There are two conversations that leaders assume they can have once, and then be done with – at least or a while. Those are conversations about roles and goals. Many leaders assume they can talk about them once a year or so, and that’s enough. Or so they assume.
It’s my experience, however, that conversations about roles and goals need to occur all the time. As the leader, you may think you’re repeating yourself. Yet the people hearing your views about roles and goals are gaining important new information and insights each time. Why? First of all, roles and goals often change, so people are often operating on old information. Second, by emphasizing roles and goals, leaders provide people the confidence that someone has the big picture in mind and is managing it.
Third, and most important, most of the conflicts inside an organization are about roles and goals. Who’s the final decision maker on this program or project? How are we measuring success? Talking about roles and goals gives people a forum to surface those conflicts and resolve them. Remember, communication breaks down because the appropriate conversations are not taking place. It’s the leader’s responsibility to know what conversations are essential – and to keep having them.
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