We can all usually remember the best person we ever worked for. This is someone who was effective, who took an interest in us, who we learned a lot from, who had a significant impact upon our personal and career development and who we can thank for much of our working successes.
Yet what of the people who have worked for us who may have contributed to our success?
Organisations are stuffed full of excellent but unheralded No2s but have you ever seen a recruitment advertisement for a good No2? Of course not.
If you ask No2s about their objectives and aspirations they tend to glaze over and come up with something not very impressive, challenging or memorable but ask them about their boss's objectives and their eyes light up and the words tumble from their lips.
Most natural No1s assume that everyone has the same motivations as themselves to "run their own show" or to have ultimate delegated responsibility. Frequently they make the mistake of promoting their assistant but end up turning an excellent No2 into a barely adequate No1.
It is not that they will ever let anyone down but rather so many of them are employed in roles that do not play to their strengths. Most of these people could be more effective and work at a much higher level in a support role but there is no obvious career ladder for good No2s.
The one exception is for secretaries who tend to progress by working for increasingly important people.
Whilst very few people are perfect, any such acknowledgement by natural leaders is usually regarded as an admission of weakness or else the so called weak area is dismissed as being of little importance but the best team leaders have instinctive recognition that they cannot do everything on their own.
The fact is that career minded people have lots of natural No2s in their organisation. As having someone like this working for you cannot help but make you more successful smart managers should kill to get such people on their team.