Take a moment and remember a time when you set out for work and then, on your commute, you ran into a long patch of fog… What did you do? How did you feel? Many of us, immediately slow down and become more cautious. Usually, it makes us feel uncomfortable, unsure. Some of us become irritated. If the fog is too thick, we actually pull over and try to wait it out because we do not feel comfortable moving forward, right?
As leaders, we may find our team moving in a way that we can only describe it as “moving through a fog”. Performance seems lackluster at best. No one seems to be excelling and passionate. Every step seems to be lethargic. It may be time to stop and check your GPS device. Your people may be traveling through a fog and it may be caused by leadership. GREAT leaders clear the fog. Here’s some suggestions on how you can either clear the fog for your team or even prevent it from ever occurring:
- Communicate with Clarity: Great leaders communicate in a way that helps define what those on their team should be doing. By giving clear, concise directions…. confusion is stopped. People do better when they have great directions. I see leaders who bark out orders filled with generalities that are easily misunderstood. Usually this is caused because the leader is in a hurry. I am reminded of the saying… “If you do not have the time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it again?” Take the time to give your people clear, concise instructions. It will save everyone from frustration.
- Communicate with Transparency: Great leaders are comfortable in their own skin. Everyone on their team knows where they stand and what they stand for…. what the values are. It is always easier for your team members to make decisions when they know what the values are for your team and you. This means you have to open up, be trustworthy, walk the talk and communicate fully. There is nothing gained by holding back important information. We have all probably worked for people who have stated the financial performance of the team was “good” or “bad”. What does that mean? Relative to what? For goodness sake share some financial information with your team. They are intelligent individuals. Be transparent with them.
- Communicate a Vision: Those of us who travel via airlines know how it feels to be taking off in a storm. A comforting message from the captain always helps. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to experience some turbulence as we take off. I have been checking our radar, and communicating with other pilots. All indications are, once we break through the clouds, we should have a smooth flight the rest of the way.” The captain is looked to as the leader. We all know he has information gathering capabilities not available to each one of us but we trust him/her and so we feel much more confident as we take off and as we travel through turbulence. The captain helps us visualize what lies ahead. Your team needs you to step up and give your view from 30,000 feet. Where is the team going? Will there be some hard work and difficult tasks along the way? How will we overcome obstacles? Are you going to be there with us until we reach our goal?
If you want your team to operate at full capacity, make sure you are doing everything possible to keep them from traveling through a fog. That’s you responsibility! Be a GREAT leader. I know you can do it… 🙂
Until next time….. Peace.