My son is afraid of thunderstorms. On nights when the lightning flashes and the thunder booms, it is a given a little boy will be climbing into “the big bed” within a short period of time. Sometimes I even get ahead of him and curl up with him in his bed first. Either way, he always turns over either to hug or embrace me in his sleep. Even just a touch of his foot on my leg is enough for him to feel safe. Once he knows he has mommy or daddy nearby, he can sleep through anything – not that we get much sleep after that. Last night was one such night, and as I pondered my son’s calm, I thought about how that same sort of peace is provided by great leaders.
My son feels comforted because he knows his protectors are close at hand. He has trust that his parents will do their best to ensure no harm comes to him. He is a brave boy on his own, but he needs a little extra help with a touch or a cuddle during a storm. Leaders can do the same for us if they have the same basic relationship of trust with their team. When a team has no trust or confidence in its leader, they find no comfort in the direction or the path of the team. As with any discomfort, it is irritating and drives our attention away from other, more important things.
Leaders do not need to “cuddle” their teams, but they do need to build that trust and confidence relationship. I know that when I listen and follow leaders I truly believe in, I have no doubts or concerns about the path ahead. While I can’t say that I phrase it as peace and comfort in those situations, I can say that I am not concerned about the leadership – just the mission and goal. I am focused and ready to perform knowing that my leaders have the situation under control, and I just need to do my part. In the case of my son, he needs to calm down and sleep during a storm – mission accomplished.
The Professional Development Team