Do you ever wonder what true clarity really feels like? If you are like me, it’s a bit like Indiana Jones looking for the Holy Grail. It’s very elusive, you are not sure what you will do with it when you find it and it is likely to be dangerous along the way. Like every leader, I’m frequently part of change. Some big, some small, but nearly all the time I’m part of change that is afoot in the organization somewhere. I consider it one of the essential responsibilities of leadership. To face the music, truly see what is necessary to change for our team to flourish, and to bite the bullet and help the team start making that productive change.
What is so often hard to find in that simple idea of starting change is the clarity. Often, the struggle for the leader is to fight your way through the “muck” to enough clarity to decide if change is needed, then what, and then move ahead. How much information is there? How many differing perceptions of the problem are out there? How many ways of looking at the problem are there? Are emotions clouding the issue, or are they THE issue? Information is plentiful in our modern world. How much is enough to decide? What is the root cause (not one of the multiple potential causes)?
I think the real message here is that getting through the muck to the clarity is the burden of the leader. It won’t happen organically or emerge suddenly; leaders need to work through it and spend the time thinking. Consider it multiple ways. Listen not just for what is said, but for what is behind it. This hard work is simply part of the change process and a requirement of leadership. Hopefully it’s becoming part of the skill set you are continuing building as a leader. As the world grows more complex, the need for leadership to slug through the muck and find clarity must grow.
The good news is, there is no greater gift you can provide to your team than clarity. For your team to see what needs to be done clearly, and have the clear WHY we must pursue it, is the ultimate gift that empowers their ability and contribution. Without it, they are busy and stressed. With clarity, they are choosing, expending energy where it really matters, and heading toward a clear goal line.
Where can you bring the most clarity to your team right now?
Dave Crumrine, Interstates Construction President