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Clearing Up The Fog

You’ve been there before. You know it is true. If there is a lack of clarity with the leader, there will be fog with the followers. Maybe you were the leader without clarity, maybe you’ve been lost in the fog. Any leader can have clarity and up his/her leadership by making sure everyone gets it.

There are five things every employee or team member wants to know. Addressing these questions is not a one-and-done deal. I believe, at least once a month, leaders need to sit down and go over these five questions with those who report to them. Yes, that’s challenging—but leading people means being engaged—that’s why it is exhausting.

These are the five things every employee and team member want to know:

1. Where are we now? The leader is tasked with providing a hopeful reality check. What is the “state of the union”? What are the facts about the health of the department, the company, and the team?

What is working for us now? What isn’t working? Where are we succeeding? Where are we failing?

What do you need to personally work on and grow in? Do you see yourself moving up or remaining where you are? What is your future here?

2. Where are we going? I know you have heard that vision leaks. It surely does. Just about the time you think you’ve talked about it too much, your team members are just catching it.

Repaint the vision. Remind them of what it looks like and how it will be when we get there.

What roadblocks could stop us? What or who could get in our way? How can we be aware and plan for proactive solutions?

3. How are we going to get there? If you are on your game, you have a strategy, a map for getting where you want your company or organization to go. You need to regularly review it.

The team member wants to know and needs to know what competencies are going to be needed from them.

They need to know what resources will be required from you as their leader to get to the destination.

They need to know the systems and processes the company has and needs to follow to maintain alignment throughout the organization. This is vital for trust and team spirit throughout.

4. What do you want me to do? This answer cannot afford to be vague. It can’t be a warm fuzzy; something that makes everyone feel good, but there is no way to quantify it.

Your team members want and need specific assignments with deadlines attached. They must be clear on their role and responsibilities, and again, the goals and specific deadlines.

5. How am I doing? Everyone needs a sincere “atta boy” or “atta girl” from time to time. Everyone wants to know how well they are doing. Motivation is hard to sustain without periodic realizations that what I am doing matters.

An effective leader will share regularly:

Here is where you are excelling – continue. You are an asset!

Here is what you need to stop or start doing. I know you want to succeed, and you can.

Here is where you need to grow – we want to see you be all you can be.

Leadership is a lot like parenting – you must be actively involved in the people’s work who report to you. They need your insights, approval, correction, presence, and vulnerability. It brings them a sense of comfort and you as a leader a sense of confidence. The team will become stronger, happier, and more effective.

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