It seems that there is an ebb and flow to work as tasks and projects creep forward. Certainly there are times during the day or week that project management and leadership begin taxing. Groups are working too slow or too fast. Communication may be lacking. Staff may be having conflict due to particulars and direction. In all cases great leaders have stamina and continue to lean in on staff.
Leaning in is a skill that certainly can be learned. Tasks and projects require air time and room to breath. Managers observe every task, evaluate, and offers feedback. Leaders will observe but not engage tasks. Over the course of tasks patterns may develop requiring leadership to reshape or redirect. The overall project has an expected outcome. The Manager will focus on every task to assure the project is completed. The leader will allow tasks to develop and offer push inquiry.
Leaning in is not the same as leaning on! Leaning in is hearing and evaluating. Leaning on is exactly that; no room to breath.
Stamina to maintain this distance even when it seems tasks may be going a different direction is critical to solid leadership. Our staff will never learn to lead if they have not learned how to fail gracefully and with support.
Watching my son run cross country I put the term “jumping the gun’ into context. Certainly in a race jumping the gun is obvious even if there are 300 runners on the starting line. However, the metaphor ‘jumping the gun’ takes on a clear management, and more so, leadership context. Business spend billions of dollars on hiring and training new employees and in a large part, the organizations rely on norms that may or may not fit the workforce. Hence, all employees do not train at the same rate or in the same way so ‘jumping the gun’ in this context is real.
Working in complex work environments driven by personalities, deadlines, skill sets, and feedback we are continually matching our efforts to timing. The more a person demonstrates leadership the more timing and effort coincide seamlessly. However, when an individual crafts timelines and effort out of context of the complex organization the more that person is demonstrating management traits to a fixed environment.
Further, individual staff members have different skills and training styles that require a deft hand to ensure optimal job satisfaction and organizational productivity. The leader will determine how the staff works collectively, in small groups, and individually to best derive leadership capacity. Managers work collectively. Leaders work in small groups and individually. The difference remains ‘jumping the gun’ on the capacity of the staff members.
Of course, there will is a min and max to this concept base on the complexity of the organization and the surplus of workers in that specific field. If the field is complex and the surplus of workers is thin then the cultivating of the individual employee is paramount. The work to get that employee into the business requires not jumping the gun to ensure job satisfaction. For industries with low complexity and a large surplus of employee candidates training and cultivation can be shorter in timeline making ‘jumping the gun’ less consequential. Yet, hiring is costly and the more collectively trained the team becomes the better for cost control.
Every employee is different. Employees have different levels of learning capacity and this remains crucial to cost containment and retention of staff. Understanding this premise of ‘jumping the gun’ can only help the bottom line.