Recently I discovered a recurring theme in my leadership experiences. I have a big vision, I enroll others in that vision. We get to work. But…at a certain point, I feel like I am on my own, and the others are not following along. Typically I feel upset or disappointed that my team is not playing the way I am playing.
When I looked at this, I saw a pattern: I start leading, and I march forward, but I don’t look back to see if my team is still with me!
The impact of this method is that the people I am leading get confused, and I feel disappointed because it seems like they don’t want to play.
What I realized is that they do want to play—but they feel that I have gotten too far ahead.
The lesson I’ve learned from this experience is that I must keep looking over my shoulder to make sure I haven’t gotten too far ahead!
I have a tendency to create big visions, and to move forward as if nothing is standing in my way. But I can’t expect everyone to see my vision the way I do.
So, what I am committed to doing now is to frequently check to see if my whole team is still with me. If they are not, we can stop and talk about it—to see if they would like to move forward now, would like to spend a bit more time where they are presently and move forward later, or reassess the game plan in light of changing circumstances and perhaps move in another direction.
To be a leader requires having followers who share your vision. If you’re looking so far ahead that you leave your team behind, you’re not leading anyone.