The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts


Once I worked for someone who would regularly invite me to “just do it”.

As so often with such invitations, there is a duality to them.

Knowing him, I knew his desire to encourage others. At the same time, he lacked every ability to provide either a frame of reference allowing us to assess his values or the ability to structure his view on the task to be done. Working for him meant to only be able to work independently from him as he could not provide the necessary guidance allowing to see a common objective.

He had the ability and the power to throw projects away if they had not worked as he had hoped. For him, it was ok to decide at the end if he liked the result or not. Naturally, he would invest himself in achieving something he liked, however that only worked with the projects he was doing himself or taking over once things had gone array. It allowed him to shape things as they happened and according to how much he liked what he was creating.

However, it meant that his good intentions to give everyone as much freedom as possible were working against him. At the same time, they opened the space for him to save the situation. He stepped in whenever it seemed necessary to him.

It’s one of many ways to install heroic leadership.

In this case a tragic hero.

He regularly ended up frustrated that the people to whom he had given all the possibilities he could think of were not living up to his imagination and having him finish the work.


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