Most of my career has been spent on the front lines of my business; marketing, meeting with customers and team members and speaking to groups about our brand. I became very comfortable being so visible and being directly involved in so many aspects of my business.
Lately it has felt a little weird. That’s because more of my job has been behind the scenes letting other leaders learn to live in the spotlight. It feels weird or awkward because the leader is supposed to be up front and in the spotlight, right?
As I have seen my leadership team grow I have given them more responsibility. I have let them lead more meetings and give more talks and have more interaction with the public promoting our business. At times I have fought the urge to take over and jump back out in front, not because my leaders weren’t doing a good job but just because of my own habits that formed over so many years.
I have decided to learn to adjust and be okay with being in the background a little more often. I’m even starting to like it as I see leaders who are stretching themselves and getting out of their own comfort zone to do new things. The role kind of feels like the proud dad who watches his kids perform in an athletic event or during a school play.
Should a leader lead out front or from behind the scenes?
The answer is both.
Often we will need to lead by example and sometimes that involves a front and center role. Other times to allow our teams to develop we need to step behind the scenes and let them absorb the spotlight.
The best leaders can lead from the front lines and in the background, based on what the team and the organization needs.
Which do you prefer?