There wasn’t a mean bone in his body. He was the sweetest man. He was so kind and thoughtful; everyone loved him. He noticed when someone needed help. He always held the door for others. He was a friendly and amazing guy.
Johnathan started his career as a young intern. He worked hard and even when tired was always courteous and polite. He was a favorite in the office and yearly advanced to new roles and positions. He went from the intern to a significant producer to a LEADER.
It was at this point, things became challenging. He didn’t have a problem with people listening or following him, because they loved and respected him. The problem was Johnathon wanted everyone to be happy and hated conflict. As a result, he was very indecisive!
Johnathan was very patient and listened to people’s thoughts and needs. He would talk about ideas and solutions, make a decision, and start to implement it. Things moved forward until he would run into someone with a different idea. They would share the problem with what was being done and why it needed to be done differently. Johnathan would listen sympathetically and affirm their perspective. Inside he felt they had a valid point. How could both be taken into consideration? He worked hard to implement a solution that would support the needs of both people. The result? Things got complex. People got frustrated. The project was delayed. Johnathan was challenged to know what to do.
Johnathan struggled because he wanted to be a great leader but found himself feeling like Gumby, stretched and pulled.
Do you ever feel this way? Here are a few tips to help:
- Understand your vision and key objectives. Make decisions that align to them.
- Listen to what people have to share, however share the vision and direction with them so they can adapt their ideas to the direction of the vision rather than diverting the vision to their ideas.
- Don’t take responsibility to make everyone happy, rather hold the vision and keep people up to date on the steps to get there.
- Bring the team to the table to decide and work through conflicts and different ideas. Challenge them to tailor those ideas to the vision.
What did Johnathan learn? A great leader doesn’t align a vision to everyone’s ideas, but a great leader aligns everyone’s ideas to a great vision.