Sometimes, if I wait too long to think about a post, someone else says what I wanted to say for me. That happened today in Salon on the matter of General McChrystal where the following story appeared. It reflects my thoughts very well. One of the last, if not the last, ways to establish one’s authority is to brandish it. The downstream costs are extraordinary in the lost trust (however little there may have been to lose) and oddly enough, the circumscription of what authority one had, i.e. whatever McChrystal did that didn’t get him fired, is now precedent for others to follow and I can just about promise you that he did many things unrevealed by the Rolling Stone article. Uncertainty about the use of authority is far more useful to a leader.
For those who have not read it, here is the Salon item (http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/06/23/obama_mcchrystal_fire_boss/index.html) which also contains the following link to the Rolling Stone article (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/119236#).