On Tuesday Aug.11, Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his pick for the vice-presidency.
For weeks, if not months, the American people had been waiting and wondering who the former vice president would select as his running mate, this is because Biden’s decision would ultimately determine the kind of team that the two would represent for the 2020 presidential election.
Making Harris a part of Biden’s campaign team is considered a real win on many levels.
As a younger candidate, among the many strengths Harris brings, she gives Biden generational balance. She has a long history with the Democratic Party.
Harris also shares Biden’s moderate democratic views and, most significantly, her nomination represents a historic step for black women.
Biden’s timely and careful selection makes the duo an exceptional challenger to the current U.S. chief executive.
While we’ve always expected a U.S. president to have a good leader by his side, why is it that we don’t always expect it from other types of leaders?
It’s no news that two are often more effective than one.
Within the presidency, it goes without saying.
Since the first vice president, John Adams (who served along with our first president, George Washington), the role has evolved throughout the years to provide more crucial support. What was once a merely supportive role has developed into an increasingly executive branch position; one that has remained vital to U.S. presidents and the nation through the years.
A second leader can bring an organization to an entirely new level of structure and production that not many who are in command positions always make possible on their own.
Suggesting a leader should have a good second by their side may seem contrary to the very reasons why we have a leader in the first place.
Perhaps we’ve underestimated the importance of what this second leader’s support system can offer to the entire organization, as well as the leader.
A supportive second leader isn’t necessarily there to lighten the load as much as to increase a leader’s ability to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.
An excellent second in command can offer a support system that you may not have been recognized as being missing.
Just as our presidents are expected to choose a leader to serve by their side, there are several reasons other leaders could benefit from a good second.
It allows more people to grow in their leadership.
Promoting a good second to work alongside you enables another individual to take more ownership of an organization’s mission. It also serves as an opportunity to test their abilities to lead.
Inevitably, this is an opportunity for more individuals to take on greater responsibilities.
It creates opportunities for more innovation and creative thinking.
The more support you have on your leadership team, the more your team can think outside the box, discovering new ways of operating organizationally.
Lastly, there tends to be a stigma that leaders always ought to seek advice from outside the workplace. There exists the belief that thoughts from outside of our organizations must always be better. This is often the first place we go to for opinions.
Rather, we should first be going to our teams.
Who knows our organizations better than the teams operating them?
According to a study by the Harvard Business School, seeking advice from colleagues should be a priority for anyone at the helm.
Professor Alison Wood Brooks, also a part of the Harvard study, said that many leaders tend to not seek advice internally due to "egocentric bias."
A good second provides someone right alongside you who can offer steady support and advice. They should fulfill a supporting role within your organization, one that is both wise and informative; an individual you would want to glean information from.
The truth is, you should always seek to hire people you would be comfortable asking for, and taking advice from.
Prioritizing this support not only allows you to select someone you can trust to lead alongside you but also brings someone along who can understand your organization, inside and out.
A reliable and full-time good second in charge allows your team to move steadily toward monthly aims and yearly goals.
Sharing a role of leadership, a vision, and, in some instances, a stage with someone who can step up to the occasion may not be our first choice.
There are many reasons we may choose to avoid having a good second by our side, but the positives only outweigh any cons. A second in command can revolutionize your organization and the overall realities of your leadership.
With a good second, you will have a team player, a confidant, a backup when you need a break and also — peace of mind that your organization is fully supported.
No president is a superhero, and neither are any others serving in positions of being in charge. But sometimes we can expect supernatural results from ourselves while simultaneously being reluctant to recruit additional support within our leadership.
No one would be comfortable leaning on a president lacking a "second leader" to support them. So, why would we think we can do it all on our own? A leader teamed up with a good second will always offer outcomes that a sole leader could not possibly do all on their own.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of "Framework Leadership." A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern's president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Read Kent Ingle's Reports — More Here.
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