JS Tip 49: From the Leadership Workshops: The Two Tasks

Leaders have two sometime-conflicting tasks: They represent those they follow, and they represent those they lead.

They represent those they follow. Pretty obvious. They speak for corporate. They represent the organization. They pass along the guidance and supervise the execution of the guidance.

They represent those they lead. Not so obvious. Leaders speak for those they lead. When senior management—sometimes distant physically and perspectively—asks for the unattainable, it is the duty of leaders to say, “No, that’s not possible.”

By speaking for those they lead, they ensure the execution of attainable goals, and prevent the loss of time, money, and resources wasted on unattainable or unrealistic goals: “We can do that.” “We can’t do that, and here are the reasons why . . . .”

Following up on last week’s “lost positives” tip: Special appreciation to Korie Roscher of IMFlash Technology, who discovered a wonderful source of lost positives: “How I Met My Wife” by Jack Winter and published in The New Yorker in 1996.

A short, brilliant excerpt: “There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.”