Leadership is a gift. Some possess it. Some don’t. Many of us are still learning leadership. But the trouble with paying the top leader the most is this:
The wrong people are attracted into leadership, and the wrong people are persuaded to stay there by the money and perks.
Leadership is difficult, make no mistake. But how do we promote people to the top? We find the best engineer in the company, or the finance director steps up, or the best salesperson. But what does an accountant know about leading people? Or what does a top performing salesman know about leading the HR team?
In my experience leadership is not taught in degrees or professional qualifications. Sure there might be a little management theory, but that is not the same thing.
If I knew my best reward would come from doing what I am best at really well, then maybe I would focus on that. Say I’m a brilliant salesman (I wish). So let me focus on selling. Why take me out of selling and put me in charge of running a company? What drives business success more than (profitable) sales? So why not pay the best sales people the most, on results of course?
What I am trying to do here, is weed out the bad leaders who wreck our businesses. We throw vast sums of money at our leaders with often very little to show for it.
I’ve worked with some very smart people. One guy was so bright he could barely speak. He’d start talking but his brain was several sentences ahead already. So shall we promote him to CEO?
Please no! Let him sort out all the technical stuff he likes. Buy him the kit he needs. Give him a great lab. But keep him away from people.
Instead, find people who would lead for a fair wage but not riches. A true leader would prefer the role above the money.