The other day I heard Police Captain Ron Johnson at a press conference trying to calm the fears of the people of Ferguson, MO. As I listened to him, six key leadership traits emerged:
1 - Honesty- A question was asked about whether the initial comments by the Ferguson Police Chief were handled correctly, and he answered that it was not and he would be speaking with the Police Chief.
2- Listening- When people said they could not hear him, he moved closer to the crowd to make sure they could hear what he was saying.
3- Communication-He acknowledged that they authorities had not communicated well. Then he gave his personal commitment to helping improve communication between police and the people in the community.
4- Respect-He wanted the community to respect each other and their community and called on the protesters not to destroy their neighborhood.
5- Accountability- He challenged the community to follow him that evening and to walk with him.
6- Strength- He stood in front of the community and nation, and with a high level of articulation, outlined his thoughts and his commitment to the community to push for calm and ultimately justice.
Unfortunately, the next day some of the people of Ferguson and quite possibly outside agitators felt more comfortable with ginning up the crowd and feeding the fears and anger of the people of Ferguson.
It’s disheartening to see people destroying their own community and displaying such venom and anger without getting all of the facts and letting the justice system work.
This morning I saw another news conference with Captain Ron Johnson, and he had a look on his face of disappointment. Despite the fact that some chose to disregard his plea for calm, his leadership still was a beacon to me that leadership is not lost, and I am hopeful that his leadership will prevail.