Yesterday, after making a hospital visit, I sat in my suburban and watched as a student driver tried to parallel park two spots in front of me. (If it had been the spot directly in front of me, I may not have been as patient.)
The car pulled up, waited for a while, then slowly started backing up. Every passing car on the busy street caused greater hesitation, and I could sense the anxiety of the driver from where I sat.
The car ever so slowly inched into the parking spot, except the driver had turned too much and was almost perpendicular with the curb instead of parallel. After waiting for a moment, the car pulled forward and moved on like nothing had happened.
The driving instructor in that car could very likely parallel park with the best. All he would have to do is get out, and switch sides with the driver. But that’s not why the instructor rides in the car. The instructor guides the driver.
Often times, leading others unfolds in a similar way. We ride with them as they attempt something that seems completely foreign and unnatural. We talk them through the strategy, the thought process, and the mechanics. Then, in the moment of truth, they over correct and cannot pull it off. So, we move forward with them, taking the opportunity to help them learn from the experience.
More than likely, we are asking someone else to accomplish something we could accomplish on our own, and often times more efficiently. But if we buy into leadership development as a calling and a responsibility, then very rarely does anyone benefit from our sitting in the driver’s seat.
Instead, if you want to help others grow as leaders, learn to ride in the instructor’s seat. Instruct, guide, advise, but avoid kicking them out of the car because you can do better.
So, do you buy into leadership development as something you are called to do? Are you capable of letting go to see someone develop? Are you willing to let go?
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