Leadership is taking people on a journey to places they have never been.
If you were to ask people on the street about leadership, they might say that a great leader is one who knows the way.
Leadership however is a journey, leading others to a place where neither of them have ever been. True, a vision is important but there is never certainty. Those of us who have been leaders know that our plan does not always go right and if you promise certainty then you are apt to lose credibility. What do leaders need on this journey to lead well if certainty is impossible? When you do not have certainty, then clarity is the next best thing.
Do Leaders offer Certainty?
People crave certainty but leaders must never give in to the pull to promise certainty. The best credible leaders are honest and begin with the fact that they do not know the answer in these uncertain times, but they intend to find the answers. In this journey leaders give clarity about where they will start and what other members responsibilities are. They start with the plan and are specific about what action others are to take. Because there is no map there is no certainty. The best leaders throughout history have not depended on knowing the outcome but on doing the next thing well. In the Bible Joshua had been trained in the ways of wandering but certainly not in the ways of warring. When he was told that he would lead the Israelites out of the wilderness into the promised land to take the country that God had promised, he did not know for certain exactly how they were going to do this, but he did order the officers of the people “Go through the camp and get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan River and we are to go in to take the land the Lord will give you.” Joshua 1:10
Do Leaders offer Honesty?
Because certainty is never for sure, leaders must be honest and credible. Pretending erodes credibility quicker than admitting that you do not know. The “fake it till you make it” mindset is not the answer. Be candid, but be clear that you are moving forward. A leader must offer hope “rooted” in reality.
Do leaders need moral authority?
In leadership it can be easy when the going gets tough or your plan does not seem to be unfolding as you thought to remove your eyes from the prize when it looks like there may be a shortcut to get there or others seem to be gaining faster than you. It takes discipline to stick to your good principles in good times and bad times.
As a leader everyone is watching you. When the people under your leadership look back after the challenge is gone, will they be glad they followed you because you were clear and transparent and did the right thing no matter what?
Sukalp Sharma wrote about his interview with Stephen Covey the author of Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times. In this article, Sharma speaks about how Covey talks at length about his four mantras of success slimming down to a few key and simple goals, maintaining high levels of trust, doing more of what really matters, and transforming fear into engagement and productivity, and much more. Individuals, teams and especially bosses need to be accountable to each other with transparency.
Whether Leadership in your organization is leading through critical change or helping your clients to get a return on their investment, leadership must own their decisions and their part in the results that occur. At Morgan Printers, Inc. we are here to help our clients navigate these times to insure the marketing dollars spent with us get the best bang for their investment.
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