Admiral Bill McRaven was in charge of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. What he said was truly breathtaking.
McRaven released a short, direct statement, one that will certainly be very polarizing, but that is also a truly stunning example of leadership.
The 7-word headline: "Revoke my security clearance, too, Mr. President."
He continues with a brutal takedown of the president:
Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs.
This is truly one of the most stunning and sudden direct challenges to a sitting president.
But setting aside that political disagreement, McRaven's actions here are an astonishing example of trying to lead, at a potentially large personal cost. Here's why it works.
1. He's direct
McRaven's entire statement is 230 words. He gets right to the point, and there is no misunderstanding in his message. Effective communication is an important part of leadership.
2. He has credibility
McRaven is no longer in uniform, but his reputation is the main reason his message might resonate far and wide.
3. He sacrifices
McRaven doesn't offer bromides or call for people to rise up. Instead, the only thing he asks Trump specifically to do is to all him to make the same sacrifice that McRaven says other people are making. That's a powerful message.
4. He surprises
Like most members of the military, Admiral McRaven was careful not to reveal his political beliefs while he was in uniform. In fact, it is surprising to see him coming out and making such an overt, public statement against the president like this.
5. He offers a way out--and a challenge
By the time you get to the last sentence of McRaven's message, there's already a lot of energy spent, but his last line is amazing: "The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be."
This is tough language, but it's interesting for what it's not. McRaven isn't demanding that Trump apologize, or reverse his decision, or resign. Instead, he's challenging the president and offering him a way out.
Source: Bill Murphy Jr, Inc.com (published 16 August 2018)
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