When Charles “Sully” Sullenberger got on the plane and flight that would make him famous, nothing suggested they’d one day make a film depicting his calm decision making.
The toughest call he made is one barely depicted in the movie, Sully. He chose to keep flying the plane. He had the First Officer start going over safety checklists.
In a moment’s notice, Sully had to decide what was best, and in this case he broke from protocol – which would have had the roles reversed.
We think of leaders as those most likely to follow the rules. A better way to think about things is that a leader knows how to think about the context of a decision and make the tough calls – even if it means breaking protocol.
Pilots, and many other leaders, do this even when they know every decision they make will be put under a microscope. But that’s part of what makes them a leader.
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