What about the foggy days?
Clarity is critical to leadership. A leader without clarity is dangerous to follow. However, it is inevitable that you will face the fog.
The fog is that season of leadership when you have gone as far as you can see and no matter how wide you open your eyes, you just can’t seem to see what the next step is. The fog is that season of leadership when you wake up with disbelief, doubt or even apathy in your own vision consumes your thinking. The fog is that season we all face when the realities of the risk catch up to us and fear and maybe even panic takes over and we feel that no matter what step we take we are certain to fail big.
The fog is a part of every leaders journey. The fog matters because the leader has all these people following close behind. The people are depending on the leaders for clarity. How you handle the fog has a direct impact on the people following you.
When you get into the fog:
- Slow down. Running faster through the fog can create a harder hit to any obstacle.
- Engage the team. Much like turning on the fog lights, they are a better source of light to the path when you can’t see much from your position.
- Use your instruments. When the visibility is low and you can’t seem to tell if you are up or down, pay close attention to your key metrics (profitability is not the only metric).
There are times when we must have the courage to pull over and wait for the fog to pass. This is a tough and humble choice, but necessary when things get your leadership visibility becomes zero. This may mean taking a sabbatical to spend time in reflection and thought. This may even mean resigning your post to let a successor with vision move the people forward.
Be ever so careful when the fog roll’s in. Every step forward, when you don’t quiet know where you are going, can be a step towards disaster for all those following you. This may take the form of closing a business, closing a division, large layoffs, recalls, and the list goes on.
People matter, so it matters how we lead… especially when our vision clouds.