MGH managers and supervisors attending the fourth annual MGH Leadership Academy spring lecture on June 13 were treated to a new perspective on leadership training by guest speaker Ed Ruggero, author of “Combat Jump: The Young Men Who Led the Assault Into Fortress Europe, July 1943.” Ruggero told the story of the 82nd Airborne Division, which deployed 3,400 paratroopers to jump into the darkness and land behind enemy lines in Sicily during World War II. Ruggero drew parallels between the mission’s leaders, Col. Jim Gavin and Capt. Edwin Sayre, and leadership in an institutional setting.
“The lessons learned from these leaders and their men – including paratrooper Timothy Dyas, who became a prisoner of war – can be applied to a multifaceted organization today,” says Ruggero. “Although the division landed behind enemy lines and just about everything went wrong, they succeeded. This was because the division had an energetic, innovative and fearless commander who had prepared them to succeed using timeless principles.”
Among these principles, Ruggero says, are developing leaders who are creative thinkers, will act when action is called for and will seek to do the right thing; inspiring colleagues to become proactive problem-solvers; communicating the mission so that every individual understands his or her part and takes responsibility for seeing it carried out; and articulating beliefs so that every supervisor and employee knows what is expected.
For more information about the MGH Leadership Academy – which offers education and resources for MGH leadership through a variety of programs – access www2.massgeneral.org/leadershipacademy.