I found myself in a swamp fog on a recent exercise walk around a motel. Next to the motel I was staying was a swamp that produced dense fog. Swamp fogs usually occur when there is a sudden increase in temperature and can occur in a manner of seconds.
Walking in the fog, I was amazed at how quickly it developed. I also found myself feeling somewhat disoriented and a little fearful. Fearful? I realized that if the fog limited my ability to see clearly, those driving cars probably could not see me! My limited vision limited my ability to see obstacles and dangers. Since I read Sherlock Holmes’ The Hounds of Baskerville, I have had the strange sensation of dogs growling from the swamp. In other words, I began to envision imaginary dangers.
I am amazed at how quickly the “leadership fog” can develop. At one moment, the leader can have a clear sense of direction and confidence in the decisions. Suddenly issues arise, often out of our control, which leads us into a fog and threatens our future. Consider some of the international events that have occurred recently that have had a cascading impact on individual lives and organizations; 9/11, wars, natural disasters like Katrina, oil price surges, and economic fears. Most of these events are out of our control and frequently cause us to ask, what do we do next?
As leaders, we often find ourselves in a leadership fog. Leadership fog occurs when events and conditions emerge that create uncertainty on the part of the leader. Some common feelings leaders feel in the fog are disorientation and fear. We are frustrated due to our lack of ability to see the dangers and obstacles in front of us. Occasionally, we can be immobilized by dangers and imaginary obstacles.
As a leader/coach, what guidance can you give those in a leadership fog? Are you leading in a time of leadership fog? If so, where can you go to get help? What does the bible teach us about leading in times of uncertainty?