Your employees and partners are looking to you for direction. Perhaps you’re also looking for direction “upstairs”, whether that’s bosses, industry leaders, regulators, or whoever.

But there are many ways that top-down direction can fail:

  • It doesn’t account for the “reality on the ground” that you see
  • It’s not specific enough, so it’s not particularly useful for making decisions
  • It’s too specific, and you feel that you’re being micro-managed
  • It changes too much
  • It doesn’t change enough to keep up with real conditions
  • You’re getting inconsistent or conflicting direction from different sources

Yes, this is the frustrating reality that you’re living in.

But the real question is: Is this what you’re doing to your employees and partners? Are you providing the kind of leadership that people really need?

Note that it’s all about finding the “sweet spot.” Occasionally you can state an absolute (such as “we will never do anything illegal”) but that’s pretty easy. The challenges come from finding the right balance.

Not too hot, not too cold.

Not too aggressive, not too passive.

Not too prescriptive, but enough to be useful.

How do you define the “sweet spot” in your leadership style?