Hello, everyone, Earl Breon here, your host for the burden of command podcast. You know, sometimes the burden of command means dealing with the emotional fallout of your decisions. And that can take on a lot of forms. But today I'm going to share a story with you that was I first heard from Dana Perino, she was George W. Bush's former press secretary, you may know her as host of the five she's done a lot of stuff on Fox News. She's written a great book called in the good news is and, you know, if you just know her as the Fox News correspondent, you need to read the book, because she really shines kind of behind the scenes light on the true state of politics in DC, and it's a lot more friendly of a tail than you ever hear on msnbc C or Fox News in full disclosure. Yes, I watch both. So anyways, in her book, and the good news is, and I think maybe I heard her tell the story before the book, but she talks about how President Bush W. was visiting, believe it was Walter Reed is one of the veterans hospitals. And you know, that's something that presidents have done for a really long time, there's accounts going back at least as far as Abraham Lincoln, visiting veterans at we've they called it the the soldiers home at a time, I could be wrong in that. But, you know, this is something that that presidents do in responsibility that they have is commander in chief, you know, if you're going to send if you're going to send our young men and women, my brothers and sisters into harm's way, you got to deal with the fallout of that and kind of be that leader and help help kept them back up as they're recovering if you can. So it was one of these such trips that Dana tells a story about and the President's making his rounds is normal. He's you know, shaking hands with those who are conscious, spending a few minutes with those who are who are in a coma, whether long term or induced for surgery. During these trips, sometimes there will be, you know, they'll be award ceremonies, and there'll be promotions and things like that to happen. But the President comes up on this one room, and the soldiers mother is there now I can't remember what branch of services I'll use soldiers kind of a blanket, it could have been an airman could have been a Marine, but the soldier his mom was in the room with him. That's the point of the story here. And the President spends a couple minutes with the, with the troop. And he goes to leave, and the mama is just very emotional. And she gets up and she starts, starts talking to the president and she's getting more and more emotional. And then she she kind of gets downright angry. And and you know, she doesn't really come right out and and blame George W. Bush for her her son's predicament. But she she has kind of a classic and late unloading session. But but she has kind of a classic unloading session, and she like really starts to lay into the president. And you know, if you've ever seen anything with the president, he's got all sorts of guards around them, you're in a military hospital. So not always going to have Secret Service, but there's going to be some form of military police around and they all start to move in. And who something that's a little unexpected, he waves them off. And, and he just stands there, he just stands there, and he lets her unload. Now, that's the the words I'm pretty sure that Dana uses is just she unleashes on him. And he stands there for a good, you know, 10 or 15 minutes, he spends more time with his mom than then he does most anybody else during the day. And she says the thing that really struck her about the story was that he didn't, he didn't say anything, right, he just listened. And that was impressive to me, because again, this is a guy who was literally just kind of a not have a head, he could have had several people just remove her, but he stood there and he listened. And she said they'd left and they go upstairs and they get on Marine Corps one. And they're flying back to the White House. And she notices him just kind of this blank stare out the window. And when he turns he's got this, you know, terror to rolling down his cheek.
