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Skill Set for Number Twos

At the session "It's Good To Be Number Two" during the 99th Annual Conference in Boston, the participants crowdsourced a set of qualities that a good Number Two (aka principal Assistant, Deputy or "second-in-command" manager).  This wiki presents the list created at that session, and others are encouraged to add to the list!

From the Panel:

Penny Postoak Ferguson's Top 5:

•Persistence
•Team Player/Relationship Builder
•Delegate and Hold others accountable
•Good role model/Positive
•Flexible/Adaptable

Sarah Medary's Top 5:

•Scout, gather and connect
•Teamwork and relationships
•Strategic partner
•Get things done
•Trust and honesty

Victor Cardenas's Top 5:

•Be able/willing to take on any project, task or issue
•Know what the Manager is thinking
•Run the staff
•Be present
•At times act as the filter 

Karen Pinkos's Top 5:

•Ability to “lead up”
•Tells the truth = faces the brutal facts
•Excellent communication skills
•Relationship builder
•Pick a good boss!

From Number Twos:

•Influence without authority
•Accept when a decision doesn’t go your way
•Working with Consultants: Work hard to be their very favorite client
•Say yes with enthusiasm, say no with compassion
•Capitalize on opportunities to influence your boss
•Remember, it’s their town (Councilmembers)
•Focus on relationships and results
•Understand your strengths and use them to develop others
•“Mind the gap”
•You have to be the person that bridges the gap between department head and manager
•Maintain work life balance
•Sense of humor
•Taking on more work—staff coming and asking to take work off their desk
•Respect what you don’t know and what stress the manager might be under

From CAOs:

•Being a confidante
•Competent
•Go to person
•Advocate
•Interpreter
•Is it a partnership?
•Someone who can be the buffer between the managers and the department heads…but don’t forget what level of the team they are really on

What is the ideal skill set of a Number One (aka CAO) from the perspective of a Number Two?

•Empowering number two
•Manager backs up the number two
•Open door policy
•Clear direction on what the expected outcomes are, then let path take its way
•How seriously and passionately he/she takes professional management
•Being a true partner
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