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[综合] 英语十分钟/如何体面地从高位上卸任

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如何体面地从高位上卸任How to leave high office graciously and how not to
来自FT金融时报

    For a powerful leader,there are few adjectives more deadening than “outgoing”. Not in the sense of being extrovert or party-loving, but meaning “soon to depart”, heading for the door —over, but not yet out.
   Donald Trump, outgoing US president, is feeling the chill already. Defeated or departing presidents have to endure an extended spell in purgatory — nearly 80 days in Mr Trump’s case —from election day to the inauguration of their successors. That is a long time to carry the label of “outgoing”, or, worse, “lame duck” president, which partly explains his desire to use the tools of government to nail himself to the Oval Office desk.
   Despite his and his supporters’ best efforts to challenge the outcome, though, Mr Trump’s authority is already ebbing away to Joe Biden. In the meantime, he is providing  an object lesson in graceless exits that all leaders, outgoing or not, should study.
   Business leaders can influence when they depart more often than their political counterparts. Even they agonise over the timing and framing of their exit. Announce a departure date too soon and you face a long limp to the finish line while your successor looks on hungrily. Once the countdown has begun, the board sometimes puts lamed leaders out of their misery sooner than planned.
  The desire to delay the inevitable is understandable. The path away from power is peppered with tiny humiliations. The joke about ex-leaders settling into the back seat of a parked car and expecting it to move away immediately contains a grain of truth. The day Tony Blair stepped down as UK prime minister in 2007, he arrived in his constituency by train and reportedly headed instinctively towards a waiting BMW, before being told he would have to squeeze into a far humbler vehicle.
   The market for influence — a little like the stock market over the past week — adjusts swiftly to new realities.
   On a far higher level, at an event at the Chicago Federal Reserve a few years ago, central bankers were brutally ranked by proximity to the levers of monetary power. Current officials were placed in the middle; everyone else off to the side. To rub it in, seniorex-bankers — even Ben Bernanke, once the all-powerful Fed chairman — were handed name tags giving their position as “Former Policymaker”.
While advice abounds in the“how to lead” section of the business bookshop about how chief executives should handle their first 100 days, the “how to leave” shelves are largely bare, apart from the obvious (but still frequently ignored) imperative to make a succession plan.
   One tip, more relevant for disgruntled presidents than disillusioned chief executives, is to resist the temptation to sabotage or undermine your successor. When the courts finally adjudicated the 2000 presidential election in George W Bush’s favour, over Al Gore, the outgoing Clinton White House staff were accused of pranks and petty vandalism. Most notorious were attempts to prise the “W” from West Wing keyboards. An official probe looked into allegations of desks with drawers glued shut, stolen presidential seals, missing doorknobs,prank voicemail messages, and a jammed filing cabinet that, once opened,contained Gore campaign stickers.
   A more widely applicable suggestion is to steer between the lure of slacking off, and the pull of a big swan song deal. Either can backfire. Once the transition has started, opportunities to secure a reputation different from the one you have already built are scarce. The risk you could wreck any credibility you have left is still live, however. The soundest approach is to do the job you are paid to do to the best of your ability until the moment you step away from your desk. You may have no choice. George W Bush, who oversaw a civilised handover to BarackObama in 2009, had to fight the raging financial crisis until the day he left.
What happens next is in the outgoing leader’s hands.You could do worse than the pledge made by UK premier Stanley Baldwin in 1937: “Once I leave, I leave. I am not going to speak to the man on the bridge, and I am not going to spit on the deck.”
    Or you could abandon grace,poise and dignity and wait to be pulled screaming from the corner office. But to paraphrase Mr Biden’s commenton Mr Trump’s reluctance to concede, “How can I say this tactfully? It will not help [your] legacy.”

