I am in an unusual situation in life. In August I met one of my personal goals by coaching the USA Team at the Rugby World Cup. It was an amazing experience and the lessons I learned I will use in my leadership practice (look for some thoughts on this site too), but it was a tough 3 years. Balancing managing Innovative Though, coaching the USA Eagles (and the Penn State Women’s team) was extremely demanding. I have now taken a break from daily rugby to focus on my business and can begin to discuss a concept that I have thought about for a long time – Leadership Space.
Leadership space is something that exists in all organizations and a senior leader needs to decide how they want to fill the space. There are lots of different, successful leadership styles but they all include how much of the leadership space the leader wants to fill. I have a recent executive coaching client that was challenged because his team did “not step-up and make decisions.” However when I observed the client in action it quickly became obvious that the reason that his team did not step up was because the leader was filling all the space!
There are times when the senior leader needs to fill space – crises, time crunches or an inexperienced team. However over time, successful leaders leave more and more space for their team to lead, letting them make more decisions, have more visibility and get more credit. The role of the leader is to maximize his team’s potential and that can only happen if the leader gives them the space to do it.
Look for more on leadership space…now I have time!