He was a legend in his own mind, nothing he couldn’t do, just ask him. Everything had to go through him for a final decision. His talented staff were hired for their gifts, but also their personality to be deferential and never challenge him.  If you wondered how others would react to something, he would tell you (he believed his brain was the default setting for the universe.) For a while the results were very good because he was very talented and made good decisions. Then things began to unravel. First there were delays in getting things done because he became a bottleneck. It took forever to get an answer or approval, so things just sat undone. Next came bad decisions because he thought he knew more than the people on his team who really did know the issue much better. Then came turnover.

Law of turnover: The people you don’t want to leave, leave. Those you are okay with leaving, always stay.

The best and brightest left, and he didn’t recover.

All leaders have gifts, it’s what they do well and comes easy. Leaders know their gifts. They also have some gaps, holes where they need help. I know I have gaps; do you realize you do too? A gap is something important to your work as a leader, that others can help do for you or with you.

Do you intentionally seek out people that fill in your gaps?

Any success I had in my career has come from hiring a great team of people that provided balance for me. They filled in my gaps, doing what I didn’t do well. I’m thankful for their great work.

One example is Gloria. I’ve been told over the years I am “focused” and “intense” in trying to get a lot done. It causes me not to pay attention to others as I should (just ask my family.) It is a very fair observation and I know that about myself. Gloria kept a pulse on what was happening with my team. If I had been too busy to be present and spend time with them, she’d clear my calendar and tell me to go visit with the team. She was equally good at keeping me away from them saying, “leave them alone, they’re working hard and will get it done.”

I have some perfectionistic tendencies. Cindy balanced those for years by making certain the details were taken care of, that things were perfect. She was amazing. In a different way, Lisa pulled me away from those tendencies. She regularly reminded me that 80% was good enough to begin, we didn’t have to be perfect to begin because we could adjust along the way.

Kate and Misty told me what I needed to hear. What a gift.

Kathy was special. Among her many gifts was with people. Her insights about others were invaluable, seeing what I couldn’t see.

I could fill pages with stories of the team members I’ve been blessed to work with and how each one helped me.

Can you?

Make certain you aren’t hiring people who think and act like you. Find people that balance you and fill in your gaps. If you do, you’ll be a better leader.

To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; someone else may be especially good at studying and teaching, and this is his gift from the same Spirit. He gives special faith to another, and to someone else the power to heal the sick. 1 Corinthians 12: 8-9 (TLB)

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