Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Are you looking in the right direction?
Oftentimes, leadership analogies center around the direction you and your team are heading. It’s frequently assumed that the direction you choose determines your outcomes, the success of your team or the quality of the experience. That not much else matters.
Recently, a dear friend delivered a powerful message at her church. Afterwards, we all piled in our vehicles. Six vehicles. A caravan of cars began the journey from one side of a fairly big city to the other side so we could celebrate. Not knowing where we were going, most of us relied on my friend to navigate us safely to the restaurant.
Since we were in six different vehicles, verbally guiding all of us at the same time was not an option. Too many people did not know where they were going.
As we scooted in and out of traffic, turned down byways and tried to squeeze through the lights together - somehow I found myself in front of my friend’s vehicle. Traffic and road conditions did not make it conducive for me to slip back into our follow-the-leader rhythm.
For miles, I was in front of my friend. Suddenly, we were cutting through the backside of an industrial park. Next thing I know, we were maneuvering through a busy outdoor shopping and restaurant district. All while I am in front of her and five other vehicles are behind her.
As we pulled into the parking lot, I started to laugh. This is the perfect leadership analogy.
Good leadership occurs regardless of where your people are located.
It doesn’t matter if your people are behind you, in front of you, or beside you. Are you looking in the right direction to see where everyone is so you can get the entire team where they need to be? Can you anticipate enough and coordinate enough to motivate the group to work in harmony? Will you predict the best pace to orchestrate a timely response? In the midst of unexpected change, does your mindset (your leadership style) allow you to maintain a collegial and rewarding environment?
With over 100 million books about leadership on the market, there are likely just as many theories, models, principles and styles of leadership. One common theme emerging from many of these is the notion that leaders move themselves and the organization forward while looking back in the rearview mirror to observe their team. I challenge you to think about this - Are you looking in the right direction? Could you be missing opportunities to lead remarkably well if the only place you look is the rearview mirror?
Think of the number of people you could empower and the positive change you could affect if you chose to look through leadership windshields instead...
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