I believe great leaders help their key associates stretch and achieve their highest potential by “covering their backs.” In other words, they are willing to say: “No matter what happens, do your best and I will not second-guess you.” A vivid example of this occurred when I was given an assignment that I did not feel qualified to perform, but my leader said he believed I was the best person to try to achieve this business goal. Another colleague and I developed a plan, sought the appropriate wise counsel, and prepared to dive into the assignment. I was scared to death. The next day, my leader showed up in my doorway. After exchanging pleasantries, he said, “I know you are launching that new initiative next week. You have a history of success over the years, and that is why I selected you. By the way, if this project is not successful, it will not tarnish your record. I’ve got your back.” I cannot tell you how grateful and confident his words made me feel. Do your key associates feel that way about you? Are they secure enough that they are willing to take appropriate risks?