A Leader makes the work visible.
In knowledge work, decisions build upon other decisions as they move along the assembly line to emerge as the organisation's Widget.
A Leader makes decisions that are visible in process and outcome to others who need to follow.
The word educate comes from educare which means to ‘draw out’.
Leaders draw out followers by making decisions that in turn open up space for them to make their own decisions that they know will be supported by the Leader.
We will follow someone whose decision making processes are transparent and predictable. We gain the confidence to make our own decisions that build upon and enable the decisions of our Leader.
Leaders are teachers and teachers are leaders because through their decisions they draw others into engagement with the world.
Many ‘leaders’ do the opposite. They make decisions in isolation and using processes and reasons only known to them. They sit in meetings where they have exclusive access to information that they use to make decisions. They then expect their followers to act on their decisions based on positional power alone.
A Leader whose decisions are based on policies or other visible processes and who is not afraid or too busy to explain her reasoning, particularly in response to criticism or complaint – or...her own mistakes...is more likely to draw out her followers from their bunkers of fear or suspicion.
'The decision about what to do next is even more important than the labor spent executing it. A modern productive worker is someone who does a great job in figuring out what to do next.'