Thursday, May 23, 2013

LEAD BY EXAMPLE Part 4: Seek To Understand The Big Picture

In Part 3 of this "Lead by Example" series, I made the case for being reliable as a key leadership trait. Here, I discuss how critical it is to always step back and understand the big picture.

When you work with the big picture in mind, others are far more likely to see you as a leader. It will also help you be a better follower. For example, the next time the boss’s actions or decisions appear unreasonable or inappropriate, remember that you may only see a part of the bigger picture that the boss sees. 

Instead of assuming your boss is wrong, seek information that will help you put his or her actions into context. Ask intelligent questions in the effort to discover the reason behind the actions. The better you understand the big picture, the better advocate you can be for the things you are responsible for and the things that are important to you. 

Here’s an example from my own company. We recently hired a new staff member. In his efforts to quickly ramp up on our products, processes, and customers, he is asking me hundreds of questions. By asking good questions, he’s not only making himself valuable to the organization faster, he is making me rethink many of our current processes—both of which will contribute to the success and growth of the company.

Links to all the other posts in this "Lead By Example" series:

•   Introduction
•   Be Honest
•   Be supportive 
•   Be reliable
•   Ask good questions
•   Be aware of your own assumptions
•   Practice integrity

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This post was excerpted from “Lead by Example,” by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in American Executive June 2009

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