Creative Career Level Up

Why hiring people better than you is good for your career...

May 23, 2024
Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Last week, a client came to me experiencing something we all experience - Imposter Syndrome. She had been given a massive promotion. And along with it the responsibility to build a team.

Problem is, she didn’t feel confident in her new role. Her role was growing with the company and whilst she wanted the role, she felt out of her depth. 

Then she thought about hiring her team. And something struck her: she may end up hiring people that are so good they could do her job.

And then she would be ‘found out’. It struck panic in her. 

The very real fear

Hiring people who are ‘better’ then you is a problem so many of us face in our careers. 

On the one hand, you want to hire a great bunch of people so that your team is a success. But on the other hand it is human nature to fear that if you hire someone better than you, they may try to take your job! 

It’s all about the culture you create

Where you sit on that spectrum of fear really depends on the culture of the workplaces you have been in. If you were in a workplace where people were clambering all over each other to succeed, I can see why you might have that fear.

My experience is the opposite. I ‘grew up’ in a work environment that encouraged leaders to build high performing teams AND to train someone up to take their job. The idea being that once you were ready to move on to your next role, that person you trained would be ready to step up.

The culture was positive and encouraged personal growth. It was not about ‘stealing’ jobs but about building a culture where people knew there was room for growth in the company and that senior leaders were dedicated to help their teams improve.

Why you should hire people better than you

So the idea of hiring people ‘better’ than me, or training someone up to take my job when I moved on, was never something I feared.

Here’s a few reasons why I think it works well:

1. Your team is happier when they know there is room for growth

Human beings love growth. It’s in our DNA. The most common career challenge people bring me is ‘feeling stuck’. And feeling stuck is usually a feeling that there is no longer growth in the role you are doing.

If your team can see a clear path to the next thing, you will have a happier, more motivated team.

2. They make you look good

I once had a PR Manager in my team who was so talented that she made me look good EVERY SINGLE DAY! Every time she gave me updates on her work, she was crushing it. On top of that, she loved helping shape the direction of where the brand was going, over and above her job in PR.

I always credited her with so much of the success our team was having. I never claimed her work as my own. But her great work, along with the rest of my talented team, made us all look good. Success can be shared. It’s not a zero sum game. 

3. You can learn from them

You don’t always have to be learning from the people above you. Some of the biggest growth I had as a leader was learning from people in my team. Not only do they have great skills and ideas to share but they also require a different type of leadership to keep them motivated. It's a skill in itself to hire and build a kick ass team. 

At the end of the day, if you are surrounded by a talented high performing team, they make you a better leader. 

Don’t be afraid to hire people ‘better’ than you

I’ll give you the same advice I gave my client when she came to me last week - don’t be afraid to hire people who are ‘better’ than you. 

If you are in a positive, personal growth-focused company, there should be no concerns that they might try to steal your job.

And if you AREN’T in a positive, personal growth-focused company, then take a look at the details below…because I think it is time to make a move! 

If you are NOT currently in a positive, personal growth-focused company and would like to make a move into one, then the Creative Career Level Up might be the right solution for you. 

I help people in the Marketing and Creative and Tech Industries to find their next perfect role. 

If you are looking to level-up your career, use the link below to schedule some time to chat about whether the programme might be right for you.