All Hail the Number Two
Deputies, advisers and second-in-commands are historically maligned, ignored or seen as less-than. Being an effective number two requires a very unique set of skills – wholly and distinctly different from the number one, and just as important. The influence of these crucial counselors, vice presidents, first lieutenants and right-hand men and women can determine the fate of countries, companies and individual ventures. Drawing from his book, “Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows,” Richard Hytner showcases their special talents, offering myriad examples from throughout history and literature. He talks about what motivates them, what makes them great, and what bosses can do to help them flourish.
Beyond the Trappings of the Top Slot
For most, the road to the top means climbing a precarious ladder to become CEO, director or even king. There is a cultural imperative to define success in those terms whether or not you “made it.” But this is a dangerous system, says Richard Hytner, which creates misleading pathways of success and shrouds other roles that require different aspects of leadership as undesirable, even though career fulfillment and happiness can be found in those seats. He himself declared several years ago, “I never want to be a chief executive again.” Of course, we need the out-and-out leaders – the ones who sit at the top – but heavy is the crown for those who wear it, he cautions. Rather, Hytner believes, leadership is a collective responsibility. He discusses why the best chief executives are smart to surround themselves with a number of leaders around them – the anchors, the lodestones, the educators and the deliverers – who can harness different skill sets, strengthen power and even co-opt rivals. Hytner also explores his main message in depth: supporting roles are incredibly important and potentially much more fulfilling.