Leadership Roles and Enemies

In my last blog entry, Know The Enemy, I identified seven common enemies to a project. In my blog entry, "Beekeeper, Shepherd and Cowboy" I described three common leadership roles, asserting that highly successful leaders will exhibit all three roles at the appropriate times. In this blog entry, I wanted to relate the leadership roles to project enemies.

To summarize:

  • The Beekeeper is systems-oriented. He understands the product and the processes needed for success.
  • The Shepherd is people-oriented. He knows how to work with others, and how to work with his team, to build trust and get the most out of people.
  • The Cowboy is goal-oriented. He knows what he wants to do, and drivers everyone toward that goal.

Enemies, and the Leaders That Defeat Them

A. The Problem

When there's a problem to be solved, the leader must let his "Cowboy" lead the way. The Cowboy understands the problem, and quickly identifies a path to a solution.

B. Process Snags

The Beekeeper worries about systems and processes. They understand the processes that an organization places on its project leads, and works with the processes to achieve success.

C. Deal Makers/Deal Breakers

Deal Makers can quickly become Deal Breakers if they are not brought into the team. The Shepherd works well with people, seeks to understand their interest and needs, and incorporates their ideas thoughtfully into the project plan.

D. Organizational Miscues

Organizational issues typically arise from two things: A lack of knowledge of the organizations and processes, or an inability to work with leaders from other organizations. The Beekeeper knows the organization and processes. The Shepherd works well with leaders.

E. Quality

Maintaining quality is the job of the Beekeeper. He thinks about the system, and how to disassemble the requirements and assemble a quality product.

F. Inertia, Brownian Motion, Entropy and Chaos

No one addresses inertia and chaos like the Cowboy. In the real world, getting a herd of cattle to start moving, and continue moving in the same pre-planned direction is a main job of the cowboy.

G. The Hidden Enemies

Finding the hidden enemies requires a little of all three leadership roles. The Beekeeper is organized and has a process for finding the enemies (for example, scheduling period meetings, using brainstorming techniques to encourage ideas, documenting and tracking the issues once they're identified). The Shepherd works with his team to create an environment where they feel comfortable raising issues and concerns; people must trust their leader before they're willing to point out things the leader has failed to see for themselves. And the Cowboy forces the issues into the open, even when people are not fully willing to share their concerns.

Outro

Previously when I identified the three successful leadership roles, I stated that the most successful leader will exhibit all three roles. The enemies listed above show how one leadership role is not be sufficient to identify and combat all enemies. It takes a person who is a blend of all three roles.
Copyright 2007, Robert J. Hueston. All rights reserved.
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