Harnessing Your Influence by Leading from the Back

In what I do, I get to watch a lot of leaders from afar. Some are awesome leaders and inspire their team to do great things. Some of the leaders I observe are struggling which in most cases is causing their team to struggle. Recently I have gotten to know a husband-and-wife leadership team in Denver named Anthony and April Lambatos. They lead a catering business in Denver called Footers Catering. Anthony & April have taken an approach that is different than a lot of leaders but has worked well for them. They lead from the back. They create goals and objectives for their team of what needs to happen and then through their culture of empowerment, empower their team to reach those goals.

This leadership style goes by many names, but I prefer to call it Leading from the Back. This style of leadership has become increasingly popular in recent years and will be critical in today’s workforce. It is a leadership approach that emphasizes empowering others and setting clear expectations for performance, rather than micro-managing or taking the lead on everything. From my experience, there is an energy that is seen in empowered employees that may not be seen in employees who are being micromanaged all the time. Many times, employees will work harder because of the trust management has put in them. This style of leadership can be beneficial for both employers and employees, as it encourages collaboration and creativity while still providing guidance and structure. Let’s take a look at how leading from the back works.


Leading from the back focuses on giving employees the autonomy they need to make decisions and accomplish tasks. This means allowing them to take ownership over their work and giving them space to figure out solutions without micromanaging their every move. Employers should provide employees with clear expectations and goals, while also giving them enough room to come up with creative solutions on their own. The goal is to create a workplace where employees are empowered to do their best work without feeling micromanaged or dictated to by management.


Leading from the back also encourages collaboration between teams, departments, and individuals. This can help foster innovation and creativity in the workplace by encouraging everyone to come together and share ideas openly. For those of you who are thinking that collaboration can only happen in the office, you are wrong. If organizations are intentional about opportunities for collaboration, it doesn’t matter if you are in the office or remote. Leaders should focus on creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up, sharing their thoughts, and making suggestions for improvement without fear of judgment or criticism. Additionally, leaders should actively listen to employee feedback so that any concerns or issues are addressed quickly before becoming bigger problems down the road.


The key element of leading from the back is effective communication between managers, employees, teams, departments, etc., which can help ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal. Leaders should strive to create an environment where open dialogue is encouraged so that any questions or concerns can be addressed quickly and effectively instead of being brushed aside or ignored until a later date. Having regular check-ins with team members allows leaders to stay informed about any changes in workflow or processes so they can continue providing guidance when needed while still allowing employees enough autonomy to make their own decisions when appropriate.

Leading from the back is an effective way for employers to empower their teams while still providing necessary guidance for success. By fostering collaboration among teams as well as open communication between managers and employees, leaders can ensure that everyone feels supported while still achieving optimal results for their business or organization. In his autobiography, Nelson Mandela, compared a leader to a shepherd. The shepherd stays behind the flock letting the most nimble of the flock go out ahead which leads others to follow not realizing that the shepherd is all along leading from behind.

Leading from the back is not something you can just say “this is what we are going to do today”. It requires a culture shift. However, if your organization is looking for a way to have your employees thrive while encouraging collaboration and communication, leading from the back might be just what you need.

Does your organization have leaders that can lead in this style? Would you like to know for sure?

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