参考译文:

     对于一个强大的领导人来说,没有一个形容词比“outgoing”更令人沮丧的了。这个词在这里不是指性格外向或者喜欢聚会,而是指“即将离任”,正要离任——但还没有离开。
    唐纳德•特朗普(DonaldTrump),即将离任的美国总统已经感受到了阵阵寒意。从选举日到继任者就职,败选的或即将离任的总统们必须在炼狱中忍受很长一段时间——特朗普则要忍受近80天。这段时间都要贴着“即将离任”,甚至“跛脚鸭”总统的标签,这在一定程度上解释了他为何如此渴望利用政府工具把自己钉在椭圆形办公室的办公桌上。
    尽管特朗普及其支持者尽了最大努力挑战选举结果,但他和乔•拜登(Joe Biden)的权威已经在此消彼长了。与此同时,他不体面的退场提供了一个反面教材,所有领导者,无论是否即将离任,都应该学习。
   与政治领导人相比,商业领导人离任的时候更有影响力。但他们也为离职的时机和方式而苦恼。过早宣布离职日期,你将面临着一瘸一拐走到终点线的漫长过程,而你的继任者则在一旁虎视眈眈。一旦开始倒计时,董事会有时会比计划中更早让跛脚领导人解脱。
    希望不可避免的事情推迟发生是可以理解的。离开权力的道路充满了小小的羞辱。有个笑话说,前领导人坐在停着的汽车后座上,期待它马上开走,这个笑话有几分道理。2007年,托尼•布莱尔(Tony Blair)卸任英国首相那天,他乘火车回到了自己的选区,据报道,他本能地走向一辆停在那里的宝马(BMW),但随后被告知坐进一辆普通得多的车里。
   市场对于影响力——有点像过去一周的股市——会迅速调整,以适应新状况。
   说到更高的层次,几年前芝加哥联邦储备银行(Chicago Federal Reserve)举行的一次活动中,各央行行长被残酷地大致按照货币权力大小排座位。现任官员坐在中间;其他人坐在两边。更糟糕的是,资深前行长们——甚至是曾经大权在握的美联储(Fed)主席本•伯南克(Ben Bernanke)——都拿到了印有“前政策制定者”身份的姓名标签。
   尽管商业书店“如何领导”的分区中有很多关于首席执行官应如何处理上任头100天的建议,但“如何离任”的书架几乎空空如也,除了制定接班计划这一明显(但常常被忽略)的当务之急。
   有一点提示,就是不要蓄意破坏或暗中损害继任者,这一点对于心怀不满的首席执行官,比对幻灭的首席执行官来说更为重要。2000年最高法院最终裁定小布什(George W Bush)赢得大选,而不是阿尔•戈尔(Al Gore)时,即将离任的克林顿白宫工作人员被控犯有恶作剧和轻微的破坏行为。其中最臭名昭著的是试图撬掉白宫西翼办公室键盘上的“W”。针对以下指控启动了一项正式调查:办公室抽屉被粘上;总统印章被偷;门把手消失;语音信箱留了恶搞的信息;文件柜被卡住,一旦打开就能看到戈尔的竞选贴纸。
   还有一个更为广泛适用的建议是,在忍不住懈怠还是最后再干一件大事之间把握好。两者都可能适得其反。一旦开始交接,就很少有机会获得一个与你已经建立的声誉不同的声誉了。然而,毁掉自己已有声誉的风险仍然存在。最明智的做法是尽自己所能去做本职工作,直到离开的那一刻。你别无选择。2009年,在与巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)的文明交接中,小布什不得不与肆虐的金融危机作斗争,直到离任。
   接下来会发生什么取决于即将离任的领导人。你可以做得不如1937年英国首相斯坦利•鲍德温(Stanley Baldwin)所承诺的,他说:“一旦离开,我就离开了。我不会与桥上那人说话,也不会往甲板上吐口水。”或者,你可以放弃优雅、稳重和尊严,等着尖叫着从转角办公室被拉走。但借用拜登对特朗普拒绝接受大选结果的评论,“我该怎么婉转地说呢?这无益于(你的)政治遗产。”



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