Leading from the Fog



I'm an avid game player. Always have been. When I was growing up, my parents worried that I took board games too seriously. I can't imagine why, but...

I read the Monopoly rule book for fun. I pored over the official Scrabble dictionary to increase my repertoire of obscure two-letter words to close out games. (Did you know "aa" is a type of lava and valid Scrabble word?!) When my wife and I first started dating, our relationship nearly ended over a Pictionary disagreement.

Leading during uncertain times is not a game. It is of critical importance and the stakes are very real. At the same time, the situation many school leaders find themselves in is eerily similar to the "fog of war" setting in one of my favorite strategy-based games.

When the fog of war setting is turned on, you can only see the strength of an opposing player in adjacent territories. Your vision of the rest of the territories is completely hidden making even the smallest decisions exceedingly difficult. Sound familiar?

We lead better when we understand the rules, variables, and people we serve. Teaching and leadership is challenging in a routine year. The complexity of the work increases exponentially when we're leading from the fog. This begs the question, "How might we help the people we serve succeed when things feel so foggy?”

There are a few ideas and phrases I’ve found myself circling back to on a regular basis. They are not fancy, but they’ve helped me when I needed vision and grounding. I’m hoping one (or more) of them might encourage you.

4 Tips to Help You Lead from the Fog:

1. It's okay to take it a step at a time. You may not be ready to tackle tomorrow's decisions...let alone next month's...so make the best decisions you can now and be okay wit