There was an interesting conversation between two participants in a workshop that I was facilitating that I have been thinking about a lot over the last 24 hours. One participant asked the following question (paraphrased):
“What do you do if you have someone in your organization that has great leadership skills, but they are leading people away from your vision of what you are trying to achieve?”
Before I answered, I wondered aloud if any other participants had any thoughts, and one person shared the following:
“How do you know your vision is the right one?”
It was a powerful moment as it was a reminder that people will not sincerely, with heart and mind, follow a vision in which they do not believe.
This doesn’t mean that you or they are right or wrong, but it means that there is a disconnect.
How do you get on a shared path toward one vision? Here are three suggestions that may help.
- Be flexible.
Don’t ask for feedback and thoughts from people without the willingness to change your path and trajectory.
- Answer less, question more.
Innately when we disagree with others, we often try to convince them of our position instead of trying to understand theirs. I wrote about this idea earlier in 2018:
“But too often in our efforts to help others move forward in their practice, we create our ‘elevator pitch’ and try to do everything to convince others of why change is crucial. We spend our time trying to convince others of our thinking, but I know that if someone has their mind positioned in a certain way, there is little I can do to persuade them to think differently.
So instead of you trying to convince them why change is necessary, why not give them a chance to assure you that standing still is crucial? “
If you want to find a shared path, ask people to clarify their position and their beliefs. Find parts of where you agree and build on them together, instead of looking for places of disagreement. This exhibits that you are way closer to a shared vision than maybe either party thought at the beginning of the conversation.
- Point fingers at yourself before anyone else.
It is easy to think of how others are not moving forward instead of thinking, “What am I doing that is holding people back?”
One of the things that I always remind people that I work with is that there is something that you do today that you swore you would never do. Identify that, think about what it took you to get over the hump, and then empathize with people knowing that may be at different parts of their destination.
Don’t look down at someone for not being at a specific point but appreciate them for moving forward. You were there once as well, and there is probably something you are struggling with in your journey as well.
Leadership is messy, and with an ever-evolving world, our vision has to be something that we can tailor and modify to adjust to not only to where we want to go but with whom we share the journey.
It is not about “your vision” or “their vision,” but about finding the “right vision” and being on that path together. It should not matter where the idea comes from, but where the vision takes you.
Source: George Couros