You would think a #1 leadership tip from Steve Jobs might be complex, right? No, not really.
Steve Jobs philosophy was spot on which was to simply hire great people, make them accountable and then get out of their way. However, doing this is difficult for many leaders.
One of my favorite simple “101” kind of books on leadership is “Monday Morning Leadership,” by David Cottrell. In it he talks about the concept of hiring tough and managing easy.
Unfortunately many leaders hire easy and manage tough by spending about as much time deciding what they want for lunch as they do in preparing to interview a candidate. Most preparing takes place as the candidate waits in the lobby before the interview. I can see many of you shaking your heads because you can relate, right?
This is where most leaders go wrong and Steve Jobs went right. Jay Elliot, a former Senior Apple Vice President states this about his former boss’ hiring strategy in his book “Leading Apple with Steve Jobs,”
“I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well advised to go after the cream of the cream … A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”
Steve Jobs believed hiring the best people was the most important thing he did. He managed all of the hiring for his team personally and never delegated it. Do you consider it the most important thing you do? Are you hiring tough?
Once you get that part right and set up a system of accountability, you can become an adviser, instead of a manager, and a leader instead of a boss.
You can simply step aside and let the talent you hired work their magic while you guide and advise as necessary and worry less about the things managers’ and bosses typically worry about.
By hiring tough and giving people the freedom to do their work and perform, it is much easier to lead from the back while your teams believe they are leading from the front.
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