Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Take a step back to move forward

Why leaders need to step back sometimes to push progress

One of the hardest things about being a leader is the feeling that everyone is counting on you. People are looking to you for decisions and they are counting on you to know what the right course of action is all the time.

As a leader, it can be pretty tough dealing with the pressure of failing—we touch on making mistakes and failing forward in a number of past blogs and podcast episodes. So when leading a team, it’s normal to find yourself in a position to coach or guide others to do something—there is this feeling that you’d rather do something yourself than let others do it. It will be faster, better, and it won’t fail.

So you’d rather step in and show them how it’s done in order for them to learn. But one very important thing to embody in your leadership journey is the art of letting go or stepping back.

“Stepping back? But doesn’t that mean quitting?”

Quite the opposite actually. When it comes to leadership, stepping back means moving forward.  

Stepping back means letting others lead.

Letting others lead means embodying what it means to be a true leader—you get to be someone who EMPOWERS others.

Additionally, when you step back, you and your team get to:

  1. Gain additional insights. Even if you are the leader of  a team and they learn from you, there is also an opportunity to learn from them as well.
  2. Share accountability. Stepping back to let others lead does not mean letting go of the responsibility. As the leader, the overall accountability is still on you, which in fact requires you to ensure that others succeed. They succeed, and you succeed.
  3. Foster collaboration and teamwork. Stepping back will open up opportunities for working together with your team and other people who want to step up.

Remember, being a leader means being able to encourage and guide others—it’s not all about showing them what you can do. In leadership, you have to know when to step back to let others grow.


What is one area in your life that taking a step back would be a good strategy?


Dr. Rob

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