On “The Hayden Collins Radio Program” this weekend, we talked about types of leaders, what we expect of them and what they actually do. There are those who make a decision to step forward to be leaders, and many serve honorably and well.
But there are times when circumstances need leadership, and events seem to seek out those who can provide it. Such events found me on Saturday afternoon – or maybe more correctly, they found my shirt. A group of colleagues and I were taking a tour of the USS New Jersey – a WW II era Iowa class battleship that was decommissioned in the 1990s, and is now an educational museum and memorial in the Philadelphia ship yard, and used by the U.S. Navy Reserve. The comfortable shirt I happened to be wearing for the tour was one from my position with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
The day of our tour coincided with a U.S. Navy Reserve training weekend, and when I arrived the organizers thought I was there on behalf of the ESGR, which the naval personnel needed to know more about. I recognized an opportunity, and I was glad to step into this unexpected role to aid my fellow servicemen and women. I found myself speaking to both the troops and those that operate the USS New Jersey, and we had an open conversation about our service and how our employers support us. Now even as important as our employment is, those that understand the demands of our service are hard to come by.
As I told the naval personnel there, for ESGR representatives, solving the problems that arise makes us stronger, and builds a good foundation with both the employer and with the employee for the future. We don’t have to pretend we have all the answers, just the will to find the answer – because pretending you know everything closes the door to answers that are never sought after.
If their enthusiastic response was a measure of how helpful this information was to them, the unexpected call for a leader at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard was answered. There were no orders sent out, and no Request for Proposal, just the recognition of a logo on a shirt I happened to be wearing. I enjoyed the opportunity, and the tour of the USS New Jersey afterward. Just imagine where we would be, if we had more leaders who can respond to the demands of the moment.