Home>Feature>The O’Toole Chronicles: Seeing the Curve Behind the Curve

Kevin J. O'Toole, the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is a former New Jersey State Senator. (Photo: Kevin J. O'Toole.)

The O’Toole Chronicles: Seeing the Curve Behind the Curve

By Kevin O'Toole, November 17 2020 12:01 am

We often judge the competence or agility of our leaders based on their management of the mundane and ordinary.  Real judgment should be reserved for how our leaders handle times of terrific panic, unforeseen change, or pandemonium.  Whether someone is a true leader is best revealed (or exposed) after witnessing how they react during times of crisis. I see far too often our leaders carrying about as heads of state or institutions and being regaled because they simply turn the lights on or off and smile and wave as they manage not to bankrupt or destroy a fiscally solvent and self- sustaining government or company. Big deal.

It is during the times when the going gets tough, jobs are in jeopardy, revenues plummet, a yawning criminal investigation is developing, unpredictable political losses are sustained, or some other calamity, when a natural leader reacts. A true leader is one who operates fearlessly in the face of great adversity. A true leader is a person who spots opportunity, a true leader can feel the ground move a bit before it breaks wide open. A true leader puts others before themselves. A true leader can see the curve around the curve and act intuitively and proactively as opposed to mechanically and defensively. A true leader inspires and brings order to the chaos and unification after a deep division.  It is during these times when we should judge our leaders and we should reserve anointing anyone only until after they are  successful in pulling the loss from the breach and paving the way with positive headway.

We are living in a strange time of chaos and unpredictability, more now than ever distinguished and consequential leaders need to be seen, and more importantly, felt.

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