“My job is to hire great people, put them in the right seats, and get out of the way.” How often have we heard leaders share this statement? Unfortunately, this belief of what leadership entails is fundamentally flawed for many reasons. Although we never got law degrees, we're putting on our deductive reasoning hats!
We'll point to two flawed assumptions in the statement above:
- That each “seat” is a slot that can be filled by a person who is “strong” by some measure that is independent from the rest of the team
- That the people in those seats don't need to be actively managed
Regarding premise A, you've probably seen throughout this book that we believe that a company—together with its clients and community—is an organism with inextricably linked organs. No “seat” on a team is siloed from the others. As a result, we think a leader should manage their team like a team and not as a collection of unconnected individuals. As a result, a leader should fill a slot with the person that creates the best-performing team. Despite the lists of skills that we believe strong CS professionals will exhibit (described in the previous chapter), at the end of the day your team won't be high performing if you hire a seemingly “top-notch” CS professional that doesn't contribute to a strong team dynamic.
We think premise B is also misguided because leaders need to actively foster a productive team dynamic. Even if we don't believe in strongly hierarchical ...