Andrea: Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.
Galileo: No, Andrea: Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.
(Bertolt_Brecht – Life of Galileo)
A firemen feels confident, useful and brave during a fire.
A hero without anyone to rescue feels under-used and undervalued.
If you work with firemen and heroes, you’ll spend all day heroically fighting fires. That means you will work on mitigating the urgent instead of on solving the important.
If you have the chance to hire any of them, please don’t do it. And if your staff includes firemen and heroes, you should better train them to do normal, easy-paced, work flow, or get rid of them.
- Don’t be a Hero (signal vs noise, DHH) “Being a hero is all about sitting aside all costs and winning anyway. That’s not a prudent way to drive everyday development. […]Every time you play the hero card, you’re jeopardizing the next game.”
- The Hero Complex (Making things happen, Scott Berkun) “If things work out well, the survivors look on their heroic efforts as a large part of why they succeded.[…]However, there are bad habits hiding behind this logic.”
- Fast vs Cheap vs Good and the Covery Quadrant “Finally, quadrant 2, non urgent and important things, is what will give you the chance to offer good and cheap (in the long run). What quadrant of the matrix are you willing to live your life into?”
Henry Dobson is a character from House M.D. series. In the fourth episode of season#4, House dismissed him after making a series of RIGHT decisions on a patient’s treatment.
Just before Dr. House finishes telling him he is fired, Henry, the old applicant tells House:
“you don’t need someone to tell you what you’re already thinking”
Take that into account. Your boss knows what she knows. She agrees with herself. And if the best thing you can do is to tell her she is right, you are, at best, being shortsighted.
Telling someone that she is wrong is hard, and you need to be brave and smart for doing it. But for your boss, this is priceless.
By the way, if discussing with subordinates is a problem for your boss, you’d better start searching for a braver and smarter new boss.
Related: Quote on creative complaining. Saving Private Ryan.
“So how can you find the right leader? Well, you can start by asking one simple question, “Tell me about the last person you fired.” Of all the ways I interviewed executive candidates, this question and the discussion that followed proved to be the strongest indicator of the candidate’s leadership ability.” (The interview question that reveals a true leader – M.Barros at Inc.com)
Great leaders must prove themselves on the hardest times. Firing someone is one of the toughest moments where a leader can be.
Keeping a great team running without having to make adjustments every now and then is impossible, so your new leader should be prepared to manage the process.
So let yourself find out how your potential new great leader behaved on such a hard situation.