Leadership = Thinking x Communication

Business leaders everywhere only do two things:  they think and they communicate. As professionals step up out of the pack to take on leadership responsibility, often the hardest thing is to stop doing the old job.  Leaders instead must focus on thinking about the tasks to accomplish and how the team can best be deployed to achieve the goals. Only after that initial thinking is it time to talk to the team, and perhaps have another think before further communication of decisions.

It sounds simple, but many leaders just don't do the necessary thinking and they then wonder why their communication doesn't get the outcomes they hoped for - engagement, co-operation, timeliness etc.  Unless you, the leader, take the time to think, you are unfortunately doomed to find yourself on the back foot .  And if your thinking is not effective, you are doomed to waste a lot of time and energy as well as getting sub-optimal outcomes.

So, all leaders need to have two disciplines around thinking, before they even get to do any communicating with their teams or stakeholders.  First, make time regularly and frequently in which you can think. Second, find a way to think effectively that works for you.  This could be alone or with a trusted partner, with a notebook or app, free-thinking or a structured approach.

Helping leaders to do effective thinking is a key theme in coaching.  I am working hard on how to help people think well for themselves, and I'm having some interesting and encouraging results.