Bring in the Executioner

by Emily Jasper on January 12, 2010

I’m not talking about the guy with the axe, though I would assume that the Executioner should be just as threatening. Nope, I’m talking about the guy you want on your team to get shit done. He may be in the background to every big project your leadership initiates. He probably knows the ins and outs of every department in your organization.

Here’s a profile of the Executioner:

  • This guy can see the big picture, but he can also see the cogs and wheels at the same time. This is a particular talent that most people don’t have. Usually, at one end of the spectrum, you have big picture people, those who are all about blue sky thinking. At the other end, there are the people who are all about the minutia. Then there’s the middle ground where people can grasp big picture and small detail concepts. However, it’s the rare talent to see both in the same clarity as those at both extremes.
  • He’s going to get super tactical. If it’s his job to make something happen, he’ll listen to all big dreams and then want to know some details. If you aren’t the detail type, then be prepared to trust the Executioner. Remember, he can do big pictures and small details.
  • He is going to tell you “no.” He’ll try to be polite, but if you change your mind every time you meet, he’s not going to reformulate the project. At some point, you give up power. If it is necessary to make changes, you better come to the table with some magic: more money or more resources (or better, both).
  • He’s going to need you to clear obstacles. If this is a project you need done, you need to clear the way. As a leader, you can let people know that this initiative is a priority. If your actions prove otherwise, then you can’t expect the Executioner to make it over all your hurdles. He needs support.
  • He can make you look good…if you let him. Similar to the whole changing-your-mind-thing, if you don’t let him do his job, your big initiatives or projects are never going to come through. Then you come across as all talk, no action. However, if you let your Executioner get things done, everyone wins. You also look like someone who knows how to put together a team that can execute. People will trust in your future initiatives.
  • He is not your bitch. If you are in the market for bitch, then get one. Don’t ask your Executioner to be available at your every whim. This is bad use of your Executioner, and people around you will notice. Your ability to utilize resources correctly reflects on your character.
  • Admit when you need him. Great minds can do a lot of great thinking. They can’t always turn out a product or balance the books. Know when you need to bring someone in who is going to help complete a project end-to-end. When you have the Executioner, let him take it from there.

What things would you add to this profile? What things should leaders who have an Executioner keep in mind? What are your experiences as an Executioner?

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*While I understand the proper title would be Executor, it just didn’t have the same ring to it…