Profit Power: Getting your No. 2 to be the leader you need

July 19, 2017 -  By


A good No. 2 employee is like a good irrigation system. It covers all the ground you need covered, and keeps your business green and flourishing, even when you’re away.

The test of how well your irrigation system has you covered is when you hit a hot, dry patch of weather.

The same goes for your company. You know what kind of leadership you have when you hit a big growth spurt, an employee dry patch or both combined.

When business (or life) gets busy and the CEO is spending his or her time networking, selling, innovating and/or simply doing his or her thing, who’s minding the operations?

It’s your No. 2.

But how did your No. 2 get his or her job? And is he or she truly qualified? You will find out as you grow.

I received a call from a successful visionary leader of a full-service company last week. He lamented that his No. 2 person was acting more like a N0. 4 person.

What’s the difference?

A No. 2 does the following:

  1. Communicates upward to keep the CEO in the loop on key projects, situations (and accounts) that might otherwise keep the CEO awake at night;
  2. Organizes employees and assets in a proactive and efficient manner (“keeps the trains running on time”); and
  3. Manages proactively to leading indicators (pipeline, back-log) and reactively as problems arise, so they don’t fall into the CEO’s lap or fall between the cracks.

A No. 4 employee, however, sits in a support role to the No. 2. He is a head foremen or supervisor. She may report to a division head (a No. 3) or directly to the No. 2. No. 4s are followers (make no mistake–a No. 2 is a leader). They are very loyal and would follow you into the trenches of war and always have your back, but they don’t necessarily take initiative on big things, have the leadership skills required to guide the troops or possess big-picture thinking skills required to see around corners and act accordingly.

Jeffrey’s Breakthrough Question: Why wait for an extreme situation before you take action on your leadership team?

Take Action: Put a No. 2 in place that will allow you to grow and expand in a healthy, proactive manner.




This article is tagged with , , , and posted in Blog
Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit

Comments are currently closed.