Leadership on the Line by Martin Linsky—Chapter 2 Review: The Faces of Danger

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Submitted by nilkanto on Thu, 06/03/2014 - 6:36pm

The title carries the chapter’s intention. Intention to make us understand the forces or faces the dangers of being in front will hold. Most of the times when you are trying to do something good (in your own sense), the obstacle comes from some place we barely give a thought about.

It describes 4 forms of risks. I would rather call them obstacles than risks. These are: marginalization, Diversion, attack and last but not the least seduction.

I was in doubt about the meaning marginalization. The first meaning came in mind was the term in Bangla ekghore, which used to mean making a family detached from society by rules of society due to their origin, ethnicity or any sort of behavior. Turns out, it bears the same meaning here. It’s just that the whole system does not want to undergo changes because of some other issues though the issues may need to be addressed. And the person, whose shoulder is used to shot the gun, is then marginalized. Sometimes we do understand we are being marginalized. Other times it is just too late to even understand. A good example of it was the young Rabbi.

Marginalization comes out of personalization and it can take a seductive form. It may take the form of one’s promotion to derail him from his goal. In case of leadership, personalization can affect the judgment. President Lyndon Johnson faced problems which he made personal, which affected his judgment. In case of Leading, one must remember their survival is not only of their self but also of their issues.

Diversion on the other hand, is a common way of creating obstacles. The reforms in government, systems and in companies cannot take place most of the times due to this reason. When one has opponents of diverse background and they find a way to push their issue towards him or her, he or she has to deal with a supreme challenge. And the world that she/he wants to create goes beyond reach. Elizabeth was one such case. She had a huge responsibility and she had a goal to make the things better. But after 6 months of taking her position she found herself at the same place as she was before.
Attack of course, can be physical or mental or both at the same time. In the first chapter, the assassination of Israeli President Yitzhak Rabin was talked about. It’s an attack. Physical attack easily diverts people. In 1999, the WTO held it’s general meeting in Seattle. There were protest against this meeting and there were clashes between police and the protesters. The clashes were then highlighted more than the issues of the protesters. A famous film was made in 2007 ‘Battle in Seattle’ regarding this incident.

Mental attack takes form such as attack on your policy and character. The second one was in news in case of people like Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas etc.

Attacks can be also based on misrepresentation. When one’s work is judged from one angle and not by other means or by only one work/word not by other ones, then it’s misrepresentation. An attack focusing only one misrepresentation can be brutal yet effective in our society. It’s important to understand the form in can take.

Seduction makes your defense mechanism down lowered due to the nature of approach creating the perfect target. This seduction don’t need to be always stimulating rather it can be normal humanly interests also. It can make you feel confident enough to make the mistakes ignoring the simplest facts present in front of you.

Overall, this chapter deals with the obstacles that one must face being a leader. In my opinion to understand it completely one must endure all of it which will make him a complete and unique Leader.


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