A few weeks ago I was out with my family. There was a crowd of people and I had to go and find someone. I offered my 2-year old son, Joshua, to join me and he got all excited that he was allowed to come along. He came running after me, took hold of my hand and we made our way through the crowds.
After a while he looked up to me and said: “Daddy, where are we going?”
I stopped. His question surprised me. I felt bad for not considering his situation more. And it got me thinking:
If you are leading people, they generally want to know where you are headed. My son (still) has enough faith in me to follow first and THEN ask where we are going. But most people won’t be happy to follow very long, if they don’t know where you are going or what you doing.
One thing I failed to appreciate as we were making our way through the crowd was that while I was about a head taller than most people in the crowd and had a good view of what was going on, my son was about a head shorter…than most people’s waistline. All he could see was legs! No wonder he asked where we were going.
Remember: as a leader (or a parent, or…) you have usually spent a considerable amount of time thinking through and discussing an idea. You have enough information and insight, that you feel about a head above the crowds. You see what is going on and you are moving ahead with confidence. But the people following you are in a different situation. They might feel more like they are just looking at a forrest of legs. They DON’T see what’s going on and they are not willing to follow with confidence. They will say something like my son did: “Daddy, where are we going?”
“So what do we do about this dilemma, Andreas?” you ask me.
I’m glad you asked!
Tell them where you are going!
If it’s worthwhile, they’ll follow!