Exposure and Understanding

In the past, as a leader I've made the mistake of thinking that exposure equaled understanding - that once my team had heard goals, vision, direction, instruction, or some other kind of communication from me, they would understand where we're going.

I've resisted the urge to re-communicate things to my team for fear that they would think I was micromanaging them. But I'm learning that the failure to move the team toward understanding is an abdication of leadership.

It isn't enough to expose the team to where you're going. It isn't even enough to immerse them in the concepts. As a leader, you have to move the team to a place where they understand a concept well enough to speak about it for you; where they can instruct themselves and others. Until that point, they can't own it; they're simply exposed to a concept without really understanding it.

Obviously, no leader has the time to do this for every goal, vision, direction, instruction, or other kind of communication. So, he/she has to figure out the top two or three pieces that govern all the rest and make completely sure his team truly understands those. If he chooses the right pieces and the team understands them well enough to be able to speak accurately about them on his behalf, the rest will take care of itself.