What is our responsibility when our leader changes direction?

As we develop into leaders that others want to follow, we show our maturity by how we behave when we receive new direction.  

Change affects us all; including our organizations.

While we may not understand completely all the reasons or rationale behind a change, how we chose to respond will impact the teams we lead positively or negatively.

Individuals that want to increase their ability to lead understand they must be able to follow well and model behaviors they want others to emulate. 

Below are some thoughts for us to consider as we receive new direction.  

Trust the leader

People leading us are there for a reason.  Most have been able to achieve something we haven’t yet so we should support their right and responsibility to make decisions affecting the group.  Submitting to authority works best when we choose to trust they have the best interest of the team and organization in mind.  Unless there is evidence to the contrary this should be our mindset.

Understand the time frame

Most direction change takes longer than a day to implement.  Further, it might take some time to fully understand how to execute the new direction.  Acting immediately could be a mistake as leaders may refine the directive based on feedback they receive.

Offer leadership our best

Offer our best counsel on moving the team from here to there.  We have a responsibility to our teams and our leaders to share our thoughts and provide options on how to get where they want to go. There may also  be opportunity to help reduce risks associated with the change.

Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course ~ John Maxwell

Moving the team

Even if we have the best relationship and trust of our team, moving them may not always be easy.   We should approach the team openly, communicate the change, listen, and set the new course.  The map to get to the new destination may still need to be developed.  Activate the team in ways that produce positive energy and find ways for them to influence the path to take. 

Offer Praise frequently

Celebrate team achievements along the way.  Many of us forget to do this and it hurts the team morale.   Acknowledging what they are doing and have done is extremely important as they are the ones that feel less in control and need our affirmation that we are on course and what they are doing matters.

Thank the leader

Along the way, it is important that we also affirm our leader.  Not many leaders have the courage to make tough decisions at the right times to move the organization to a better place.   Some never do and leave the team and organization to suffer until a new leader comes and initiates the needed course correction.  Showing appreciation for our leaders is a behavior our teams’ need to see from us.

Shepherding:  The art of becoming the leader others want to follow