Travel the Road

Last week I wrote a post on the balance a leader must possess with each individual. The balance between a control of the people you work with and the nuance of relating with others to obtain their consent.

To progress from where an individual or a teams performance is today on toward where it needs to improve or evolve to, amid disruptions, is challenging as a leader.

If you are merely told what to do and the precise action steps you must take with enforcement, you will learn very little. An opportunity for a depth of learning is greatly diminished.

At a concrete level, the best application of control probably works best as you begin with very young children to help them begin to comprehend a novel task with no lived experience. An example might be when you firmly direct a child to cross a busy street. Much more focus here on parental control for the scenario rather than obtaining a child’s consent to listen to you. Probably not a good time for autonomy with the child, at least at first. This is true of other first time or novel tasks for many of us on the front end.

What if I as a leader offer only a vague outcome to obtain with your consent and give no added control features? This way, you will have great learning autonomy to somehow find your own way, maybe. This consent approach will likely not have the outcome you desire in teaching a young child to first learn to cross the busy street.

Each circumstance and each individual require a most feasible and productive approach as you lead. Control and consent must be balanced. Clear focus, messaging, conditions, timing and relating are a leadership necessity along the way.

Know that each will only learn toward a higher level of wisdom, mastery and adaptability if they become a part of that learning process with you. You may start by controlling the direction, but at the right point the individual must learn their own lessons for depth.

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
— Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass —


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