The Power of Direction is often an under-appreciated leadership power. The best results occur when there is a clear direction that is universally understood by everyone.
When you are in a leadership position, others are looking to you for direction. When things are calm, much like the waters in the photo, direction may not appear to be as critical.
This photo was taken in Cook’s Bay in Tahiti. This was the time when the crew made sure we had plenty of fruity drinks to give us that vacation vibe. Just when everyone was feeling pretty calm and playful, the crew began the journey to the Pacific Ocean.
It was then that the shared direction was so evident. The crew pulled together to navigate according to plan to get us into the ocean. What was a surprise to us – high, unforgiving seas – was not a surprise to the crew. They worked in unison to execute the direction that was previously agreed upon and practiced. It was this leadership and flawless execution (at least that is how it looked to us as passengers) that gave us all confidence to enjoy the cruise as much as possible without allowing the less than smooth seas to affect our excursion.
When you lead, you need to exhibit this same sense of direction to those who look to you for that guidance. It is important for each team member to be rowing in the same direction or executing their part of the mission in a way that allows the desired outcome to take shape. Here are a few things that can help you exhibit that sense of direction.
- Clear communication regarding the direction you are taking and why
- Recognition that you will all learn along the way and make adjustments as you go
- Illustration of the direction you are taking and how it ties to the overall strategy
[Tweet “As the leader, you set the tone for the rest of the crew to do what they each do best.”]
WHY IS CLEAR COMMUNICATION SO IMPORTANT?
When you are sharing a direction for a project, division, or company, it is imperative that your employees at a certain level and above understand the “why”. In my past career, I had tried to get my team behind a huge outsourcing effort, but was not being successful in getting them on board.
When I shared the “why”, and how it tied into the company’s overall strategy, I started to get some buy-in. I even shared “you can either help shape how this works, or you can allow it to happen to you”. That was the turning point for me and my team. I communicated a couple of points very clearly:
- The outsourcing effort was going to happen whether they accepted it or not
- The effort was part of a cost-reduction strategy for the company over time
- The company was not going to invest in a non-core part of its business to get the investment we needed to get to the next level
Once I shared the direction and the “why”, we all started rowing in the same direction – toward the same goal.
It is not enough to simply state the direction and the “why”. You have to be proactive to address both the questions that arise as well as the concerns. How often have you followed a direction and not questioned it? Particularly when you begin to undertake some action and it leads to more questions than answers? Here are some final points to help you follow-up and stay on track:
- Ensure you keep an open line of communication with your team
- They need to know they can approach you with questions or concerns
- Pay attention to situations where the team appears to be struggling
- Be proactive in asking if there is anything you can do to help clear the path for them
- Clear the path with your peers in other departments/divisions that may be impacted
- You can advocate for your team by getting in front of any anticipated issues
- Encourage the team frequently by offering praise or positive reinforcement
- Often, change is a long road, so encouragement along the way is welcome
- Put yourself in the shoes of your team members
- Humility and empathy go a long way to help your team members understand that you care
Do you want to be more effective as a leader? The Power of Direction can offer you a better chance at more effective and successful outcomes.
[Tweet “Powerful and effective leaders master the ability to set direction.”]
MORE COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF THE DIRECTION LEADS TO BETTER RESULTS
When you are successful in communicating your direction, you will see better results in your initiatives. This is not an easy exercise. It take commitment, awareness, and continued support of your team members.
Wouldn’t it be great if your people were even more committed to achieving the results you need?
This is what the power of direction in your leadership can do for you.
WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO?
I hope you will try some of these techniques. These suggestions should help by enhancing your ability to set and execute direction and I hope you will see great results.
If you are interested in learning more, we can always hop on an exploratory call. You can grab a spot on my calendar by clicking here.
Keep in touch and let me know if this resonated with you. I want my Leadership Series to hit the points that you need in your own personal and professional development.
To your Success,