“In any type of institution whatsoever, when a self-directed, imaginative, energetic, or creative member is being consistently frustrated and sabotaged rather than encouraged and supported, what will turn out to be true one hundred percent of the time, regardless of whether the disrupters are supervisors, subordinates, or peers, is that the person at the very top of that institution is a peace-monger. By that I mean a highly anxious risk-avoider, someone who is more concerned with good feelings than with progress, someone who life revolves around the axis of consensus, a “middler”, someone who is so incapable of taking well-defined stands that his “disability” seems to be genetic, someone who functions as if she had been fileted of her backbone, someone who treats conflict or anxiety like mustard gas–one whiff, on goes the emotional gas mask, and he flits. Such leaders are often “nice”, if not charming.”

— Edwin Friedman, A Failure of Nerve

photo courtesy: Luc de Leww