Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Having all the answers?

Why does everyone expect me to have all the answers? On three occasions today I was confronted - yes, confronted would be the correct word - by people who turned to me and demanded immediate direction. I've been used to kids expecting answers but it's come as something of surprise that adults have a similar expectation of those who have been put into leadership positions - and I didn't even want to be here!

Part of me just wanted to snap back and tell them to work things out for themselves but I just managed to hold myself in check. Reflecting on these incidents it's clear that they just wanted to unburden themselves of responsibility. It's not that they didn't know what to do - it's just that they needed affirmation of their preferred choice of action. Perhaps that's what's leadership is about - affirmation not direction? I've never thought about this before but it's only when you find yourself in that position that you start to see that leaders are not the all powerful decision makers that I've perceived them to be throughout my career. The reality is much closer to the idea of the leader as servant - or at least that how it feels to me.

2 comments:

KathyinFL said...

Leadership may have its perks, but it certainly has its drawbacks as well. The fact that they are turning to you should be some indication though that they trust you. That's all to the good.

I wonder if they will still be as accomodating and trusting when times begin to get truly difficult. While you are just beginning to see food shortages on your side of the ocean, we've been seeing them for some time over hear in the US. We may still have a large agricultural industry, but harvesting, transporting, and processing that agriculture has been a logistical nightmare because of distance and fuel shortages, not to mention the lack of trained people to harvest and process the food itself.

Deborah said...

Is everything ok? You haven't been on for a week...