Even superstars have their weaknesses. Nobody can be good at everything. Although it can be tempting for leaders to hire people who are just like them, that’s not a smart move. The most successful companies make sure they have employees to fill five vital roles (even if some of those employees drive them crazy):
#1 The Visionary
Entrepreneurs tend to be Visionaries. They see possibilities where everybody else sees….well, not much of anything. And not only do they see what’s possible, they can describe it in a way that pulls non-visionaries into their orbit. They believe in the vision so strongly that even skeptics jump on board to achieve it.
#2 The Operator
The Operator is the one who makes the Visionary’s dreams a reality. Once they see the vision, they can figure out how to get there. Right about time the Visionary gets bored – Visionaries are notoriously bad at details – they’re able to pick up the torch and make things happen. They have a sense of urgency that they impart to everyone on the team. They rally the troops and get things done.
#3 The Troubleshooter
The Troubleshooter is the one you turn to when something’s very wrong, but you have no idea what it is. The troubleshooter can walk into any situation and figure out why sales are down, why error rates are up, etc. – and then he can put systems in place that will not only fix the problem, but keep it from happening again. Troubleshooters take the motto of “leave things better than you found them” to a whole new level. It doesn’t matter what the department is or what they do; the troubleshooter’s expertise lies in seeing what’s wrong and making it right.
#4 The Mentor
The Mentor is the one who holds the keys to the throne. He’s got an uncanny grasp of how things work, and he likes nothing better than to pass that knowledge on. During the workday, you’ll often find him hanging out at a new employee’s desk, sharing some nugget of information that no training class could possibly cover. After work, you’re likely to find him coaching a youth sports team or teaching the neighborhood kids how to ride a bike.
#5 The Naysayer
Ah, the Naysayer. The employee no one likes to see coming, but whom smart managers know is invaluable. It’s not that the Naysayer is all about doom and gloom; it’s just that he’s wired to find the holes in every plan he hears. This is the guy who listens to the vision and says, “But what about…”. The thing that keeps him from being thrown out on his behind is how often he’s right. A lot of people think he’s a pain in the hindquarters, but he’s saved the company from making some really bad mistakes.
Leaders typically want people who are just like them. But that’s not what they need. They need employees who will make their dreams happen, fill in their gaps, teach the next generation, and identify the things that will make their ideas crash and burn. And it’s hard for any business to be successful without them.