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Affecting Change

This week I was charged with the role of leader. The primary goal was to have good, clean week, and to take care of business. A secondary goal of mine was effecting a change in someone who has proven over the course of six months to be incompetent, unable or unwilling to learn, arrogant without cause, disrespectful, lazy, and out of touch with reality. Though I don't actually think I can cause change in such a person in only one week, I can say that the experiment succeeded in teaching me a great deal.

There are a lot of kinds of people in the world. Unfortunately, you rarely get the chance to decide who you're going to lead, and so you must be able to lead them all. There remain those who are so utterly out of the loop that they're unable to follow anything but their own hallucinations, but that's neither here nor there. The normal ones, I can strive to lead those, right?

Some time ago I was asked "do you know what the next step is?" I replied that I did, and as the next step up is largely in a different area than my own, that I didn't know if I cared to take it. I gave that all of five minutes of thought before returning and saying "I've thought about it, and though I may not know whether I want the next step or not, I'd like to be held to that standard so that I can improve myself or have something against which I can measure myself."

Perhaps this week was one of those measurements.

Did I fail? Did I succeed? A bit of both. I've learned a lot, and that's a success. I probably didn't effect a change, and that's a failure. I've recognized that, and that's a success. I've been given the opportunity to express my concerns from a position of leadership tomorrow. I've yet to begin writing the outline for the meeting, but I've been thinking about it all week.

I hated group projects in school because there was always one person who couldn't be trusted to uphold his end of the deal. I've always done that person's work because I didn't want a B when I deserved an A. "Teamwork" is like that group project. That bothers me.

"Leadership" is an enigma in that sense: at what point does a leader fail when those under him fail? Clearly a team is only as strong as the weakest link, but how much can you blame the strong links when the chain breaks? At what point do you expect everyone to simply be mature and do their job? At what point does talking about weak links in chains become a method of shifting blame veiled with the pretense of taking a realistic look at a situation?

Can we measure a leader by his ability to get people to do things they've proven to be incapable of doing? Perhaps that gets at one of my problems - I've given up. I'm not the only one, but perhaps in order to truly succeed, I must be perpetually hopeful, perpetually helpful, perpetually optimistic.

Unfortunately, that clashes with my experiences with reality.

I'm at a loss. More thought is required.

3 Responses to "Affecting Change"

  1. In my eyes, the chain-analogy doesn't fit when trying to blame a specific person.

  2. Leadership is the art of getting people to want to do what they don't want to do without them knowing that you were the reason they did what it was you wanted them to do.

  3. Some comments deleted. They were off-topic. And hey, it's my blog. 🙂


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