Monday, September 8, 2008

Today

If you haven't yet, everyone should read Woody's post below. It is fantastic.

In a related vein, this morning's Today show included an interview with Bob Woodward on his newest book "The War Within" (video link here). I kind of tuned in halfway through, right as Matt Lauer brought up an example from the book of a time when military advisors told President Bush that the troop surge in Iraq would require deployment of two brigades of troops. The President, in turn, decided to deploy five brigades instead. Matt Lauer said that he had some qualms about this particular decision, but he went on to say "But that's leadership, isn't it?" I immediately thought of last week's readings and wondered- is it? Without getting into any sort of partisan or even war-related discussion- how does the act of substituting your own judgement for that of others, be they "followers" or other leaders, fit into the process of leadership? I would think that it must be necessary sometimes, particularly if your role is to be the guardian of the goals and values of an organization. But is that leadership, or just something that a leader sometimes does? Are those two interchangeable? And how much do the ideas of human limitation and delegation (which Woody mentioned were missing from last week's readings) come into play?

Substituting your own judgement would, no doubt, be the very definition of leadership if we all subscribed to the Great Man theory, but when looking at leadership as a process, how does that sort of decision fit in?

Just something I'm thinking about today...