Why do leaders need to get out of the way? by Paula Leach

By Guest Contributor Paula Leach

Author of Vantage Points, Paula Leach, explains what she means when she says that leaders should get out the way in order to let their employees thrive.

I believe that all leaders can simplify the often complex role that they have.  Firstly, by focusing on the key point of leadership which is to coordinate resources and people to support the movement of something from A to B.  And secondly, by distilling their job into two main aspects:  1) Creating clarity and 2) Getting out of the way and creating space for others.

What do I mean by ‘Getting out of the way’?  I don’t mean being away.  This relates more to the role of the leader to create space for others to rise into their potential, their creativity and their ownership of performance.

I believe there are two main areas to focus on as a leader in order to cultivate the creation of space for others:



Leadership is personal.  Creating a shared purpose with others and enabling them to thrive and be creative and productive is about emotional connection.  In order to build authentic emotional connections with others, we have to start with ourselves.  Leaders who are curious about how they are experienced by others and are willing to be vulnerable with a growth mindset are more likely to experience more alignment with their intentions and what others experience.  If this alignment exists, there is little room for misunderstanding.  Everything becomes clearer, communication is strong and two-way and clarity is high.

The job of the leader is to inspire the best in the individuals and team that deliver the movement from A to B.  By creating space, the leader is the enabler and supporter of others.  Understanding how to create a climate of motivation and inclusion is understanding humans and relating at a human level.



Understanding how others thrive as productive contributors is part of getting out of the way.  They key to harnessing that productivity is to ensure as a leader that the conditions are in place for those people to work together in service of moving something from A to B.

The job of the leader is to use their unique vantage points to see things both systemically and up close in order to align everyone around a shared endeavour that they all believe in.

It sometimes feels counter intuitive to us in our fast paced, relentless world of work to see leadership as anything other than right in the midst of the action all the time.  However, every high performing team needs their leader to step back,  see the bigger picture, remain calm and respond to them at an emotional level in order to continually respond to and adjust the conditions for a thriving culture.

To what extent are you aware of the space you are truly creating for others?


PAULA LEACH has developed a lifelong interest in the way people work, individually and collaboratively in organisations, to the best of their potential. In particular, Paula believes in the value of positive, human-centred, intentional leadership as the key enabler for individuals and teams to thrive. Over 25 years, Paula has built her experience across global multinational, large public sector and entrepreneurial growth organisations, holding the positions of Chief People Officer at the Home Office and Global Chief People Officer at FDM Group. She holds an MBA from Henley Business School and is a Fellow of the CIPD. Paula now runs her business, Vantage Points Consulting, specialising in her passion for unlocking the potential in people and organisations through coaching and business consulting. She is launching the Vantage Points Foundation in Autumn 2021 to support and mentor young women launching their dream careers.

Website: https://vantagepointsconsulting.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paula-leach-5674631a

Suggested Reading

Everyone who holds a position of leadership regardless of their experience or scale, has five key Vantage Points from which they can build positive momentum and high performance. This book introduces these Vantage Points and provides highly practical examples of how leaders can use these in their daily approach to leading teams of brilliant people.

Vantage Points, invites leaders everywhere to consciously broaden their awareness via the exploration of the key Vantage Points. With this heightened awareness, great leaders can learn to focus their attention on their two primary jobs: creating clarity and space for individuals and teams to thrive. Vantage Points is a resource designed to support leaders in becoming more intentional in their actions and human centred interventions to enable and celebrate the shared collective endeavour of their team

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