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Strong leaders hire strong employees

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There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you’re a leader, but few are as damaging as poor hiring decisions. New leaders, both young and old, sometimes make the mistake of hiring people they believe to be weaker than them. Some leaders fear that by hiring someone as strong as they are, they risk their personal worth and value being diminished. They are afraid that if they hire a star, that person will eventually take their jobs from them.

This type of leader tries to be the “keeper of all knowledge” and “the holder of all relationships.” Knowledge is power, and if your team doesn’t know how to do anything well enough on their own, you remain absolutely necessary. Likewise, if your people don’t forge relationships within the organization, there is no risk of a star realizing just how good he really is. Therefore, the weak leaders’ position is safe—or so he thinks.

A leader’s performance is the sum total of the results of his team—the weaker the team, the poorer the results. By hiring weak people who don’t threaten his power, the weak leader assures that he remains indispensable. But he also assures that his results are less than they could be, that he fosters dependence, that his people are viewed poorly, that he deprives them of meaningful work and that they eventually grow to resent him.

A strong leader, on the other hand, hires people who are as strong as or stronger than she is. She finds people with potential so that she can build them up and help create the next generation of leaders. She gives them ever-increasing responsibility and the opportunity for growth. She helps them perform at the highest level and find meaning in their work. She praises their work to others, knowing that this recognition will help them now and later. She may have high expectations, and from time to time she may be tough on them, but no one will ever say she didn’t expect the best from her team or care about them or encourage them to grow under her tutelage.

Strong leaders hire strong. Weak leaders hire weak. It’s as simple as that.

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S. Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at CapitalUniversity’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go


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