It seems that most leadership philosophy, and the focus of most skill development for leaders is centered around setting a compelling vision that is so strong that people follow you. And while I cannot deny that focus is still vital to a leader’s success, I witnessed this week how important it is for a leader to pause, and backup when they find themselves going in the wrong direction. I think it is important that all leaders are able to drive in reverse when necessary.
Just like when we drive a car to a destination, we begin by clearly knowing where we are going and then we put the car in Drive which is the forward motion. As long as we continue in the right direction making the right turns, we will end up at our chosen destination.
But what happens if you miss a turn, or totally have the wrong directions? You usually seek advise, and get back on track. Sometimes you have to turn around, or drive in reverse until you get back on track.
Some leaders are so hell-bent on doing things their own way that when they miss the signals, they will either take everyone that is following them in the wrong direction and miss their goal or come to the finish line after the race is over.
Some leaders when they are open to their team’s input realize that the team is trying to forge a better path then was set by the leader. And although the team has traveled with the leader for a few miles, it is time to stop, and drive in reverse until a new road is taken. These leaders are more concerned about doing the right thing then getting their way.
I admire leaders that can drive in reverse as well as full throttle fast forward. How about you?