Great challenge for a leader…How do you handle dissention in the ranks?

Certainly, it depends upon the situation and how far the “disease” has spread.  In this type of situation, one problem we have, as the public, is that we do not know all the facts, and never will…so we can only make assumptions.  In this case, one basic assumption I am making is that this is not the first time there has been disagreement between Obama and McChrystal.

The only argument I could envision about keeping McChrystal in command in Afghanistan is that he is the one who developed the plan for our current campaign, and he is closest to the action and what steps need to be taken going forward.  However, it would appear that he is neither willing nor able to carry out that plan.

Going as far as he has in his public comments about the campaign in Afghanistan and the current administration, particularly when it was his plan in the first place, McChrystal demonstrates poor judgment at best.  In addition, though he may make a public apology, it is highly unlikely that he will ever be truly “on board” again.  These actions are an indicator of a lack of commitment.  That lack of commitment will likely play itself out in a failure to deliver in a time of crisis, when you need your leadership most.  In addition, it sends a message to the rest of our military that diminshes the importance of order and command.  That is hugely dangerous.  It weakens our military and it plants the seed for weakness throughout our government.  In a business setting it would send a signal that it is acceptable to not be committed to the direction in which the organization is going.  That would certainly make it more difficult to succeed.

My opinion is that Obama has no choice but to remove him from his post.  McChrystal’s comments not only indicate that he is not committed to this administration and to the course we have chosen in Afghanistan, but that he may have poisoned the waters among other military leaders on the ground in that theatre.  He has publicly taken a position of defiance and disrespect.  It is a shame for a man who has contributed so much to the effort to bring peace and stability to that region.

Lots of leadership lessons here. 

Let’s hear your thoughts on this…on what you think Obama should do…and also on what you think are  the leadership lessons here.  Comment right on the blog (scroll down to the COMMENT area and click on “Comments”) so other readers can read about your perspective.