Whether at work, home, school or in our communities, we look to our leaders for a great deal. Successful leaders deliver a vision for the future and appropriate resources for the journey. Leaders are also expected to provide direction, effective guidance to the desired future state destination. Unfortunately, whether you are a parent or a first-line supervisor, many leaders are not particularly good at this aspect of their responsibility. This is not because they are ill intentioned or lack an attractive goal. It is simply because they do not take the time to do what GPS does for you every day, searches for your current location.
We all use GPS to help get us to a desired destination. However, it does not immediately give you directions. It must first determine where you are. Without your current location, GPS cannot provide effective guidance. Similarly, as leaders, we must take the time to figure out where our followers are before giving directions.
As a parent, you may know exactly where your child should be or what they should do. Unfortunately, many times parents give ineffective directions because they incorrectly assume where the child is beginning. Understanding the kid’s current state may include their desire, skill and confidence. Without that critical information, guidance may not only be ineffective, but harmful.
Successful bosses must also take the time to understand their team members’ situations. Effective guidance takes into consideration individual perceptions, work and personal challenges, as well as the reality of team member relationships. During these COVID times, as directions are provided to employees regarding staying safe outside of the workplace, financial and family situations must be considered for greatest effectiveness and team support.
Successful leadership requires taking time to really figure out followers’ current states, not from your location, but theirs. Appreciation for the reality of an individual’s situation is essential before providing effective direction. Be like a useful GPS, search people’s hearts and minds for not only where they want to go, but more importantly, where they are. They will thank you for it and you will appreciate being a true value-add in their success.
Enjoy the journey!