Being a leader isn’t based on someone naming you a leader. It’s about whether you have followers or not. The most effective leader sets the direction of the company and provides clarity.
Sometimes I’ll talk to business leaders and they act like people are showing up to work and trying not to follow their lead. The truth is, very few people wake up in the morning and head off to work with the intent of doing their jobs incorrectly. So instead of looking around trying to figure out where things are going wrong, we need to look in the mirror.
And when we do that, we often find that we’re not providing clear direction. Many leaders get excited about new ideas and well-meaningly cause confusion. They have a new idea, they’ve read a new book, and that’s the flavor of the month. All that change gives people a lot of uncertainty about what is important.
As leaders, we can’t be reactionary. It’s tempting to do that. But we have to set a course and stick to it. It’s often better to not be doing the most optimal thing than to change priorities too often in pursuit of the optimal. Do an assessment of your business and get good counsel so that you can pick a clear course. Go deep on a diagnostic—look at your strategic plan, people, sales processes, finances, marketing, etc. Get a facilitator if that will help (it usually will). When you have a clear direction, communicate that and stick to it.
–Jim Wiginton is the founder and managing partner of Broad Insights, an international business coaching firm based in Greenville, South Carolina. Jim possesses a wealth of business expertise, much of it gained as an executive for Michelin North America, Plastic Omnium, and Alfmeier Corporation. He has more than 5,000 hours of coaching experience, and a Doctorate of Business Administration from Paris School of Business.