight simulation. Through all the confusion and gyrations, Richard was letting his guns do the talking for him, shouting each time, “Guns, Guns, Guns!”

flight4In the heat of the battle, after firing a voluminous amount of bullets, the control tower came on and said, “Cowboy, you just shot down your team leader.” Richard didn’t hesitate and responded back, “I didn’t want to be the only one going down!”

They all got a big laugh out of it, but isn’t that just like our nature? Misery loves company, they say, and we hate to “go it alone” when there is trouble. But those men were leaders and the day was well spent.

Consider what can and does take place today in business, government and every walk of life. The blame game is played and it is always someone else who should bear the responsibility. If I remember correctly, it was Harry Truman who said, “The buck stops here.”

buck stops here

One of the qualities of a good leader is facing responsibility head on, working through problems and accomplishing the task. Let’s look for and support those kind of men and women. It will make our communities and country stronger.