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Friday, October 2, 2009

Looking for Heroes...

...or, at least, leaders.

I saw a news story this morning about Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger. He's started flying again and the hero worship has picked back up. Now, I do believe Captain Sullenberger is a real hero and that he and his crew did heroic things.

However, we Americans throw the term "hero" around very easily. We seem to be looking for people who we can crown with that honor. It's just that, often, heroic deeds, in my opinion, are really people doing their jobs...probably very well, but not heroically. The definition of the word "hero" from is "A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life" and "A person noted for special achievement in a particular field". These definitions surely don't seem to fit many of the people out there in the world. That's why heroes are special.

So, why do we throw the term around so loosely? Maybe it's because we're so disillusioned with our leaders, be they public servants, religious people, or business bosses.

I'm not sure the leaders in place today are really any worse than those of the past. However, with technology what it is, we have the opportunity to hear about the dark side of many people.

I think that puts more pressure on leaders than ever: to be solid, conscientious, loyal, trustworthy people of integrity and honor who inspire others to excel and achieve.

With the ease of scrutiny, the bar that leaders have to reach is higher than ever (really, it was always a high bar so maybe it just means leaders had better not miss). People can only fake those virtues for so long.

Bottom line: Each leader needs to act and be a real leader, not just an image of one.

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