Leading Through the Doldrums


Doldrums - 1I once thought I had nothing to say about leadership, that I had nothing valuable to contribute that had not already been said by others.  That may still be true, but today I felt the need to voice some thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain.  They are probably nothing new in the conversation, but somehow I think that when common themes continue to be discussed amongst those who are on the front lines daily, who live moment by moment at the crossroads of leading or quitting, they may gain the strength to keep going one more day because they realize they aren’t alone.

You see, those who find themselves in the position of leading often find themselves feeling lonely, overwhelmed, and inadequate.  Many contemplate quitting.  Why? In many cases, it is because they have lost sight of why they are doing what they are doing.  They may have lost sight of the vision; of where they are supposed to be taking their team.  Worse yet, they may never have had a vision. In either case, without a vision, they are leading nowhere. They are simply keeping their ship afloat in the doldrums.  They get stuck managing the minutia that has no other purpose but keeping the boat from sinking.  Without vision, there is no hope of things ever being different, no sense of purpose. No hope.  No reason to keep going.

Doldrums - 2Vision casting is important.  We must help the team we lead keep focused on where they are going.  However, I have known some leaders who are so focused on the vision that they do not understand the daily needs of those they lead.  Without team building and working together with them through the daily routines and issues, the people feel abandoned. They lose respect for the leader and the team falls apart.  If a person in leadership focuses so completely on the future vision that they do not see the ominous iceberg in the water, they are leading the ship to sure destruction.

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