…your people want a chance to lead too. They want to be led, but they also want to lead.
One of the challenges of leadership is knowing when to slide out of the driver’s seat and let someone else take the wheel. It’s risky: he could make a wrong turn; she could hit a pothole; they could collide with each other.
Remember what it was like when you let your 15-year-old drive for the first time? Did you toss him the keys and say, “Good luck,” or did you find a low-traffic straight road for her first driving experience? Eventually, he got to back out of the driveway and she got to experience the terror of an 18-wheeler roaring past at 75 mph. You were in the passenger seat for both occasions. The big day was when you handed over the keys and said, “Why don’t you drive yourself to school today?” If you got this far without a fender bender you were lucky. Later came the first road trip (spring break in FL?) and at some point it was, “It’s your car now.”
Of course, you could avoid all these risks by choosing to be your child’s chauffer for life. But do you really want your 30-year-old to be totally dependent on you? And do you really want your employees to be totally dependent on you? If you do, stay in the driver’s seat all the time. If you don’t, sooner or later, you are going to have to hand them the keys and say, “You drive today.” Will you have a fender bender or two? Probably. Do it anyway.
True North Leadership #1 was “It’s not about you.” #2 was “You can only lead people.” #3 was “People are different.” #4 was “People actually want you to lead them.” Finally, #5 is “They also want to lead.” Give them a chance. You can go a lot farther with more than one driver.
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© Copyright 2013 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner