Sunday, March 29, 2009

American Leadership - An Example From History

William Travis was the leader of the Alamo when it fell. On March 3, 1836 Travis addressed the men within the walls of the Alamo. As their leader he had to deliver the tough message and admit his mistakes. He had been requesting assistance from others to come and help defend the Alamo, and on March 3 he was informed that no one was coming. He called a meeting and said, "I have deceived you by the promise of help…" and then went on to explain that his calls for help will go unanswered. He went on to say, "Our fate is sealed. Within a very few days - perhaps a very few hours - we must all be in eternity. This is our destiny and we cannot avoid it…"

After his speech, he drew a line in the sand with his sword and asked, "I now want every man who is determined to stay here and die with me to come across this line." All but one soldier crossed that line in the sand.

This is an example from history of great American leadership in action. Travis did not willingly or knowingly deceive his men about help - he did let them know that he had requested it. But some may have felt he had deceived them to keep them from running away, so he accepted the blame for that. He told his followers the real deal, he didn't hide the truth from them.

That is what a good leader does - if it's perceived that you made a mistake or actually made a mistake, own up to it and let your people know. Always share the true picture with your people so they can make informed decisions. Travis' speech was true, for within 3 days he and his men gave their lives at the Alamo.

Cross-posted at Back to the Constitution

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