My all time favourite TV series is M*A*S*H, a comedy/drama centred around the doctors and nurses of the 4077th M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War. The series was so popular that it outlasted the duration of the 3 year war, spanning 11 seasons and 251 episodes.

The strong characterisation and story lines presented thought provoking themes that provide an ideal platform for lessons on life and leadership. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, I'm sure you will connect with my leadership insights from M*A*S*H.

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES features bite-sized, candid insights that speak into the gritty space of leadership through the eyes of a fellow leader seeking to "lead with all diligence" (Romans 12:8).

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Heroic Leadership

Episode 34:  The Sniper

Hawkeye:   He doesn’t know we’re out here, but we know he’s in there, which gives us a good chance to catch him.

Frank:     Catch him?!...Look, if you want to be a hero that much, you go.

Hawkeye:   Frank, you know what a hero is?  99 times out of 100, he’s somebody tired enough and cold enough and hungry enough not to give a damn. I don’t give a damn.  Come on.

The 4077 is pinned down by sniper fire from a wayward North Korean soldier.  Margaret challenges Frank to be a real man and end the siege leading him on a heroic search for the sniper, but ending with Hawkeye finding him cowering out in the compound.

It seems to me that the actions of “heroes” are more instinctive than intentional and that given the opportunity to weigh up the pros and cons, would probably think twice before acting.  There is much about leadership that ought to be intentional, based upon well considered plans that weigh up the cost.  However, there are moments in leadership when circumstances require an instinctive response, based upon well grounded values regardless the cost. Leaders who shy away from conflict, crumble in a crisis or need a committee to make a decision when it really counts rarely make any real impact.  The leaders, past and present, who I consider to be among my heroes of the faith are those who have instinctively seized divine moments to advance God’s mission, usually amidst great opposition and personal cost.  One such heroic leader is quoted as saying, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can” (John Wesley).

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