Leaders Forecast Obstacles
Leadership is traditionally defined by some of the bigger competencies like motivating people, communicating plans, delegating, and developing people. Sometimes the role of a leader is simple in form, but complicated in action like forecasting obstacles. Think of it like a teamster (the leader) driving a team of horses to achieving the goal of getting a team from point A to point B in record time to win a competition. The leader has no responsibility whatsoever for pulling any weight. The role of the leader (the driver) is to forecast obstacles between point A and point B, and they let their team pull all of the weight through those obstacles.
Think of what has to happen for the leader to be effective driving a team of horses. To begin with, the team has to trust the driver. When trust is present, the team listens. Conversely, the driver must trust the team and listen to signals the team is sharing, understand them, and correct commands in real time. The driver has to recognize obstacles several obstacles ahead so they position the team to enter each obstacle at the right speed in the right way so the team can be most effective pulling the weight through it. The driver is positioning the team to be successful maneuvering through the next obstacle well before completing the obstacle the team is currently engaged in.
It is important to also recognize that only in the spirit of trust is the team willing to do their job. When a team of horses is unwilling and fighting the drivers commands, it is often because they are confused or have reason to be hesitant based on past experiences. It is the drivers job to take that away by inspiring trust. Simply put, the team will trust a driver who has demonstrated trustworthiness. That STARTS with the leader of the team and had better be evident well before a competition.
When it comes time for a leader to lead a team through obstacles and inspire willingness in a team to pull weight through those obstacles leading to a goal, trust had better be in place ready to go. When trust is ready to go, forecasting obstacles in now just a matter of looking ahead, seeing the obstacles the team is about to face, and positioning the team to be successful negotiating the obstacles when the time comes. That is how the leader wins the competition in record time.