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Lead Your Team Leadership

Leadership Lessons: Create a Strong Chain of Delegation

Leadership Lessons: Create a Strong Chain of Delegation

There's no one "right" way to lead a business. Today's leaders have a lot of wisdom to impart about managing the modern workforce, because each one approaches leadership in his or her own unique way. Every week, Business News Daily will share a leadership lesson from a successful business owner or executive.

  • The leader: Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO and co-founder of TheSquareFoot
  • Time in current position: 6 years
  • Jonathan's philosophy: "Hire people who are better than you are. And then make sure that they are confident enough to hire people better than them." 

When I first co-founded TheSquareFoot, I thought I could (and should) do everything myself. You can probably guess how that worked out. I quickly learned that I wasn't helping myself, my team or our company by delaying key hires to delegate responsibilities to.

As a CEO, I'm responsible for making sure that things get done right, not just in my role but at all levels of our company. So where's the balance? A guiding principle that has helped me immensely is this: Hire people better than I am. And make sure that they're confident enough to hire people better than they are.

Nobody can be great at everything. I'm lucky if I can be good at one or two things. At the same time, a successful business has to be great at a lot of things, so clearly, the talent pool has to run a lot deeper than me. You have to hire people who are better than you are, and who can complement your skill set, especially in areas where you're not strong.

I've seen people fall into the trap of hiring people who aren't better than them, driven by the fear that the people they hire will outperform and outshine them. But the outcome is rarely good. First, you miss the opportunity to bring a great person into the organization. Second, the team's quality goes down instead of up. And if your hires go on to hire people who don't supersede their own skills, it's like a disease of mediocrity that soon affects the whole organization.

Avoid the problems. When you hire well, you're doing more than saving yourself a headache. You're empowering your team to shine in their positions — and it ultimately reflects well on you.

Edited for length and clarity by Nicole Taylor.