What’s the leader’s Job One?
To ensure that all people are working on the right things.
Rather bland, but true, no?
Respect for humanity means I won't waste my team's time asking them to do stupid or wasteful things.
Here's an extreme example to illustrate the point:
One of the most vicious punishments meted out in the awful Soviet gulags was this:
Spend all day digging out a large hole. Then spend the next day filling it back in.
Prisoners would go mad with the meaninglessness of it.
But consider how it parallels so much corporate work.
I've seen good, smart people doing much the same work -- at the whim of some executive, or to satisfy some absurd corporate rule.
"Dig out that hole – and then fill it back in!"
After a while people lose part of their humanity. To paraphrase Winston Smith at the end of George Orwell’s classic, 1984,
"Two plus two really does equal five..."
It’s one of the bleakest endings in all of literature. Winston loses his soul. Big Brother wins.
So leaders at all levels have a heavy responsibility.
“I must use my people's time and humanity wisely.”