RSS Why You Need a Second-in-Command

Okay, leaders – listen up! Do you like where you are today? Are you satisfied with your leadership skills? Are you confident in your vision for the future? Regardless of whether you answered “yes” or “no” to these questions, I believe it is important to have a strong second-in-command to bridge any of these professional gaps.

It’s hard to admit, but every single one of us has gaps in our personal and professional skill sets. Sometimes our confidence might be lacking, we might lose focus, or we might not be able to perform at the level demanded by our position. And, sometimes, things are just outside our control.

Whatever the reason, I have come to realize that having the right people around you can help to bridge these gaps. More specifically, choosing the right “second-in-command” is critical to your success.

Ideal Characteristics

  • The right individual will help you see things as they really are, not necessarily just how you want them to be.
  • — The right individual is both a trusted confidante and has complementary skill sets.
  • — Most importantly, the right individual isn't just relevant to you; he or she has relevance to the entire organization.

It’s important to note that choosing a second-in-command is not without risk. Some CEOs refuse to have a strong individual at their side because they feel threatened and fear being overshadowed by their second-in-command’s success. These leaders probably prefer a whole team of individuals nearby so that none of them can emerge as a rival. There is also risk in taking the time and energy to develop a strong second-in-command who may eventually become attractive to a competitor.

Risks aside, the upshot of having a strong second-in-command is clear: they fill the gaps in a leaders’ arsenal. Whether these gaps are personal, strategic or tactical, a leader performs best if they know their successor is equipped with all the tools to perform the leader’s job.

If you operate with a second-in-command or serve as a second-in-command, I’m curious to hear about your experience. Please drop a line in the comment section below.

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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