Be Wide Within Narrow When Setting Direction For Your Staff

by | Dec 31, 2012

Leadership is all about balance.

You have to balance;

  • work and family,
  • personal growth and team development,
  • holding your team accountable to deadlines and giving them space when “life” happens,
  • enforcing policies and not being a jerk, and
  • using established procedures and allowing for spotinatiy.

Give your staff to much freedom and you’ll find your organization unfocused and watching as real progress slows.  Everyone will be driving in different directions. Give your staff to many restrictions and stifle creativity, passion and loyalty.

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Courtesy of kzenon @ www.istockphoto.com

Every year my entire immediate family tries to go on vacation to the beach.  My mom and dad provide the address for our final destination and we are responsible to get ourselves there.

My brother, his wife and their three kids travel through the night.  My brother prefers to get most of the 10 to 12 hour drive done while the kids are sleeping.  My wife, our kids and I leave early morning and enjoy the time in the car mostly awake.  My parents…well at least my dad, loves leaving at 3 am.  He has for every vacation we’ve ever had…3 am.  Doesn’t matter if the final destination is 5 hours or 20 hours away.

My dad doesn’t dictate our route, the vehicles we use, how we pack the cars, what stuff we take, what time we leave or where we buy our gas. He is available for suggestions on all of these things.  And, when we were growing up he taught my brother and I how to plan, pack and double check the vehicle before long trips.  Now, he gives a clearly defined destination, and my brother and I, drawing upon our “training” get our families there.

This is how workplace leadership works best.  Dan Rockwell shares these four perils of making your team’s focus to narrow.

4 perils of narrow:

1. Shuts down rather than turns on.

2. Closes off rather than opens up.

3. Rejects rather than explores.

4. Pulls back rather than reaches out.

I’ve provided a link to the rest of his advice on the benefits of going wide with focus at the end of this post. 

The leadership challenge here is this.  Go to wide and everyone will be driving to a different beach….possibly even a different coast.  Go to narrow, and chance the pitfalls Dan shared.

Here are 5 steps to help in this area of workplace leadership.

    1. Get the right people on your team and in the right spots,
    2. Create a culture of trust and loyalty by disdaining gossip and communicating in your team’s appreciation language,
    3. Train your team how you think and make decisions,
    4. Give your team a clear distention to aim at with a clear vision and mission, and
    5. Support them on the journey.

I appreciate Dan Rockwell of www.leadershipfreak.wordpess.com for inspiring this post in a comment he made on his post 6 Ways to Choose Wide Over Narrow  You should follow Dan on twitter @leadershipfreak

How do you keep your team focused without giving more boundaries and rules? 

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