Those administrators nominated for this study who attributed their success to their ability to select superior people discussed the importance of hiring and working with professionals who exhibited characteristics analogous to those demonstrated by the most successful administrators in the profession. They also appreciated being selected for this study because of their competence.
Webster's defines select as "chosen from a number or group by fitness or preference; of special value or excellence." ( Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1990). Outstanding administrators said it is possible to differentiate among individuals who exhibit talents and proclivities for a particular educational position. Subsequently, administrators said they surround themselves with the most talented people they can select. Why is surrounding oneself with talented people so important? A number of administrators said it provided them a unique freedom when working with the most talented people. That freedom came from being able to work with the capable individuals rather than to spend time monitoring their activities to help improve performance.
Highly talented people have more freedom and mental energy to apply their competence to the improvement of their performance knowing that to do so is in line with the underlying reason they were selected in the first place. They create an atmosphere of challenge, of competence, of increased efforts to achieve, to help, to encourage, to succeed. This energy is a stimulant to others who feel encouraged to put forth their best efforts. Talented people know they have an obligation to support the efforts of others. If these efforts are less than successful, they do not condemn; they teach, they coach, they support, they console. They devote time and energy to looking for ways others can contribute their best efforts while still working to develop more capability and effectiveness for the good of the system.