Never pass up a good crisis
Half of Emond's Field is in ashes, courtesy of a surprise nighttime attack by Trollocs and Myrddraal; driving our band of youths away from the only home they've known. Under cover of darkness, Moiraine and Lan lead them out of the village; quickly and quietly to avoid any attention at all. Even from their own villagers.
The footsteps halted before the inn in the grayness just beyond the dim light form the common-room windows. It was not until Jon Thane stepped forward, a spear propped on his stout shoulder, an old jerkin sewn all over with steel disks straining across his chest, that Rand saw them for what they were. A dozen men from the village and the surrounding farms, some in helmets or pieces of armor that had lain dust covered in attics for generations, all with a spear or a woodaxe or a rusty bill.
The miller peered into a common-room window, then turned with a curt, "It looks right here."
The Eye of the World, p. 122
As previously discussed, leadership is about action. And about reaction. To bad news, to barriers, and to a crisis. One of my old bosses enjoyed stating "never pass up a good crisis." If you're the one moving forward when everyone else freezes, you stand out as a person who gets things done. In the case of the Mayor of Emond's Field, it is something small: organizing his people into a patrol to stay vigilant. Doing nothing would have just amplified the anxiety and fear building amongst the villagers from the previous night's attack and cost the Mayor the trust of his people. Even though the patrolmen are ill-equipped and lack training, they have a direction, a sense of purpose, unifying them. To say that the Mayor's efforts are "too little, too late" does a disservice to the human dynamics of leadership. Tactically, it's not the ideal option, and is definitely inadequate across the board. But to the people themselves, it's a mission that has meaning; and allows them to be empowered, taking action to prevent a recurrence.