Do you work for people who have a mantra of Ambiguity? You know who these people are. You are constantly grasping at straws to determine what in the world they are trying to tell you.
They are less than crystal clear. In fact, their communication strategy is murky at best.
Some of these folks may be your boss.
There’s more involved in professional ambiguity than simply lacking the soft skills to effectively, and clearly, communicate to colleagues, peers and customers.
People who thrive on being ambiguous may feel that their ambiguity confers power. After all, it’s pretty difficult to make decisions when the decision that needs to be made hasn’t been clearly articulated.
People who thrive on being ambiguous frustrate co-workers. There are collaborative individuals within your organization who are interested in percolating ideas and creating outcomes to move your organization into a more competitive and profitable position. Except their crystal clear collaborative concepts don’t fit into organizations whose leaders maintain a big-picture, ambiguous perspective.
Delivering statements with fuzzy endpoints creates confusion in organizations. As a result, everyone hunkers down into what’s comfortable. The status quo is maintained.
Chip Heath and Dan Heath discuss the power of ambiguity in thwarting Change in their seminal work, Switch. How to Change Things when Change is Hard.
Is your organization led by individuals who view their role as providing big-picture “visionary” leadership? Vision, without paying attention to identifying the details needed to achieve that vision, is just perpetual wheel-spinning.
Do you work for this type of company? How satisfied are you with how your career path is progressing?
The Heath brothers feel that “ambiguity is the enemy.” (p 53) Visionary leadership is impactful, and progressive, when that leader is willing to identify the critical, moving parts essential to moving forward. Leaders who are willing to “script the critical moves” (p5 4) and to clearly articulate what needs to happen, when, and by whom, move their organizations forward.
Otherwise, visionary leadership simply holds everyone back.
You can’t move forward until you understand what is holding you back. Taking a 10,000 foot eagle’s eye view of the business terrain can certainly identify critical aspects impacting forward progress for you, your venture, your company, your career.
Visionary leadership involves understanding, in a crystal clear manner, the pivotal elements that must be addressed in a concerted manner company-wide, in order to affect change and drive revenue. Visionary leadership involves leading by example, not ambiguity.
In the path to get from Where You Are Now to Where You Need to Be, a roadmap must be created, a destination must be identified, and critical checkpoints along the way must be highlighted.
That sounds like hands-on instead of hands-off leadership to me.
How would you characterize your own leadership style? In order for people to follow, they must understand just where it is you wish for them to go.
There’s nothing ambiguous in that strategy.