Who We Are

When Faced With Difficult Situations...

Jan 23, 2012

I’ve been thinking more about Captain Schettino, the captain of the Italian cruise ship that ran into rocks and sank off the coast of Tuscany. The press has been vilifying him for his actions, and I can easily get on board with them (no pun intended). He left the ship while there were still passengers on board, he evidently radioed incorrect information about the crisis to the company that owns it, and now they’re saying that he may have been paying attention to a young woman instead of to his ship during the disaster. All of this increases my anger and frustration at him. I say to myself, “This guy is a jerk!” (Okay, I say something riper than that, but that’s all I’m willing to write.)

But here’s the thing: I also know that none of us is perfect. And not one of us knows what we would do in a difficult situation until we’re faced with it.

That’s why it’s important to take a step back from time to time and ask ourselves if our actions align with our values. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to those little “niggles” (and sometimes big ones) that we get when we do something we’re not proud of, and not just let those moments slide, but instead make the time to reflect on how we make choices and how we can make better ones.

As important as this reflection is for everyone, it’s even more important for leaders. Because leaders are not only responsible for their own behavior; rather, their behavior impacts many people’s lives. Just like Captain Schettino.