“My Goal… to Be the Dumbest Person in the Organization.”

I was scanning the “Who’s Who in Fayetteville” publication (City View) and came across the article entitled, “Top Three Mistakes Most Business Owners Make (And How to Overcome Them)”. One of the call outs included the following wisdom, “My goal in every business I have ever run was to be the dumbest person in the organization.”

This may work for small businesses, but I have found a problem with using that logic, especially when, as a manager, hiring someone to fill a position under your guidance. I’ll admit that I always tried to hire the best qualified person for the job. Qualifying that statement, I would hire the most intelligent, educated, experienced person that came through the hiring process. But, the problem with that was I should have tried to hire someone that could do the job, but wouldn’t be looking for or preparing for their next position as soon as they were in the position I had just hired them for.

Repeatedly, well, two out of three times, I hired “over qualified” persons to fill the positions. I figured that I didn’t want to have to do their work and have them get paid for it. But, immediately they were preparing for the next job, which in at least two cases meant that they either stopped doing what I had hired them to do, or they spent less than half their work time doing the tasks they had been hired to do.

I even recall one of my subordinates telling a recent hire that they had been planning for their next position for over a year. And, they respected me so little that they actually said this in my presence without so much as a stutter or hesitation.

I’ll admit that I was a poor manager. One reason being that I really did not want to be confrontational. In hindsight, if I had enjoyed being a manager, and wanted to be a better manager, I would have more than once “written up” an insubordinate employee. That would have either made them respect the position I was filling, or made them uncomfortable enough to “move on”.

I did not instill loyalty in the people I hired and I am sure that says a lot about me, more than them. But, if I hired you, it seems that you shouldn’t try to stab me in the back, or climb over me to get ahead… and that didn’t happen, more than once.