And he wants to, and he looks at Dana and he goes, man, that mom was sure mad at me. And she said, you know, she realized what happened was he had kind of internalized the the the burden of his position. Thanks to that mom, because he really, really, really saw that connection between the decisions he makes, to how it impacts one of the troops lives, to how it impacts those that love them. And it was from that day forward, that he really wanted to make more trips to the hospitals and spend more and more time with events, they've done a good amount before. It's not like he didn't. But this was something that really cemented that mission, that piece of his job. And, folks, it's the same thing with you, in your profession, whatever your profession may be, you see, the difference sessions you make, don't just impact your office, your team, they do have ripple effects outside, if you treat people well at work, they're going to go home, and they're going to be more likely to treat their family well to treat their loved ones will. Now sure some people are just jerks period, it doesn't matter how much you how much you make them feel good at work, they're going to go home, and they're still going to yell and scream and be a jerk. But by and large, if you treat people well at work, they're going to treat the people around them well. If you treat them poorly, chances are pretty good, they're going to go home, and they're going to treat those around them poorly. So you got to keep that in mind this this thing, this leadership thing is not confined to this vacuum of the office. It has real, lasting and impacts on the world around you. So you know, when people talk about changing the world, this is where I say and I don't mean this in some pie in the sky in kind of fashion, the easiest way to change the world is to become a leader, everything you do has an impact on the entire world around you. Because, you know, this is how this ripple effect works. You treat somebody well at work, they learn good leadership skills and abilities from you. They go home, they go to church, maybe they have a second job, they're going to treat people in those parts of their lives, more like how you treat them, because that's how they want to be treated. And that happens over and over and over again. You treat them poorly. They're going to not because it's how they want to be treated. But they're going to treat those around them poorly because they're in a bad mood. They're grumpy, they're grouchy, they're doing all of these things that ripples out throughout the world. So you do have all of the power right now as a leader, to change the world. It's really that simple. You can shape and mold the world around you not just inside of your little office. But all around you. Could you see
everybody you work with has mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, wives, husbands, children, all of these types of personal relationships, they have friends that they hang out with your decisions, don't just stop at work, that you need to really understand and grasp that concept. Because leadership, is that powerful. You know, I say it a lot i can i truly, truly, truly believe every single thing that is wrong in this world. Everything. sexism, racism, ages of wars, famine, poverty, I don't care what it is. If you get down to the root of everything that is wrong in this world, you're going to find bad leadership. I mean, it's just that simple. You're going to find bad leadership. How can bad leadership create a famine? Bad land management? I mean, think about the Dust Bowl years here in the United States, one of the primary causes, then yes, there were some meteorological phenomenon that were beyond our control. But one of the primary causes was over tapping the aquifer and drying out the land. So when drought hit, it was magnified. And so we had the Dust Bowl, bad leadership, if somebody had stood up and said, Hey, we got to stop this. Maybe we don't have that happen. Now, it probably still going to happen to an extent because again, those meteorological phenomena that we can't control, but that's just an example. You know, wars, a lot of times, wars are breakdowns and communication. And then we have bad leadership decisions that happen because of that, you know, General Power. At a time Secretary of State, he gets a lot of grief for making that statement front of the UN Council. But if you go back and you look, there was a communications there, that was a failure of leadership. When he made those statements, he truly believed that that was the best Intel and what was going on, despite, you know, because of all the communications failures, I mean, those are just a couple of examples of how bad leadership has led to bad things in the world. So that is the lesson from this story that I want you to take away the most your decisions, as a leader have a ripple effect. And at some point in time, you're going to see the full effect of what those ripple effects are. Sometimes it's going to present itself to you as an angry Bama yelling and screaming at you. Sometimes it's going to present itself is somebody naming their child after you that's going to be completely dictated on the quality of your decisions. So look, when it happens, how you handle it is just as important as the decisions you made this kind of the second part of this story. We're talking about a president here. Again, this is a person who could have snap their fingers and hand this woman taken away from him, or had her blockaded off from him. But he didn't he chose empathy. He chose to sit there and he chose to listen. And how do you think that woman felt? Having what many people around the country call the most powerful man in the world? sit and listen to her. Now, how often do you do that with your team? Do you ever just sit and listen to you give them a chance to have just a good old fashioned pitch session? Oh, no. Some people do. Some people don't. But it's a good thing for your leadership. Sometimes people just need to vent know you're listening. And and then you can move on. Now, there's a fine line between venting and complaining. And that's probably a whole nother podcast in and of itself. So I'm not going to go down that rabbit hole. But the the two primary morals of this story and maybe there's some more is your decisions, no matter how sound no matter how just no matter how rationalized are going to have consequences, far reaching how those consequences come back to you and how you handle that situation is going to say as much about you and your leadership as anything else. So there you have it. That's the story of President Bush and the angry mama and a couple of leadership lessons from that. Again, my name is Earl Breon. And I am the host of this podcast the burden of command podcast. If you have any comments, questions or concerns for me, you can reach out to me at burden dot command at gmail. com. That's burden email@example.com.
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