I was sitting at a stoplight waiting to turn right – 3rd in line. The light turned green but the lead car didn’t move. It just sat there. My brow furrow, thinking that the large SUV driver was on the phone or daydreaming or flipping radio stations. However, I was more patient than the young man behind him, in front of me, who laid on the horn – first in short blasts, then in long drones.
Still the SUV didn’t move, green light and all.
As I watched and began to fume, from the front of the SUV, a young mom pushing a stroller that held a sleeping 2yr-old came into view, crossing past the SUV and onto the sidewalk. The honking stopped. All of us drivers exhaled and we realized that waiting was the smartest thing for the leader to do. Had the leader charged ahead, tragedy would ensue.
If you’ve been in leadership, you know that sometimes the hardest thing to do is to do nothing. You can’t make a decision because you are needing to see what the market is going to do. You have to wait on moving forward with an initiative because you don’t have the right people in place. You hold back on saying ‘yes’ to one department because you know that it would decimate the goals of another.
Sometimes leaders have to wait.
The problem comes for those who are following – for those who don’t or can’t see the big picture. We become upset with our leader and think that they are indecisive, lazy or afraid. We ‘honk our horns’ in frustration and wonder why he or she won’t approve a spending request. We become myopic in our quest to further that which has been entrusted to us.
If you’re in that situation, here are three questions to ask yourself if your leader seems to be doing nothing:
- Is there something that I’m not seeing that he is? Maybe there is better option coming into view that I can’t see yet.
- If my leader moved forward right now, what other departments or people may be affected? Maybe approving your venture would slow down or stop the off-shore team that is about to launch into a new area.
- What else can I do to cast vision about the importance of my initiative? Maybe my leader doesn’t know what I need.
Of course there are leaders who are lazy or procrastinate unnecessarily, but unless there’s a pattern, always give them the benefit of the doubt. In other words, lay off your horn.
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By the way, here is a video of what could have happened if the SUV when forward: CLICK HERE.