Ah, there’s a problem. If you are either officially or informally the person accountable for solving it, your leadership is required, here and now.
The first thing to do is to gain clarity.
This could take a few minutes or much, much longer. The thing is, don’t try and proceed to devising solutions or throwing answers out until you have clarity, even if that process takes longer than you think it should. Spending the time up front to gain clarity will save twice as much time as you go forward.
Picture that you’ve started to walk across the yard at night to see what the dogs are barking at—soon wishing you had remembered to bring your flashlight. You recall that other time when they had cornered a rabid raccoon and you turn around to grab the flashlight. Now you can walk much faster, get there sooner, and have fair warning about what you’re approaching.
As a leader, you’ve got to be the one with the flashlight.
When you start to write your book, for example, do you imagine your words would flow more easily if you first had clarity about who your target reader is and what you want them to gain from reading your book? Velocity is a function of clarity.
Have you ever tried to read in the dark? You can’t quite make out the words. Maybe some of them, but the letters look smudged. That’s how people around you feel when you haven’t provided clarity as a leader.
When a leader doesn’t create clarity, here’s what always occurs: confusion, frustration, and friction.
3 Obstacles to Leading with Clarity:
- Fear of making the wrong decision. Leaders are frequently faced with making decisions when the risks are not fully understood, the information at hand is incomplete, and the advisors or indicators are in conflict. It’s easier to stay vague, straddle the fence, or just put it off (though procrastination has its own risks, for sure). When you lead with clarity, you make decisions whenever you need to—you have the underlying clarity that you are competent, resilient, and can make future course corrections when necessary.
- Lack of clarity at a personal core level. It takes time, space, and a powerful intention to generate personal clarity. Too-busy leaders rush around in a fog with only glimpses of light breaking through. They don’t take time to climb up the stairs and turn on the lighthouse beam. Only by having and using a clear sense of what you most want will you then be able to set a course and lead your life.
- Lack of support. Achieving a goal to get from any here to any there requires a structure of support. It could be a well-organized office, a sharp assistant, a repeatable process and system, or a weekly call with your coach. Fog sets in automatically when you don’t have your structure of support to cut through it.
3 Advantages to Leading from Clarity
- You know when to drop back and punt. You don’t tolerate repeated, frustrating, dead-end efforts of those you lead…or within yourself.
- Everyone around you will be more productive and on track. When people know what is expected of them, everything happens more easily and reliably.
- You will be energized and very attractive to others. Your clarity of purpose will inspire others. Living with clarity around your values, purpose, and desires will give you great joy.
Clarity is not something you can capture and expect it to stay put. It takes constant intentionality. And as a leader, it’s your primary role. You may already do it so well naturally that you don’t realize it is one of the most crucial things you do. Maybe you are good at asking questions or designing systems which streamline operations, saving time and money. Maybe your team excels and surpasses the goal at every opportunity. Those are examples of you brining clarity to your mission.
Want to find yourself standing in a reality where everything on your vision board has been manifested—sooner than later?
Velocity is a function of clarity.