A Case Study in Doing What Needs to be Done

Amber Johnson Leadership

One of my favorite novels is Richard Russo’s Straight Man, the tale of an aging college professor who finds he can no longer tolerate the world in which he works.

In one scene, the protagonist is desperate to avoid attending a staff meeting. (Ever felt that way?) He locks himself in his office with the lights out, determined to hide until the meeting is over. Unfortunately, he feels a desperate need to visit the restroom and he soils himself. Seeking an escape, and also thinking he might be able to eavesdrop on the meeting, he decides to exit his office through the ceiling panels. Things don’t go quite as he expected.
There are three insights we can gain from this:
1) You should read this book.
2) When faced with an unpleasant task (like attending the protagonist’s staff meeting) it’s usually better to face the task directly. Avoidance and subterfuge usually have unintended, and unpleasant consequences.
3) Lessons in leadership can come from unexpected places. We’ve discussed this before, in our post on leadership lessons from Game of Thrones, and one CEO’s favorite childhood book.
Do you have a leadership lesson from a surprising source? Share your stories here in the comments section or tweet us at @ValuesDriven. Your lesson may be used in an upcoming blog post.
Amber Johnson is the Center for Values-Driven Leadership‘s corporate relations and social media advisor. She is a non-profit and small business communications professional. In addition to blogging about business for the CVDL, Amber writes about marriage and other topics on her personal blog


Previous ArticleNext Article