There's nothing wrong with being a great No. 2.
No one talks much about how critical the person behind the throne can be -- the second in command who makes sure the superstar doesn't falter, who handles the critical details that keep the trains running and is ready to stand back and let the No. 1 take the applause.
I once heard Lucille Ball say the reason the "I Love Lucy" show was so successful was not because of her, but because of Vivian Vance who played Ethel. By being such a great "straight man" Vance helped Ball get the laughs and accolades. