The Harvard Kennedy course on leadership, built around the book of Marty Linsky and Ron Heifetz, offered counterintuitive material. Leadership courses would often tell you that you have to really believe in what you do, or put differently that your passion should become your job, or vice versa. That thought always caused me some discomfort. While there should be overlap between your “self” and your organizational role and while exercising leadership entails a high level of commitment, one also should make sure to keep them separate, is what the course proposes.
If there is no distinction between your role at the workplace and your identity, there is no space where you are protected. Any workplace attack on you for what you said or did becomes a personal attack. Continue reading