A good leader needs to be able to sit in the back seat once in a while and turn the wheel over to someone else. He or she knows when it’s time to relinquish the lead and let someone else shine for a change. This is a very important skill, in that it allows you to fulfill your number one goal as a leader: to enable and encourage others to become leaders.
So, what does leading from the back seat look like? No, it’s not your vision of a back seat driver. You know the one, that is always telling you how to drive, and you just want to pull the car over and let them take the wheel. I’m not talking about that. No, the back seat leader is one who just steps back from the limelight in order to allow a teammate, colleague, follower, etc, step up and take the lead. The back seat leader empowers others to find it within themselves to take over. That’s what the back seat leader does. And, when doing so, it’s important that the back seat leader follow these 4 guidelines:
- Be a Support Character – When you relinquish the lead to someone else, make sure they know that you are there to support them. You need to be able to answer questions, help make points, etc, without taking the spotlight from them.
- Be a Cheerleader – Cheer them on. Let them know that they are doing a good job. If they aren’t doing a particular good job, then encourage them by giving some direction.
- Provide Your Expertise – Part of supporting and cheering, is also being there to provide your expertise if needed. Make sure to wait until asked for your expertise, as to not step on anyone’s toes.
- Influence and Motivate the Laggards – It’s important that you stay towards the “back of the pack” and help motivate those dwelling back there. This will help the new leader keep focus on his/her tasks. They can be confident that you will help bring those lagging behind, up to speed.
Leadership is all about developing others, so it’s important that as a leader, you take a back seat and let others take the lead. Remember, though, that when doing so, don’t be like that annoying back seat driver we’ve all come to dislike. Instead, follow the four simple rules above and you will help empower others to lead.