The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Subjective goals

Leading others means developing a view of the tasks the team is performing that has some degree of abstraction.

Instead of coding, one has to describe the outcome of the code. Instead of describing the outcome of the code, one has to describe how it will serve others. Instead of describing how it will serve others, one has to describe how it will change their work. And so on.

But it’s not only a question of describing the task. It also requires being attentive to the way the team cooperates and what type of support it needs. To reach an objective, the team has to find itself working together on it instead of becoming distracted by other concerns. Which, for the leader, subsequently involves learning what it is, that might distract them from acting on that common objective.

And it requires finding ways to be attentive to the above tasks whenever distractions pop up, diverting the attention away toward other objectives. It makes leading a challenge of staying focused on the leadership role, instead of becoming the listener who is focused on soothing the team or its individuals. However, leading cannot happen without listening and without the understanding of the situation it helps create.

In a way, it’s like a diet. One cannot survive without eating and one has to find the right mix of food as well as the amount allowing one to progress toward the desired weight change. It requires constant attention to one’s objective and how what one is eating is impacting that objective. Which also means that distractions or temptations will be companions on the journey.

As measurable as the objective to change one’s weight might be it rarely helps with the subjective goal of eating differently on a day-to-day basis. To make it happen there is a need to understand the mechanisms of the diet as well as to gain awareness of how one’s eating habits impact the result.

Leaders can’t avoid having subjective goals, like leading a team or becoming more performant as a team. But they can develop an understanding of how they want to lead and how that applies to their team. It’s how subjective goals find meaning and become more accessible.