Recently I read an article that touched my heart. It was about a simple gesture of respect that turned a potential insurrection into a peaceful withdrawal. It served to remind me that respect in all stations of life comes in many forms. It does not require the same language nor the same cultural background. What it does require is an understanding of the human heart and human needs.
It reminded me once again that the primary atom of leadership, is a based on a nucleus of respect.
Adapted from an article in the New Yorker 17 Jan 2005: Battle Lessons by Dan Baum
In April of 2003 a group of American soldiers walked down the road in NadjafÂ towards the holiest Shia mosque in all of Iraq. Their intention was to liberate the city. However, Iraqi agitators had spread the lie that these American troops were going to seize the mosque and take the cleric prisoner.
Within minutes hundreds of Iraqis began pouring out of buildings and doorways on either side of the troops on the road to the mosque. They pressed in on the troops - shaking their fists and screaming. Their rage was palpable - visceral and it was closing in on the troops.
Seeing the danger, an American officer stepped through the crowd. He raised a rifle over his head and turned the barrel intentionally to the ground as he said to his men, "Smile." Then he added, "Take a knee." It was an old sports term that meant kneel.
The soldiers looked at him as if he was crazy. And then slowly, one by one, their bulky 60 to 100 pound back packs swaying on their backs, they went down on one knee their rifles pointing to the ground, before the enraged crowd.
A hush quickly fell over the crowd and the anger dissolved. The officer ordered his men to retreat. They quietly turned and slowly walked back to where the officer directed them. With his men out of danger, the officer turned to the crowd and bowed his head in acknowledgment.
Months later the officer, Lt Colonel Hughes was asked by a reporter how he knew what to do, and was he trained to do that, and was it specific to the Iraqs - this holding the rifle down and taking a knee?
Hughes was perplexed, he said it could have turned into an uprising. But what it really needed he said, "was a gesture of respect".
It seems to me that at the heart of this story is a lesson in leadership. In so many of our daily dealings with people what is really needed is a simple gesture of respect. For maybe the rope that binds us as human beings is made of many strands of various gestures of respect woven over time.
My lack of activity in the blog for the past few weeks is directly linked to the hard work I have been putting into my first eSeminars. My learning curve has been steep and I have certainly been stretching my Comfort Zone as I embrace this new training medium.
Back in November 2009 I locked myself away with Lynne and David to develop the eSeminar plan. I agreed to a big schedule, little did I really know how big a schedule I had agreed to until I was in the middle of producing the programs.
I see the movement of my work to this new remote training model as the biggest and most exciting step for me from the past few years. I am really just starting to understand the power of remote training and how I can transfer my message to this new medium.
I guess that you too might be wondering about this whole eLearning thing and that I am doing. Each of my eSeminars is something like 30-45 minutes of video and audio. Once you are registered I email the notes, handouts and worksheets before the eSeminar is made available. In some of the eSeminars you will also need to have completed some activities before the session begins, in others we will work through the activities together. Then I send the link to the video and audio component. You can watch the video or listen to the audio as many times as you like. You can even start and stop the video or watch from home, school or your iPhone on the bus if you like.
As I get my head around the whole eSeminar modules I will even do some live events, you get the link and phone number and a designated time. Then you log in and get to see me, hear me, ask me questions as we work through a topic together. The whole thing is recorded and you can watch it again later, or even just the bit that you want to review.
This is the introduction to my first eSeminar - Strategic Listening. The actual complete eSeminar will be released next week.
One of my great joys is teaching leadership skills.
During the past 2-3 years on my Australian Tours I have had the chance to teach a truly special program.Â My Women in Leadership program is a 3-Day event.Â I have had such great fun and enjoyment during these sessions.
The program runs again in 2010.Â You can register with the Centre for Strategic Education here
This is an overview and introduction to the program.
I was just thinking the other day about my speaking diary for the coming months when I realised that I will be in Australia this time next month.
You can book with the Victorian Independent Education Union to attend these sessions:
Fostering Leadership Teams - Book Here
Advanced Skills in communication - Book Here
You can book to attend my Women in Leadership Program with the Centre for Strategic Education via this link
I have a great day on Coaching, you can book via this link
I've been in seclusion developing the e-seminars I spoke of a month or two ago. It's been an exciting process, but I have been up to my ears in power point templates, playbook manuals, and video and audio equipment.
Ask me if I'm excited! I am!!!
I am finally having the opportunity to take years of professional experience, school and corporate consulting, coaching, and training and package it in ways that it can be shared with team leaders, supervisors and people in top leadership roles.
This week is a week full of corporate training. But please know that I have not abandoned ship! I will be back on board early next week.
Please join me then.