Great Leaders Focus on ‘the Why’ and ‘the What’—Not the How!

Great Leaders Focus on ‘the Why’ and ‘the What’—Not the How!

  • 03 March 2021
  • By Our Subject Matter Experts
Learning and Development

There are various kinds of Leaders and Leadership styles. While some are strong-willed and autocratic, others are open-minded, democratic, and employee-centric. However, most leadership styles fall somewhere in the middle. Despite various kinds of leadership styles, across the board, all leaders give a deep insight to the “why” and a detailed idea about “what”, mostly they leave the “how” to the freedom of the employees.

The premise of great leaders is to motivate with the “why” and a deep-rooted purpose while defining “what” and the process of “how” is best left to the team members. Most influential bosses leave the “how” for the employee to figure out. If ever one has come across a situation where the Manager explains in great detail the process of “how”, it becomes very frustrating for the employees to be micromanaged in this manner. They would really be very poor leaders who would explicitly dwell on “how” and fail to give the big picture. One reason for them meddling in the process would be to give themselves a false sense of power. But it gives only short-term success and would endanger the long-term strategy and hit employee satisfaction very badly.

It is easy to say that the “how” should be left to the employee to decide. But unless they are equipped with the necessary skill and tools, it hardly makes any sense. Heavy investment in training would go a long way in equipping the employees to think through the processes and give them the freedom to choose the manner in which the work has to be completed.

great leader should also ensure that while the team is not micromanaged, they should be productive and stick to timelines even on auto-pilot mode.  In case the Manager has to attend to other projects or has to leave on vacation, he should ensure that the team performs to their best, once a project is handed over to them after the initial briefing. For this, the Manager has to fix accountability on each team member and undertake periodical follow-ups to maintain the tempo and enthusiasm of the team alive.

So the sum up the qualities of a great leader, the “why” or the core purpose should be explained in detail, followed by “what” which gives the necessary background of the word to be done. The “how” should be left to the employee to figure out. Accountability has to be fixed on each employee and follow-ups done properly to ensure the timelines are met along with quality work.