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).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Soldier On!

Episode 35:  Carry On Hawkeye

Hawkeye:   Let me tell you something “administration.”  You know that little shot you gave me for the flue?...Well, it worked.  I’ve got it.
Margaret:   Are you sure?
Hawkeye:    I’ve got enough nausea to light up the city of Toledo, OK?  First I’m hot, then I’m cold, and my knees are in business with themselves.  My tongue has gone cashmere and I’d like to find an all-night latrine that takes servicemen.  Now, have I got the flu or am I just in love?
Margaret:   Do you think you can operate?
Hawkeye:    I’ve got to.  What am I going to tell the casualties?  To stop bleeding until I feel better?

A nasty flu epidemic hits camp bringing down the majority of the medical staff leaving Hawkeye as the only doctor fit to operate. When he inevitably develops flu symptoms himself, he has no choice but to soldier on with the OR full of casualties.

Do you remember the television commercial for Codral Cold & Flu tablets? – “Soldier on with Codral, soldier on…with Codral you can soldier on!”  While it is important for leaders to look after themselves and take appropriate care in the rigours of leadership, there are times when one must simply ‘soldier on.’  I fear that the pendulum of leadership has swung so far towards ‘self-care’ that the fighting spirit of leadership has been weakened.  No one wants to see a leader burn out, but few are inspired by leaders who give up! During a particularly difficult season of leadership I found myself having a bit of a pity party.  As a person of prayer I cried out to God for sympathy and didn’t quite expect the response I got – “so, do you want to be a leader or not?” Leadership can be tough and there are times when it would be easier to withdraw, but effective leaders choose to soldier on, even when they don’t feel like it.

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