Leadership, while widely known to be something that forces us to think outside of the box, is really better done inside the box.
Vision is the box.
The senior leader or the vision caster for the organization sets the sides of “the box” by casting vision for where the entire organization is heading. They do this by painting a vivid picture of the future and often set goals to go along with it. It’s an attractive picture of what could be.
Senior staff are the lid.
As the second-rung people of the organization, it’s your job to be the lid on that box. In other words, you’re set with the responsibility to keep the other staff and yourself from getting outside of that box.
You want to poke holes in the box.
If you’ve ever taken home an adopted kitten (or any animal really), you know this concept. You poke holes in the box while the kitten is in the car, so it can breathe and slowly get acclimated to its new home. As leaders, we have to let people poke holes in that vision box. What I mean by that is we set the box, but we give them the freedom to try new things, blaze new trails and get creative within the box. As long as it fits inside our vision box and the parameters that have been set, they are free to push the corners.
That’s how change takes place. That’s how others on our team are able to spread their wings and be included without stepping outside of what the vision is. Give them the box and then let them dream, do and accomplish!