Don’t Be The Best

Many leaders have the misperception that they need to be the most knowledgeable, the most skilled and the most experience in the team.  They feel like they need to be the best at everything in order to be a good leader.  And if they’re not the best, they feel inadequate to lead their team and their confidence is lacking as a leader.  But this is a misperception and leaders need not be the best.  In fact, leaders should not be the best.

It is good for leaders to be knowledgeable in the skillsets that are required to lead the team and the work.  Having knowledge in the field allows the leaders to direct the team and conduct appropriate planning.  It also allows the leaders to verify and confirm that the information coming from the team are accurate or not.  It allows the leaders to review the deliveries and rectify any possible issues they may encounter. 

Having technical knowledge in the field of work is good, but leaders need not be the most knowledgeable.  Some leaders feel that if they are not the most knowledgeable and the most experienced, or the most skilled, they don’t have the adequate requirements to be the leader.  Those leaders may feel judged by their team members and constantly feel insecure.  This lack of confidence leads them to always be paranoid about their own leadership abilities. 

Being knowledgeable is good, but being the best is not necessary.  As a leader, you must understand that it’s ok if your team member is more knowledgeable, more skilled or more experienced than you are.  It’s not a negative issue but rather a positive one.  Having members with better higher skills will translate to better quality production.  You need not do all the thinking.  Instead, allow your team members to provide the ideas and execution.  Allow your team to use that greater knowledge to be more effective and efficient as a team.  Remember that the ultimate goal is to deliver a great product as a team, not as an individual leader.  Therefore, you as a leader should embrace team members who does have more knowledge, or better skills, or even more experience. 

That doesn’t mean that you’re less of a leader and you have less work to do.  It means that you can spend your time, effort and focus in other areas, as there are plenty for you as a leader.  Spend more time providing directions for the team.  Spend more time caring for the team.  Spend more time making sure to provide the team with all the support they need to be able to do their jobs efficiently.  As a leader, there are greater things you can do to serve your team better than just being the best at the technical aspect, the skills, or even the most experience.  

Believe it or not, as a leader, being the best could possibly be a negative and even be detrimental to your own career goals.  Being the best in the team at doing the work and providing all the ideas means that you’re very dependent upon.  The team will constantly rely on you and seek you out to provide all the solutions which takes away your time from focusing on other important aspects of being a leader. 

Being the best and the go to person for solutions in the team also means that you’re indispensable.  This may sound like a good thing and job security, but think again.  Being indispensable does give you job security at your current role.  However, it also means that you cannot leave that role to take on new challenges and take on possible promotion.  Be very wary if you as a leader are indispensable and are the best in your team. 

Don’t seek to be the best in your team.  Don’t seek to be the most technical, the most skilled nor the most experienced.  Instead, seek to surround yourself with smart people who are better skilled, knowledgeable and more experience.  Enable and encourage your teams to explore their superior skills and allow them to come up with ideas and solutions.  That will greatly improve the productivity and quality of your team and delivery.  It will allow you time to be a better leader and will allow you to advance your career more expediently.

Photo by: Markus Spiske

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