On one unexpected day, my father and I came face-to-face with a terrible car accident. The scene was chaotic, filled with frightened bystanders unsure of what to do.
My father, who was not only older, or my boss, but someone I respected looked to me to take charge. I couldn’t believe it, but I knew exactly what I had to do.
Leadership Lesson #1: Rise to the Challenge
Despite my father’s seniority, he understood that I was the most qualified person to lead at that moment due to my military and first aid training. In leadership, it’s not about who’s older or who has a higher title. It’s about stepping up when you’re needed. That’s what I did — I stepped up and started to control the situation. In balance with that also, it shouldn’t be from a place of ego but serving. At the same time, he was being a leader by demonstrating Leadership Lesson #3.
Leadership Lesson #2: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
I quickly assigned tasks to everyone present. Some people helped secure the car wreckage, others got ready with first aid kits, and a few controlled the incoming traffic. After all, we were on a remote road in the middle of Queensland and had a victim that was in the middle of the road and couldn’t be moved. This was teamwork, not a one-man show. Being a leader means creating a team that works together towards a common goal.
Leadership Lesson #3: The Power of Humility
We had a man trapped behind the wheel of the car, but I knew that without the right gear and rescue team it was more likely a bunch of strangers that met through circumstance would cause more injury. So when an off-duty firefighter arrived with more rescue experience and put forward a well-thought-out plan that we both agreed would be better than nothing, I stepped back. I let him take over control of that part so I could focus on what I needed to do. This taught me another vital aspect of leadership: knowing when to let others lead. We worked together and managed the situation until professional help arrived.
The Bonus Lesson: Empathy and Resilience are Key
Despite our collective efforts, we couldn’t save everyone involved in the accident. It was a heart-wrenching moment. Particularly for myself who was the one giving CPR, and in charge of the scene. However, I learned a crucial lesson that day: effective leadership is about empathy and resilience. I had to support my team emotionally, making sure they were coping with the loss.
Leadership in Action
I share these lessons today as extreme lessons that make it much simpler to highlight lessons. Each one of the lessons above could play out when a new project is looking for a lead when you have your boss away and you need to step up to fill in. Not just as a speaker or a Human Leadership Trainer, but as a person who’s committed to demonstrating leadership in my own life, I try to embody what I think it means to lead. For my 2 sons, my business, my community, and those I hope to impact. That’s why I have set a daunting goal for myself — to run 60 km (37 mi) a day for 30 days. The purpose? To raise $100,000 for men’s mental health and to show that leadership is about daring to do what scares you. It’s a big challenge, but I am ready to lead by example.
Leadership is for Everyone
You don’t have to be in a top position to be a leader. We all have the potential to make a difference, whether you’re a student, a teacher, a parent, or a business owner. Being a leader means taking the first step, rising to the occasion, working well with others, and showing kindness and strength.
The path to leadership may be steep, but remember that the most challenging paths often lead to the most rewarding destinations. So keep moving forward, keep leading, keep daring. The world needs more people willing to step up and less willing to step aside. Let’s rise together — the journey starts now.
Join CJ on this exciting journey at cjflood.com.