A leader leads. Armed with a vision and a strategy, a leader must then get his or her people to follow, to make that vision into reality. To accomplish this, the leader must first recognize the level of responsiveness one can expect from the organization in order to best craft the tone of message, together with the level of detail of direction required to get the organization engaged. We have identified four levels of organizational responsiveness. Success at any level is predicated on having the leader communicate his/her vision to the organization in terms it understands.

Level 1 – Intuitive The team is solidly behind the leader and thinks of ways to move in the vision direction individually on their own, without additional coaching or directives.

Level 2 – Motivated The team is solidly behind the leader but needs some detailed guidance and direction. However once received, team members are highly motivated to work towards achieving it or solving issues on their own.

Level 3 – Willing The team respects the leader and is motivated to work for him or her, but requires significant detail and direction in order to know what specifically to do.

Level 4 – Compelled

The team is committed to their jobs, but less so about the leader and/or his/her vision. Direct specifics or, even “orders” are required but once issued, the work will be completed.

Of course, Level 1 is ideal, yet it’s frequently not possible or even realistic to expect to have an organization of mind readers. Also, relying on Level 1-type management can be risky because “gut” feelings will more frequently go in the wrong direction. Therefore, positioning communications and direction to a place between Levels 2 and 3 is most realistic and likely to achieve the most effective results and has the best chance to get members of the team on board to take ownership of the vision.

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