GPS does 2 things for us. It helps us find the way to where we want to go. And it estimates roughly when we’ll get there.
But the issue is that as we are increasingly finding digital ways to get definitive answers, many are expecting to have those definitive answers in places where there aren’t any.
I’m seeing this a lot as leadership teams develop.
Leading and managing isn’t GPS. Yet increasingly, I’m seeing people going into leadership roles with an expectation that there are definitive answers to every leadership question or dilemma, as though it were plotting a route from Oakham to Colchester.
They’re not comfortable to start driving until the route is fully mapped out. And they’re expecting to have the route calculated for them, rather than partaking in the messy business of working it out as you go.
Prior to GPS, we had maps. We also guesstimated when we’d arrive at our destinations. Sometimes we got it right, oftentimes not. But we’d still get there, and it would work.
Leadership has you making your best guess a lot of the time.
Sure, experience, mentoring, coaching, reading – all of these inform your leadership map. But there’s not a GPS that will give you *the* answer.
So as your team steps into leadership roles, provide them with three things.
First, the mentoring, coaching, advice, training, reading lists, podcasts and all the rest. Not to give them “the answer”, but to help them see nuance and learn from the experience of others to supplement their own.
Second, set the strong expectation that they will still have to learn, to figure it out, to get it wrong. But that they still need to start the journey, even with a lot of imperfect knowledge.
And that all of that is OK. They need to get comfortable creating their own answers as they go rather than expecting them to be given to them.
Third, give them space, support and nudges when they do get it wrong. An understanding that course-correcting is fine rather than having had the route right the first time. And an expectation that a part of course correcting is reflecting and learning a better route next time.
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