Ronald Heifetz

Why do so many people dislike their bosses? One reason is that people in positions of authority are frequently asked not to exercise their leadership. Instead of mobilizing their constituents to face tough, frustrating challenges, they are asked to protect those constituents from having to make adjustments. That’s why leadership is dangerous. Sure, you have to protect people from change. But you also have to “unprotect” them. It’s dangerous to challenge people in a way that will require changes in their priorities, their values, their habits. It’s dangerous to try to persuade people to take more responsibility than they feel comfortable with. And that’s why so many leaders get marginalized, diverted, attacked, seduced. You want to be able to stir the pot without letting it boil over. You want to regulate disequilibrium, to keep people in a productive discomfort zone.

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