Michael, thank you for a great post. I recently came back from a four month sabbatical from my consulting firm. It was incredibly gratified by the reaction of the team. While I didn’t use the explicit vocabulary of your post we did set up systems, procedures, and expectations that empower the team. We also practiced while I was around so that the transition to my departure was not jarring. Those steps have now set things up so that I can go start a new venture. Thank you for giving the context.

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Jun 19, 2023Liked by Michael Woudenberg

This is a good Substack. Nice to discover it!

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Michael, thank you for sharing your experience in the Army and in a large industrial company.

“When the officer died, his leadership didn’t.” This is a great sentence both in form and content.

What you say about being a good leader makes sense. The less needed you are, the more it means you have successfully ensured your team understands why things need to be done and have the skills, knowledge and motivation to carry on by themselves.

But I wonder to which extent this applies to more “creative” fields versus “execution-oriented” ones. I work in software development. I have a truly amazing manager who constantly introduces new technologies. They do share their knowledge, which is motivating to me because I’m learning a lot. But they spend so much time working and learning that they’re always one step ahead of the rest of the team. I don’t see how they can be made replaceable. Probably the same goes for any entrepreneur or company founder. And I guess you covered both the execution and creation aspects when you wrote: “I was and am proud of my teams who hardly notice I’m gone on vacation and yet are excited when I return so we can move the needle to a higher performance yet again.”

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