BLUF – Actions by leaders speaks louder than words by leaders.
I believe leaders, young or old, junior or senior grade, are inherently good with their intentions to lead their respective teams. All of them have the internal thoughts before taking the helm to do the best job they can in taking care of their people and executing the mission. The difference between good and great leaders are they ones who consistently minimize their list of “wants”. By wants I don’t mean setting goals for the team or pushing the team past their expected performance. What I mean is the list of statements with the word “want” that the leader says that never come to fruition. Examples:
“I want to spend more time with the team and less time in meetings.”
“I want more decisions made at the appropriate level instead of waiting for mine.”
“I want to lead from the front and take the team on a group hike.”
Putting it simply: Your wanting as a leader is irrelevant to those who need your help. They don’t need your wanting, they need your strength in action. The situation would even be better if the leader never said the “I want…” and just took action. Here’s the benefit of taking action early: you don’t have to nail it perfectly. In fact, sometimes it’s better if you fail at your attempt. The point is that your team will see you willing to put yourself on the front line and take action instead of remaining in the sidelines with your pile full of “wants”.
I’m far from perfect and usually end up taking action on having about 80% of the information in any given situation. I don’t mind getting vector checked on a blind spot, since the check only sharpens my execution. That’s the strategy behind my “grade my homework” tactic: I rely on my actions to move the conversation forward with the expectation that I don’t have the solution 100% right, mainly because I don’t have 100% of the information. I don’t want to take action, I take action and provide a energy towards the issue and bring my team along to keep moving forward. Even better, good leaders will set conditions for their subordinates to take action without their intervention, so that they can either win or learn.So the next time you catch yourself saying you want to do something, just do something.