Being chosen for a Chief Executive Officer position is quite an honor. However, with this designation also comes a huge amount of expectation, especially when it’s your first time being a CEO. When you are chosen over someone else serving as the interim organizational leader, the challenge can be even more daunting.

I experienced this situation when I joined Powder River Energy Corporation some twenty years ago. Unfortunately, during this interim time period, the company was restructured and teams built around the interim CEO and his style of leading. The mentality of the company and those under him were to look to him for guidance in all issues. They were used to being told what to do and to not think for themselves, which I considered a dysfunctional way of operating. My initial intent was to build trust and develop relationships; and to get them more used to tapping into their own abilities to solve problems and to think on their own. Yes, many times I got the ‘deer in the headlights look’ when I responded to their questions of “How should we handle this issue?!” with “How do you think you should handle it?”

The key lesson I want you to take away from this blog is that you don’t always have to be the smartest person in the room. Making space for others to step up will help the development of your leaders and their teams.