Some times you meet the person at the top of the organisation and
you’re surprised, surprised at how ordinary they are. From the
reputation for being a top performing organisation you were expecting
something special in its leader. You imagined a charismatic figure,
someone inspiring and challenging or at least a little taller with
better questions than , “ did you work out who H was?” Your question
is how did this person get to be in charge of this organisation? But
that’s the wrong question. You should be asking if this person isn’t
the reason for the success of this organisation what is? The answer
may vary from organisation to organisation but in my experience the
most likely explanation is the team they have around them.
If you only have one outstanding skill as a manager / leader then the
ability to recruit and retain a really top class team has to be one of
the most useful. Of course you have got to get them to operate as a
team and you have to be able to hold on to such talented individuals.
So you don’t just want outstandingly talented individuals you want
team players and you need a hands off approach with the accompanying
confidence to give their talent full rein, other wise they will
become frustrated and go elsewhere.
Surly it can’t be as simple as that? I think it can. We put far to
much emphasis on the leader of an organisation. If an organisation is
successful we look at the qualities of it’s leader and we are not
surprised that they are head hunted but have you noticed that these
individuals often don’t enjoy the same degree of success in there next
post? If an organisation is failing the board looks to replace the
leader in the belief that a new person with a fresh approach will turn
things round. If you examine organisation’s that are turned around by
a new leader how many allowed the new leader to make a number of key
appointments to their top team?
If the lesson from this is that we should put less emphasis on the
leader and more on their team should we give the leader more say in
recruiting their team and if the organisation is failing should the
whole team carry the can?
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger