Quiet, Humble Leadership

02/20/2018
Posted in Leadership
02/20/2018 CHRC

Quiet, Humble Leadership

Last Tuesday, February 13,  I picked up my cell phone and received this text from a high school classmate:

“One of our classmates (CPD) shot and killed.”

I doubt that there’s an American who hasn’t read about the selfless Chicago Police Commander who was shot and killed in the line of duty a week ago today.  Story after story about Paul Bauer emerged from every corner.  Even my cab driver told me about how nicely Commander Bauer had once told him to move from a no parking zone.  A cab driver saying nice things about a cop! I was in a meeting and a woman was telling me how she’d known him for years, and was stunned to hear he was a commander because of how approachable he was.  A friend’s husband was upset because he’d gotten to know him via the coffees he’d hosted for local business people.  You couldn’t walk down the street without hearing people talk about Paul Bauer … and these weren’t fellow officers.  These were the people he’d sworn to serve and protect.

The sentiment on all of Chicago’s lips:  he was just the kind of cop we needed — the sort of role model that the entire force needed and that the entire city needed to see.

Thanks to technology I was able to watch the funeral.  His wing man, Mel Roman, said that he understood that “a leader does a million small things.”  Another classmate and retired Chicago Police Officer, John Escalante, eulogized his friend of 45 years.  Escalante was able to isolate an intrinsic part of his leadership style;  the ability to lead out in front, but then “casually work his way back so others got accolades and rewards.”

In the midst of tragedy,  John sounded a hopeful note.  He told us: “One and a half years after retiring, there’s always going to be … even in retirement, a part of our lives that now and forever will always be partially shaped and defined by our time with the Chicago Police Department.  And so for Paul, I take some comfort in knowing and truly believing that there is going to be a Chicago Police Department that now and forever will always be partially shaped and defined by the life of Paul Bauer.  And that will be a good thing.”

The city of Chicago has announced that its new police and fire training center will be named the Paul R. Bauer Academy.  Do you have someone that so embodies the spirit of your organization and its mission? Read More Here and Here