The Mark of a Leader

Have you heard of the show Whale Wars, on Animal Planet?  I just discovered it today while surfing through my OnDemand.  The basic premise of the show is a small group of environmental activist attempt to distract and disrupt the “illegal” whaling operations near Antarticia.

While I don’t intend to discuss the finer points of whale hunting, I do intend to comment on a particular point of failed leadership on behalf of Captain Paul Watson, failed in my opinion anyhow.  The decision was made by Capt. P.W. to further disrupt the whaling efforts by having two members of his crew non-violently board the whaling boat.  The idea is that while distracted by the men, the boat would not be focused on hunting.  As it was portrayed for the episode, Capt. P.W. had not previously informed his crew of the plan; rather had decided to unveil the plan and ask for volunteers hours before setting the plan into motion.  When no willing volunteers came forward, Capt. P.W. goaded one of the crew members into volunteering for the mission as some type of absolution for the young man’s guilt of earlier damaging the crews helicopter.  As Capt. P.W. recounts this exchange for the cameras, he makes light of the situation, casting it off as a sort of joke.

I was surprised, saddened and ultimately upset that while Capt. P.W. touted his grand plan, he never once volunteered for it himself, despite some on his crew making the suggestion he should.  Truth be told, this grand plan went little further than having two volunteers board the boat.  Only with the assistance of other crew members was more of a strategy put into place.  I have not been able to watch far enough ahead to know the outcome of the two men who eventually “volunteered” to board the boat.  I’m not sure if I can or will continue to watch this program as I find myself doing a bit too much talking at the screen.

What I do know is, I was always taught the mark of a real leader is to lead.  Anyone can bark orders, but I believe it takes a real person of character to lead by example.