I’ve been there. I used to be part of the leadership team for a large non profit. It was exhilarating at first. Instantly, my days became busier, decisions became more important and the meetings became longer and more frequent. With that last addition, I realized I was spending so much time in meetings that I had lost the connection with the people that I was charged to lead. Something needed to change.
It has been said, “A leader who has no followers is merely taking a walk.” It is an easy trap to fall into. Making the big decisions that need to be made is absolutely the job of a leader. The problem comes when the leader is making those decisions in a bubble and forgetting who they are making the decisions for.
Isolation is the geography of mistrust.
I used to work for a nationwide financial company. There were so many decisions that were made with the best intentions in mind, but without the relationships with the people that were expected to benefit from those decisions. So in the end, those decisions were useless in application. The only thing they created was mistrust and skepticism. Unless leaders make taking time to connect with their people a priority, the gap will only grow wider.
It is time to get out of the boardroom.
Questions to ask yourself:
When was the last time I walked around and had unhurried time with my people?
Can I confidently say that I know my people so well that I can speak for them?
What barriers are keeping me from connecting with my people?
What can I do this week to connect?
Would people say that I listen more than I talk?