Sharing the spotlight – The Military Leader


Every leadership position comes with its own spotlight. As a leader, you’re the one on stage, you make the decisions, you take responsibility for consequences, everyone is watching and waiting for you to take action. The default expectation is that you will do it on your own and everyone else will follow.

But what happens if you decide not to “do leadership” on your own? What if, instead of spinning inside your own head about what to do next then issuing a decree, you instead brought your team in and asked for their input? What if you said, “Hey guys, here is the situation I’m seeing. This is why it’s important. These are the factors I think are relevant. What am I not seeing? What do you think we should do?”

Would involving them undermine your authority? No.

Would it reveal weakness? No.

Would it take too much time? Not for most of the decisions you face.

On the contrary, when you involve subordinate leaders in the decisions you make, you…

…make them feel valuable and regarded.
…get their buy-in and gain a glimpse of how your impending decision might affect the team.
…reveal their strengths and gaps, which you can note for later development.
…infuse their input, making your decision stronger.
…show them how to lead at the next level.

The notion of the solitary, all-knowing leader is outdated at best. At worst, it is a weak response to the opportunity leaders have to improve the quality of their decisions and develop the team. If leaders can move past the notion that they are the only ones on the stage, the performance will be much better.

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