Are You Their Leader Or Are You Their Leader…For Today?

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders demonstrate the phenomenon perfectly of how the criteria for a leader might shift so drastically.

Their backers, up until Trump and Sanders’ latest appearance on the national stage, would have traditionally backed other candidates in these respective parties, seeking those whose message aligned and reconciled closest to their own concerns, but it has now taken angered, outright disappointment, and calls for drastic action in both ideologies to build a coalescence of new citizens to elevate these candidates’ poll numbers, messages, and movements.

“As a leader, have you taken the pulse of those who follow you?”

Think about those you lead. They are in a position to be lead, meaning they are waiting for your message. But do they believe in your message passionately or do they solely believe in the message enough in order to not let it all fall apart during their time with you?  They may seemingly stand behind the message of the mission, but are you getting the best of them based on what YOU are presenting to them? Are you making sure that you have the best message for your cause, mission, or those you lead?

As a leader, have you taken the pulse of those who follow you?

Without corroborating their particular messages here, one can admit that Trump and Sanders seemingly knew what they wanted to see in their nation, took the pulse of the nation, and stoked its adrenaline in that direction. No one can deny that they’ve done that effectively to-date.

Did the nation’s leaders become too complacent? Most likely. They didn’t address effectively the passionate urgency the nation’s constituencies were living every day. There was a glaring disconnect between the representatives and those represented.

“Surviving is not thriving.”

Those leaders, like most others, were under the impression that because a job gets done—which in some cases the gauge may simply be that the mission hasn’t completely collapsed—that it must have been done in the most impactful way. That’s because certain things might have worked enough up until now, but is that the best message to deliver going forward? Those who are led might get behind the message because there might not be any other better option. But is that the real reason you would want support as a leader—because there wasn’t anything else available that was better?

Surviving is not thriving. Just because we’re getting by doesn’t mean that the best means for us are being utilized.

And there’s no way to placate everyone who is a stakeholder. We, as leaders, cannot be everything to everyone without spreading ourselves out thin and making innumerable promises that we’re not going to be able to keep due to limited resources including time, money, and knowledge. But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep working to learn about the constituencies we lead.

“…avoid high turnover, lower productivity, and deteriorating morale…”

As with other forms of services, especially those with customers, even acknowledgement of people’s ideas and positions seems to allay fears that one’s needs will fall by the wayside. Leaders need to realize that sincerely acknowledging requests demonstrates that consideration is being given to requests, needs, and desires.

But it is not enough to keep a list; there needs to be ongoing follow-up, updates on shifting priorities, and, because the leader cannot be in all places at all times, delegation wherever possible.  The delegation would be for due diligence, fact-finding, and vetting where the final decision made by a leader later would be based off of recommendations of those who were delegated the responsibilities to dig deeper.

So as a leader, understand that although you can’t see and handle every little detail and issue within your leadership space, it is on you, as with other things, to use all the resources at your disposal to take the pulse and tap into the energy of your workplace.

“As soon as you’ve lost their attention, respect, and effort, you’ve lost their heart.”

It is important to take the pulse and address it accordingly in order to avoid high turnover, lower productivity, and deteriorating morale due to the perception of your followers that their needs are not important.

Even though there may not be an immediate alternative for them to follow does not mean that they might not be wishing for one. As soon as you’ve lost their attention, respect, and effort, you’ve lost their heart.

But if the opportunity does present itself to them, if you don’t address them fully today, they’ll follow a different leader tomorrow who aims to understand them and hears their voices.

So are you open to them or do they need to find another way?

So…What About You?

  • How do you regularly take the pulse of those you lead?
  • How do you keep them updated of priorities?
  • How many of your decisions have been made from digging deeper into their ideas and concerns?

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