A wise boss once told a group of managers, “Prepare your staff to take over your job.” In a shaky economy, where people try to prove themselves indispensable, this was astonishing advice. His point was that you should always be looking toward your next job, so you need to develop the leadership potential of your staff. You ought to surround yourself with smarter people than you – in fact the smartest ones you can find.

This is not the way most firms operate. Companies often have a pecking order that keeps talented people in their place. Especially in small companies, this can be the death knell for smart people who hope to move up to greater responsibility but see nowhere to go. Current workers are threatened by those with too many ideas who might displace them from their management job or their status in the company.

Hiring smart people is wise though. Why? Even if you own the company, you do not have a monopoly on great ideas. In fact, you may be more of an efficient manager than an innovator. You need others to help create the future of your company. With a good idea, you can have your engineers refine it, your marketing department gussy it up to sell, and your administrative staff work with you to make it all happen. Without fresh inspiration, your company can stagnate. Smart, fresh blood can keep your company current.


Particularly in technical companies, you, as a leader might not have the expertise to build your product right. Even if you are providing something completely non-technical, you might need a team of experts in technology, finance, systems, logistics, and administration. This is not a deficit in you. Your role is to manage the team so that they can work together for you, not be a genius-of-all trades who reinvents the wheel. Smart people may challenge you, but it you are serious about growing your company, you will adopt a management style that allows people to use their creativity without micromanaging them.

Regardless of where you are in the company, smart new hires can provide competition that might stimulate you and other workers to new levels of achievement. When new people come into the mix, talent realigns itself, so what the new person brings is often complementary to the skills the others might not have realized they had. They might also have amazing new skills that will help the company.

If you have a strict budget, you may think that hiring the smartest, most qualified people will break the bank. You might need to change your corporate structure or priorities to accommodate them or find creative ways to fund positions.

If you are willing to surround yourself with people who might be smarter than you and listen to good ideas that result from having them in the mix, you will grow both your own management skills and your company.

Tracey Fieber is founder of “The Secrets to Retirement Success System™”, the most complete Retirement Transition program for executives and small business owners. Using her own principles, Tracey went from a corporate executive to a retirement filled with adventure, passion and purpose, in less than 8 months! Tracey is the celebrated author of the Retirement Success Home Study System™, and author of the upcoming book “How to Retire to a Life of Adventure, Passion and Purpose”. Get your free CD “7 Steps to Cracking the Retirement Code”, available on www.NewFaceOfRetirement.com. 2010 © New Face of Retirement, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to pass the above in its entirety to anyone you wish.
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