Chapter eight of Kevin Eikenberry’s new book, From Bud to Boss, (co-authored with Guy Harris) contains a wonderful analogy.
The authors state that just as a boat leaves a two-sided wake in the water, leaders leaves a two-sided wake in their organizations, and you can tell a lot about leaders by the wake that they leave. One side of the wake reflects tasks accomplished and the other reflects impacts of interacting with people.
The leadership role is made up of activities on both sides, but most people are more comfortable focusing on one side than the other. If there is too much focus on one side, the leader will go around in a circle experiencing the same problems over and over – much as a boat will circle if too heavily weighted to one side.
To take the analogy a step further, not only do good leaders have to balance people and tasks, they are also out front deflecting the nonsense and taking on the grunt work to make the job of the followers easier. The followers benefit by drafting the leader and/or riding his/her wake.
What kind of wake are you leaving Joe and Wanda?
Joe Kerr: Mine’s not too pleasant. I just had the Nacho Double Grande for lunch!
Wanda B. Goode: I like the analogy. I get the feeling that many managers don’t realize the totality of their impacts on the organization. I think it’s fairly safe to say that most focus on the tasks accomplished – and not even necessarily by the team, but their individual tasks. As managers we should take the time to look back and take inventory of the impacts that we are having on our organization.
A couple of related posts:
A Leader’s Impact
Of Leading Lights and Influencers