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Top 3 Myths About Leadership in Large Companies. Tips for the Leaders and the Small Businesses Who’d Like to Hire Them

Photo by Martin Heigin

Photo by Martin Heigin

For smaller companies, this is a great time to attract fantastic talent.  There are many experienced, accomplished people on the job market right now, and many of them are looking for opportunities where they can contribute and create exponential growth.  The challenge for many leaders who come from larger companies is that there seems to be a bias against them based on myths that started with people who’ve never worked in a Fortune 500 organization.  Today, we’re going to explore the three most common myths and how to address them.

Myth 1: Leaders from Larger Companies Don’t Want to “Roll Up Their Sleeves” and Do “Real Work”

One advantage of having someone who was successful in a large organization is that by-and-large, they know what delegation is and how to do it.  They delegate based on what will grow their staffs, as opposed to “dumping” which is assigning that which is unpleasant in the name of providing an opportunity.

The other reality is that large companies have become much flatter.  Many leaders have found that they fulfill many roles.  Leaders who are looking for opportunities in smaller organizations can emphasize where they are hands on.

The key for the small company is to identify the signature strengths needed for their next leader to be successful and then look for those in the individual.  They also need to be very aware of the individual’s Emotional Intelligence.  One myth that doesn’t come up in conversation as often with small businesses looking to hire talent from larger companies but is actually grounded in more fact is that larger organizations can accomodate and tolerate jerks.

Myth 2:  We Don’t Have the Administrative Support That Large Company Leaders Are Used To.

Leaders, this is something that may not come up in your interview, so your best bet is to weave it into the conversation.  If you had to do your own expense reporting, mention it.  If you had to do your own shopping for office supplies, you can say that while it wasn’t the best use of your time, you didn’t mind doing it.

Believe it or not, small Companies usually have more administrative support than larger companies do these days.  It isn’t uncommon in a larger company to have one administrative assistant for an entire office floor or more.  Frankly, if you’re working in one of these companies, you’re lucky if you can find someone to order you a new pencil.  At this point, most people would just welcome the opportunity to do whatever it is that they need to do without having to jump through hoops to get it done or get it reimbursed.  What used to be a negative for small companies is now a positive.

Myth 3:  Leaders From Large Companies Can’t Adapt To the Rapid Pace of Change

This one is almost laughable.  Leaders from large companies are doing nothing if not adapting all the time.  The question to ask is how many reorganizations they’ve seen in the last two years, and you’ll have your answer.

What to market and what to look for is the desire to get important things accomplished.  One of the attractions of a smaller company is that there is almost always a better opportunity of success because there are fewer personal agendas.  There’s less bureaucracy, and fewer egos to stroke.

A Warning

Smaller companies typically have smaller budgets, especially expense budgets.  If one is lucky enough to work in a larger company that still allows her to travel first class, have her airport lounge membership, and stay at top tier hotels, and one attached to these things, a smaller company probably isn’t for her.

Smaller companies also expect that everyone can operate basic office software like Word and Excel.

Leaders who are willing to be flexible about their benefits and who thrive on achievement are great fits for smaller organizations.  The key is finding someone who didn’t quite fit the large company mold, but could still get things done.  The key for the leader is to promote their achievements, not simply their involvement.

Be You Best You Today,


p.s. – Be on the lookout for more valuable posts more often.  I’ve been taking a break, mainly because of technical difficulty on the site.

p.p.s. – Vivid Epiphany is launching “Improve Performance NOW!” later on this summer.  The main benefit of this program is to help leaders “manage” less and see exponentially greater results.  If this is something that interests you, please visit the website.  There you can sign up to receive information about the preview calls when they are scheduled.

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