“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” We have all heard this phrase in regards to relationships. When a relationship is strong and work or life brings time apart, we begin to anticipate a reunion with the ones we love and this can be a good thing. But for a relationship that is new or not on solid ground, distance can be destructive and lead to doubt.
When it comes to leadership, I believe the same is true. As leaders, we are in the relationship building business. In everything we do, we are either increasing or decreasing the distance between ourselves and the ones we lead. The distance I speak of here is not necessarily physical but one of vision… heart and mind. If we create a dynamic where we are absent in the minds of the ones we lead or they are absent in ours, I believe that distance will lead to doubt.
This is why its so important to have consistent contact with your leader and the ones you lead. Most people, when asked, will never jump up and say that they need more time with their leader. I think its because most people don’t want to be a burden to their leader. Some might think that asking for more time could seem needy and therefore damage their leader’s opinion of them.
That being said, if we are being honest, a close connection through regular conversation with our leader is paramount in our allegiance to them. Why? Because distance eventually leads to doubt. Where there is doubt, a lack of trust is soon to follow. I recently heard this idea phrased by a business leader like this, “Where there is a void in communication negativity will fill it.”
I think a key component to leading is having consistent, planned meetings with the one’s we lead. Both individually and as a team. If we’re doing this then we are removing the need for anyone to ask for it and we are eliminating one of the issues that potentially undermines our leadership… doubt in the minds of the ones we lead.
In addition to alleviating their doubt, we are able to remove ours as well. By spending time in conversation about work and life with the ones we lead, we are getting to know them and they us. The more insight we both get into the heart, mind and vision of the other the more doubt will fade.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint.” There is so much depth to this one verse, but one of the things it speaks to me is that consistent communication, between a leader and the individuals on the team, keeps both aligned in heart and mind. The opposite would then also be true in that without consistent communication the ‘restraint’ of trust could be cast off and lead to doubt.
So leaders, lets take the initiative to strengthen ourselves and the ones we lead by planning for and fighting to remove the type of distance in communication that can lead to doubt.