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Executive Voice

Mike Fisher, On How to Put Your Ego Aside and Start Hiring People Who Are Better than You

More often than not, business leaders are inclined to think they need to know everything and have all the answers. Consequently, they become terrified whenever they fail to appear as perfect as they think people expected them to be. However, as you might have noticed, no one, despite the common expectation, is perfect. Hence, your role as leader is not to know everything. Rather, it is to set the stage for the discovery of the best there can be. Do you know what that means? Working to sustain and support people who are more experienced, up to date and talented than you. But what does ego do? It prevents you from being a true leader and instead turns you into a micromanager acting on pure insecurity. Well, perhaps it’s not that bad, but you can admit that if business leaders would just put their ego aside and start hiring people who are better than them, then business would be better for everyone, and especially for the same leaders. So, how’s that?

Mike Fisher, a branding and marketing expert at Valiant Consultants advocates for partnering with and hiring people better than you with no ego, and here’s his weight on the subject matter.

Tone Down Your Ego’s Power Over Your Life

One thing you probably don’t know about ego is that the bigger it grows, the more you are at risk of ending up in an insulated bubble, losing touch with your colleagues, the culture, and ultimately your clients. An unchecked ego can warp our perspective or twist our values. “Business leaders ought to tone down their ego’s power over their life and hone their humility,” Fisher advises. You don’t always have to be the smartest person in the room. Instead, avoid the urge to safeguard your ego and lead from within. Hire that person you know you need to have on your team, support them and move on. That’s what a good leader does. If anyone is making you feel inferior, seek counsel and open your mind to learning new things. A coach or mentor will help you gain knowledge and skills on how to think, how to listen, how to learn through inquiry, how to emotionally engage, how to collaborate, or how to embrace mistakes as learning opportunities.

Identify Your Weaknesses Before Hiring

Usually, the objective of hiring new talent is finding someone who can perform better than you in specific areas of the business. The only way to do this effectively is knowing for sure where you need help, and then find the right person for the job. For example, bearing in mind that many modern-day entrepreneurs have grown up in an era where higher-order thinking and discipline were not emphasized, there is a likelihood that the majority of them have a weakness staying organized. In such a case, hiring an older and more mature person is recommended. If you are not sure about being completely honest with the self-assessment, ask a colleague to help you come up with a list of weaknesses or limitations that you could work on to be better. Another approach would be to ask yourself or your team what kind of employee would become the perfect fit to solve the challenges you are currently facing.

Learn to Trust as You Want to Be Trusted

When you fail to hire people just because they are better or smarter than you, you are essentially limiting your business to the level of your capability. Many entrepreneurs, after having built their business on their own, cannot trust anyone else with the wheel. While it is understandably not easy to trust everybody, some entrepreneurs use this as a cover-up for their egos. Employing someone with better managerial skills does not mean you are handing over your business to them. It simply means you trust that person enough to do something better for your business than you would have done by yourself. After all, despite your imperfections, there are people like your clients and other stakeholders in the business who still trust you. Even research shows that you need to trust the universe and hire intelligent minds that will drive your business to new heights. Consider a study from the Harvard Business Journal which records that bad hiring decisions account for up to 80 percent of employee turnover. All that is wasted talent that could be salvaged if only we were a little bit more trusting as a species. 

In summation, Fisher warns that “Entrepreneurs need to bear in mind that even the most exceptional employees have limitations. Someone might be very good at something and at the same time, totally disappoint in another. You might hire a genius who has an attitude you cannot keep up with. As such, do not be in a hurry to make hiring decisions.”

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