Let’s pretend you’re in a strange city and are running late for an appointment. Suddenly you realize you’re lost, and the street signs don’t make sense to you. You’ve got your cell phone with you, and your social media friends are only a few keystrokes away, but the satellite connection is spotty.
You approach a passerby and ask them how to get where you’re going. There are a multitude of possible responses:
- I’m sorry, I don’t understand you.
- They ignore you and keep walking.
- They give you colorful but convoluted directions.
- They offer to sell you a map.
- They walk with you and safely get you to where you want to go.
Which would you prefer?
Which do you provide to your coworkers, customers or family when they seem lost?
Change and uncertainty can be exhilarating or scary or both. If the stakes are high, you might be willing to shell out some money for information. You might not feel secure walking with a stranger. Or, depending on the circumstances, that might be exactly what you want.
The point is, people you care about are thrust into situations similar to this metaphor every day, sometimes multiple times a day.
As a leader, take note of the people around you. Some of them are lost and could use your help. If they ask you for it, don’t shrug or ignore them. If you don’t understand them, try harder because they’re at a bigger disadvantage than you.
Be on the lookout for those who are lost and be the friendly face that helps them reach their goal.