Leading from the passenger seat

In coaching we spend a lot of time talking about leadership and leadership style.  As is commonly understood there are many different types of leadership styles and all are important in the make-up of any successful organization, whether it be a couple, a group, a family, a social organization, a small business, or a corporation.

I like to talk about one common albeit unappreciated approach as leading from the passenger seat.  Folks that adopt this style are more comfortable letting someone else do the driving while offering directions and analysis.  At the controlling end of this style we have the back seat driver, a critical second-guesser who is afraid to take risk but is quick to criticize wrong moves.  At the passive end of this style is someone who is reluctant to offer suggestions at all and instead sits there and takes no responsibility for the direction of the car.  But in the balanced middle there is a strong leader that enjoys offering input and direction when necessary but doesn’t need to be the one in control of the car.

The leader from the passenger seat occupies an essential and powerful role in any organization.  Although sometimes unrecognized, he or she is critical to the success of most enterprises as out front leaders often attest.


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