Years ago I was meeting with a longtime client who was also a business owner. He informed me that one of his key executives was planning to leave and asked if I thought her assistant, Linda, could handle the job. Without thinking much about it, I said, “I don’t think so,” to which he said, “I agree.” Some time went by and, based on a number of factors, he decided to give Linda a chance.
Now, let me tell you a little bit about the executive who was leaving. I believe most people would have given her relatively high marks, because her department functioned well. She had a very strong personality and, in retrospect, she probably was overly controlling without causing any obvious issues.
You’re probably ahead of me at this point. It turned out Linda was very successful, and I believe my client and I both would agree she outperformed her predecessor.
So, what’s the point? After that experience, whenever a similar situation arose I would attempt to determine whether the No. 2 individual was being held back and hiding their real skills and talents, just to get along with their boss.
How many Lindas get passed by? Do you have any Lindas in your organization that you may be overlooking or underutilizing?
As you know, leaders are hard to come by. Do you have a true leader who’s hidden in your midst?