5 Reasons for Leaders to Get Out of the Way

Leaders who get in the way create friction.

Leaders who get out of the way create space.

Think about some of your favorite leaders. Were they in the way? Did people have to go through or around them to get things done? Did they try to control people or outcomes? Were they micromanagers?

My guess is they were more or less the opposite. They set clear expectations, set the team up for success and then shifted to the role of taking down obstacles and serving as a coach or guide until their direct input was needed or requested.

5 Reasons to Get Out of the Way

1. When you get out of the way you develop new leaders. When you give other people the opportunity to step up you lay the groundwork for new leaders to emerge. If you are in the way, potential leaders leave or are lost. Leaders grow through doing.

2. When you get out of the way you make room for innovation. The best leaders provide the vision, the target, and the resources then turn the challenge over to a talented team to find a creative way to reach the goal. They recognize that the people doing the work are in the best position to see what needs to be done.

3. When you get out of the way you improve your line of sight. When you step aside and let others take the lead you allow yourself to move around and see the progress from different points of view. This enables you to coach, intervene, realign, set expectations, etc. without blocking the progress of others.

4. When you get out of the way you create a climate of trust. As you extend trust and act in alignment with the organization’s core values, the team not only develops trust in your leadership but also trust in themselves and each other.

5. When you get out of the way you expand your influence. By enabling people to drive the vision forward without your direct control you multiply the team’s capacity and your ideas have a greater impact. You haven’t stopped leading, you just stop pulling all the strings. Your goal is to create progress, not puppets.

Ask your team if you are in the way, where you are in the way and when you are in the way.

If it turns out you are a barrier and not a catalyst, it may be time to loosen your grip and let your team show you what they can do.

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