Messages from the Masters
Repositioning People by Dr. John C. Maxwell

One of the traits of outstanding leaders is that they properly place people within a team.  Good leaders have the ability to see their people, sense where they are and put them in the right place.  So why do so many leaders place so many people in so many wrong places?

I've identified five reasons.

1. Failure to know the requirements needed to make a job successful.

I'm not talking about the job description, and I'm not talking about how you do a job.  I'm talking about what a particular person has to do to be successful.  Make a list those qualities. It could be two or three things; it could be 10.  Whatever those things are, you have to go out and find people who have a giftedness to match those qualities so that you put the right people in the right place.

2. Failure to know the skills and the giftedness of the person.

Sometimes we know what gifts and skills are required for success in a particular job, but we do a poor job evaluating the giftedness of the person we place in that position.  Maybe we know a particular job needs someone who is detail-oriented, but we fail to recognize that the person we're putting in that position breaks out in hives when overwhelmed with details.

3. Failure to move people when either the job or the person is changing.

While it's common for people to get promoted out of a job that really fits their skills, it's also possible for them to stay in a position so long that they no longer do it well.

As a leader, you might place someone in a position that is a great match with that person's uniqueness and giftedness, only to look up later and realize that the person's productivity has fallen sharply.

What happened?

Something changed.  Maybe the job changed.  Maybe the organization changed.  Maybe the person changed.  Maybe you changed.  Maybe everything changed.

I have found many people end up in the wrong place only because they stayed in the right place too long.  They were in the right place in the beginning, but the right place becomes the wrong place if the job changes or if the person changes.  So the right place can become the wrong place over a matter of time.

4. Failure to be patient.

Sometimes the person is in the right place, but they have to grow into it.  And not only do they have to grow into it, but they also have to be trained and developed into it.  You know they have the giftedness, they have the ability, they have the passion; but they need time and someone to help them.  Smaller organizations often can't afford to hire the best, so they have to hire young people with great potential and then train them.

In "The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork," I write about the 'Law of Dividends,' which is, "Investing in the team compounds over time."  As you invest in your team, especially if you have them in the right place, the team is going to compound in a very positive way for you.  Of course, if you don't have the right players in the right place, time isn't going to do it.

5. Failure to prepare.

Many times we haven't done enough front-end homework as leaders, so we aren't prepared to place people where they can grow and can blossom.

When we consistently fail to place people in the right place within the team, several things inevitably infect our team like an angry parasite.  Morale suffers, people lose their willingness to play as a team and confidence erodes.  As a result, potential goes unrealized, progress is hindered and our competitors benefit.

On the other hand, organizations do best when the people within them are carefully put in the right places.  People are encouraged and fulfilled, growth is ensured, teamwork is increased and victories are secured.  And, for leaders, there is a huge reward in seeing your players in the right place, doing the right thing for the right reasons.

John C. Maxwell is an internationally-acclaimed author and speaker on the subject of leadership. Learn more at  © Copyright 2001 by The Injoy Group. All rights reserved.

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International

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