Progress always brings benefits, along with a combination of additional advantages and obstacles that require real solutions to address the problem, not the symptom. A critical component of leadership is to insure that, as advancements are made, they are well-managed during the process so the unintentional consequences can be addressed during the implementation and operational upgrades.
Stepping back in time, I am reminded of a quote from Ronald Reagan:
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
A benefit of being an American is that we are free to lead, but with that benefit comes a great responsibility of expectations to create a common vision or mission. Our leaders have to learn how to address and learn from failure. Another is how to deal with the responsibility of the power that comes with leadership, to identify and pull together a diverse set of skillsets. Leaders have the additional responsibility to create stakeholders from team members so they become legacy partners.
An example is how new parents deal with the short and long term expectations they have for themselves. They want to be perfect parents, but in reality there is no perfect parent. But first-time parents committed to being good parents need to recognize the importance of engaging a larger team that includes family and community, combined with a set of guidelines to manage expectations.
We have all heard the phase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The same is true of corporate and government leaders who make decisions every day that have an impact on the critical infrastructure services we enjoy. Leaders can’t experience success if they can’t lead a diverse team.
One phrase a mentor of mine shares is, “Be Here Now.” The intent of that statement is that leaders don’t have the luxury of checking out or passing the buck. Leaders step up to a challenge; they don’t look the other way when the ball is passed to them. An additional takeaway for me was to Be Here Now with my team.
One important lesson leaders continually need to remind themselves about is that if they are only halfway committed to the team or think they can do it alone, reality will step in to correct them. If they don’t adapt, they will be replaced as a leader. Along the way, the mistake can be costly, whether through unrealized potential of a child, loss of a project to a competitor, failure of a company, or even missed opportunities to address a terror threat that results in a loss of life.
Successful leadership comes from a team effort. I would encourage everyone to use the leader inside them to inspire the next generation of critical infrastructure leaders. We want to guide them to take ownership of their skills and talents as they dream, design, implement and operate the future of critical infrastructure systems.