Leading is not Doing

One of the biggest challenges for a leader is to lead without doing. To allow others to do what you do well. To let go of both outcomes and process other than to make sure that the ultimate goals are reached. And to simultaneously still recognize that you are leading and what you're doing is vitally important.

I am back at Interop this week. (If you'd like more detail about what I'm doing, feel free to drop by the official Interop blog or my own personal and more "inside" view.) As a result of my leadership role here, I got to thinking about the topic of this post. The teams at Interop are among the elite on the planet at what they do. As a result, leading them is a true exercise in leadership, and presents some real challenges. For example, since I delegated very high-level divisions of labor to experiences and skilled Interop engineers, there is very little technical for me to do. Instead, I run interference, make sure that they get what they need when they need it, participate in brainstorming around decisions that need to be made, and generally stay out of the way so that they can get their tasks done.

And it can really be difficult at times.

Difficult to not feel like I am actively "getting things done" together with them. Difficult to feel that I am taking up space better occupied by another technical person. Difficult to not make use of the skills that I have that apply to the problems we're solving.

Have you ever been there?

But, the bottom line is that leadership is critical. Helping our teams to maintain focus. Leading by allowing them to grow, change, learn, and use their skills to accomplish what we've agreed is the primary objective.

Have you ever had this kind of experience?