Dollars and Sense: Theres a rhythm to being a good leader

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Have you ever marveled at the absolute ease in which a great athlete performs, the flowing grace of a talented dance team, or the amazing coordination of a symphony orchestra? There is a rhythm to the action which makes it all look easy. Good leadership is very much the same.

Good leaders stay &8220;in sync&8221; with their surroundings. Like athletes and dancers, good leaders are conscious of timing; that key ingredient in rhythm. It comes from practice, experience, and a clear vision of what they are trying to accomplish.

A good leader knows when to step in and when to step out.

The first time a leader steps in, they set the vision, outline systems and structures, clarify expectations, provide resources and motivate. They determine what music to play and act as the conductor.

Like the conductor, the leader does not become directly involved with every task; he trusts that each person will perform &8220;in sync&8221; with the plan. If the leader has hired well (put the right people in the right seats), and provided training and coaching and delegated appropriately, success should follow. If things are going well, the leader will only step in to provide on-going support, recognition of success, adjust as necessary, and reiterate the rhythm of the vision. Sometimes the dancer slips or the musician misses a note. The leader must stay sensitive to the beat of the organization and be ready to insure the rhythm is maintained. She must be prepared to analyze the situation, identify issues, make decisions and clarify expectations, or the performance may be ruined. Whenever the leader steps in, he should

reiterate and clarify the vision. Then step out!

The definition of leadership is accomplishment through other people. In order to fulfill that definition, the leader must always step out and allow the team to perform. By doing so the people sense the confidence of the leader and feel empowered to perform. To step out does not imply abdication. People must be able to seek help and resources as they perceive the need. Great performances always have a natural rhythm. If the performance of your organization is not what it needs to be, check your rhythm. Great leaders step in and step out with the rhythm of the organization.