If you want to be a better leader then take a look at the satellite navigation system, or GPS, in your car (Sat Nav for my UK readers). Here is what it can teach:
- The GPS stays focused on the destination. Regardless of blocked roads, obstacles, traffic and diversions it continues to focus on finding a way of reaching the strategic goal – the destination. In the same way a great leader continues to focus on the vision and the strategic goal despite short-term tactical difficulties.
- The GPS is flexible about how to get there. It is not committed to one way of reaching the destination; it is quite happy to find a different way when necessary. Likewise the leader should be committed to the goals but open-minded about how to achieve them.
- The GPS stays calm no matter what. Even if the driver and passengers screw up all the instructions the GPS remains unemotional and supportive. It never gets angry or loses its temper. A good leader is calm and reassuring with his or her team even when they get things wrong or hit problems.
- The GPS updates the driver on progress and directions. A good leader continually communicates with the team to emphasize the importance of reaching the goal, what the next steps are and how they can play their role in getting there.
Of course there are many other skills and attributes that a great leader needs. But staying focused on the goal, being calm, being flexible and communicating well are absolutely essential. Become a GPS Leader and take your team to its destination.
Paul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader published by Kogan-Page.