On November 16, 2005 Cpl. Joshua Mooi, Gunnery Sgt. Robert Homer and Cpl. Javier Alvarez along with their troop mates came under attack. Despite extreme danger all three repeatedly exposed themselves to concentrated enemy fire as they struggled to rescue wounded comrades. Said Mooi, “I wasn’t really thinking at all (during the confrontation). I was just doing what had to be done. It was nothing another Marine wouldn’t have done if he was in my position.”
Leaders are able to step up during times of crisis to achieve amazing things.
In an article entitled Moments of Greatness—Entering the Fundamental State of Leadership author and professor Robert E. Quinn contends during times of significant challenge leaders rise to the occasion. This is not simply people doing random heroic actions. Quinn holds this state of achievement can be quantified and broken into component pieces. Once that is understood, it can be replicated even without an emergency as a trigger. This is called the fundamental state of leadership.
To achieve this state the leader must replicate four qualities present during a time of crisis.
- Be results centered: willing to leave your comfort zone to make things happen.
- Be internally directed: willing to act according to values instead of social or political pressures.
- Be other focused: willing to put the collective good over personal needs.
- Be externally open: willing to be receptive to outside stimuli signaling the need for change.
Quinn explains, “These four qualities—being results centered, internally directed, other focused, and externally open—are at the heart of positive human influence, which is generative and attractive. … By entering the fundamental state of leadership, we increase the likelihood of attracting others to an elevated level of community, a high-performance state that may continue even when we are not present.”
Peter gives us another example of this type of leadership. He demonstrates the willingness to leave his familiar life behind when he and his brother dropped their fishing nets straightaway and followed Jesus. He would go on to write about the importance of living a life according to internal values while refuting social pressures. He also stated, “Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything,” teaching us the importance of putting others first.
Professor Quinn believes it is difficult to sustain such a high performance state before the inertia of normalcy pulls us back into a more typical pattern. With practice and effort these moments of greatness can be extended and those we serve through our personal ministries will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
Moments of trial can allow for us to perform at our best and be a hero to those around us. The leadership attributes that surface during these times can be duplicated in our projects and personal ministries. Leave your comfort zone to achieve results. Trust your deep seated values. Focus on the collective good over your own needs. Be willing to look to outside signs for guidance. Do these things as Cpl. Joshua Mooi and Peter modeled. You will attract others and build a high-performance community focused on meaningful success.