Leading from behind
You don’t have to always be in the spotlight
In today's society, everyone talks about the importance of being a leader, taking charge, calling the shots and being in the spotlight. However, there is another type of leadership that is equally important - leading from behind. This concept is all about stepping back and allowing others to take the lead while providing guidance and support from the background.
I know, this can be quite difficult depending on the competence of the team!
Leading from behind may seem counterintuitive, but it can be an incredibly effective leadership style, particularly in situations where collaboration and teamwork are essential. By allowing others to take charge, we empower them to develop their skills and build their confidence. It also allows us to tap into the diverse perspectives and experiences of our team members, which can lead to more creative and innovative solutions.
While doing this you must also be competent enough to step in and do the job, when or where needed because respect is often earned when ‘shit goes south’. Plus it may be the dose of inspiration your team needs to be better.
I also believe that leading from behind is a more sustainable approach to leadership. It helps prevent burnout and allows leaders to focus on supporting their team members and steering the team and organisation strategically, rather than constantly being in the spotlight, fighting fires and slaying dragons. It also helps build a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration within the team, which can lead to better outcomes in the long run.
A great example of leading from behind comes from the world of sports. In basketball, some of the most successful coaches are those who lead from the sidelines. They provide guidance and support to their players, but ultimately allow the players to make the decisions on the court. The best coaches are those who understand that their role is to empower their players, rather than control them.
One person that embodies leading from behind is creative director and filmmaker - Diji Aderogba. On my podcast with him, he also talks about his creative journey, experiences working with big brands, and advice for aspiring creatives and entrepreneurs, highlighting the importance of cultural storytelling, focusing on the work, and building connections in the industry. Listen on Apple, Google or Spotify.
So, the next time you find yourself in a leadership position, consider taking a step back and leading from behind. It may seem counterintuitive, but it can be an incredibly effective approach to leadership. By empowering your team members and tapping into their unique perspectives and experiences, you can achieve great success.
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