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).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Second In Charge

Episode 51:  Officer Of The Day

Radar:      Company…order arms!  Company’s arms are ordered, sir.
Frank:    Now then, during Colonel Blake’s absence, I will act in his capacity.  So, if there are any problems, you may bring them to me or to our fine adjutant here, Major Houlihan.  Talking to the major is the same as talking to me since we are intimate with each other at all times.

In Henry Blake’s absence, Frank is acting Commanding Officer and Hawkeye is rostered as Officer of the Day.  During their temporary command, Colonel Flagg from Army Intelligence brings in a prisoner for treatment and Klinger is caught several times trying a number of unsuccessful attempts at desertion.

I learned a valuable lesson a number of years ago while catching up with our leadership team upon my return from holidays.   A significant issue arose in my absence that required immediate attention and a decision was made that caused unintended consequences.  It would have been easy to criticize the decision, but I realized in the moment that it was more important for me and the team to affirm the process leading to the decision and their willingness to lead in my absence.  When authority is delegated it needs to be backed if we are serious about empowering leaders, because “Leadership is not just what happens when you’re there; it’s what happens when you’re not there” (Ken Blanchard).  Affirming leaders when you are present and empowering leaders when you are absent expands your leadership influence, whether you are there or not.

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