Leaders are Messengers

Leaders are like Messengers. They are the link between God and Believers. Strategy is like Godly Messages; it tends to be elaborate, detailed, and a bit mysterious. That is why, more often believers need help from someone who understands the Message and is capably of translating it into a more simple language to help them see the whole picture.

The above pretty much resembles the relation between Leaders and Employees in Organizations. More often we see Leaders who are unable to play their role as a Messenger or Translator, and by the same token, we notice a lot of employees who are unable to make sense of their jobs. The reason for that is the inability, or lack of Leader’s competence to translate Business Vision into a simple language that not only ensures the realization of Business Goals, but also help employees see the rationale behind their job.

This is very much related to understanding Motivation Dynamics. In other words, if Leaders do not help their teams to understand why they are doing what they are doing, Employees will not be motivated. This is a major source of energy drain for many leaders. Just because they do not make the link between seeing the whole picture and motivation, leaders exert humongous efforts trying to motivate their teams with no success. And alternatively, employees become detached from their leaders and cannot see them as a source of motivation.

What Leaders should do in this respect is to understand how motivation works. Motivation is a factor of human feelings and emotions. This in itself makes things a bit complicated. You see, motivation cannot be given, and ideally, no person is able to motivate another person just because he decides to. Motivation is intrinsic, it has to happen inside the individual, and what actually comes from the outside is the stimulus. Leaders can only stimulate motivation, but they cannot make it happen because it is a personal choice. Yet, good leaders have much bigger chances to stimulate motivation because they are usually good Messengers. They are able to translate the vision, and make it so clear that employees manage to see the whole picture, and understand the value behind their work. Those same good leaders are also aware of not only the relationship between Vision-understanding and Motivation, but also between Motivation and Human needs, which I will not tackle in this article.

Harnessing this competence, Leaders should:
1. Build awareness about their role as a Messenger or Translator.
2. Ensure she/he is in a good position and very well networked to the extent that she/he sees the real big picture
3. Relate with colleague leaders to ensure alignment of his understanding of the Business Vision with that of other leaders.
4. Avoid jumping into fruitless efforts of trying to motivate employees before conveying the Message; the bigger picture.
5. Understand the dynamics of Human Motivation and grasp the fact that there are many routes to the hearts and minds of employees.
6. Continuously rub shoulders with employees to verify if he is being a good Messenger.

Bottom line, Leadership is an act of Intention. With it comes the big responsibility of conveying the Message. Leaders need to be aware of the criticality of this role, and must know that if they are unable to translate the Message, Employees will not see the whole picture, and if employees do not see the whole picture, their performance will surely be sub-optimal, that’s the least to say.