Over the past few weeks failures in leadership abound. I am finding more and more evidence the ills of the world are caused by a lack of action, lack of direction and an absence of knowing what right looks like.
Take football coach Joe Paterno’s interview with the Washington Post. He tells the paper he didn’t know how to deal with the initial allegation of abuse.
“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was,” Paterno told the paper. “So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”
Imagine if one of his players came to him after getting in trouble or not reporting problems on the team and said the same thing. Paterno has taught generations of men how to act, how to play, and I am sure those skills have carried over to how they live. But when he was faced with a tough situation, he forgot all his lessons and punted.
How about this bit of leadership?
Did you see Rick Perry’s comments about the Marines pissing on the Taliban fighters? Perry told the NY Daily News the U.S. Marines shown on a You Tude video urinating on dead Taliban fighters were justing acting like “kids.”
According to the paper, he called the reaction to the footage “over the top” on CNN’s “State of the Union” show.
“Obviously 18, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often and that’s what’s occurred here,” Perry said on the show. “What is really disturbing to me is the over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military.”
Come on, man. Really? My first question when I saw it was where was the squad leader, platoon sergeant, and platoon leader? Look, we all know what right looks like. And that, my friends, was not right. Perry goes on to say it was not a criminal act. Kind of agree with him on that. But a stupid act for sure, and one that comes back to leadership.
I heard Herm Edwards on ESPN’s Mike & Mike. He was talking about how the Lions kept getting personal foul penalties and said it all went back to the head coach because either you teach that behavior or you condone it. Same goes for the Marines. Why did they even think that was something you could do let alone it was OK to do?
There have been all kinds of books written about how to lead and what it means to be a great leader. But for the past couple of months, most of our leaders have forgotten what it means to lead. And that is a shame.