John, on the other hand, manages and controls content. His focus is predominantly on, is this report or deliverable right and he essentially QAs the content and provides directions on changes he requires.
Never was there a time where the document was "perfect" so never was there room for recognition and or a sense of a job well done and often there were large lurches in what needed to be done depending on his focus at the time. John's focus was never switched it was always on the content.
He seldom communicated the big picture and never got detailed as he didn't have the time. He lived in the grey middle area of the meddler and seagull.
Nowadays I get to observe a number of different leaders and leadership teams in action and as I do this I look to see if they are Bobs or Johns. I listen to their conversation. Are they leading to a context of what's needed for success and asking confirming questions or are they managing content to ensure the words, templates and method are perfect. I observe them inaction. Are they focused and calm or have they got too many things going on and rushing around? I watch the impact on their team. Do they come away from meetings with their leaders clear on what's needed and focused -- or confused and frustrated?
Unfortunately what I find is that in our industry we have a lot of Johns, who manage content and "get in the way" of their teams and not enough Bobs who lead through context, confirm with detail and guide their team to success.
Interestingly Bob was seen as one of the most effective partners in the business. John on the other hand never did make partner.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.