I learned about leading from: that walk!

On a recent trip to far away lands, I found myself with some daylight time to kill.  So without too much thought I took myself off in a car to a (reasonably) local tourist spot; the top of a very large hill named “Mount Erie”.  The top of this mount promised 360-degree views of the vicinity and I could drive almost to the top.  It sounded ideal.

Sadly, when I arrived, I was presented with two large signs in quick succession; the first said that the road “was not maintained for winter conditions” and the second that “the road is closed”.  Anyhow, being more than a tad stubborn, and having my mind set on seeing this great view, I parked my car and proceeded on foot……only to realise, soon enough, that my (office shoe) footwear was entirely inappropriate!!  Yes I could have not gone, yes I could have stuck purely to the (long and windy…) road….  But I love a bit of adventure so up the rustic paths I went.

views and shoesThe views at the top were simply breath-taking and well worth the journey.  The sun was in full bloom and soon to set and created the most amazing colours in all the nature around me.  Wonderful.  But then the journey back down as dusk set in was more than a tad precarious!!

All this got me reflecting on our leadership!!

  • How often do we carry through with a plan simply because our heart is set on it, rather than review all options first?
  • How often do we proceed with plans before we have checked that we (and our teams) are properly equipped, not just for now (boots would have been good!) but also for the understood future (a torch or headlamp would have been useful as the sun came down!)??
  • When do we ever get really clear on the personal and team benefits (WIIFM?) of success and articulate these to all (including ourselves)

Yes, the results can be amazing and exhilarating and extremely gratifying, but sometimes they can turn out disastrous and even destructive.

I did realise that in my leadership career I have followed similar “unplanned paths” several times before, and whilst they can generate some extra-ordinary results, they more often than not generate simply more of the same and/or mediocrity.  As leaders, our job is to guide people to the “above mediocre” place and watch them thrive and excel as individuals and as a cohesive team.

So, my challenge today is…

  • Which goal(s) are you unhealthily connected too?
  • Have you considered in which ways this may NOT happen, and what you will be doing about it?
  • Have you got your team to compile the necessary “equipment” for the task at hand and ensured they have each item to hand?

Looking back, I can see that several times I would have created a much more successful team result, simply by asking myself these simple questions and acting accordingly.  I can only urge you to try these things, play and learn!

After all, iTS Leadership!

~Author: Antony Tinker

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