Monday, September 5, 2022

Quote of the Day (Garry Wills, on a Summer Lesson in Work and Leadership)

“I had a chip on my shoulder, since my father had left my mother to marry a (much younger) Hollywood model. While I was in California for a high school contest, he asked me to work at his nascent business for the rest of the summer. But for that offer, I would not have stayed—I needed a job in any event. He knew that the way to recruit a resisting son-employee was to give me independence—not only in things like deliveries, but in sales and purchasing of household equipment. If I failed, that might break down my resistance. If I didn't, pride in the work might renew a bond that had been broken. Paradoxically, by giving me independence he got me to do his will. That is the way leadership worksreciprocally engaging two wills, one leading (often in disguised ways), the other following (often while resisting). Leadership is always a struggle, often a feud.”—Historian-journalist Garry Wills, “What Makes a Good Leader,” The Atlantic Monthly, April 1994

Happy Labor Day, friends—and remember the inherent value of work (even, God help us, Judge Reinhold's job at Captain Hook Fish and Chips in Fast Times at Ridgemont High).

(Photo of Garry Wills by Lauren Gerson, taken on March 10, 2015 at the LBJ Presidential Library, where he was joining the Friends of the LBJ Library to discuss his book, The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis.)

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