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Howard Gardner
Scholar

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

Talking with the Troops

Barack Obama has been setting an impressive example, engaging in daily dialogue with the American public and admitting when he has made mistakes. We have not had a president like this in recent memory. The general procedure is valuable for leaders of any organization: Don't pretend you are omniscient (who is?) and keep in very regular touch with your troops, sharing (within reason) the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Beyond this common sense advice, the most important thing for leaders is
to help workers acquire skills that are wanted, appreciated, and portable; and then, should downsizing be needed, to be as helpful as possible in aiding individuals to
find a new niche.

In an organization with which I was connected for many years, the hiring boss would ask "What is going to be your next job?" Far from hinting that downsizing was in the offing, the hirer was simply saying, "If things don't work out here, how can you use what you have learned to find an appropriate niche, going forward?"

By Howard Gardner

 |  February 9, 2009; 10:13 AM ET
Category:  Economic crisis Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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