When I was an 8th grader, we didn’t have enough boys in 7th and 8th grade to field a football team, so the school decided to let 6th graders play. This was both good and bad.
It was good because we had enough kids to be able to play football that year, but it was bad because only one of the 6th graders had hit puberty. As a result, we had a historic season, and didn’t win a game.
Towards the end of the season our coach decided to work in a couple trick plays. One play involved some yelling from the sideline that we were using the wrong football, which would result in the center handing the quarterback the football (a legal exchange), the quarterback running toward the sideline as though he were going to trade the football. Just before getting to the coach on the sideline, the quarterback would run up field for what would hopefully be a touchdown and a win.
It didn’t work. The referees said the coach couldn’t yell that from the sideline. But the premise was true: confusion breeds chaos.
If we could get the other team questioning what they knew to be reality, then we could take advantage of the moment and surprise them.
In leadership, the principle applies as well. If the people we lead are unclear as to next steps, or even what we are trying to do, the result is chaos.
As a minister, if the adults who volunteer in my ministry don’t understand the long term goal and vision I set, then we have a team of volunteers who set their own long term goal and vision.
If student leaders don’t understand their role, then they set their own guidelines.
This isn’t master level manipulating. This is learning to sail the ship and getting everyone moving in the same direction.
What part of your leadership is suffering due to confusion? What steps can you take to add some clarity this week?