Leader, Be Careful of Miscommunication and Misunderstanding!

Feature Article Bishop Dag Heward-Mills
Bishop Dag Heward-Mills

Do you know that in war, when there is miscommunication and misunderstanding you can end up attacking your own forces and your allies? Why would anyone attack or kill the people he needs the most? Only miscommunication and misunderstanding lead to such unfortunate situations!

The devil is hoping that you will have misunderstandings and break off communication. He hopes that you will attack the person you need. It is sad when the real enemy is left out of the picture whilst we fight one another in the church. You cannot imagine the level of confusion and destruction that can come about when there is poor communication and misunderstanding!

The history of war shows how common it is for misunderstandings and miscommunication to happen. Dear leader, let these examples from history guide us away from treading these paths.

Famous Tragic Examples of Poor Communication

Let us look at a long list of friends attacking each other due to the misunderstanding and miscommunication of war.

  1. On the 10th of June 1948, Mickey Marcus, Israel's first general was mistaken for an enemy and shot and killed by a sentry while returning at night to his headquarters.
  1. On July 3, 1950, during the Korean War, eight Australian fighter jet pilots were misinformed that an area was in enemy hands. They attacked and destroyed a train carrying their own people. Thousands of American and South Korean soldiers who were mistaken for a North Korean convoy were on board the train. There were more than one thousand casualties.
  1. During the First World War, an estimated 75,000 French soldiers were mistakenly killed by their own artillery.
  1. During the Second World War, on the 10th of September 1939, the British submarine, Triton sunk another British submarine. After communicating with the other British submarine and receiving no response, they assumed they must have located a German submarine and fired two torpedoes, killing 50 people.
  1. On the 3rd May 1945, three days after Adolf Hitler died, three German transport ships, Cap Arcona, Thielbek and Deutschland came under attack by the British Air Force. All three ships were sunk in the Baltic Sea by bombs, rockets and cannon fire. Unknown to the pilots, was the fact that the ships were full of British and allied prisoners of war and survivors from Hitler's concentration camps. Some of the German guards on board jumped off and were rescued but the prisoners were left on board the sinking ships. It is estimated that almost 10,000 concentration camp survivors were killed in the attack.
  1. In the Burma campaign on 21st February 1942, American pilots shot retreating Commonwealth forces because they thought they were an advancing Japanese column. On the same day, retreating Commonwealth forces with about 300 vehicles were mistakenly bombed by the British Air Force, resulting in 159 vehicles being destroyed. The Air force killed over 200 of their own men on that day.
  1. During Operation Cottage, United States and Canadian forces mistook each other as Japanese although there were no Japanese on the island and engaged each other in a deadly fire fight. As a result, 28 Americans and 4 Canadians were killed. Is it not amazing that there were no Japanese troops on the island?
  1. In 1944, a train carrying 800 British, American and South African prisoners was bombed by the British when it crossed a bridge. The prisoners were being transported to Germany in unmarked cattle cars and were padlocked within. The driver stopped the train on the bridge, leaving the prisoners locked inside to their fate. Hundreds were killed because the British did not know that they were killing their own men.
  1. On the 8th of August 1944, two battalions of the 77th Infantry exchanged prolonged fire in Guam. They did not realize they belonged to the same infantry division until they called for artillery to bombard and silence the other side. The mistake was realized when both sides called for help from the same artillery unit.
  1. In April 1944, a training exercise to harden soldiers to the battle conditions of the coming invasion of Europe was conducted in Lyme Bay. Live ammunition from a ship was therefore used to fire at a beach where soldiers were training. Unfortunately, the soldiers moved into the wrong areas of the beach where 308 of them were mistakenly killed.
  1. On 19 February 1940, six German destroyer ships were sent to intercept a number of suspicious British fishing vessels off the Dogger Bank. When a German plane flew overhead, the German ships mistakenly fired on it. The German plane was convinced that the six German ships were British ships and began bombing them. As the chaos erupted, the German ships also thought they were under a British air and submarine attack. Eventually, after half an hour of confusion and mayhem, they realised they had mistakenly killed 578 German sailors and sank two of their own ships.

Dear Leader, remember that poor communication will destroy a good leader. It is important to maintain communication with your superiors. It is also important to maintain very good communication with your colleagues and subordinates! Do not allow yourself to be destroyed by poor communication!

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The Art of Leadership
By Dag Heward-Mills

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