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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti


Stripping responsibility without undermining?

As the Washington Redskins have learned with Coach Jim Zorn, whose play-calling responsibilities were handed over to an offensive consultant, it's tricky bringing in someone to help compensate for a particular weakness of a leader without appearing to undermine his leadership. In your experience, are there effective ways to pull that off, or is it a doomed strategy?

Posted by Steve Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti on October 26, 2009 12:41 PM
Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.)

Dick Vermeil as mentor?

A better decision by the Redskins management might have entailed hiring a former successful head coach known across the league as a senior statesman and teacher.

Posted by Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.), on October 30, 2009 4:13 PM
Michael Maccoby

Replace Cerruto and Snyder

The fault lies not with Coach Zorn, but with Dan Snyder and Vince Cerruto for their draft and free-agency decisions. They are the managers who need to be replaced

Posted by Michael Maccoby, on October 28, 2009 10:56 AM
Mickey Edwards

Crippling the coach

The problem was not with the decision to address a perceived shortcoming, which had to be done, but in crippling the coach's ability to lead effectively.

Posted by Mickey Edwards, on October 28, 2009 10:53 AM

Failure or its aftermath?

While Zorn's dismissal as play-caller technically throws his leadership into question, it does so no more than the atrophied offense he has put onto the field thus far.

Posted by Coro Fellows, on October 27, 2009 1:26 PM

Bad call

Having been stripped of some of authority as head coach, Jim Zorn will lose the ability to inspire success -- a quality the Redskins sorely need this season.

Posted by Yash Gupta, on October 27, 2009 11:50 AM

A private conversation

Had Dan Snyder wanted to keep Jim Zorn and not undermine his authority, the conversation and decision about his weaknesses would have taken place in private.

Posted by Bob Schoultz, on October 27, 2009 6:43 AM
Slade Gorton

Precursor to firing

When a single individual can bring in someone "to compensate for your weakness," you're not the leader.

Posted by Slade Gorton, on October 27, 2009 6:10 AM
Andy Stern

Not an easy time to 'help'

When a leader is challenged by his own performance or when his leadership is being questioned from the outside is not an easy time to offer "help."

Posted by Andy Stern, on October 26, 2009 4:00 PM

Consultants aren't leaders

When the outside consultant starts "calling the plays" for the team, the role has changed from "advisor" to "executive."

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith, on October 26, 2009 3:03 PM

A Shakespearean tragedy

Like Julius Caesar's Brutus, bad leaders who can't see -- and therefore compensate for -- their own weaknesses.

Posted by Ken Adelman, on October 26, 2009 2:40 PM

Will he get back up?

Coach Zorn has been undermined, and now the owner must hope the coach has the leadership competence to regroup and move the team forward.

Posted by Ed O'Malley, on October 26, 2009 1:35 PM
Bill George

Only one captain

When the owners lose confidence in the leader, it does little good to take away his or her responsibilities and give them to a consultant.

Posted by Bill George, on October 26, 2009 1:20 PM

Snyder must go

The management of the Redskins, especially Dan Snyder, has failed to show leadership. Until Snyder goes, the Redskins will not have a chance to field an outstanding team.

Posted by Pablo Eisenberg, on October 26, 2009 1:06 PM

No surprises

If a leader like Jim Zorn has been around for a while, he should be informed of changes in his executive powers before the public is.

Posted by Raju Narisetti, on October 26, 2009 12:56 PM

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ooyah32: Are there effective ways to pull that off, or is it a doomed strategy? It would appear that the folks asking the question, and many of the ...

douglaslbarber: I suppose that to some extent, the Queen is still seen as a leader in England, though for quite a while now the Prime Minister's been callin...

KandJM: I'm sorry, but isn't "the team owner should go because we don't like what he's doing with the team" a lot like "we should try to find a way ...

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