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Every No. 1 needs a No. 2

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Hiring,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Who’s your No. 2? In a small business, having a person to oversee day-to-day operations can help fend off burnout for a business owner—who needs to focus on the big picture.

In any business, though, a chief needs a second-in-command. This is an ideal time to hire one, says Daniel M. Murphy, co-founder of The Growth Coach. What to look for?

The individual ideally should have skills and a working style that are complementary to yours, says Robert M. Donnelly, professor of entrepreneurship at St. Peter’s College.

“Don’t expect the person to be as good as you at what you do,” he says. “You’re really hiring a No. 2 to be good at the things you’re not.”

For example, Joanna Horobin, chief executive of Syndax Pharmaceuticals Inc., says her No. 2 works at a calculated, detailed pace.

“Without Bob, I run the risk of my big ideas missing people and not getting translated,” she says. “I have more of a relentless leadership style.”

—Adapted from "Control Freak No More: Picking No. 2," Sarah E. Needleman, The Wall Street Journal.

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