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What can't 'Lost' do?

Fahima Haque is a senior majoring in journalism at American University and a Washington Post intern. When she's not frantically job searching, she manages to indulge her love for 'Lost.'

Let's do a bit of time traveling. Imagine a world without 'Lost', say 2003. Back then the only cultural shipwrecked at sea references we could make were Gilligan's Island or Lord of the Flies or Tom Hanks as the FedEx guy. Not anymore.

'Lost' is part of our culture now, even if you're not an obsessed fan who consults Lostpedia or our very own Washington Post 'Lost' twitter page where bloggers dissect every detail of the final season's episodes.

But 'Lost' isn't just about understanding smoke monsters, discovering Dharma stations or romanticizing yet another vague "moment" between Jack and Kate. It's also about leadership.

Yes, leadership. The show's characters are perfect examples of how leadership can galvanize a group of people with often competing interests.

Using HR World, an online resource for HR professionals that offers a list of 10 things every manager (or leader) can learn from 'Lost' and a 'Lost' character analysis from suite101.com, an online magazine and writers network, I picked out the best points that explains just how 'Lost' and leadership go hand in hand:

Make alliances: Creating professional relationships with unexpected people can foster support within the team and strengthen the overall work environment. This is much like when past officer of Iraq's Republican Guard, Sayid Jarrah hesitantly teams up with the mysterious island dweller, Rousseau which later proves to have been a wise decision.

Find success as a team: In the pilot episode, de facto leader Dr. Jack Shephard immediately emphasizes the mantra, "live together, die alone." Even if his words were disingenuous at first, he made it a point to announce it because working together and compromising on different solutions creates a better work environment.

Follow your instincts: It's important to trust your gut, and not just rely on facts, when it comes to making decisions. When Sayid first met the disguised leader of "The Others" Benjamin Linus, he was rightly suspicious of his sham identity. While the other survivors just didn't understand Sayid's apprehension, he stuck to his instincts and it ultimately served them well.

Never assume you know everything: While it is true leaders should be aware of everything that is happening in their workspace, not every assumption may not be accurate. For example, no one on the island knew that Kate Austen was actually a fugitive on the run for burning down her stepfather's house and murdering him in the process. While that's kind of a huge deal and would probably never happen in the workplace, a good leader should keep their mind open to any seemingly impossible scenarios involving their team.

Okay, so I can admit that the surreal and heady plot lines that appear on 'Lost' is a bit more far-fetched than what could possibly ever happen at work. But, you can admit that the idea of battling violent polar bears on a tropical island may sometimes seem like a much better idea than dealing with a hectic Monday morning at the office...especially when good leadership is missing.

By Fahima Haque

 |  May 4, 2010; 6:48 AM ET |  Category:  Pop Culture Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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