Last week, I blogged about three dangers of only looking at the present. Wise leaders lead and execute in the current day, learn from the past, and plan and prepare for the future. Leaders must be aware of three spheres of time; past, present, and future, and lead with a view of all three.
Many a person in a leadership role has focused almost exclusively on the future. You’ve likely seen it. “I am an idea guy, a vision guy.” Or “I don’t want to really think about today, I am here for the future. I am futurist, cultural architect, whatever.” If you only look to the future, here are four dangers in your leadership:
You don’t manage well.
If you are only thinking about the future, you are not managing well today. There are people on your team who need your shepherding today, not just your ideas about tomorrow. There are people on your team who are frustrated with today’s problems.
You are divorced from reality.
If you are only thinking about the future, your leadership can quickly lose credibility because it is not rooted in the reality of today. You are unaware of today’s challenges and opportunities if you are only looking to the future.
You are aloof and dishonoring to people.
If you only are thinking about the future, you are likely perceived as aloof. And if you only think about the future, the perception is accurate because you are missing joys and trials of those who are on your team. If you are only thinking about their future contribution without noticing them today, they may not be there in the future.
You are envisioning an unlikely future
The irony of only looking to the future is that the future you are envisioning is unlikely. It is unlikely because it is not rooted in the values and strengths of today and of the past. It is unlikely because it is being built in your mind and not in the current reality.
Leaders must look to the future, but wise leaders know there is also today. If you only look to the future, you miss the opportunities of today and the people of today.