In every way Ambassador Barrett proved herself to be a level 5 leader i. e. an individual with not only personal humility but a strong professional will. Her childhood may be the first example of such a combination. Her father passed away when she was a young child leaving her as a partial bread win of the household. She grew up on a farm where she could sell pony rides and do other menial tasks to help support the family. From these very humble beginning we see the roots of her leadership. This humble beginning still leaves the question unanswered “bred or born? ”.
She is a Level 5 leader, but was it because she came from such a modest beginning or was it a combination of her rural roots and determination to succeed? This question is left unresolved, yet the facts are clear that she is a level 5 leader regardless of what makes her so. Stockdale Paradox – a compliment to level 5 leadership In her we see the Stockdale paradox. Her life at the time may have seemed to her very bleak; but she had the vision that the future would be bright. This vision and resolve and relentless pursuit of goals is illustrated in her working hard enough to not only pay for her education, but o pay for her siblings education. Even at this young age for her it was not about her, It was about the organization; her family organization. And as dark as it may have seemed at the time she confronted the brutal facts that they had meager means and limited opportunities, yet maintained absolute faith that the future would be better. Yin & Yang of the Level 5 Leader Ambassador Barrett displays a complete union between personal humility and professional will. Her responses to questions reflected the very same attitudes and attributes of Darwin Smith,
Charles Walgreen III and Colman Mockler. Compelling Modesty When asked about her success she would often downplay it, or cite other individuals as being key in her success. She looked to her husband as a role model and primary factor of her success. A telling example of this modesty came out when she was asked about how she was selected to be the interim president for Thunderbird. She did not say anything about her accomplishments, she did not say anything about her capabilities; she simply stated a few facts about her background. She said (paraphrased) “I Worked closely with the Thunderbird oard for 18 yrs. My global leadership activity combined with my diverse experience was perfect for Thunderbird. I have Travelled to 160+ countries. ” That was it, no mention of being Ambassador, no mention of her great accomplishments; “they were just a good fit”. Her comments seemed to echo that of other great leaders “there are many others that could do this job better than me. ”
She was committed to the organization she was concerned about the results (the students and the school) and not about her reputation. She most assuredly was nfluential in selecting her successor and was interested in the well being of the organization, not personal accolades. An Unwavering Resolve A perfect example of her relentless resolve during her time as vice-chairman of the US civil air division. A KAL 007 was shot down and President Regan issued an order that all flights with Russia be cancelled. She was concerned that many innocent passengers would be affected by this order. She resolved that this could not, or at least should, not be the case. She refrained from immediate action; called her board together and presented the solution.
The board and other advisers returned with simplistic solutions that did not really address the concerns. The solutions simply were not good enough and she pressed forward with what she felt was right despite the many pressures to go contrary. Her reputation and future were at risk yet she resolved to do the right thing and pressed forward. A second example of this came when she was asked about her time as Thunderbird President. She responded that she was not inclined to be a passive figurehead. She used all her powers and connections to improve the ircumstances of Thunderbird. She wanted to make sure “ that everyone at Thunderbird at that time did not have a reason to regret being there. ” She was driven to make a difference, not just fill a vacant position. When asked about her future she pointed to the responsibilities she had in other organizations and her determination to make things better.
Window and Mirror One could almost hear Jim Collins words in her speech as she spoke about her time as interim president. When asked if she accomplished everything she intended to while there she simply tated that she had not, but that they were doing the best they could and that there was still more to do. Her comments reflected a confidence and appreciation for those she had brought in to help. She gave credit to being able to tap into experts who “knew more than I did”. She looked in the mirror at herself and recognized that there was more she could do, and looked out the window at all those experts who had offered so much to the school and gave them credit for the improvements that had been made. Success stories are repleate with “we”. Conclusion
Even her advice to future generation was a classic combination of humility and professional will. She focused first on continued education and building a network of professionals and friends who you can trust and rely on. And then followed that with, “Take on daring, big projects/ challenges without settling for lesser stuff. ” This was again a prime example of her attitude about continued improvement and commitment to becoming better, not being the best (a level 4 leader mentality). And an unwavering commitment to being the best. For her “good is not good enough. ”