How to create clarity and direction as a leader by Paula Leach
By Guest Contributor Paula Leach
Author of Vantage Points, Paula Leach, explains what the key five Vantage Points are and how to use them to create a culture where employees can thrive.
I believe that all leaders can simplify the often complex role that they have. Firstly, by focusing on the key point of leadership which is to coordinate resources and people to support the moment of something from A to B. And secondly, by distilling their job into two main aspects:
- Creating clarity
- Getting out of the way and creating space for others.
WHAT DOES CREATING CLARITY ACTUALLY MEAN?
This is the ongoing process of ensuring that everyone involved in a shared endeavour has a common understanding of direction. Clarity enables people to collaborate without misunderstanding or divergence which can waste time, create frustration and impact performance and wellbeing.
For any leader there are three main steps to creating clarity. These steps are not necessarily linear, but rather form a continuous cycle of focus. I think of this rather like an artist painting a picture:
SETTING THE SCENE
This is similar to drawing the lines or outline of a picture. A Leader is responsible for ensuring that there is a clear picture, it is decipherable and provides the parameters for shared endeavour. It is not necessarily a requirement of the leader to know this and design this exclusively, it can be collaborative. But it is the leader’s responsibility to ensure that a scene is set. This means a collective understanding to the questions:
- Where are we going?
- What does it look like now and in the future state?
- How will we get there?
Once the scene is set the leader is responsible for working with others to provide the next level detail of the picture. Colouring in can only happen effectively and efficiently when the scene is set clearly. This involves how the work will be resourced, and specifying the work: who does what, and the processes and systems in place for delivering the work. This also involves clear expectation setting between all stakeholders which is another opportunity to move away from assumption and be explicit to ensure a shared understanding.
SHARING THE VIEW
With a scene set and coloured in, the responsibility to ensure every single person in the collective understands and is bought into this direction is the leader’s responsibility. Everyone is a contributor and so effective two-way communication on an ongoing basis is part of creating clarity. Sharing the view is about communication, but rather it is more importantly about comprehension.
At all stages, the leader will be referring to the unique vantage points that they have to enable them to fine tune the clarity they are creating. Attending to clarity regularly as one of the two jobs a leader must focus on will ensure better relationships, more collaboration, higher performance and speedy decision making and delivery.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PAULA LEACH has developed a lifelong interest in the way people work, individually and collaboratively in organisations, to the best of their potential. In particular, Paula believes in the value of positive, human-centred, intentional leadership as the key enabler for individuals and teams to thrive. Over 25 years, Paula has built her experience across global multinational, large public sector and entrepreneurial growth organisations, holding the positions of Chief People Officer at the Home Office and Global Chief People Officer at FDM Group. She holds an MBA from Henley Business School and is a Fellow of the CIPD. Paula now runs her business, Vantage Points Consulting, specialising in her passion for unlocking the potential in people and organisations through coaching and business consulting. She is launching the Vantage Points Foundation in Autumn 2021 to support and mentor young women launching their dream careers.
Everyone who holds a position of leadership regardless of their experience or scale, has five key Vantage Points from which they can build positive momentum and high performance. This book introduces these Vantage Points and provides highly practical examples of how leaders can use these in their daily approach to leading teams of brilliant people.
Vantage Points, invites leaders everywhere to consciously broaden their awareness via the exploration of the key Vantage Points. With this heightened awareness, great leaders can learn to focus their attention on their two primary jobs: creating clarity and space for individuals and teams to thrive. Vantage Points is a resource designed to support leaders in becoming more intentional in their actions and human centred interventions to enable and celebrate the shared collective endeavour of their team