On a recent exercise walk around a motel I found myself in a dense swamp fog. Swamp fogs usually occur when there is a sudden increase in temperature and can occur in a manner of seconds.
As I was walking, I was amazed at how quickly it developed. I also found myself feeling somewhat disoriented and a little fearful. Fearful? I realized that if the fog limited my ability to see clearly, people driving cars probably could not see me! My limited vision limited my ability to see obstacles and dangers. Since I have read Sherlock Holmes’ The Hounds of Baskerville, I had the strange sensation of dogs growling from the swamp. In other words I began to envision dangers that were imaginary.
I am amazed, too, at how quickly the “leadership fog” can develop. At one moment, the leader can have a clear sense of direction and be confident in the decisions being made. Suddenly issues arise, often out of our control, which leads us into the fog and threatens our future. Consider some of the international events that have occurred recently that have had a cascading impact on individual lives and organizations: 9/11, wars, natural disasters like Katrina, oil price surges, and economic fears. Most of these events are out of our control and frequently cause us to ask what do we do next?
As leaders we often find ourselves in a leadership fog. Leadership fog occurs when events and conditions emerge that create uncertainty on part of the leader. Some of the common feelings that leaders feel in the fog are disorientation and fear. We are frustrated due to our lack of ability to see the dangers and obstacles that lie in front of us. On occasion we can be immobilized by dangers and obstacles that are imaginary.
As a leader/coach, what guidance can you give to those who are in a leadership fog? Are you leading in a time of leadership fog? If so where can you go to get help? What does the Bible teach us about leading in times of uncertainty?
Written by Jay Vineyard
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