Leaders and Seconds

Right hands to great bosses

Mallory Elizabeth Baskin
4 min readAug 14, 2021


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Leaders are the ones who make the news. The ones who made the big plays, the big decisions, the power moves that changed the world, saved the day, won the game. It is always the leaders who are the talk of the town.

Natural Born

Some people are natural-born leaders. They step up, walk first, feel the ever-pressing need to be the one who is calling the shots and making the rules. They like the power and the prestige. The good ones understand the sacrifice and don’t shy away but lean into it and enjoy their role even more. Some people may not be born leaders. They didn’t organize the games on the playground, they didn’t host the slumber parties. But they have the potential. They don’t desire the mantel of leadership but they can carry if they have to, and carry it well.

But Not For Everyone

But recently I have discovered that while it is the leaders who get the credit and the glory, I do not seek to be in that position. All jobs want leaders. Look at any job posting and you will stumble on the word “leadership”. Everyone is always looking for someone who can step up, make decisions, and organize a group. If we were even half of the leaders we promote ourselves as there would be no people left to lead. No leader can have a position if there are no followers. I have decided my spot, my natural tendency is to fall into number two.

Every leader has a second, the person just behind them. The first onboard with an idea, the one who helps enforce the rules, their right hand. This person is often consulted on things but gives the final decision to the leader and backs them almost unquestioningly. A good second is worth the work it takes to earn their allegiance, as most are loyal to a fault, ride or die. These types of people are those who can carry the burdens of leadership but know that they are not the natural ones. They were not born with those gifts of charisma, control, and command. I know, I am one.

Good Bosses

I used to resent this position. Who wants to be second? Second is not first. Staying in second means I am still doing more work than average but not getting any of the benefits. But recently I started working for the best boss I have…



Mallory Elizabeth Baskin

Trying to get good at this writing thing. Talking about being gay, education, religion, getting better, and making life worth living.