from the Blog

Sharing the Podium


I was reviewing on old journal the other day and ran across this ‘note to self . . .’

              “Work on Sharing the Podium” 

Not coincidentally this came up in a recent personal assessment. I immediately knew what it meant, and apparently I am still, as they say, a work in progress.

I am a hard charger and an over-achiever. I can be a bit of a perfectionist. I have extremely high expectations and performance standards for myself and those who work with me. Many who know me are nodding their heads affirmatively as they read this. Others are reflecting on their own personality traits, and perhaps biting their lips just a bit.

These are not bad traits, in fact these can be incredible traits. If not managed, however, they can create barriers and challenges in engaging, building, and growing a quality team.

Other team leaders may be able to identify —- I need to work on sharing the spotlight. I do not need to run every meeting or do every presentation. I need to delegate more responsibility. I need to allow them to be the face of the organization. I need to trust my team and their skills. They are going to make mistakes, probably the same mistakes I have made. They are going to do some things very differently. They are also going to have some amazing breakthroughs.

Leading a team is hard work. Learning to share the podium is hard work. Having a team that is properly prepared will make it much easier for you to release the reins.


Consider your role in Preparing Your Team to Share the Podium:

  • Recruit the very best people. To feel comfortable ‘sharing the podium’ requires that you have confidence in your team. You want top performers with strong technical skills.
  • Put your people on the front lines starting on day one. Include them in client meetings, and sales meetings. And not just the easy ones – I remember taking an intern to a particularly difficult contractor/client meeting years ago – train wrecks are always great learning experiences.
  • Delegate effectively – don’t just assign tasks – share expectations and goals. Delegate responsibility and accountability. Strive to create a sense of ownership.
  • Presentation skills – training, training, training – practice, practice, practice. Consider public speaking training courses for your team. They will hate every minute of it and thank you for years to come.
  • Look to your industry for opportunities to present papers, case studies, project profiles, etc. at business seminars and conferences. Take a deep breathe, step aside, and share the opportunity to be in the spotlight with a skilled team member – they probably know the content better than you anyway. If needed, be there to run the projector – and perhaps for that last minute pep talk.
  • Encourage team members to join and be active in community and civic organizations. Actively support their efforts to expand their own personal networks. Business organizations, community organizations, and non-profits are always looking for future leaders. These are fabulous training grounds for leadershipdevelopment.
  • Allow them to fail. Even with the best processes in place, the best training, sometimes the only way to learn is to experience failure.


This week . . . consider the many benefits of ‘sharing the podium’ . . .

  • Sharing the Podium shows your clients and the community that you have a strong team that goes beyond you.
  • Sharing the Podium allows your team members to grow.
  • Sharing the Podium allows you to grow. It gives you some breathing room – you can’t do it all yourself.
  • Sharing the Podium helps groom future leaders and helps to create smoother transitions to a new leader when that time comes.

. . . . go have an Awesome Week!

Tom Trabue