This article from the Financial Times, which may or may not be behind a paywall depending on your browser, cites some recent research from Bob Sutton and his oft-partner Huggy Rao. Here are the gems — quotations from Sutton or Rao — that are worth keeping and turning over a few times:
- Leaders are “trustees of . . . employees’ time.”
- “Gunk people” add friction to organizations, making it difficult for people to produce or extract value from those organizations.
- “Grease people” do the opposite.
Last, according to Rao, leaders:
- “Make the bad things difficult to do and the good things easy,” ultimately ensuring that employees go “back home whole.”
I have also understood and processed these ideas using an “actor / agent” lens, but no matter what we call them, they are worth our most effortful aspirations and our most aspirational efforts . . . especially the bit about sending employees “back home whole.”