After a years-long hunt for the most wanted terrorist in the world, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the search for the founder and leader of ISIS is finally over.
During a military operation, which began at 5:01 pm EDT Saturday night in Syria, Baghdadi was located as he was running into a dead-end tunnel. By 7:15 pm ET, the special operation forces declared "jackpot," announcing Baghdadi’s death.
His death is a significant defeat, one that has been been long-pursued.
It's also a remarkable example of a team following through on a seemingly impossible goal.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was known for his brutal and heinous leadership, paving the way for countless murders, tortures, and rapes. His victims include several American journalists and volunteers. Many claim his death a victory equal to the murder of terrorist Osama bin Laden, founder of the pan-Islamic militant organization al-Qaida, who led the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
As leaders, there will be goals which may seem larger than what our respective teams can achieve. Maybe it’s rolling out new numbers that appear impossible. Or it may be facing a hurdle in the way of an end-goal. Whatever it is, in leading teams there will be plans appearing impossible to achieve.
Often, though, these things are much more within reach than we realize.
It's all a matter of mindset and how we choose to strategically lead our teams.
Here are four things to keep in mind when leading a team towards a seemingly insurmountable goal:
1. You don’t always need special tools or guides. What led U.S. operations to finally capture Baghdadi was not any new technology or unique systems. Rather, it was the same tool that leading to Osama bin Laden — human intelligence. We can get so wrapped up in the bells and whistles of leadership, with endless books, video-series and podcasts that we overlook simply applying our minds. Instead of fancy tools and new programs, sometimes a team just needs more focused thought and brainstorming to reach its goal.
2. Learn from past oversights. Within a team, mistakes are bound to happen, often more than once. While at face-value mishaps are assumed to hold us back, they often are a means of propelling us forward. The best way to move ahead is to recognize our errors and consider how we can better strategize to move forward. Often the simple act of recognizing and acknowledging where we went wrong helps us never to fall into that mistake again.
3. Monitor your progress. In the midst of a manhunt that took years, it must have felt as if little to no progress was being made. Still, throughout all those years, our U.S. military was making headway, leading them to this weekend’s past events. Do not allow the wait to discourage you. Rather, monitor your progress and recognize each minor win is leading you to an ultimate victory.
4. Acquire allies. If it weren’t for our Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish allies, it's unlikely that Baghdadi would be dead today. Many of us like to assume our teams can complete a project without any help or overcome hurdles on their own. Creating "allies" or securing outside support can help bolster the morale of your team and offer constructive criticism which may be required to attain the final goal.
This risky operation leading to the killing of one of the most wanted men globally did not happen overnight. Sometimes our greatest goals not only require the greatest skill and focus but require the greatest patience. These are the experiences helping to build our endurance, leading us to discover what we and our teams can achieve.
With the right focus and dedication, our team’s greatest goals can be accomplished.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of "Framework Leadership." A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern’s president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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