Leadership is the cornerstone to the twelve fundamental principles that I teach. Leadership is a matter of life or death.
So why would anyone want to sit and listen to a whole day on leadership? I’ll try to paint a picture of how important leadership is to each of the five battlefields.
The most important of the five battlefields is the moral battlefield. The good news is God is not anything like a progressive elected states attorney. With God the advantages still go to the just defender not to the unjust aggressor. God doesn’t suffer any kind of false compassion for criminals bent on doing evil. He has compassion but not false compassion. There are moral lines. Those who study the bible know vengeance is God’s alone. We’re not supposed to be about vengeance or revenge. When someone insults a Christian, we’re to turn the other cheek. A distinction must be made between an insult and the threat or use of physical violence. Those are radically different things. In antiquity men were less likely to unsheathe the sword, for a slap in the face. Our current generation has grown weak in the knees and soft in the spine. Today we often indulge our egos over slights and insults. That is the wrong way. I know, easy to say and hard to do.
Leadership is about doing right things. Doing good, and avoiding evil. Leadership is not afraid to define clearly where the lines are. It’s about doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason, and in the right way. The right Way, with a capital “W,” isn’t a something. He is a Somebody and His name is Jesus.
If we do the work to learn where the “moral,” lines are we have a far higher probability of staying out of serious trouble on many of the five battlefields.
Why do I need to know how leadership applies to the physical battlefield? Acknowledging the truth of the fundamental principles that hold sway is the bulk of the physical battlefield. Knowledge and skills. We need both. Knowledge is more important than skills. That doesn’t mean we should neglect the skills. We need both. Failure to understand the truth of things may result in physical death. Your physical death or the physical death of someone you’re gravely responsible for. This battlefield has much to do with fundamental principles. Lets look at an example. Action beats reaction. That is a fundamental principle. But you might not believe it. You might not like that principle. Okay, so what? It doesn’t change it. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, or like it or not. It does not change the principle. If we were to watch a violent video of an unjust aggressor in the “act,” stage of the OODA loop (Col John Boyd’s OODA loop), we’d observe that he can draw and shoot in about a quarter of a second. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (that was given to the world by John Boyd). At my old police house a trainer used to add a silent “a,” on the end of OODA, for “accept.” How long does it take a trained person with good reflexes to see it, understand it, make a decision, and act? Did they “see it?” On average somewhere around three quarters of a second. For some longer. For a variety of reasons some will never find their way to the act stage of OODA.
Leadership is the cornerstone of my principles. Is there a cornerstone to leadership? Yes, humility. St. Teresa of Avila defined humility as the acknowledgement of the truth. Truth is crucial to winning the physical battles.
If we don’t even know the principle action beats reaction we may come to believe all sorts of goofy ideas. Lies lead us to a false belief that a just defender has some mythical ability to “slow things down.” De-escalation, right? If you value your life and the lives of those you’re gravely responsible for, realize, sometimes you must speed things up in order to win. A hard saying. Not a convenient saying in our current generation. Rejecting a principle like action beats reaction gives the advantage to the unjust aggressor. Advantage should go to the legitimate just defenders. Advantage should never go to the unjust aggressors. It is madness to seek to give advantages to unjust aggressors. How did it come to this? How has our great country fallen so far as to have a desire to give advantage to unjust aggressors? Sin. Acknowledgement of the truth of fundamental principles of combat is a matter of life or death.
Poor training due to a crisis in leadership may result in the physical death of those being poorly trained.
The legal battlefield. How is that related to leadership? We must define where the lines are. Let’s take one example. Andrew Branca wrote a great book called The Law of Self Defense. I liked that book so much I now have two copies of it.
Andrew Branca writes about five elements necessary for us to win a claim of self defense on the legal battlefield. The five areas of concern are innocence, imminence, proportionality, avoidance, and reasonableness (both objective and subjective). The term self defense is a legal term. It doesn’t matter how you feel about what happened. You either are rightly within these five elements or you’re not. If the elected states attorney doesn’t believe you are, then you probably get indicted. If the states attorney can prove to a jury you failed in just one of these elements you will end up in prison. One of the areas mentioned is innocence. So I’m going to say a few things about innocence.
If you have a problem with someone and they say to you: You want to step outside and handle this like a man? If you silently and tacitly agree, then follow him out and fight, you’ve lost innocence. That is called mutual combat. The legal term self defense is not longer an option. If someone dies in that fight the winner of the fight is most likely going to trial. If someone flips you an obscene gesture in a road rage type situation, and you roll down the window and say: You want to go?!! Pulling over at the side of the road and engage in a fight. You’ve – lost – innocence. That is mutual combat. Mutual combat removes your ability to lay claim to lawful self-defense. That is not “nice,” to know. That is “need,” to know. That fits in perfect with the moral battlefield and turning the cheek, as it were, to insults and offenses. Clarity about right things is a big part of authentic leadership. Leaders prepare their people well. Authentic (meaning genuine) leaders train their people properly. The leader must understand the dangers that lay ahead for their students or clients, and then do the work to prepare them. The truth is there are no guarantees. So the best we can do is keep our people away from the fantasies and lies, that will be of disservice to them, and tell them the truth. Show them what lays in wait ahead of them.
