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Ed O'Malley

Ed O'Malley

A former state legislator and gubernatorial aide, Ed O’Malley is President and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center, a first-of-its-kind training center charged with fostering large-scale civic leadership for healthier communities. He tweets at eomalley.

The quiet workers

Competence? Yes. Coolness? Yes. Humility? Yes. Self-less teamwork? Yes. But something tells me it was actually landing the plane on the Hudson that makes this so memorable! A competent, cool-headed, humble and self-less pilot landing a malfunctioning plane on a runway probably doesn't stick in the public mind.

Captain Sullenberger delivered a heroic-sized dose of success directly to our televisions and computer screens. We saw him at his best, getting the job done. Leadership is about success on behalf of purpose, and Captain Sullenberger succeeded brilliantly at his purpose: Saving the lives of all on board. We are fascinated by Captain Sullenberger in part because we hunger for that kind of success.

Yet we are also relieved at the idea that the person in authority knows what leadership is all about. Listening to the cockpit audio we learned of his calm, direct demeanor. His crew, passengers and those at ground control needed him to be in command. He knew it and delivered with decisiveness.

Afterward, he gave credit to his crew. He made it seem as if he did nothing extraordinary, just a man doing his job. We got the sense his way of being - humble, soft spoken, confident - was the same before as after the "miracle on the Hudson." Perhaps we are fascinated because we hope there are many more Sullies out there, quietly leading and working for the betterment of us all.

By Ed O'Malley

 |  October 19, 2009; 3:57 PM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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