Stanley McChrystal or Billy Crystal?

Which one has provided more humour to us recently? I have not heard much from Billy Crystal lately, so I am going with the former.

General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander for the war in Afganistan, reminded us recently what it means to be a leader. It means accountability. After recent comments came out from McChrystal and his staff about very senior people in the US administration, McChrystal was forced to do some serious damage control and was quickly removed from his post. What did he expect would happen if a magazine reporter was given unfettered access to he and his aides? The reporter would inevitably hear things not meant for public consumption. As admirably as McChrystal has handled the situation, the error in judgment came long before the comments were ever made public. Let’s hope that this situation does not define the perception of the General’s successful career, but there are good lessons for all leaders – think about the consequences of your actions and act swiftly when required. President Obama tried to quell the situation by giving the General a chance to tell his side of the story and then dismissed him from the post. Now the US can move forward and put this debacle behind them.

But when you read some of the comments made by the General and his aides, you have to wonder “what were they thinking?” I am sure everyone has said things that they don’t want their boss to hear, that is sometimes the nature of business, but use some judgment and understand with whom you are talking. A reporter’s job is to get the inside scoop. There is nothing wrong with someone challenging their leader and having some dissension in the ranks behind closed doors, but it is unacceptable to do this in public. Interesting that it comes from military men who should better understand the chain of command and the consequences for ignoring that chain of command. I guess McChrystal understands that pretty well now.

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