Two Points of View on Leadership


You know the expression, ‘it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.”

Well it’s true. Good leaders don’t wait for official blessing to try things out. They’re prudent, not reckless.  But they also realize a fact of life in most organizations; if you ask enough people for permission, you’ll inevitably come up against someone who believes his job is to say “no.”  So the moral is, don’t ask.  Less effective middle managers endorsed the sentiment.  “if I haven’t explicitly been told ‘yes,’ I can’t do it,” whereas the good ones believed, “if I haven’t explicitly been
told ‘no’ I can.”

There is a world of difference between these two points of view.

General Colin Powell

One Response

  1. The question is, What am I afraid will happen if I take a risk and do something without explicit permission? What fear am I attempting to mitigate against in ensuring someone else has taken responsibility for my attempts?

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