Leading from the Jumpseat
In business and in life, handing over the reins to others is inevitable. Everyone will eventually leave their team, retire from being the CEO, or see their kids leave home and lead their own lives. Leading from the Jumpseat enables us to embrace this inevitability. Leading from the Jumpseat is a metaphor for how we can choose to lead. It’s about the journey we take so we can hand over control to others, who are then equipped to continue forward.
What is Jumpseat Leadership?
The three practices of Jumpseat Leadership are: Commitment, Humble Confidence and Belonging.
Jumpseat Leadership is a way of interacting with people that will enhance performance in any given situation - during normal business, times of crisis, and life in general. Rather than focusing on retaining or increasing our own power, it's about empowering others – lifting them up so as, when the time is right, they can take the lead.
Practices of Jumpseat Leadership
Commitment: Most companies fall far short of communicating their mission to their employees in a clear and compelling way. Only 34% of respondents said that they felt a connection to their company’s mission, and those who didn’t feel such a connection were 62% less likely to stay with their employers and 45% less engaged.
(The Human Era at Work)
Humble Confidence: “The Iceberg of Ignorance” coined by Japanese consultant Sidney Yoshida. According to Yoshida, 100% of an organization’s front-line problems are known by the front-line. Go up one level and the supervisors only knew 74% of the front-line problems. Middle management 9% and top management? 4% — just the tip of the iceberg! The higher up someone is in an organization, the less likely that person is to have all the information about front-line problems. And without all that information, how can someone possibly have all the answers?
Belonging: Harvard Business Review surveyed 1,789 full-time workers from a variety of industries and found that those companies with a strong sense of belonging show a 56% increase in job performance and a 50% decrease in turnover risk. The data also showed that employees who feel as though they belong are 167% more likely to recommend their employer as a great place to work.
Lifting Others Up
We each have the opportunity to create the space in which others can rise. What we say and what we do can be like pebbles in a pond – the ripples can reach way beyond what we might imagine, and continue long after we've moved on.
How to share with your team
Leading from the Jumpseat encourages leadership to develop at every level within our teams. It empowers our people to perform better together and leads to us accomplishing more. It creates a culture that is generative and supportive. It’s an approach that nurtures the underlying conditions so that what we have built will continue to grow.
What you will learn
Leading from the Jumpseat is a practice. It’s a way of interacting with others that will enhance performance in any given situation
– during normal business, times of crisis, and life in general. It equips us to confront daunting challenges. It gives us the mindset to reach beyond what we currently know how to do, with the commitment to figure out the answers as we go.
Difference between a position and a standA position is against something – a negative reaction to something we don’t agree with. A stand is for something and generates positive energy.
The strength in “not knowing”When we release ourselves from needing to be the expert in everything, “not knowing” becomes a strength in itself – we are no longer limited by our own knowledge. We begin to relish the opportunity of the next unsolved challenge because we’re confident that, as a team, we can figure it out.
Shifting the contextWhen we shift the context, it’s like turning over our jigsaw puzzle pieces and seeing a different picture on the other side. The puzzle pieces haven’t changed, but they take on a whole new meaning and can create a whole new picture, leading to different opportunities.
Be a guardian of hopeHope is a powerful force. It is sourced from love – an enduring belief that there will be an “after”, no matter how dire our current situation. Hope can be difficult to quantify, although we all know when we have it, as sure as we know when we don’t.
Choose to take responsibilityWhen we choose to take responsibility for our work and actions, we call that ownership. For someone to know they own something, it requires us to hand over control to them. We allow them to lead themselves without the need for someone to chivvy them along.
Integrity over authenticityWhen we are being ourselves, one could say we’re being authentic– our words and actions match who we are, how we feel, and what we believe.
As we mature and become aware of how our reactions can affect others, we need to apply a filter. That filter is integrity.
4 Stages of Jumpseat Leadership
How we get into action will depend on where we are personally on our Jumpseat Leadership journey. Each of the four stages, Learning to Fly, Flying, Teaching Others to Fly, and Leading from the Jumpseat, reflects how we might lead at different times in our working careers.
It’s worth remembering we will sometimes experience different stages at any one time in our lives. Whatever we are doing, we never stop learning.
Meet Peter Docker
Peter teaches people how to navigate the challenge of leadership. His latest book, Leading from the Jumpseat, delivers the message that leadership is about lifting people up and giving them the space they need so that, when the time is right, they can take the lead.
Co-author of Find Your Why and formerly a founding Igniter at Simon Sinek Inc., Peter draws on his 25-year career in the Royal Air Force, and over 14 years spent partnering with businesses around the world, to inspire others to Lead from the Jumpseat.Connect
What people are saying about leading from the jumpseat
"Leading from the Jumpseat is such a warm and thought provoking read. The stories and concepts that Peter uses to explain Jumpseat Leadership are so positive and uplifting. I found myself reflecting back to situations where I have been lifted up, how that made me feel and how I might do the same for others. It is clear from the stories Peter tells the importance of lifting others up and the lasting impression that positive actions leave on those you are supporting. One of the main messages I took away was that, just because I am not a CEO it doesn't matter - leadership is available to everyone at every level, in every situation."
"If life were a 1940s black and white movie, just a couple of pages into Peter Docker's 'Leading From the Jumpseat', I'd have buzzed through to my PA saying, "Hey - hold my calls - I'm busy." Once I started reading, I kept going. Peter's a natural storyteller and he uses those stories to make point after point that you'll be able to use if you do anything at all that involves leading people. It's an absolute belter of a book."
"This is a wonderful, rich and powerful leadership resource, full of compelling stories that really bring the concepts to life. I loved it, started stealing ideas immediately and am recommending it to all my colleagues."
"Peter's real skill is to express, in simple terms and by examples, those ideas and principles that immediately chime with the reader. By drawing on dramatic examples of airborne emergencies, as well as more mundane and everyday situations, he guides us in applying them to our own lives."
"Leading From The Jumpseat makes a compelling case for today's biggest leadership challenge: to lead with integrity. Peter Docker shares what it takes for individuals and organizations to accomplish extraordinary things - not just at 30,000 ft, but in every working environment. Leading From The Jumpseat is a great read: it offers a rich collection of real-world examples for human-centric leadership."
"An exciting ride - start to finish! Peter's book is filled with stories that challenge you to consider the legacy you are leaving behind. We know we NEED to give up control, the question is how? This book has the answers you've been waiting for."
"Trust and empower your people so they can lead. Easier said than done. This book is an invaluable guide on how to do that."
"Leaders know that the secret to success is giving control to the team, safely, consistently, and boldly. In Leading from the Jumpseat, former RAF pilot Peter Docker shows us how to do this."