Autonomous power is seldom seen in America. Most things fall under committees. Checks and balances necessitate one group confirming (either approving or vetoing) the decisions of another. My woodworking is one of the few autonomous things left in our nation.
In my studio, I am the king. In my shop, I am the Lord.
Last night I discussed the power of airline pilots with my wife. I told how two weeks ago a couple of families were removed from a flight because the pilot didn’t like what they were talking about. That was it… game over… no discussion…. the decision of the pilot was law on that flight, and those folks were escorted off.
Likewise yesterday when Captain Chesley Sullenberger III, apparently faced the failure of both engines of his Airbus 320, he made the autonomous decision to put the plane into the Hudson River. There was no blue ribbon task force assembled. There were no focus groups consulted. Captain Sullenberger observed his situation, processed his alternatives, and had the cojones to follow the course he deemed appropriate. When I see that everyone walked away, I sit in judgment believing Captain Sullenberger did the right thing.
Leadership isn’t about pleasing people. Leadership is doing what has to be done, at the moment it needs to be done, and accepting responsibility for the decisions you make.
It’s easy to be a leader in my shop. The Monday morning quarterbacking from my dog Peyton isn’t all that nasty. It is a far more difficult position to be the leader of 150 folks on a plane. It is an unfairly brutal job to have the courage to lead 304 million Americans.
Regardless of the race, sex, or political affiliation of the person who sits in the Oval Office, he (and eventually she) deserves the respect of US citizens for having to call the ball daily on decisions that would make most of us curl up in a fetal position and cry for our Mommies.