[Please excuse any typing errors as this is a direct transcription for your benefit.]
When there are times of high change, unknown, uncertainty, flux and a bucket load of problems just waiting for solutions; it’s easy to hunker down.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, demotivated and then we have a choice. To try and solve a few more problems in the hope it stabilises things; if you’re optimistic, improves things. Or switch off and ride out this wave of flux.
As leaders we have conversations that aim to engage, motivate, collaborate and we also have any plates to keep spinning. There is a tier of leadership in organisations that is doing the best they can to keep the bulk of the employees engaged, driven and committed every day; and not being the primary decision makers, they’re sense making the changes cascading down and applying either the best they know how for their team or doing it as prescribed, which in some cases gives very little wiggle room and is experienced as dictation without context.
These leaders seek the guidance to successfully implement change and embed in their unit. One of the things I share with leaders is how to create a vision that will inspire. Because it is so easy to get lost and feel like nothing’s going to make a difference and of course that’s not the case.
Watching leaders come alive as they imagine an exciting, highly attractive future for their company, department or team is one of the pleasures I get to see on a regular basis. It’s rejuvenating for them and they return to their people with more vim and vigour as well as a vision they either want to implement or share as a straw man and create from there.
3 keys to an inspiring vision are:
- You believe in it 100%. When you communicate it, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but as we hear it we’re looking to see how much it really means to you. Are you alive as you describe it or saying some words you think people want to hear?
- Envision exciting opportunities and possibilities. The future is bright, it’s also going to be whatever you make of it. You get to decide what dream you want to dream. What opportunities do you want to experience? What possibilities do you want to create? What results do you want to achieve? What relationships, environment, skills do you want to build; the list is endless, but you get the idea.
- Share your message and enlist support. It’s why it’s key you believe in this. Pull the team or unit together, share your idea of the future. Make it a conversation, find out what they think of this future. Avoid getting sucked in to the “it’s OK, but how are we going to make it happen” conversation. The time for that is when people go “wow, I’m in, love it, right how can we make it happen”. So, when you share your message do it in their language, align it to them and their hopes.
The benefits of a vision
I recently saw a senior leader share his message with a group of leaders who were committed to the company and looking for ways to increase engagement within their teams as recent surveys showed it had significantly dropped. At the end of the session he left happy; they were asking me how else they could have bridged the disconnection with him. The problem was the senior leader hadn’t been actively listening. He was in love with his idea, he just wasn’t seeing the bigger picture or taking time to connect. On the other side I’ve seen leaders do this so well that individuals who had confided in me that they were considering alternative options elsewhere were now on board and actively contributing.
You can create a vision, but it can’t only be you driving the vision. Let me leave you with another benefit of having a team inspired by a vision. On more than one occasion I’ve had feedback from leaders that following them sharing their vision with their people, stress levels fell, along with less absenteeism. People now had a future that was compelling enough they could tolerate the current situation, they asked better questions in the context of the future and felt more resourced to deal with what was happening.
Until next time, go and be the difference in leadership.
About blue pea POD
Time is a precious commodity, and you don’t want to waste it or any other resources trialling various programmes to see what might have content and insights that work for you. Leadership can feel like a lonely role especially in times of high change and uncertainty, and it’s good to have a sounding board and someone with experience of leadership and business.
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