Talking about leadership teams at the top, I often hear ‘they launch these words but they don’t give specifics’, or ‘we don’t really know what their expectations are’, or ‘they don’t tell us exactly what they think or what to do’.
There are many reasons why a leadership team at the top is not explicit about directions, or give answers, or tell you exactly what to do. But one good bet is that they do not have a clue themselves.
Don’t be disappointed, they are human. OK, highly paid human, but human.
Most times when I see my client worrying about what the leadership team really thinks, ‘because they don’t tell us’, I tell them that this is very good news. Other than the humanity thing, they may be asking you to figure out what the answer is. Without telling you, because this is a tiny little bit of exposure.
In my leadership development programmes, I spend a bit of time with clients convincing them that the world of receiving specific instructions to execute is far less lovable, that they are lucky, that they could shape the answer (‘Occupy that street’, I say) and that they should be grateful.
Ok, the improvement in the dynamics comes from being more honest. I agree with this. This honesty may look like this: ‘We have to go North. Not South, not East, although we were thinking about West. We don’t have a good map. We don’t know about stops and sleep overs. You go and figure it out’
That is in fact pretty good leadership stuff.
‘Meeting their (leadership team) expectations’ is a reasonable expectation, but it assumes that the leadership team has in fact clear expectations, which is a hell of an assumption. They themselves are navigating through uncertainty. They have been elevated to the 10th floor, that is true, but their brains are not made of special material.
It’s a game and not a malicious one, actually quite a human one. Detach yourself and read between the lines. Maybe all could be summarised in a single word: help!
Could it be that?
Taken from my forthcoming book: Camino – Leadership Notes On The Road. Read NEW extract Chapter 1 part 2
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Camino – Leadership Notes On The Road
A collection of notes on leadership, initially written as Daily Thoughts. Camino, the Spanish for road, or way, reflects on leadership as a praxis that continuously evolves. Nobody is ever a leader. Becoming one is the real quest. But we never reach the destination. Our character is constantly shaped by places and journeys, encounters and experiences. The only real theory of leadership is travelling. The only footprints, our actions. The only test, what we leave behind.
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