Leadership LIFT: Chart Your Course
(image courtesy of community.fantasyflightgames.com )
(This post is part of a series on “lifting your leadership influence”. If you have missed any previous posts, you can start here.)
Any time you plan a trip, you will most likely use a map of some type. Whether you’re driving, going by train or boat, you will use a map or GPS of your city, scenic areas, or even your hotel. Taxi and bus drivers use maps, and even memorize them to more efficiently navigate their routes around town.
Pilots are no different. They need maps of runways, airports, topography, and weather maps to accurately chart their course before flying. They must be able to anticipate any forseeable conditions in order to make their destination safely and quickly, with the fewest incidents possible.
Though leaders are the ones who guide and direct the destination of their teams, it would be foolish to rush forward without taking the time to chart our course. A mission towards loftier goals and new heights will never fully be realized unless one takes the time to set a course and look at the progress as the journey unfolds.
Even the most experienced leader needs to stop and survey the landscape every so often. Sometimes we get so mired in our current mission that we miss some of the important landmarks that will measure our progress. We need to lift ourselves out of the trenches, albeit momentarily, in order to get a better perspective of the landscape ahead and adjust for a better and more successful course.
It was World War I and the fast evolution of the airplane just 11 years earlier that enabled armies to study the battlefield and gain an advantage over the conditions they faced. Just like those brave bi-plane pilots, leaders need to elevate themselves above their circumstances in order to survey the landscape and make more effective maneuvers.
Ask yourself: How does our current course compare to our competitors’ movement in the industry? Are there minefields to avoid? Greener pastures ahead for the taking that no one else is noticing? Is our crew engaged and seeing the same vision? Do we need to give them a boost to see the scope of vision that we see? Am I seeing the entire picture for my team or just the peaks without the pitfalls?
Stopping to lift yourself and your team’s vision out of your current circumstances will help you gain a better perspective on where you’re mission will eventually take you. Don’t hesitate to give them the scope, the map, and talk up the mission. As you will see in a later post, they will be more on board with you as they realize their destination.
Take time to rise above the battlefield and see the big picture of where you’re leading.