I am the veteran of three teenage drivers, and – at the time of this writing – just four short years from the fourth. State Farm has happily taken dump trucks full of my money since 2011, and in return I get the satisfaction of knowing that any fender bender at the hands of my children will be covered by my insurWHAT DO YOU MEAN I OPTED FOR THE $1,000 DEDUCTIBLE?!?
But I digress. When a family gets a newly-licensed driver, the dynamics of everything from a grocery store run to a cross-country road trip changes. Whereas the driving role was once assumed by mom or dad, that assumption has been replaced by a doe-eyed kid standing at the driver’s side door, hoping against hope that they’ll be awarded the coveted key toss and get to scooch behind the wheel.
It’s the same in raising up new leaders (yes, it is. Stick with me.). If you have a new staffer or volunteer, there will come a time when they’re ready to take over a role that was once assumed by you. And there will be plenty of opportunities for you to stonewall and stall, or to graciously toss ’em the keys and get in the passenger seat.
There are five questions that I tend to ask myself when asking “Who’s driving?”:
- Am I the right person to be driving this meeting / initiative / decision / plan?
- Is there someone else who I could easily hand this particular wheel to?
- Am I guilty of grabbing the wheel once I’ve given up control?
- Do I give helpful feedback to those at the wheel, rather than turning into a backseat driver?
- Do my actions…overt or subtle…cause the person at the wheel to know that I want to be / think I should be in charge?
Where do you need to give up the wheel this week and let someone else drive?
This is an updated and reworked version of an earlier post, originally published in 2017.