How to Step Back and Succeed More


It’s easier for leaders to step up and in than to step down and back. Beginnings demand stepping in; enduring, exponential success calls for stepping back.

Before stepping back:

Before you step back, build people who embrace organizational values. People who don’t share values always suggest wrong directions, dilute focus, and slow progress.

After values, clarify mission and vision.

After clarity:

Clarity is powerful but not enough. Success requires people who possess confidence and optimism; one follows the other. Building confidence in others gives leaders the confidence to step back.


Confident people believe they can succeed in ways they haven’t already succeeded. To put it like Captain Kirk ” They boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Successful leaders nurture and feed confidence in people who are facing new challenges.

Foundations of confidence:

You build confidence in others when you:

  1. Provide new challenges.
  2. Give support from experienced leaders.
  3. Emphasize past wins.
  4. Break large goals into small tasks.
  5. Celebrate progress.
  6. Honor effort, even when progress disappoints.

After clarity, confidence ignites passion.

The confidence shift:

Leaders and managers usually talk about things people do like goals, tasks, and deliverables. You’ll get further by focusing more on who people are and less on what people do.

If you ever hope to step back so others can step in, you’ll become a confidence builder.


Your inclination to step up and in doesn’t build confidence in others, it blocks it. Quickly stepping in indicates lack of confidence in others. Hold back. Enable others to step up and in.


How are you a confidence builder?

How do leaders undermine confidence in others?

Image source: Larry Coppenrath  Click to enlarge

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