12 min
By: ENC Leaders

Episode 4: Leadership Doesn’t Come With a Map

Leadership is not a step-by-step thing, because each situation is different. Let’s talk about the five areas of variation in your leadership situation.

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Show notes:

  • In leadership, there is no map. You are bringing people on a road where no one has been through before.
  • What about principles? Yes, there are universal principles. What about examples? Yes, they can be helpful. But leadership will never be a step-by-step thing. That’s because each leadership situation is different.
  • Why do we need to learn this? We love to learn leadership principles and are inspired by leadership examples, but sometimes we expect the same results for us when we apply them to our situation.
  • There are five instances when your leadership situation may vary:
  1. Context. What is your leadership context? Where are you leading?
  2. Time. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus
  3. Goals. Even if the long-term goals are the same, the short-term goals may vary.
  4. Team. Your team is unique. What may work for one team, may not work for a different one.
  5. YOU. You are different. Each leader is different.

Here are some practical ways to apply what you just learned:

  1. Stop looking for a map. 
  2. Take responsibility. Make a decision. You will make a mistake and you will learn from it.
  3. Realize that there are many ways to accomplish the goal. Give yourself the leeway to make mistakes and to feel your way around.

Some questions to reflect on:

  1. Of these five areas of variation (context, time, goal, team, you), which has a unique situation that you need to acknowledge now and how will it affect your leadership?
  2. Talk to someone about your realization (a team member, a mentor, a friend).

Other resources mentioned in this podcast episode:

  1. BOOK: Built to Last by Jim Collins. BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)
  2. BOOK: How Google Works by Eric Schmidt. OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)
  3. Julius Caesar (sleeping with your troops)
  4. Hernán Cortés (burning your ships)

The ENC Leadership Podcast is hosted by Joseph Bonifacio.

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