Intrinsically a leader leads with others beside them, not behind. It is not possible to catch others when they fall if they are behind you, and that is part of what a leader does.
Where do you find leaders? They are in our schools, the workplace, churches, government, and organizations of all sorts and even in our homes.
As a parent, when your child begins to walk, you do not walk ahead of them, do you? When they are taking their first step, you are right there guiding them along.
Yes, at some point you take a step back and allow room for their growth and autonomy, but you are right there to catch them if they begin to fall.
As you lead others, notwithstanding your role or the area of leadership you find yourself in, consider the aforementioned analogy.
Insofar as the broadness of this subject, I am going to tailor this to leaders in the workplace.
An unsurpassable degree of frequency is observed in leaders leading achingly with no sense of direction for the very people they are leading. Throwing their employees to the wolves to fend for themselves, unnervingly expecting them to bring them back something as well.
As a leader, it would be reasonable to expect that if you are asking others to jump head first into the deep end of the ocean, that you are adept at navigating those waters yourself.
Ergo, prior to giving the command to jump, do you have a life jacket? Are there sharks in the water? Do you have a compass for me?
Oh great wow! You do have a compass, thank you!
Should I be considered well equipped for sea, boss? There is only one little problem, while I am enrapt by your kindness, I was not provided on the job training to use a compass, nor was I told I would be required to utilize one as part of my job demands and or description.
You get the point!
I am a firm believer in the fact that problem identification is the key, but you have to use that key to unlock the door to solutions.
So what do I suggest?
Here are a few tips to consider when leading others in the workplace:
- Are my expectations realistic and in alignment with what the job entails?
- Is the deadline imposed upon my employees reasonable?
- Have I set them up for success?
- Do they have the necessary tools, training and resources to execute the task that is being asked of them?
- Is this really a priority right now or have I gotten lost in a power thrust?
- Are the job duties being assigned equitable across the board for all employees?
- Am I requiring more work of my employees than their respective agreed upon schedule allows them to complete? If not, was it understood that they may be required to take work home or work hours outside of their normal work hours?
- Am I an exemplar or a dictator?
It also never hurt to say thank you for all you do.
“A leader leads with open arms, they are not afraid to catch you if you fall.” Rashida Costa