Humility (acknowledging the truth) is the cornerstone of leadership. On the legal battlefield, leadership is a matter of freedom versus incarceration.
On the civil battlefield leadership is a matter of maintaining wealth acquired versus bankruptcy. Are there things you can do to hedge against this? Yes. There are strategies. Humility is the truth. Humility is also a willingness to take the lowest seat. Taking the lowest seat can gain you a gift, a present, as it were. The unjust aggressor see’s you avoiding him and that act of avoidance plays to his ego. The gift he gives you is to underestimate your capabilities. To underestimate your will, to defend yourself or your people. It’s easy for the arrogant to puff up even more into an over confidence. That’s a strategy. In Boyd’s OODA loop it was said as a fighter pilot he could begin in an inferior position in an aviation dog fight, and within a matter of seconds reverse positioning and win the fight. It is my opinion John Boyd learned how to use his opponents will to pursue and overtake him. He let his opponents will led them right into a position of disadvantage. Think about this. As a civilian, as you move away to avoid an unjust aggressor, you move towards better ground. What’s better ground? Cover. A big old oak tree. Something that stops bullets. That is the gold standard of better ground. High ground is generally better ground. You move to a tactically superior position. Think about it from the unjust aggressors perspective. You [their perceived victim] suddenly have cover. He suddenly feels very vulnerable, because he didn’t make it to cover. Here is where the confrontation takes place. Get the idea?
Carl von Clausewitz in his book On War wrote: “War therefore is an act of violence to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.” In other words war is in the will. So the unjust aggressor has free will. He decides. He decides if and how much force it’s going to take to stop him. He could change his mind. He could surrender to the police officer. He could turn away from his selected rape victim. He could do a lot of things. He decides how things will play out. Some unjust aggressors will turn away. Some will burn it in. That’s just the way it is. Free will, right? Right.
War ain’t fair. If you’re looking for a fair fight go compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championships. Go somewhere with a referee who will intercede to ensure nobody dies. Competition ain’t combat. They are radically different things. Don’t ever go looking for fight, but if one comes to you, learn the fundamental principles that will hold sway and then strive to make good decisions. Strive to be decisive and strive to win. Forget about mere survival. It may come to that – but we’re not starting there. That is a losing mindset. Think like a winner. That’s what I believe and that’s what God willing, I will strive to do.
Leadership on the social battlefield, can be condensed, distilled, and synthesized down to a matter of staying in your home or moving, staying in your job or being fired. What’s my mission? Protect, provide, and lead those I purport to “love.” My family. If things get bad enough, I hope and pray that I’d have the grace to humble myself and move. My mission is not to feed my ego. Ego is often about posturing. It’s about reassuring your sensitive, insecure, insatiable ego that thinks it needs to be patted on the head and told – it’s okay, you’re are very courageous! So we postures and talk smack to feel better about the whole perceived injustice – whatever that might be. Perceived being the qualifying term.
To grow stronger in mindset (a principle) we need to deny our ego’s illicit desires to posture over insults and slights. That is one of the best ways to avoid situations that can easily escalate.
Now don’t misunderstand me. Some things are worth standing your ground and saying the truth. Authentic leaders stand up and say hard things that will cost them as it pertains to speaking truth and standing up for their people when they act rightly. A distinction must be made. That is not the same thing as someone insulting or giving offense to you and you falsely believing your honor is on the line. Two different things. You have to know where these lines are.
When I talk about the social battlefield I view and care more about the part relating to a learned capacity to be unpredictable. To be awkward which facilitates being unpredictable. To be willing to rebuke an unjust aggressor which does test his will. Which does reveal your jeopardy. More on that later.
Our country is philosophically divided. In these last couple of decades the divisions have deepened. The black and the white, as it were, have gotten larger, while the gray in the middle, has thinned out. Many there are who have become blind, confused, and quite crazy as it relates to right things. We see it in the criminal justice system. States attorneys pitting themselves against police officers. States attorneys exercising a false compassion with the unjust criminals, and an overzealousness with innocent police officers doing a hard job. We see it in some activist judges wielding a false compassion for unjust criminal aggressors. As we watch the legal, civil, and social battlefields struggle to know and do right things, we still have responsibilities to protect our families. The police officers still have responsibilities to protect the innocent within their communities. Every one of us has a right to insist upon more respect for own life, than any number of unjust criminal aggressors. They have no rights to threaten or cause serious bodily injury or death to innocents. We cannot compromise our responsibilities, due to fear of the legal, civil, or social battlefields. The best we can do in times such as these, is to adopt strategies making it more difficult for folks in positions of authority on those battlefields (legal, civil, and social), to successfully do the wrong things.
In conclusion, leadership is a matter of life and death for the moral and physical battlefields. Leadership is a matter of freedom or incarceration for the legal battlefield. A matter of maintaining ones wealth or bankruptcy for the civil battlefield. Leadership is a matter of staying in your home or moving for the social battlefield.
That is why leadership is the cornerstone to all the first principles I teach.