Get Out Of The Way Leadership


#leadership #personaldevelopment #personneldevelopment #coaching

a short 2 minute video

“No, no and no!, the leader is the one out in front, visible, inspiring, doing what they want the rest of us to do too and showing us how”! Jim was not happy. In fact he was downright cranky. Here was Kayla attacking his definition and experiences of leadership. Well, he thought it an attack. How dare she. Get out of the way, she says, bah! Kayla simply stayed gently still and waited. When Jim paused, seeming to have emptied his ire, she waited just a bit more before responding. “Jim, I am not saying that the only thing or even the most common action that a Leader does, is to get out of the way. I am saying that the ability to discern when and how, to get out of the way, is sometimes the game changer that wins the day.” She paused. “And, I also say that the fully developed leader must have and use this skill.”

Silence… “I don’t see it that way and can’t think of a single example in my 32 years as a part of an Executive team, where getting out of the way was used”. “The leader must be visibly leading, all the time. If the shepherd is not visible, the sheep get nervous and start to wander aimlessly. Not good leadership. Not leadership at all. Abdication!”

Again the needed silence. “May I offer an example?” “Please do”, hissed Jim.

Kayla began, “not to undermine the gravity of Executive leadership, but to provide an example I think we will all be able to relate to, consider the upbringing of a child”. “Oh great”, from under Jim’s breath. But that was it. He waited, giving space for Kayla to continue.

And a few seconds later Kayla said, “as the child develops, there come times when, even though they have not at all mastered a skill, we encourage and then let them go on their own, so they can learn. In those moments we stop giving instruction or even encouragement (which can increase the pressure) and just get out of the way. We let them learn something for themselves. We demonstrate confidence. In business, this scenario presents itself often. If we are growing our people, as good leaders always do, then there will be times to sit to the side and let things unfold for that employee/colleague. The most common alternative is the micro manager.”

After a long pause, Jim offered, “yeah, we don’t want micro managers, for sure.”

John intervened with, “yes, I think I get this. If the leader does it all, all of the time, nobody shares the load and the leader burns out. Poof.” John furled his forehead and nodded an affirming motion for a while. Then he said, “also, and I’m thinking this may be even bigger that the rest, those who aspire to more, to be leaders, they lose interest, and either shrivel back to mindless ‘yes’ people, or they leave for another job where they can flex their wings and contribute.”

Finally, after another long pause, Jim again said, “OK, I get this now” and the meeting came to a thought-filled close. For some

Joseph Seiler MCC