Byron's Babbles

Let Them Go Through Their Paces

Posted in Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, MASH by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on May 28, 2021

I had a lot of great things going on and a very busy day yesterday. I’ve already started blog posts about a couple of things that happened so stay tuned for those. But, after getting in from the barn late last evening I sat down and flipped on the television to an episode of MASH. It was the 148th episode and was the premiere episode of season 7. Named Commander Pierce, this episode had Hawkeye Pierce temporarily put in charge by Colonel Potter, who had to leave the 4077th for a meeting in Seoul for a few days. The weight of the responsibility took its toll on Pierce. He changed, like many leaders unfortunately do; becoming up-tight and authoritarian. Hawkeye became controlling and didn’t want anyone doing anything without asking his permission first. A recipe for disaster.

When Colonel Potter returned he sensed the tension with his keen situational awareness, grabbed a bottle of whiskey, and headed to the Swamp. Once there, he proceeded to pour drinks for Hawkeye and B.J., who immediately started arguing. Potter watched all this, and then stepped in and scolded Hawkeye for overreacting to all the things going on. Colonel Potter explained, “Pull the reins too tight and the horse’ll buck. You had good people under you. You should’ve let ’em go through their paces.” Pretty good leadership advice. After saying this he took another drink and said, “This is pretty good. Someone should be writing this down. To my golden tongue!” Great team members want to guide their own actions. Colonel Potter was pointing this out.

The 4077th MASH had the framework that was needed for everyone to guide their own actions. This enabled them to do their part in accomplishing the stated shared objectives. Colonel Potter knew he needed leaders who could take the vision of caring for wounded and translating it into the day-to-day work for the organization. What tension do you have on the reigns?


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