I didn’t expect to like Swedish police detective, Kurt Wallender, but Kathy liked him and she doesn’t like bleak mysteries either, so I read Henning Mankell’s One Step Behind, and — hark! — I liked him. He’s not bleak, but he’s no bundle of peppiness, either. He’s dogged, smart, outraged, avoiding his diabetes, willing to risk new friends, and a really good group leader.
This matters because there are many too many groups in the world, maybe especially in Minnesota or in my lifetime, and many too few people who know how to lead. All of a sudden, I have not one, but two examples of very good and very different group leaders in Kurt Wallender and, an old favorite hero whose latest mystery I just finished, Jack Reacher.
Reacher, in Lee Child’s Bad Luck and Trouble, joins his former military team in a search for the killers of their former colleagues. This is a group of peers, almost interchangeable, hugely trained, and well-experienced nine years earlier. Reacher understands how and when to stand back, take charge or join in.
Fig. #16. Looks like a peer group (of lobster buoys?) preparing a next move.
Kurt Wallander leads his police squad to a successful conclusion in a case that offers no obvious clues, had a hard-to-figure-out motivation, and gets him in hot water with his department leader, regional and national authorities, and members of the public. This is a meshed group of people who bring different experiences and qualities under Wallender’s direction to the solving of their shared cases.
Who knew that group anything might be interesting? Maybe these should be case studies for a management wannabe.