"Perfect, or we're not going."
I was keen to start this discussion, and what transpired is quite interesting.
It became clear, to me at least, that Matt, who is a highly charismatic and adaptive leader, has been so focused upon staging the expedition, personally leading the planning, preparation and awareness phase that there could be a void in shoreside leadership after they “push off”. And I believe he has underestimated just how much of a vacuum his shoreside influence could create when he cannot exert his leadership so quickly because of restricted communications.
Strong Leaders often underestimate their influence upon their team, and when they are not around, on holiday, ill-health, or just absent, a void in leadership usually opens up. Of course, I often hear “I will check my emails every night”, or, “my mobile will be switched on”. That’s just less leadership, poor form and a wasted opportunity to develop leadership within the organisation.
If a void in leadership is likely to exist, the answer is more leadership, not less. But how does a business leader project leadership when absent?
If a leader succeeds in crafting and then communicating a coherent strategy that everyone within the organisation can easily understand, then assuming everyone within the organisation is motivated to deliver that plan and are capable of contributing to it, a void in leadership might be avoided, at least for the duration of a holiday.
One way of testing the understanding of your strategy is to ask the individual managers within your team to answer these two questions.
- What am I trying to achieve, (Your intentions for the business), and;
- What is your role within my plan?
These two questions come straight from military operational planning practice. They are battle-tested and work.
If your managers can’t answer those two fundamental questions, or you don’t quite like their answers, you might consider re-visiting your plan before your hols.