Leadership must recognize that momentum is lost when decisions are anti-climactic. As a leader, it is tempting to focus on the decisions as your primary responsibility – but that is only half of the problem. When decisions are not incisive, are not positive, result in no obvious actions or next steps – our responsibility is to keep the team from getting demotivated, confused, or de-focused.
Sometimes in driving change, the right answer is to wait, to look for a better answer, to not plough ahead into a tough, uphill battle. Sometimes the way forward that we were hoping would be a silver bullet, turns out to be less advantageous, less beneficial, more costly, more risky, etc. Sometimes, we realize that the value that we were seeking in the change will not come the way we thought.
But how do we keep the team from losing focus on the goal? How do we turn and find a new solution, without feeling like we have lost a battle? How do we keep ourselves focused on the way forward?
In this regard, the leader needs to communicate more than ever. Re-exerting confidence and focusing on the new plan of attack. We need to admit that our prior strategy is not “the way forward”. We need to let people know that their work determining that has “saved us” from a long and unfruitful project. We also need to recognize the decisions that need to be made on the back side of that decision.
The team needs the leader to be in front, even more now, because there is no clear mission – so that mission can only be to follow the leader.
OK leader – it’s on you. Until you can redefine the mission…