At these days, a video is often shared online that shows how an Air Force General responds to the spreading of racist slogans under his command. Last weekend, I watched Lieutenant General Jay Silveria's speech five times. For me, this video is a five-minute teaching experience in leadership. He not only speaks with passion and clarity but also with concern. He takes a very clear position and gives an impact through context. He resists the impulse of simple condemnation by making an offer to those attending and giving them an impulse for action. And all this at a time when America and the world desperately need it.
Everything is just right here
It's important to me to work through this one by one.
Passion: It is obvious that a passionate person speaks here. His words are not only from the mind but also from the heart. He makes it clear that he is interested in taking a position.
Clarity: This position is never unclear. In comparison to the normal business world, this is the pure blessing. So often we are surrounded by people who do not show themselves and their position or deliberately corrupt it. I do not believe that this is the case here. On the contrary.
Affection: It seems that he is honestly affected by the racist statements. He takes responsibility and action. And he does it not just like that but prepared and well thought through.
Context: This is also nice because he gives context. He has gathered people from all departments and makes it impressively clear that there are many differences - not only origin or gender. And it is crucial that he represents and describes the elementary advantage of these differences to the benefit of the Air Force's strength.
An impulse to act: "If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out." That's an impulse to act. Also, that he asks the cadets to record these words with their smartphones so that they can rewatch them at any time. Not as a threat, but as a moral guide.
A lesson for Trump
What makes all this so special, however, is the timing and state of our present politics. While the American President wants to set up childish power games with North Korea and build a wall against Mexican immigrants, and furthermore is unable to deal with the riots, for example in Charlottesville, an Air Force General shows him what leadership with heart and mind is.
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