On Leadership
Video | PostLeadership | FedCoach | | Books | About |
Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Ken Adelman
Political advisor

Ken Adelman

A Reagan-era Ambassador and Arms Control Director, Ken Adelman is co-founder and vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which offers executive training and leadership development.

A Shakespearean tragedy

Yes, you can "pull off" bringing in someone new to compensate for a leader's deficiencies -- but no one besides the leader can effectively bring in that person-with-the-needed-skills. To have Dan Snyder (in the case of the Redskins) do so undermines head coach Jim Zorn, who then becomes "head" of nothing much.

Every leader has strengths and weaknesses and should surround herself with those strong in her weak areas. That's sound management. But that also requires the leader herself to recognize that she needs supplementing and in which areas. Good leader do so. Bad leaders either don't see it -- which is usual, since their egos block the view -- or they refuse to hire those who have the needed skills or refuse to delegate to that person once hired.

In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, conspiracy-leader Cassius recognizes that while he's a great organizer, he needs someone who's respected for moral legitimacy. He thus recruits Brutus, a senator with a great reputation, nice speaking manner, and a close relationship with Caesar.

Yet Brutus is a terrible at the top. He doesn't, maybe even can't, recognize that he's simply a bad decision-maker. So Brutus makes one bad judgment after another -- seven, I've counted -- and adamantly refuses to delegate any authority. Cassius recognizes each decision as a bad call and objects time after time -- but to no avail.
Brutus can't even recognize that a professional soldier like Cassius may have better judgment in military matters than he does.

Hence their stunning and sad defeat -- much like what Redskins fans have witnessed so far this year.

By Ken Adelman

 |  October 26, 2009; 2:40 PM ET
Category:  Sports Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Will he get back up? | Next: Consultants aren't leaders

Comments

Please report offensive comments below.



Ken,

Maybe he should find weapons of mass destruction and cakewalk his way to victory....

Posted by: atidwell | October 27, 2009 5:34 AM
Report Offensive Comment

More Shakespeare I guess. Maybe Snyder told Zorn: "to be or not to be... don't be, no question on that!"

Posted by: Atouk | October 26, 2009 4:20 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company