Remember the scene? The situation looks hopeless. A villain has taken advantage of an innocent bystander in some way. Then the Lone Ranger arrives just in time to save the day. Good prevails over evil. Departing on his white horse Silver, the Ranger would famously say “Hi-yo, Silver, away!” as his horse galloped toward the setting sun to the tune of the William Tell Overture.
It’s interesting that for most people, when asked about the Lone Ranger, his dependable sidekick Tonto almost always comes to mind. Rarely would an episode feature the Ranger fighting injustice without the aid of his trusting confidant and friend.
It made me think – does that same kinship exist in our leadership? Is there such a thing as Lone Ranger leadership?
The quick and most obvious answer is certainly not. But upon deeper thought, I wonder how often our leadership suffers because of a lack of including others in our crusade? Do we sometimes miss the mark and take on a lone ranger mentality by not truly involving others in the vision and mission of our future?
The role of a leader can be a lonely one at times. We are privy to information no one else can know. A team member may be critical of our approach yet may not have all the facts we do in a particular situation. Or, the cultural mindset in our workplace may make us one of “them” – management – regardless of our intent and efforts.
So, with those obstacles looming in our workplace, it’s important to identify possible remedies that can help us prevent the lone ranger syndrome from creeping in.
Here are 3 strategies that help me and hopefully will do the same for you:
1. Communicate intentionally
The practice of communicating of and about our vision and goals does not happen by accident. In fact when it does, often the wrong messages or none at all filter to our audience. Find ways to periodically share the vision and goals of your area – why do we do what we do? This intentional messaging links your business activities to vision.
One would think this is a natural skill but how often do we get caught up in the day to day trappings of the business and slowly begin to do things out of habit? Engaging others is a continual process and it starts with us. The challenge? How often do I explain the what and why of our actions?
2. Communicate passionately
While intentional messaging keeps the vision visible, how we communicate is equally important. It is true that every person has a unique personality and with that DNA comes how we communicate. Some are analytical, some philosophical and others with heart. Regardless of your natural “language”, it is critical to connect with the members of your team in some way.
When we speak to someone in “their language”, they connect to your mission in a way that makes sense to them. The danger? We often speak to others in the language we like best. So, how often do we miss the opportunity to fully engage someone simply because the messaging didn’t “connect”?
3. Communicate often
Everyone suffers from short-term memory to some extent. When it comes to any business mission, it is important to communicate frequently about the purpose and activities of the business. Talking frequently about progress serves multiple purposes – one of which is energizing those on your team. It’s that little reminder to your team that activities are leading to a goal. It creates teambuilding in its purest sense.
Secondly, the frequency in which we share stories and progress helps a team stay on course. The potential to become distracted with ancillary tasks that do not link back to our mission is decreased the more we stay focused on communicating the progress toward our goals.
The reality is there are times when your role as a leader must involve only you, you must be lone ranger. But let me encourage to find ways – when appropriate – to involve others in your vision and goals.
These principles may not be difficult in concept but unless they are an active part of our leadership, we can become a lone ranger of sorts and sadly, miss the opportunity of engaging others in our endeavors.