There are many magicians out there who can dazzle the audience with their sleight of hand, but few who are able to let others create the magic themselves. One exception is Justin Flom who talked James Corden’s audience – and the masses watching on television – through a trick with cards that allowed them to be the ones doing the dazzling.

Flom shared the instructions with the audience but allowed them to have control over the decisions. He never touched their cards and, in the end, the vast majority of the audience amazed themselves at what they did. It was even more impressive than watching someone perform a trick on stage.

I think this is what good supervision is like. You may have to set the parameters or give the instructions, but ultimately you allow others to create the magic on their own. You need to give up control and assume the risk that it may not work, but more often than not, it’s amazing.

Stop trying to be the one on the stage and instead empower those around you. Your ability to awe will multiply faster than rabbits can.


To do the trick, you need 4 cards per person that you will tear and render useless in the future. His whole segment is 10 minutes, but the audience-generated trick is at 6:08. Enjoy!



I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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