It reduces uncertainty and improves confidence, making it much easier to set, communicate, and achieve priorities with your team.
Without it you’ll tend to drift without progress and fail to develop the level of engagement and allegiance a leader needs from their team.
Having and sharing a clear understanding of your goals, values, and vision is a great start. But, achieving and maintaining clarity day-to-day is not always easy… It’s even harder when you’re facing competing priorities, complex problems, rapid changes, or having to make critical decisions.
So, how can you Change Lanes from Confusion to Clarity?
Here are 5 quick tips and examples you can use to achieve clarity now:
1. Ask questions - Especially open-ended ones
Open-ended questions are the ones that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead, they require the respondent to provide a more detailed answer.
Asking open-ended questions will help you gain a deeper understanding of a situation, problem, or decision. This fosters engagement with your team and sends a message that you value their input.
Examples of open-ended questions include:
What can we do to succeed with this?
How do you see this situation developing?
What are the potential consequences of this decision?
You can compound the value of this step by expressing your appreciation and letting them know how thoughtful and helpful their input has been.
2. Listen actively
Active listening is the art of fully concentrating, understanding, responding, and remembering what is being said. When you ask questions, it is essential to listen intently to the answers. It helps you gain a better understanding of the respondent's perspective, clarify any misunderstandings, and identify areas of agreement and disagreement. It demonstrates that you care about their input and respect their opinion. And also encourages whomever you’ve asked to think more deeply about their answer and provide even more valuable insights.
Some ways to practice and demonstrate active listening include:
Maintaining eye contact
Nodding or expressing your agreement or understanding
Taking notes to recall or share their input with others
Asking follow-up questions that encourage them to continue; e.g., “Can you tell me more about that?”
3. Seek and encourage diverse perspectives
When you involve others in achieving clarity, it is essential to encourage diverse perspectives. The variety will help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of a situation, problem, or decision. It can also help you identify blind spots, biases, and assumptions that may be clouding your judgment. Encouraging others perspectives also helps to build a culture of collaboration, innovation, and inclusion.
Some ways to encourage diverse perspectives include:
Inviting people from different departments, functions, or backgrounds to participate.
Encouraging dissenting opinions and constructive criticism.
Creating a safe and respectful environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their views.
4. Use visual aids
Visual aids, like diagrams, charts, or graphs, can be a powerful way to achieve clarity. They can help you see what may seem like complex or confusing factors in a simple and intuitive way. They can also help you identify patterns, trends, and relationships that may not be apparent from other information.
Visual aids can also help you communicate your ideas more effectively to others, which can improve understanding, engagement, and collaboration.
5. Reflect and synthesize
After you have asked questions and involved others, it is essential to reflect and distill what you have learned. Reflection can help to consolidate your thoughts, identify key insights, and clarify your goals and priorities. Synthesizing can help you integrate the diverse perspectives and information you have gathered into a coherent and achievable action plan. Simple ways to reflect and synthesize include:
Writing a summary of what you have learned.
Identifying common themes and patterns.
Prioritizing your goals and action steps into a rough draft that you can refine with further thought and input, if necessary or helpful.
To wrap it up...
Achieving clarity is crucial for success as a business leader. Also, to avoid the stress that comes with uncertainty.
Asking questions and involving others can be the most effective way to achieve the clarity you desire. You will gain a deeper understanding of any situation, problem, or decision you face.
With this approach, you also encourage diverse perspectives, build a culture of collaboration, and improve engagement and innovation.
Who doesn’t want that?
Use any or all of these tips to help you achieve clarity and become a better business leader now.