You’re the Leader, Now Lead the Way

“Change” is what the universe is all about. So, it should come as no surprise that change happens every day in organizations all over the world. It isn’t so much “change” that causes our challenges, it is how we react and transition through “change” that signals success or failure.  Leadership needs to understand this so that a dynamic vision and guidance toward that vision moves the organization forward.

An essential quality of great leadership is the ability to inspire the workforce toward the organization’s goals. Paint a vibrant picture of the future, one that motivates the team to want to tie their own goals to the overall vision. If leadership is unable to do this, then the energy and creativity must come from the leadership alone – and if the leadership team is one person, then the responsibility, and stress falls to that one individual.

Today, organizations are looking for innovation – creative ways to do things bigger, better and faster than their competition. Wouldn’t it be more valuable to have an organization where all employees are looking for that next great idea? Who has time to wait around for management to come up with all the solutions? You don’t have to have all the bright ideas. Those you lead have valuable contributions to make in the way of bright ideas. All you need is to be able to recognize the ideas that will move the organization toward its goals.

To effectively lead others, a couple of things need to happen: organizational goals need to be set, and these goals need to be described in such a vivid, clear manner that the imaginations of the team are captured. The workforce is very capable, and they can expand their own vision to embrace what before might have seemed impossible. Made up of unconscious geniuses, your employees don’t always know that they have the ability to find the answers they need. You know they have it, and it is your job to help them unleash that innate potential.

During this period of transition and growth, it’s important to understand the concept of comfort zones, not only for ourselves and the limits that we self-impose on our own potential, but also for those we lead.

Comfort zones keep us safe. They allow us to free-flow at our current level of confidence. However, they can also become prisons of our own making. Our own comfort zones may be putting a ceiling on the potential of those around us. It is entirely possible that “leadership” is the entity attempting to hold back the organization. Our teams, departments, our organization may be running at peak efficiency, but it is the peak of what we are comfortable with right now. This peak may not be sufficient for our future needs.

Our workforce may very well want to create and innovate towards a new goal and are being blocked in their attempts. If they get frustrated enough, they will leave and head over to the competition. Instead of losing these go-getters, who can help take the organization to new heights of success, perhaps it is time for leadership to do some self-examination.

Optimally, we want to create new levels of “normal” for ourselves, our teams and our organizations. Keep in mind, that when we perceive ourselves outside of our comfort zone, we get anxiety and tension feedback. We move towards the strongest picture – we want to go back to where we belong. As leaders, by creating such a clear, purposeful vision, we are drawn past the current comfort zones and see ourselves fulfilling potential at each new level.

Set the goals. Paint the picture. Learn to guide and mentor your employees. Help them become more than they were yesterday so that everyone can enjoy that new tomorrow. Show your confidence in their abilities. Life gets easier for you when you don’t need to do everything. Keep asking the question, “How good can we be?”