When an entrepreneur is ready to add a key No. 2 position to their business team, there are a few important things to consider.
“It’s a big challenge when you start going from doing everything to starting to know that you have to bring other people on to help you reach your vision,” she said. “And not everybody makes that leap really well.”
1. Consider someone with complementary (not identical) skills.
As the entrepreneur or CEO, you are often the visionary and team leader.
Your No. 2 — whether a chief operating officer, vice president, operations manager, or executive assistant — should have skills that complement yours.
Look for someone who is a people-oriented, data-driven, strategic thinker who doesn’t mind working behind the scenes. Bring new ways of thinking to your team.
2. Get clear on roles and responsibilities.
Establish your roles, what each of you brings to the table and what each will be responsible for.
A good partnership is based on mutual respect, even when the deputy disagrees with you.
“A lot of times, as you grow your business, people aren’t really willing to tell you what they need to tell you to be successful,” Catalano said.
3. Let go, but not too much.
Letting go too much or too little can hurt the relationship with a partner.
Think of your daily tasks as if you’re paying yourself to do them, Catalano said. This thought exercise will help you know which tasks to move to another team member. But keep verifying that the tasks are getting done.
Resources to learn more:
• Book: Tandem Leadership: How Your #2 Can Make You #1, by Gina Catalano
• From the Wall Street Journal: How to be the best deputy
• Podcast episode: 1-800-Got-Junk episode on How I Built This