I believe that the most important leadership skill is recruiting. In other words, selecting the right people and putting them in the right positions. What Jim Collins called: “Putting the right people on the bus”.
In my humble opinion, this is by far the biggest contributor to the overall performance and success of your organization. Each carefully chosen person can now successfully lead her respective team or department. Therefore, contributing to the overall performance and achievements of the company as a whole.
Once you got the right people “on the bus”, your role as a leader is to help them succeed. That includes giving them the tools and resources to do their jobs and coaching them. In addition, you need to create an environment that enables them to deliver their best performance.
This also frees you to focus on the areas where you can add the most value to your company. For example: raising funds (if this is a start-up), developing a long-term vision for the company, or driving business development.
Additionally, you and your team can now jointly develop the purpose, goals, and strategy for the company. Doing it as a team has many advantages, including:
Creating a better plan (than that done by the leader alone).
Getting buy-in, ownership, and commitment from all team members to the organization’s goals and strategy.
Establishing an effective teamwork and decision-making process.
Conversely, if you recognize that you don’t have the right person in the right place, you should resolve it promptly. Perhaps the person is not a good fit for this position and needs to be moved to another position within the organization. And yet, sometimes the best place for this person is in a different company altogether.
Whatever the problem and its solution might be, postponing it only makes matters worse for everyone involved. Furthermore, it adversely affects the company’s performance, as well as people’s trust and confidence in its leadership team.
While personnel changes can be unpleasant, it’s your task as a leader to deal with it promptly, professionally, and respectfully. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership qualities. It’s also a great opportunity to send an important message to the entire company about your values. For example: the pursuit of excellence, treating people respectfully and fairly, and not settling for anything less than great performance.
Finally, when you have the right people in the right places in the organization, you need to let them do their jobs. That is why you put them there in the first place.
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Here is a (tongue in cheek) variatio on Leadership qualities: