“It’s great to bring new people into leadership roles,” my collaborator observed. We were chatting after he’d passed the baton to a woman in our community group (and she’ll do a fantastic job). I agreed and also thought how much better many organizations and groups would be if effective leaders like my colleague conscientiously made space for others.
Simply occupying a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader. And being a leader doesn’t mean you’re a great leader. Great leadership means creating a space for others to engage, to use their strengths in the service of your common cause (workplace, community, social, etc.), and to shine. Being a great leader often means getting out of the way, or expanding the circle, and creating the conditions by which those around you can take on a new challenge.
If you think being a leader is about racking up titles, scoring all the points, and winning all the marbles, you’d best be in a solo sport. Otherwise, ask yourself some searching questions: how many times have I moved out of the way and, in so doing, let another person occupy a space where she’d shine? How often do I stop to see talent around me and draw my community’s (or my boss’s) attention toward talent that might go unnoticed for too long?
My colleague opted to create a space for another person to grow and shine. By doing so, their working relationship had an opportunity to develop and deepen. And our organization, to gain a new perspective and continue to thrive.
What are you developing today? Or are you just trying to win in your solo sport?