Commentary

May 3, 2013

Leadership not defined by shapes, sizes

Tags:
Col. Jerry Wizda
39th Medical Group commander

President James Madison led new nation during early trials, tribulations.

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey — Short in stature at 5 feet 4 inches, not particularly handsome, a bookworm and not exactly the life of the party, James Madison does not fit some perceptions of a leader.

In today’s world, he probably would have been perceived as a nerd. But, his brilliant mind and leadership skills now have historians re-embracing Madison’s presidency and his leadership.

President Madison is best known as “The Father of the Constitution.” He was a delegate, unequaled in his writing abilities, who kept written documentation at every secret Constitutional Convention’s meeting. Later, his Virginia Plan became the basis for our Constitution. What most people do not remember is President Madison’s equally successful presidency, when he led an infant nation against the greatest naval power in the world and won. The War of 1812 remains “The Forgotten War.” Many do not realize it was through President Madison’s leadership the U.S. escaped becoming, once again, subjects of Great Britain.

So what personal attributes made this man an unlikely leader, and what can you take from the story of President Madison and apply to today’s world to make you a leader?

First, always believe in yourself and never doubt your abilities. This is probably the hardest perception to embrace. Each day when President Madison went to the Constitutional Convention meetings, he stood up and rallied for a democratic government with election of congressmen directly by the people. He wrote the Federalist Papers with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton; documents considered to be the best interpretation of American government, even in present times. He truly embraced his ideals, and this spurred him to speak and write what was in his heart. His conviction to his ideals gave us the great nation we have today. At work, strive to be the best you can be. Work from your heart. If you already give 100 percent, strive to give 110 percent.

Secondly, stay true to yourself and stand by your convictions. After President Madison asked Congress to declare war on Great Britain June 1, 1812, riots began because of the decision. Talk of succession in New England ran rampant, yet President Madison stayed true to his belief in freedom for America. Despite opposition to the war, he stood his ground. He said, “If we lose, we lose independence.” People will perceive you as a leader if you stick to your beliefs and do not go back and forth on your ideals. Even those who do not agree with you will respect you for your steadfast loyalty and convictions.

Lastly, know when to stay and know when to run. Even the best leaders must give up the fight at some point for the sake of their people. On August 24, 1814, President Madison and Congress fled Washington on horseback as the British advanced on the city. While it may have been perceived as cowardly to run, fleeing the city was the only choice President Madison had.

If he had a chosen to stay and ordered Congress to stay, they would have been captured or killed. Merely three days after fleeing, President Madison returned to Washington, rallied the citizens and connected with the people like he never had before. President Madison rallied Congress and met in a post office, the only building left standing. He began the work of the government from scratch and turned the tide of war. Think carefully about your decisions and of the consequences down the road. Is the fight worth it?

Not all of us will become president, but each in our own way, can be a successful leader. Every day we make decisions that affect our families, the Air Force and its Airmen, and our country. Many of these decisions are simple, and many can be life-altering. If we embrace the lessons of our forefathers, we are sure to become successful Airmen and leaders in our own right.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Conquer fear, live your dream

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Are you living the dream? Do you wake up with energy each morning or do you need an energy drink to get you going? If you constantly hit the snooze button on your alarm, wake with no energy and low self-esteem, need lots of coffee, soda or energy drinks...
 
 

Leaders: Good, bad, forgotten

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — It’s been my Air Force experience there are three categories of leaders — the good, bad, and the forgotten.Everyone reading this probably thinks they’re in the first category, but we know that’s not the case. Airmen who work for you certainly wish that were true, but not every leader’s...
 
 

Are you ready to transition out of your uniform?

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Leaving the military is not as simple as staying home the day after your service commitment is up. Almost 23 years ago, after a summer vacation that lasted less than 48 hours, I showed up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with about 1,000 of my new closest friends. Fast forward...
 

 

Dear Dad: A letter to my father

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — I sat in the very back of the classroom, not paying much attention to the man in blue giving a presentation to my eighth grade civics class. He was saying something about core values, pride and doing something for the community you could be proud of. He told stories...
 
 

Leadership: Is there an app for that?

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — The world is growing more and more dependent on technology. Even our U.S. Air Force has become automated to improve programs, processes and quality of life for Airmen. We have Facebook, smartphones, BlackBerries, MyMC2 (My Military Communities), Twitter, Facetime, Skype, webpages, Sharepoint, EMS (Evaluation Management System) and many more I...
 
 

Save your back

NELLIS AIR FORCE, Nev. — Ooh if I could only be young again! How many times have you said that due to chronic daily pain? As young individuals we take our bodies for granted, overexerting, twisting, turning, and lifting everything we can to push the limits. But when older age sets in and the wrinkles...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>