When you become a manager, you are tasked to lead a variety of individuals, some of whom have already established themselves as superstars, and others who may have not yet had the opportunity to demonstrate their full potential. As a leader, your job is to bring them together as a team and to inspire them to solve the hard problems, and to express your confidence in their ability to do so.
As Emily Dickinson wrote:
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies–
You know it's nice to have Michael Jordan on your team, and I'll take him when I can get him. But most of the time those people are pretty hard to find, so the real secret is how do you become successful with people who aren't Michael Jordan. Just good solid employees. What you find is that the proper integration of various minds of the people you've got can collectively be that kind of talent. Pulling them together to get them to act effectively as a team, think as a team, is the critical step that you've got to take. So, a lot of what I do early on in a situation like this is to engage, not just minds individually, but minds collectively, on a narrow set of problems.
We develop a short list of the high impact items, take the top 40 people off campus, and spend three days to strategize what are we going to do on these three specific items. The answers are always there. With a little bit of leadership, you soon find them fixing all of the things that were broken. CEO of a Fortune 500 Computer and Electronics Company
Another thing...sometimes you don’t always have the best person. But if you can make them feel like they’re the best person during that time, you get a lot more out of them than you would otherwise. It pays off to recognize people who...even more so than those who are the greatest...those that are OK but are really pushing to give you the extra. You’ve gotta really recognize that.
CEO of a Fortune 500 Power Tools Company