Directors and giving directions

Over the last 15 years i’ve worked with many Directors, all very different, different motivations, leadership styles and personalities.

I’ve used this variance to help shape my own management and leadership style.
But what does it mean to be a Director?
Maybe first it’s useful to understand the definition of Director and the difference between direction and directions.
Director: a person who is in charge of an activity, department, or organisation.
Direction: a course along which someone or something moves.

Directions: a statement that tells a person what to do and how to do it : an order or instruction
So is your Director giving direction or directions?

This is perhaps aligned to the difference between being a manager and leader. In my experience modern businesses particularly in technology now require leaders direction rather than managers giving directions.

I’ve recently been reading about Intent based leadership as inspired by the book turn the ship around by David Marquet. In the book the story is told of his time as a captain in the US navy aboard a troubled ship the Santa Fe.

David found more success by explaining to his team the destination and the reasons (mission) for reaching that destination. How fast the sub moved and along which course was entirely up the team. They had the mission but decided the specific tasks, how to overcome blockers, all David asked was that team members stated to everyone what they were about to do, this gave visibility to the team, allowed them to support and also for the person making the action that final small amount of consideration time.

 Command and control was no more.
So why should our Directors be inspired by this story and by intent based leadership?

Well it has benefits such as a motivated workforce but more importantly those talented specialist people you have employed can have autonomy to make decisions that affect their work.

IN AN INTENT BASED ENVIRONMENT IT IS POSSIBLE FOR:
– PEOPLE TO FEEL VALUED AND PROUD OF BEING A PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN THEMSELVES
– PEOPLE TO KNOW THE ORGANIZATION’S GOALS AND THOUGHTFULLY CONTRIBUTE TOWARD THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENT 
– PEOPLE TO FEEL INSPIRED, BY PUSHING CONTROL AND DECISION-MAKING DOWN THE ORGANIZATION PEOPLE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO RISE TO THE OCCASION, EVEN DURING TIMES OF CHANGE 
– THE ORGANIZATION’S SUCCESS BE ON THE SHOULDERS OF ALL PEOPLE AND NOT SIMPLY THE “LEADERS”
– LEADERS TO BE AT ALL LEVELS
So to those who find themselves in a Director role, what are you doing to motivate and inspire your teams? Are you giving direction or directions?

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