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?