Surround Yourself With Challengers
(One of the 83 quick and practical life & work lessons from Sh*t Sandwich: Quick & Practical Success Lessons for Practically Anyone.)
With Dummies in Charge, Expect Dumb Decisions
I never understood why any manager (or especially the top dog) at any company would surround himself or herself with low performers. I don’t mean those that make just a few bad hires; or the proud father who allows his dopey kid to sit in the VP chair; I’m talking about those in leadership positions who work overtime to ensure that all of their direct reports are borderline idiots.
Don’t get me wrong; I understand ego, fear and greed. What I struggle with is the thought that any manager who comes equipped with a huge ego and is fearful for his job security – or simply doesn’t want to share – would believe that surrounding himself with dolts would somehow help him reach his goals.
To date, I’ve never met anyone I would consider to be a true business success whose team was not loaded with people who could easily fill his shoes. In fact, much of the advice that genuinely successful entrepreneurs will give to others includes something along the lines of “surround yourself with great people – especially people who are smarter than you.”
Those who strive to staff their team with only the non-threatening; the non-challenging; will find themselves (and their team) stagnating instead of moving up; and there are two shit sandwiches to eat here if you want to avoid this in your work life.
The shit sandwich for the boss: Even if you are an egomaniacal manager, hiring and adequately training your qualified replacement has been proven to move entire teams up the ladder. So, put away the ego, eat a shit sandwich, and start surrounding yourself with only the best and the brightest.
The shit sandwich for the team member: Have you ever found yourself working for a dolt who reported to an egomaniac? Congratulations, you’ve found yourself in a dead-end job! If you want to live the rest of your life as a victim of dumb decisions from above, then stay put. Because, you will be staying put. Your boss will not be getting a promotion (because he’s an idiot and his boss is an insecure ass). So, the shit sandwich you need to eat here is to realize this early enough in your career to start looking elsewhere; and eventually abandoning this drifting ship. It will not get better if you stay and you will not be able to manage up effectively enough for any of you to advance in your careers.
Moreover, the daily deluge of dumb decisions will be never-ending.