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Leaders should embrace great talent

Former CEO of the Thomas Cook group Harriet Green gave an interesting answer to a journalist when she was recently asked: “what advice do you wish you’d had when you started in business?”

“Always surround yourself with people who are better than you. Whatever it is that you are not – surround yourself with them”, Green replied.

From the outside looking in, most people would be surprised that Green, one of Britain’s most successful businesswomen who commanded a salary in the millions during her time at the British travel firm, would give such a modest answer – bearing in mind the magnitude of her success.

Nevertheless Green is correct in her assessment of talent – leaders must always look to take on candidates who have the innovation and skillset to help take a company to its next level.

Leaders should thrive at the prospect of working with exciting talent. Great leaders find the strong points in every employee and set them tasks that suit their strengths. They are also able to identify and value their best employees as they understand that their impact is vital in the wider picture of the business. The greatest, most inventive minds must be cherished and taken care of.

Business leaders must therefore put the goals of the company before their own personal ego and inspire confidence in the workforce by employing skilful people.

However there are leaders who have failed to do this – and haven’t taken on people who are even better than they are. Some manages feel vulnerable and afraid of the thought of being outdone by somebody below them. Protecting their ego and self-confidence, these types can sometimes be intimidated by great talent that walks through their doorway.

Leaders who are intimidated by talented candidates are not putting the businesses’ interests first. As if a candidate with a great resume is rejected by one firm, he or she is more than likely to be taken on by another – perhaps even a rival.

If a leader has the desire to succeed, they need to put the businesses’ interests before their own ego. A workplace of innovation, ideas and success should be encouraged. A leader should always seek to employ the best, most exciting talent.

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