Want to Lead? Get Out of the Way (Sometimes)

Leaders provide their best value to the organizations they lead when they foster the growth and capacity of other leaders  Sometimes that means understanding when you are the roadblock.

A plant manager gets out of a sickbed and bundles up in mid-winter to answer the call of a serious meltdown at the plant.  He is there with his team trying to lead the way.  But their discussion and debate is distracted by his flu.  Aside from the coughing, they are concerned about both his contagion and his participation.  Teh boss fights it for a while, but weakenss and fever grind him down.  The conversation continues after he is bundled in the infirmary and his wife is on the way to pick him up.

The rest of his story…

“Actually, they figured out a faster more creative response than I would have, even without the fever.  I had to take a hard look at what I was doing every day that my staff could be doing.  More importantly- I had to look at what I was NOT doing because I thought I had all the answers.  Oddest of all is, I would have said that I was an overly open boss with very little need for control- at least before that night taught me what control can look like.”

Sometimes leading is about knowing when to get out of the way.