The First Rule of Leadership – Set the DirectionPosted on July 5th, 2012
Your ability to set the direction, quite rightly, is a key focus of good leadership training. What’s your goal? What key areas do you need to work on? What are the priorities?
Your responsibility to your followers is to be clear about where you are headed. You must define the performance objective.
You must know where you are going if you expect others to join you on the journey. Each person needs to understand how their work contributes. Each person needs to feel valued and part of something bigger than themselves. He or she who has a ‘why’ to live for, can bear almost any how.
In addition, each person needs to buy-in to the goals. That way you get commitment not just compliance. You are much more likely to unlock discretionary effort.
Do your people know what you want them to do? Do they believe it is the right thing to do?
Teams that are dominated by one individual are rarely successful. If the leader is dogmatic eventually the team will turn off because they know the leader is going to make the call on this and so why should I bother contributing?
Instead build a culture of mutual trust. Ask for and respond to advice from your team. At the end of the day you make the decision. This is very different to the autocratic ‘I think we should do this – let’s go’.
Be someone who sits down with the team, gets their views, figures it all out and says ‘I think the best solution for us is to go in this direction and that’s what we are doing’.
How can you be more inclusive when setting the direction?
Communicate with passion
Once you have set the direction you must communicate it with passion. No one in your team will ever be more excited than you are. If the project you’re working on now is not fuelling enthusiasm, you should transform it until you fall in love with it.
You cannot motivate people simply with money. Money is just a way to keep score. The best people are motivated by passion. Highlight this distinction in your leadership training initiative.
In leadership, the prize is not given to the person who’s the brightest, nor to the person with the advantages in resources or position, the prize goes to the person with passion.