The Catrons Wild West Adventure
Last week while we were in Las Vegas Merlyn and I decided to enjoy a bit of the great outdoors. This is not uncommon. Sight seeing often involves a bit of adventure for us.
On this trip we opted to tackle Turtlehead Peak at Red Rock Canyon. Turtlehead Peak is a 2,000 foot mountain that you ascend at a pretty steep grade. We had our work cut out for us in the triple digit temperatures, but we made it and enjoyed the beautiful view.
As I was climbing this peak I got to thinking about how at ease I was because I could clearly see my destination. I haven’t spent much time in the West and so I found myself surprised by the barrenness of the dessert. I’ve often heard that westerners get claustrophobic when they come to the South because everything is lush and hilly. They can’t see where they need to go and it drives them crazy. Growing up in the Midwest and spending most of my life in the South, I’m pretty accustomed to the foliage and a run through the lush, hilly parks around Nashville is soothing to me.
So as I’m processing this, attempting to distract myself from the mountain in front of me and the fact that I don’t appear to be getting to my destination as quickly as I’d hoped, I of course began to make my parallels to leadership. You see in this case I was following along behind my husband and never questioned his leadership or direction. I’d like to say that I never question his leadership and direction but, well… um… I’d be lying. Frankly, I’m not a good follower. I like to be confident the leader knows where he is going and I’m not so quick to trust if I can’t see the destination for myself. In this case, I could clearly see that the leader was on the right track. Rewind to a Catron adventure a couple of years ago when we were lost in the woods of Tennessee and you wouldn’t have seen such a calm, compliant follower.
This whole deal got me thinking about how well I really follow the leaders in my life. Yeah, it’s easy for me to get on board when I see a clear outcome and see the benefits in it for me, but how well do I follow and trust the vision/direction when the destination is not quite as clear?
I think there is a lesson in this for both the leader and the follower:
As the leader, what can you do to make the destination more clear for your team? Sure you might not be able to completely clear the way, remove all the obstacles and give a clear line of site, but perhaps you can articulate the path a little more clearly.
And as the follower, how can you develop greater trust and confidence in your leader? Do you need to ask a few more questions? Can you talk more about what lies ahead? Can you trust even when you can’t see?