A New Way to Think About Leadership Gaps

Leadership GapsYou probably think a lot about those who fall under your leadership or influence.

Leadership comes with some pretty hefty responsibilities, if you want to do it right.

Maybe you work hard to figure out the best way to convey a message.

You might strive to provide clarity of direction while also allowing for creativity and innovation to flourish under you.

Perhaps you work hard to find the best ways to motivate others, or to influence their thinking, or to make sure that all individual efforts are orchestrated toward a major shared goal.

That all gets a little harder when there is a break in the leadership chain. When those you look to for leadership fall short in these areas.

That’s when you have to double down on leadership at your level.

Figuring out what to do next

Leadership is all about figuring out what to do next.

You are up front scouting the way. You find obstacles to avoid. You seek opportunities for the team.

So what do you do when you have to fly blind for a bit? When your leaders aren’t making clear what might be coming next what direction to move in or how you should approach things?


One response is to seize up.

Unsure of where to go next, it might be best to stand still. It’s too risky to move forward.

You might run into an obstacle. Or you might make progress but in the wrong direction. Playing it safe is probably the best course of action.

Unless it isn’t.

Like a shark, if a team doesn’t keep moving forward, it dies.

Maybe you can swim in circles for a bit, but you’ve got to keep moving.

Which is why it’s probably better to make a choice to lead at your own level.

Doing the best to move things forward in the best way you think is probably the right strategy.

Leaders lead with imperfect information

Leaders don’t have all the answers. Heck, they don’t even have much information sometimes.

That’s why we need them.

And that’s why YOU are needed.

You can’t wait for everything to become crystal clear. Things are only clear (sometimes) in the rear view mirror.

So why make so much fuss about things you feel you should know but don’t?

Your leaders aren’t perfect. They don’t have all the information. And maybe they’re hesitant or unclear or just not communicating well.

Sure, they are further down the road than you and they are supposed to be sending you all kinds of answers from up there. Or at least some good questions.

But maybe they’re in a fog.

Or diverted on some urgent issue.

Maybe even asleep at the switch a little bit.

That doesn’t let you off the hook. In fact, this is when your team needs you most.

You are a leader

You need to lead you. You need to lead your team. You need to lead others that are watching you and trying to figure out what to do next.

By taking steps to move things forward, you are becoming a stronger leader.

Even if you make a mistake.

At least you are trying to advance yourself, your team, and your mission.

You will learn. Those around you will learn.

And you will earn the reputation of someone who can be looked to as an example. Someone who can be looked to for answers, or at least some good questions.

Someone who is a leader.