Unfortunately, you can be an experienced top executive….one with a proven track record but that does not necessarily make you a black belt in business. Management and leadership will intersect and parallel in many ways but the subtle differences can be crippling if you do not have a good grasp of them. Here is a good example; Corporate, academic and government organizations may be similar in structure, needs for running efficiently, etc. but the morays and norms of each, the culture is not. What can be said in a board room is not the same as what can be said on the senate floor or in front of a group of angry parents. In Cathleen Black’s defense, the media often misquotes or “bends” the context of the conversation to make for bigger news. That aside, there is still an obvious disconnect between her, the people she was assigned to lead and the community.
The lesson of the story is that when you manage and lead people, you are managing and leading emotions. In business those emotions are often subdued by the fear of losing ones job, professional reputation or that raise/promotion. In governments, you’ve recently seen how emotions can lead to revolution as in Egypt and other countries. In the academic world, the results can be just as swift. Learning to balance the art with the science can make all the difference.