For Better Teams, Hire Fewer Leaders
When bosses are asked what they're looking for in an employee, most of them put "leadership ability" near the top of the list. With all due respect, this is not the best idea.
Leadership sounds like a wonderful thing for everyone on a team to possess but a team that has more than one leader inevitably gets pulled in multiple directions.
Which means you're probably going nowhere.
Unless you're specifically hiring for a management position, you're better off looking for a job candidate with followership ability.
Good followers can put their own egos aside and do what you want done, whether or not they think it's the right thing to do.
Good followers put their creativity to work, not in setting grand visions, but instead by finding better and faster ways to do what you want done.
Good followers can be smarter than you and possess skills you lack... but they still trust that you know how they can best apply their brains and talents for the greater good.
Followership is the reason sports teams behave like teams; it's why armies don't crumble in combat; it's why great religions survive for centuries.
Frankly, some of the worst run organizations in the world are those that have too many leaders. Take Congress, for instance. Need I say more?
If your hiring practices seek candidates with leadership ability, you might want to consider whether a good follower might be a better fit for many or most of those jobs.
GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.