Meet Them Where They Are, Part 2

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In a recent post, I mentioned the phrase, “To meet people where they are, as a leader, you have to learn where they are.” In that post, we explored how important it is to meet your people where they are by acknowledging, validating, and supporting their dreams, goals, and objectives.

Today we are going to look at a different perspective of meeting your people where they are. Today we examine the critical skill of sharing.

As leaders, we understand that we have to “share the vision” or “sell the vision” for my salespeople out there. It is important that our direct reports, our teams, and our departments understand the company vision so they can see where the company is headed; otherwise, people become hesitant, confused, or bored.

None of those are healthy for company morale or corporate culture. In fact, they are a death sentence for many organizations.

So how do we prevent hesitation, confusion, and boredom with our people at work?

There are many ways to combat these feelings through appreciation, recognition, and perks of all sorts. And they work to a certain extent. But they can be expensive and short-lived.

Another way to beat back hesitation, confusion, and boredom is through clear, concise communication. That is, sharing the vision.

Now this can be done through a company-wide email, an all-hands town hall meeting, a slick video, and/or a campaign with fancy posters and mugs and other logo paraphernalia.

These are all great ways to get things started in creating an awakening to the company vision.

But how do we keep momentum moving forward? How do we ensure that our team members really understand what is expected of them? How do we know they know what they need to know?

Often, as leaders, we assume because we shared the vision, explained the details, and expressed the goals and objectives that our folks “get it.”

The problem is, because of where they sit in the office, they don’t have access to the deeper details, the nuances, the broader scope of the project, plan, or process that you and your peers possess.

Consider this: as a leader, you probably attend loads of meetings each day, each week, on and on. And you collect heaps of information in those meetings. (Ok, many of those hours could be summed up in a quick email update, instead of much of the gabbing that inevitably occurs.)

But the point is, you have hours and hours of extra intel that your direct reports and their teams never receive. You have a deep appreciation for the vision, the project, the plan. Your staff do not.

Unless you make it a point to share more of these details, reasons, and purpose for what they are tasked to do on a daily basis.

Now I’m not suggesting that you provide all the juicy details and each tiny bit of information about disagreements or disappointments among leadership. That would take forever and be a colossal mistake on your part.

But you do need to share regular updates with your teams on goals to be met, the metrics you expect, the shifting priorities, and the actual accessible knowledge your teams require to be productive and proficient.

You have the benefit of access; your teams don’t.

You have the benefit of experience; your teams don’t.

You have the benefit of knowledge; your teams don’t.

While you can’t change the level of access to meetings and full data exposure, you can balance these inequities through stories of your personal experiences in similar situations. You can balance the knowledge deficit through one-on-one meetings and team meetings.

Some of this may not be comfortable behaviors for you yet, and they will require extra time and effort on your part. But getting everyone on the same page by sharing your knowledge and experience is a wonderful way to meet people where they are to reduce hesitation, confusion, and boredom.

So what can you do to close the gap between what you know and what your people know? What can you do share more details, experience, and expectations with your team members? And how will you build greater alignment, understanding, and accountability across all levels of your teams, department, and organization?

Your Mindful Moment:

Meet your people where they are. Entrust them with the superior knowledge you have and encourage them with examples of personal experience.

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth the effort when you see the results.

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