Leadership Gap: Fixing Unintended Trouble You Create
by Kate Nasser | 2 Comments »
Leadership Gap: 3 Steps to Fix the Unintended Trouble You Create
What happens when leaders don’t communicate clearly and completely? Some say that team members rise to the occasion. They engage and start leading. It’s possible. I’ve seen it. Yet it’s not the norm.
Others say that rumors surface and confusion grows. People disengage and morale suffers. It’s possible. I’ve seen it often.
The key question is how can leaders prevent the confusion of the leadership gap and communicate to engage?
3 Steps to Close the Unintentional Leadership Gap
Write down your assumptions that created the last unintentional leadership gap in communication. Did you assume that everyone understood what you said? Did you think they would ask questions if they didn’t? Did you assume they would raise concerns and voice disagreement?
Fix: Clarify all your assumptions out loud with those you lead. Ask for their feedback. If you are leading teams from other cultures, find out how they normally interact with leaders. In some cultures, it is not OK to speak up.
Note when the leadership gap seems to occur? Is it when you communicate with your peers or their teams? Is it in crises? Is it in routine situations? Or is it pervasive and frequent?
Fix: If your leadership gap is routine, pervasive and frequent, write down your definition of leadership. You may be suffering from the myth that modern leadership is faceless with the leader being in the background.
Fix: If your leadership gap occurs during crises, you may be focusing on the problem solving to the exclusion of communicating what’s going on. Do both!
Fix: If your leadership gaps occur with your peers or their teams, you are most likely skipping the socializing step. This often happens to driver type leaders and passionate visionary leaders. They assume everyone has the same zeal for their beliefs and they jump to the end. When they get to the end zone, they realize no one is there with them.
Take time to build consensus through listening and discussion to arrive together!
Ask others to help you spot your unintentional leadership gap. They will likely experience the gap before you see it. Their experience at the moment becomes your awareness and cue to change. To lead and communicate well, you must be aware and adapt to close the leadership gap.
Lastly, remember that leadership is not about telling or asking. It’s knowing when to do each. Too laid back and you break the chain of success. Too overbearing and you break morale and engagement. Both lead to unintended and unforeseen trouble.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
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Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
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~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
Great perspective on overcoming leadership gaps. Another gap can be created when experiences are not shared between individuals. Some leaders may begin to think only their experiences are relevant; that somehow they are unique in what they have done or how they did it. To prevent this, it is important to do a self-check. When is the last time you asked someone younger or older than you what their experience has been, given a situation or problem? When is the last time you share a new experience, one that others have not heard already?
We create leadership gaps too easily at times. We need to enhance our self-awareness and begin to close the gaps.
I really love your suggestion: Ask others about their experiences to get outside of your own leadership view. Bravo. Nice addition to this discussion. When we honor and value all the generations, perspectives, and outlooks in the workplace, magic can happen.