Step Aside And Watch Others Take The Lead

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A world-famous violinist once said after a successful performance of Beethoven’s violin concerto: “I have a beautiful score, a lovely violin, and a very good bow. When I put these three together I only need to step aside.”

In leadership, when you have a great mission, great purpose, and a great team, all you have to do is step aside and then watch others take the lead.

No longer are we looking for those who lead us with control and manipulation.

No longer are we looking toward business to be produced, powered, and possessed.

The world has changed, and with it our expectations of ourselves has too. Today most of us need the following:

We are looking for purpose and meaning. We want to be valued and to be appreciated for our gifts.  People expect to have an opportunity to allow their talents to play a part of the bigger picture. We want to be associated with something beyond ourselves. And we want to play their part.

We are drivers of innovation. There are brilliant innovators and solitary geniuses. But most of us must allow for innovation and creativity to collaborate, to make it a collective process. Innovation must be about involving others, playing to their strengths, and showcasing their talent. Sustainable innovation comes about when everyone has an opportunity to contribute their slice of genius.

We are leaders who encourage a sense of community. It is great to be able to orchestrate, but it’s better when we allow all the talent, all the gifts, all the skills, to come together within a community. We need everyone in the collective to make it happen—the vision makers, the talent takers, the skill setters—to come together as a community and use their gifts as a collective.

When we step aside to allow innovation and creativity to emerge, we are not abrogating our leadership responsibilities or turning our backs on our business acumen.

What we are really doing is simply becoming the musicians we are meant to be—the leaders we know we are, building businesses into what we know they can become.

Be known as the leader who is the gatherer of collective talent, with the collective genius to make the right thing happen.

Lead from within: Those leaders who become the musicians of their business are most likely to be different. They are willing to believe in others, they are willing to step aside- so that other can take the lead.

And so I ask you as a leader: Are you stepping aside to make beautiful music?



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Panteli Tritchew

    13. May, 2014

    As leaders, some of us get carried away with doing “the heavy lifting,” thinking we are doing the team a favor. I have certainly made that mistake ion the past.

    When we step aside and watch others take the lead, it’s uplifting for everyone. Projects move forward; teams operate at higher levels; talents and spirits are lifted.

    Light-lifting is so much more fun than heavy-lifting…

    Have a wonderful day, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      22. May, 2014

      Truth: A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” – Max Lucado

      Reply to this comment
      • Preeti

        07. Sep, 2015

        Thank you for sharing!!!
        This is it…..the profound truth…turn the back on the crowd!!!

        Reply to this comment
  2. LaRae Quy

    13. May, 2014

    Great thoughts here, Lolly.

    I think of the reasons it’s hard to step aside is that our own ego resists anyone running the show except us!

    If we can get past our need to be number one, we’ve moved from being an average leader to being an extraordinary one.

    Have a great week!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Terri Klass

    13. May, 2014

    Terrific post, Lolly and one that evokes the importance of trusting those on our teams and people we collaborate with. If we are able to cultivate transparent and open relationships, we can more easily let go.

    When we empower our teams and collaborators to fly onwards without us always in front, we are truly leading.

    Thanks Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      22. May, 2014

      You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by showing the way and letting people lead on their own.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Dave "theHRCzar" Ryan

    15. May, 2014

    Nice post, concise but to the point and dead on!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      22. May, 2014

      To be a good leader, you sometimes need to go down the untraveled path. Being bold in the face of uncertainty will help give your team courage and motivate them to keep striving when the going gets tough.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Rodney Whittle

    26. May, 2014

    I work for a leader that is always bragging about his team. I love him for it and I know he does this because he wants to see more opportunities come my way.

    Reply to this comment
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    02. Jul, 2014

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  7. Dawood Chishti

    19. Jul, 2014

    Collective talent and collective genius make the right things happen. It’s compelling.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Justin Byrne

    26. Jul, 2014

    Thank you for the post Lolly. I appreciate your support of the idea of letting leaders lead and putting the most talented team together to achieve greatness. You’re right, it takes a different type of person and a different type of leader to assemble a great team full of talented individuals and step aside to let the magic flow. Most people do not think like this because they are in need of recognition for their achievements. It is difficult to evaluate the impact of a leader who “steps aside”, so some never receive the recognition they deserve.

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    15. Dec, 2015

    Excellent post like always easy to Relate to and apply . In a Direct and understandable fashion. The kind of leadership I Would like to be a part of .Thanks again .

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  13. Olusegun Adigun

    24. Apr, 2017

    Thank you Lolly for this post ” Step aside while others take tge Lead”
    A real leader ought to have painstakingly choosen the right team, haven identified their potentials and strength areas, therefore stepping aside for the various team members to show their talents and creativity enables the leader achieve deadline better.

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