Learn to get out of the way

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When you step into your first leadership role, you likely have a tiny voice that’s freaking you out. It’s simultaneously telling you that you’re not qualified for the job, while also reminding you that you’ll need all the answers to all the questions that come your way.

The other day I walked into a frozen yogurt shop. It was immediately apparent who the supervisor was. It was also surprising that the store was staffed with three folks for an empty store.

While I was there something happened to one of the machines. It was leaking. Clearly something was broken.

What I assumed would happen, didn’t. The supervisor didn’t start directing staff. They didn’t get loud. They simply noticed it, seconds after another employee did, and then stayed out of the way. The other employee took care of things.

Maybe I misread the situation. But it didn’t look like this was a drill they’d prepared like an NFL team. It also didn’t look like the employee who fixed it was an expert. It took several different strategies to resolve the issue.

But the supervisor focused on the two customers who had just walked in and stayed clear of the impending mess. And within a few minutes, everything was back to normal.

Sometimes leaders think they have to say or do something smart. Something that highlights their leadership.

But most times I think we just need to learn to get out of the way.

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