Yesterday, I wrote about my desire as a leader to have all the answers. I think this really comes from a need I have for clarity. Does any of this remind you of yourself, or is this just me?
- At the end of a meeting, I want to know exactly what the next steps are and who is in charge of those steps.
- I need to know exactly how I am spending my workday.
- When I have “down time” at home, I think of a million small projects I need to try to take care of.
- I want to know exactly how to get to where I’m driving at the beginning of my drive, even if it is a 6-hour drive.
- A meeting without an agenda is a meeting that should be canceled.
Last week, I was facilitating a full day meeting in which I was responsible for the agenda and moving things forward. Within the first five minutes of the meeting, the agenda was completely re-written (which was a good thing since my agenda missed the mark.). I knew going into this project that it would be tough, that there were no easy answers, and that we needed to make progress. However, I didn’t know what progress looked like for this team.
As the meeting progressed, I began to get more worried. Where would we end up? What are we going to be talking about? What are going to be the next steps? As calm as I looked on the exterior, my interior was racking its brain for a solution or two. My emotions were high.
During a break, I shared some of my emotions with one of the team members. I asked him the following question (which was really a question for me): If we walk out of this meeting not knowing what do to, does it make this meeting a waste? His response: trust. Trust? Trust?!?! Come on! Fast forward to the end of the day, we had three specific next steps to move forward. Trust.
Yes, I need clarity in life. Clarity is a great gift. But I learned that day that ambiguity can be a great gift as well. But I did need to trust:
- Trust the process
- Trust the team
- Trust the Holy Spirit
I’ll tell you what – by lunch time that day, I was not trusting any of those things. My desire for clarity trumped trust. Looking back, I realized that trust trumps clarity. As a leader, not all the answers come clearly, but I need to be comfortable in the unknown from time to time.
I just hope that “time to time” does not happen too often!