by Wayne Ottum
“It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises,
but only performance is reality.”
Harold S. Green
Last month’s featured article talked about the Three Sides of Leadership. In summary, as a leader, it is your responsibility to clearly define a situation or effort you are leading and create a clear vision of success for your team/company. When the situation is defined, it is easier to align the unique gifts you and your followers bring to the table to the actions required. Doing so provides the greatest likelihood of naturally motivating others to act to achieve the success you have defined. Once these three “sides” of leadership are aligned (the leader, the followers, and the situation), it’s time to take intentional action to tackle the situation at hand while managing individual and team performance, providing feedback, and making midcourse corrections when needed. That is, it is time for Leadership in Action!
Humans need clear, effective and concise information in order to perform effectively. We know this intuitively when we interact with children. As parents, we set boundaries, discuss expectations, and reward good behavior (or discipline poor behavior). With these actions, we guide our children to understand what is right and what is not.
But as leaders of adults, we often forget that those who follow us also need – and desire – this kind of clear direction and guidance. Everyone needs to know their boundaries. It’s like creating a “swim lane” for your staff, where they have the autonomy to do what is needed within their lane to drive toward success, and alerts everyone when they stray too far from the desired course. When this information is not provided, as humans, we will simply fill in the gaps on our own so we can accomplish what we think needs to be done. Trouble is…