Years ago I had a conversation with a co-worker from a different department who was thinking of quitting. He explained that he had outgrown his position and didn't want to stick around because he didn't trust his supervisor to make rational, leaderly decisions. My co-worker pointed to his own hiring as evidence of the latter point. In a demonstration of incredible introspection, he confided that he had been hired not for his qualifications but because he was just unqualified enough so that the supervisor could still reign over and control him. Rather than pursue a job candidate who brought new ideas and experience to the table, the supervisor instead wanted a drone. When my co-worker reached the point in his professional development where he ceased to want to be that drone, he hightailed out of there.
This supervisor suffered from a deficiency that affects many a boss: fear of not being the smartest person in the room. As Raphael Crawford-Marks writes over at Entrepreneur, there's no reason any good leader should ever feel this way. When your responsibility is to build a team, you shirk your duty when you go out and hire a bunch of lackeys. What you want is a diverse squad filled with people who bring new ideas to the table. Innovation and smart decisions are not fostered in an echo chamber. Bosses need to accept (and embrace) the reality that some folks beneath them on the company ladder are going to be brighter. You can't just not hire these folks to soothe your ego. That's not teambuilding; that's dictatorship.
Crawford-Marks' piece features an array of useful tips to help bosses maintain their authority and build respect by coming to terms with the fact that they're not the smartest person on the payroll. Take a look at it (linked again below) and let us know what you think.
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