Clarity is one of the top ten characteristics of leaders who excel. These are the people about whom stories are told long after they’ve led their organizations through
extreme circumstances or uncertainty, and met great challenges well.
Why is leadership clarity so important? It’s because people can’t follow what they don’t understand.
And because circumstances are constantly changing, ensuring clarity, as a leader, is a never-ending job.
Think of leadership clarity this way. Trying to follow a person who’s not clear about where he or she is leading a group is like trying to follow someone while driving in
People on a team, in such a case, don’t know where the road is, or if there’s one at all. They don’t know where the dangers are. They don’t know if they’re still traveling together, or by now, alone.
They proceed nervously, slowly, trying to move as safely as they can. Or, metaphorically speaking, they pull over to the side of the road, idling, waiting for the fog to lift, the way to become clear, safety to be ensured.
In the meantime, time and opportunities are lost. Costs increase. Profits fall.
Being clear, as a leader, may sound easy to achieve. It’s not.
It requires clear thinking in every circumstance – when the best way forward is apparent, as well as when – as has been the case for many companies in recent months – the best path is not yet known and must be created, as you go.
To reach this level of clarity, a leader and his or her team need good information, effective collaboration, clear and effective processes for prioritizing and decision-making.
Great leaders build strong organizations, which may include many people. The work of all these people must be integrated and coordinated in some way. Perhaps that’s done somewhat loosely, organically, or it may be accomplished in much more formal, structured ways.
The net effect, however it’s done, is that with the right direction, information, and other signposts along the way, individual employees can make the right decisions and choose the right actions in the daily flow to create continuing progress for all on shared company goals.
Combined with the other top characteristics of great leaders,leadership clarity turns good intentions, and precious resources focused on challenging goals into the best results possible for all company stakeholders.
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