Guest Post: When Leaders Get Out of the Way

Guest Post:  When Leaders Get Out of the Way by Scott Mabry



Sometimes leaders get in the way. When they do…bad things happen.

  • They bottleneck decisions – people get frustrated
  • They fail to communicate – people become cynical
  • They put process before progress – people disengage
  • They put their ego first – people become self-centered
  • They fail to honor their word – people become passive aggressive

When they get out-of-the-way. Beautiful things happen.

Think about some of your favorite leaders. Were they in the way? Literally…did people have to go through them to get things done? Did they try to control people or outcomes or did they connect with bright people, provide a mission worth achieving, intervene selectively and get out-of-the-way?

5 Reasons to Get Out of the Way

  1. When you get out-of-the-way you develop new leaders. Only by giving other people the opportunity to step into the gap do you provide the soil for leaders to emerge. If you are in the way, potential leaders leave or are lost. Leaders grow through doing.
  2. When you get out-of-the-way innovation has space to breathe. The best leader provide a clear vision, one that inspires and challenges, and then allows people to be creative in how to reach the goal. Case in point – JFK’s vision to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
  3. When you get out-of-the-way you improve your line of sight. When you step aside and let others take on the challenge you allow yourself to move around and see the opportunity from different points of view. This enables you to coach, intervene, realign, set expectations, etc. without blocking the progress of others.
  4. When you get out-of-the-way you create a climate of trust. As you extend trust, and then act in alignment with the organization’s core values, the team not only develops trust in your leadership but also trust in themselves and each other. You are the beacon of trust. People look to you for how it should be done.
  5. When you get out-of-the-way you expand your influence. By enabling people to carry the dream or drive the vision forward without your direct control you multiply the capacity for progress and your ideas have greater impact. You haven’t stopped leading; you are just not pulling the strings. Puppets aren’t your friend.

Here’s the challenge, ready?

Ask your team if you are in the way, where you are in the way and when you are in the way. Push them for an honest answer.

If the answer is yes, take down your orange cones, your crossing gates and your barricades and get out-of-the-way. I promise it’s a risk worth taking. ® Scott Mabry, All rights reserved


About the Author, Scott Mabry

Former school teacher now 22 years in the world of business but still a teacher at heart. Trying to leave the world a little better than I found it. OK a lot better than I found it. Love to help people and organizations realize and live their full potential. Peter Pan cleverly disguised as a COO.

Twitter: scott_elumn8


 More on Leadership?  You betcha!
Extraordinary Women Interview-Overcoming Life & Leadership Challenges
18 Word Success Formula
Rising to the Challenge Before Us
Leading Forward
Lead Forward (10 posts in one)
The Reach and Resonance of the Human Heart
Leadership Means Developing a Community of Purpose
Meaningful Work-A Leadership & Management Must
Against All Odds-A Personal Story of Leadership, Hope & Courage

About Irene Becker, Executive Coach, Consultant, Speaker, Writer
Chief Success Officer, Just Coach It -The 3Q Edge™

First woman CEO of a steel company in Canada, Irene Becker has a track record of trailblazing accomplishments in business and in the community at large. An insightful and inspiring executive coach, mentor, speaker and writer, Irene helps clients achieve breakthrough results in their communication, leadership and lives. Passionate about the integrity of her work and its ability to help change-makers LEAD change, Irene helps smart people and organizations develop 3Q Leadership™ and effective verbal, written and social communication that builds reach, resonance and results. Irene welcomes your emails at and tweets at @justcoachit.



2 replies
  1. Kamal
    Kamal says:

    Deep and I feel you have so much essential .. You must reach a different demographic hhhhmmm… maybe African American females …

    You can contact school principles to ask if you may be entered in their career day program and promote your “fancy” lol. Really then you may offer an extension to be able to speak to the students in a speech format…

    TRY IT!!!


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