Leadership Equates to Success

A new century has dawned and at first light it has revealed itself to be a very dynamic one, especially for hazardous materials response. Many changes are on the horizon for hazmat programs and the way we respond to these emergencies.

Iacocca's example was phenomenal in saving Chrysler in the early 1980's. As a leader, Iacocca recognized the tough decisions that needed to be made to save a company and thousands of jobs. Consider that he agreed to lead the company at half the salary in which he earned at Ford; he worked around the clock at a huge cost to his family; he fired 33 of his top 35 executives; he went to the Federal government and asked for a bailout to help save Chrysler; in 1980 he reduced his salary to $1; and he asked his executives to take a 10% salary cut. All of these tough actions resulted in the success of saving the Chrysler Corporation. In 1981 the company was showing a profit and in 1983 they repaid the Federal government loan completely. Now that's leadership!

Whatever your view of what a leader is remember there are many definitions and theories of leadership. A simple definition of leadership is a person who leads or directs others. Another definition of leadership is a person who has followers. Most likely, we would have very similar thoughts when it comes to defining leadership. Bill Bradley, an ex-Senator and pro basketball player, defines leadership as "getting people to think, believe, see, and do what they might not have without you." John Naisbitt, author of the book "Megatrends" says, "Leadership is finding a parade and jumping out in front of it." The common denominator in all of these views, and most likely yours, is that there has to be someone leading the charge, directing efforts, or coordinating the action.

We would probably also have similar thoughts when it comes to listing the traits of good leaders. In a poll of 2,000 managers in the United States from 1980-1984 the following list was developed on the characteristics of leaders.