Have you ever read War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy? It's a great book with many stories wrapped up with History. It takes place in Russia during the Napoleon era and, of course, it also tells about battles.

Lev Tolstoy in a rare color photo

Strategist vs Executors

There is one interesting point in Tolstoy's reasoning: most of the times, battles are not decided by generals or strategists but by single episodes of bravery or dastardliness in the troops.

Of course there is a part of truth in this, but life is slightly more complicated. A good commander should be able to understand if his soldiers are motivated, which are strengths and weaknesses of his troops.

A managers should know his/her men as well. How to deal with each one of them and understand their concerns. It's not just a matter of assigning the right tasks to the right developer.

Victory and Fortune

I'm sure you have already heard that fortune favors the bold and often luck is considered an essential attribute of good commanders. Many great generals in the past were undoubtedly lucky. But a commander that points everything on his luck is doomed to lose.

This is why, great commanders always have some troops reserved for difficult moments (for example Napoleon had the Old Guard) and they know when engage a battle and when retire their troops.

For a manager it works the same. If he/she commits the team at one hundred percent of the time, there will no room for contingencies. If he/she accepts every job proposed by the salesmen, the risk is to provide a poor job or to miss the deadlines. He/she can put its subordinates under pressure for some weeks but not forever.

Sometimes managers have to take some risk and they can be lucky, but fortune doesn't lasts forever.

Image taken from Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

Post last updated on 2018/08/05