I read a post the other day where a group blamed a political party for, “solving a problem that doesn’t exist.” This statement seems to be going around a lot these days. What’s interesting is that it is leadership’s responsibility to mitigate potential problems before they exist, or to mitigate unseen issues that are currently happening. Good leadership does not react. Instead, they are proactive, looking to solve potential issues before they become reality. It doesn’t matter the company or organization, if leadership is reactive, rather than proactive, then the company/organization will always be a few steps behind. It will also wreak havoc on the staff. Just because a problem doesn’t exist now, doesn’t mean one won’t exist in the future.
A good organization has leadership that is able to head off problems as they come. A great organization has leadership that looks to mitigate issues before they happen. Leadership should be focused on seeing the potential issues that could come their way. They need to be able to focus on seeing possible issues they may have with the public, staff, other organizations, and so on. When all signs lead to failure, you don’t wait until failure happens to deal with said failure. It is important to be cognizant of the warning signs that point to anticipated problems. Leadership should be so in tune with what’s going on within and around their organization that nothing will surprise them. The question then becomes, how does leadership do this?
Leadership must have a sense of awareness. They need to keep a birds eye view of every aspect within their organization. If leaders become tunnel visioned, they will miss the warning signs of looming issues. Instead of zeroing in on problems, leadership must take a step back and ask, “How did this happen?”, and, “What can we do to avoid this in the future?” Blame is never the answer when problems need solving. Action is what is necessary. Being aware and in tune with the organization can only happen when leadership takes on a very specific role – being present.
Leadership that sits behind a desk will never be fully aware of the issues and problems that may be manifesting within the organization. Leadership that leads from the top will never know the real issues and problems that are affecting the organization. To be intune and aware of potential issues and problems, leadership must be present and lead from within their organization. Leadership needs to be among their staff. They need to listen, observe, ask questions, and spend time investing in their people. A leader who is rarely seen is a leader who is clueless to what is happening within and among their staff and organization. A clueless leader is a reactive leader, not a proactive leader. It is crucial that leadership spends the majority of their time among their staff; serving.
Problems arise when we lack knowledge or are too consumed with our own ego that we neglect the needs of others. Leaders must be servants first. We must come alongside our staff and invest in them by giving up our time to ensure our staff is taken care of. The more we engage and invest in our staff, the more knowledge we gain about the problems and issues that may be plaguing our organization. It also gives us a better understanding of what we can do to mitigate issues and plan for the future. Being fully present with our staff gives us the opportunity to be proactive rather than reactive when problems and issues may arise. It is leadership’s job to solve problems that don’t exist. After all, just because they don’t exist today, doesn’t mean they won’t exist tomorrow. Be present, be aware, and be engaged.
As always, stay humble and serve well!