After a sales training presentation, one of my peers said to me, “Man, I love working with your managers. The energy they bring is just amazing. It’s like, they just glow… I wish I saw that same thing on my team right now.”
I said, with a wink, “Well, that glow is just arrogance. We can be a little vain…”.
He smiled, but answered seriously. “No. It’s competence. Your team glows with competence.”
I remembered something my friend and mentor, Phillip Ford told me when I was a new manager, and I shared it with my peer. “One of the secrets to being a successful leader is to find and hire people who are smarter than you think you are.”
He looked at me quizzically.
I continued, “If you are the smartest person on your team, that is a problem because then the entire team can only rise to your level of competence. If you hire good people who are brighter than you, then you will learn and grow together. Your talents feed off each other and it is not just you contributing to the team. Everyone is chipping in, helping each other avoid pitfalls, challenging stale ideas, and creating new ways to succeed. You are benefiting from their brains and they are benefiting from your leadership and experience. Life becomes much easier then. The little stuff goes on auto-pilot because they can handle small details in their sleep. This frees everyone to focus on really interesting stuff instead.”
His eyes lit up. Maybe it was a trick of the light, but I think just then, the young peer started glowing.