I don't watch much TV. No particular reason, I simply never got into the habit of turning on the TV, so I just don't think about it as something that I would want to do to consume my time. However, there is one exception. Anything with Keifer Sutherland in it. I have watched every episode of the 24 series, and because I loved it so much, when his recent series Designated Survivor came out, it only took one episode for me to fall in love with it too.
To give you a really long backstory in a short summary, Tom Kirkman (Keifer) was part of the cabinet of the government - one of the lowest positions. The entire White House was blown up during a State of the Union address, everyone died, except Keifer. Because he was the next in line based on the hierarchy of government positions, he was immediately sworn in as President. Stating the obvious in our given context of leadership - sworn into the highest, most visible leadership position in our country, and some might even argue, the world.
President Kirkman is not your typical political leader, he's right the opposite - challenging the status quo of tactics that have "always" been used, focusing on influence and relationship building, and the big kicker - honesty and authenticity. Brilliant.
In one of the latest episodes, President Kirkman lost his wife in a tragic car accident. His staff encouraged him to seek therapy to help him deal with the grief and depression he was facing after her death. A hacker got into the files of his therapist, and released them to the public, and low and behold others in the government voted to invoke the 25th amendment to remove him from office for reasons of mental impairment.
Michael J. Fox comes on as a hard-nosed attorney leading a witch hunt to remove the President from office culminating in a trial of key staff, friends, and family of the President to prove that he was not suitable to continue as President. At the end of this particular episode, the Vice President comes in to deliver President Kirkman the news that the cabinet changed their mind and voted for him to stay in his position. Kirkman asked the Vice President why, and her response was beautiful:
"Two things sir. Your staffs' loyalty to you through everything. Loyalty is a consequence of leadership and leadership is a touchstone of competence."
"And the second thing?", he inquired.
"You, you sir. The Tom Kirkman who started this job twenty months ago, ambivalent, aspirational, honest to a fault – is the same Tom Kirkman they saw today. You have not changed one bit sir."
In my last article, I talked about how often leadership a misunderstood term. Often we make it so complex that it is impossible to absorb. And then on the flip side, some fail to see the intricate details of what leadership entails.
In this particular case, the Vice President outlined several key characteristics of President Kirkman that influenced the cabinet to a positive outcome:
But the underlying message within her words is to look at the followers. Where there is loyalty, there is leadership. Think about that...if a leader is incompetent, dishonest, manipulative, doesn't build relationships, doesn't show that they care about each person as an individual, leads them in the wrong direction - do you think you would see a group of obsessively loyal followers relentlessly pursuing the vision the leader set forth? Of course not. Looking at the followers of the leader is a prime way to identify strength in leadership.
So let's not over-complicate it. Strong leaders produce an equally strong and loyal team of followers. This team of loyal followers is more able and willing to produce strong results. Strong leaders = strong results.