Captain Sully: Emotional Competence At Its Best
Remember the “Miracle on the Hudson”? Well I think that the real ‘Miracle’ was the pilot of the aircraft Flight 1549, who ‘decided’ to land the aircraft in the middle of the Hudson River? Well, yes, he was the leader on that airplane. But it was not his leadership of people that was important here. It was his ability to make a clear headed decision under what must have been a very stressful, life threatening (for him and over 150 passengers and crew), scary, anxiety producing experience. Imagine the feelings and the emotions that must have been percolating through him. Yet, miraculously, he was able to skillfully land the plane and save many lives that day.
In addition to his obvious skill as an experienced pilot, landing Flight 1549 must have taken some other key skill sets: A skill set to control his emotions and not let them impact his actions and behaviors; Another obvious skill set was the ability to think and process clearly and make the best decision – even in the face of an opposing point of view from ‘experts’ on the ground whose ‘computer models’ were giving them a different path forward; A skill set to make clear headed calculations regarding wind speed, approach, attention to his instruments, etc. (whatever pilots do on approach); A skill set to calm his ‘nerves’ to have a ‘steady hand’; A skill set to put aside the negative ‘what if’s’ and potentially negative outcomes.
And, after he ‘miraculously’ landed the plane in the middle of the Hudson River, he used other skill sets that now involved ‘leading people’ (passengers and crew) to ensure that they exited the plane in an orderly and safe manner; And, while doing that, he demonstrated a ‘calm, resolute and positive’ demeanor that sent the messages: “We can do this!” “We got this!”
The skill set that most people pay attention to however was that he was able to land the plane ‘on’ the river. This, of course was no simple skill! It would have taken every bit of his many years of experience to do this. As the Captain, he was truly the “Leader of his ship”! When any ship is in trouble, everyone turns to the Captain for Leadership.
I think though, as I outlined above, his greatest ‘skill’ display, was in the area of emotional ‘competence’. If you didn’t get my key reference above… Let me spell it out and make it obvious: Each use of the word “skill” is a reference to emotional “competence”!
So, what about you? Whatever facet of leadership you are involved in, whether it is people leadership or situational leadership, learning about and practicing emotional competence will help you to take your leadership ‘skills’ to levels way above and beyond where you are now and propel you to your own ‘miraculous’ efforts and achievements.
So contact me for leadership training or executive coaching with a focus on becoming more emotionally competent.
(The above article is excerpted (with minor adjustments) from my forthcoming book “Twenty Steps To Becoming An Emotionally Competent Leader”.)