PRIMARY ASSISTANT

April 25, 2017

The following phrase is the essence of Servant Leadership. A leader’s time must be actively spent in making others succeed. Imagine the morale of an organization whose leader thrives on the success of subordinates, this almost sounds too good to be true. Noel Tichy’s concept of a learning organization embodies a group led by a person who feels most satisfied when others are growing and maturing. Steven Sample writes about some of the basic advice he received for his career by a George Clements, deputy director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. 

 

“You should spend a small amount of time hiring your direct reports, evaluating them, exhorting them, setting their compensation, praising them, kicking their butts, and when necessary, firing them. When you add that all up, it should come out to about 10% of your time.”

 

This statement implies that 90% of one’s time is spent on tasks that improve your subordinates. 

This type of time management is sorely lacking and rarely followed. Leadership is about those who follow you and the leader’s ability to get out of the way while forming a unified team. The leader with a clear and defined challenge for his team involved in the assessment of results will be too busy in the support of team efforts to allot time to the other activities most people give too much energy. A leader must identify with his subordinates not rise above them. In most organizations, leadership is often absent.  Why?

 

Leadership capacity always decreases because most people tend to hire people who are weaker than themselves. 

Harry Williams contended that people who are at the 99th percentile hire people who are 99% as good as they are (98% percentile). Those at the 98th percentile hire people who are 98% as good as them (96th percentile). At this rate, people at the fourth level of leadership are above the 92nd percentile. 

 

The problem of leadership or the lack thereof compounds if the person at the top is at the 90th percentile.  In this leadership model, people at the third level will hire people at the 66th percentile and thus creating a fourth level of leadership in the 43rd percentile of overall competence. 

 

One does not need to imagine much to see the bickering that can happen in an organization whose leaders at ground level are in the 43rd percentile. To trim the damage, a new leader coming into such a situation must be very active and preferable in the 99th percentile. The let them fight it out approach may leave long lasting damage. A better approach is for the leader to resolve disputes quickly thus avoiding permanent animosity and to make retaliation from disputants a cardinal sin.Very few leaders are willing to surround themselves with subordinates whose overall competence exceeds their own. 

 

We must always remind ourselves that great people make an organization successful. 

In this climate and in the self-interest of the leader, the leader should be the “Primary Assistant” to his chief subordinates. 

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