I think it's really easy to overcomplicate the role of a leader. I think fundamentally, when we think about what we as leaders needs to do for our teams, an important part of being a leader is providing clarity. A way of providing clarity is by answering questions for our teams, whether that's the questions they're actively asking, or ideally, pre-empting those questions.
There are three fundamental questions that we can answer for our teams that helps drive clarity within the team and help focus effort, motivation and reduce wasteful activities.
Where are we now?
Where are we right now? What is the reality of the current situation, what are the complications with the current state that means we need to take action? what can you say about the current situation that is well understood and factual.
Why do we need to change?
Grab attention, why should our team's care? why are we going to put a load of effort into changing the status quo?
Where are we going?
Clearly set out the direction of travel that addresses the problems of the current state. It's really important to note that I am not saying its the role of the leader to solely define the direction of travel, in many cases this might not be ideal e.g. dictating a direction to a team. But as leaders we should be the catalyst for the definition of where we are going, we must kick off answering that question and then own the answer, regardless of how it comes to be defined.
The answers to these three questions should be immediately accessible to us as leaders.
Ideally, the answers to these three questions should be immediately accessible to our team, if they are then its a good litmus test for how well we are communicating as leaders.
It's really important to note that this is not a one-off activity. As leaders we need to be taking every opportunity to reinforce the answers to these questions. If we don't then new narratives will fill the vacuum, or over time the answers you gave will be augmented, misinterpreted and lose their meaning and impact.
What is an additional 4th question that you think is essential? Let me know on: