Computer keyboard keys labeled LEARN and LEADLoved this leadership “poem” written by fellow Vistage chair, Greg Bustin‘s grandmother. She was the leader of her PTA and in going through his family records, Greg found this document that had been typed on his grandmother’s typewriter.

For me she sums up the challenges of leadership rather well,

“The Leader’s Easy Job”

Her job is something like a football in a big game;
First one side has it and then the other:

If she writes a postal, it is too short,
If she sends a letter it’s too long.

If she issues a pamphlet, she is a spendthrift,
If she attempts to safeguard the interests of the association she is trying to run things;
If she does not, she is allowing things to go to the dogs.

If she attends committee meetings, she is intruding,
If she does not, she is a shirker.

If the attendance is slim – well, nobody likes her anyway.
If she tries to help, she is a pest.

If the program is a success, the program committee is praised,
If not, it’s all the president’s fault.

If dues are called for, she is insulting,
If they are not collected, she is to blame.

If she is in a smiling mood, she is frivolous,
If she is serious, she is a sorehead.

If she seeks advice, she is incompetent,
If she does not, she is bull-headed.

If she mixes with the members, she is too familiar,
If she does not, she is too ritzy.

So, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
If others won’t do it, the president must.

Here’s a link to Greg Bustin’s full blog from which this came.

Elisa K. Spain



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  • Larry Dreyfus

    What are we suppose to have learned from this prose? For me is that no matter what action we take as managers, we will be criticized. Even inaction is a choice subject to criticism. Thus, as the manager your only choice is to manage. At the same time, managers must facilitate criticism and be willing to process it for whatever valuable input it may provide.

    • Elisa Spain

      Thank you for your insights. For me the learning is focus on your vison, listen to feedback and then make the decision. If you seek to please everyone, you will not achieve your goals.

  • Mike Scott

    Here is a great quote that says a lot about this.

    “If your goals are larger than your need to be liked you’ll reach your goals. If your need to be liked is larger than your goal then your goal will become the need to be liked.” Author unknown

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