leaders and fishing, Toby Elwin, blog

Leaders and fishing

leadership, fishing, Jaws, leaders, Toby Elwin, blog

Chumming for leaders? Start at the head.

I focus a lot of ink and irony on root-cause analysis around how a leader affects their organization. Though it may seem people are responsible for their own motivation, the assumption a leader provides leadership is far too variable to count on for results.

People, rightly so, have their own view, their own filter, their own experience, and their own goals. These rarely align to an organization or a team.

So, what’s a leader to do?

The leader as the figure-head is responsible for the organization’s health. This is a lot of responsibility.

The majority of leadership effort to connect and guide involves a leader’s acknowledgment to own each piece of their effort:

  • every communication,
  • every communication vehicle,
  • every interview,
  • every speech, and
  • every phone call

Each mode of verbal, non-verbal, and intuited communication is a cue that the organization looks to and models as the organization’s way.

Your staff and team find comfort when told what to expect and what resources they have to get it done – how they professionally and personally link to the organization’s success is a very powerful effort that high dividends in commitment and motivation.

Managers manage resources assigned towards meet expected results.

Managers, or the executive team who support the lead, are all-to-often the ill-prepared, direct-report, de-facto leader to too many impressionable minds. Their level proves the greatest risk to deliver a garble message to their team.  Because ‘what’ you do and ‘why’ you do something, rarely involves ‘how’ people will do it and ‘where’ things change – a disconnect.

However, these managers are a most important link to translate the team’s role to deliver to the leader’s vision. Any hint of manager sarcasm or subverted comments torpedo a leader’s plan.

Leadership Fishing Lures

Managing and leading require very distinct characteristics.

Many exclusively can do either well, but too many do handle both even marginally.

Leaders craft the vision and convey the course from what is to what could be. Leaders rely on their managers [executive team] and their team to execute each of their role in the vision. This cascade is the start of the fray in expected results.

How do leaders communicate a vision that is properly translated? They must rely on their managers to manage and the leader should roll their sleeves up and steward the message as far into and across the organization.

This communication investment is the biggest pay off – steward the message. In a learning organization this opportunity yields a chance for the leader to hear potential disconnect, confusion, or intended and unintended subversion to the vision.

The leader, in this stewardship role, learns far quicker what the organization can handle and if the message has become muddied. Now time is available to alter the needs before the organization is too far of course.

Invest the time in this stewardship and you have a far better pulse on your organization’s health. The leader must remain accountable for a confused or unmotivated organization.

Own your leadership role to steward a healthy, flexible organization or a rotting, stagnant organization.

Fish for Glory

The fish rots from the head down. I heard this first in China.

I also heard in China that someone fishing is a sign of protest – silent and individual, but protest.

In a Chinese banquet, however, served near the end of the event, a whole fish is a sign of prosperity.

How does your organization fish?

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