Corner Office: Good Leaders Know People — Including Oneself
The success of any organization depends in large part on a leader's people skills. Choosing the right people for the right jobs and overcoming the personal distance created by a leader's title can make the difference between success and failure.
The first job of any leader is to put the right people into the right jobs. Once the right people are on the team, a coach helps them succeed by allowing them the freedom to use their gifts.
I feel so strongly about this that I believe that the right people will succeed even if they are given the wrong strategy — they will adjust and figure out the flaws. But the wrong people, even with the right strategy, will probably fail. It may surprise less experienced leaders that the right people are more important than the right strategy.
Good CEOs realize that unless we have people with the right gifts around us, we will fail. Hopefully, we recognize this earlier in our careers. Inexperienced leaders can be particularly tempted to make the mistake of thinking, "I got here because I'm smart and I'm capable, and since there's nobody more capable than I am, I'll just do all this work myself." Making the transition to leadership means moving from being a doer to being a coach of those who do.
We all have had bosses who thought they knew how to do our jobs better than we did. I worked with a brilliant leader who had a tendency to frustrate his staff by micromanaging, but he didn't believe it was a problem. He was so smart that he probably could have done any of his direct reports' jobs better than they could. But that was not his job anymore. It became a lose-lose situation for both him and his staff members — he did not get the best out of their creativity and ideas, he slowed down decision making, and he demotivated them.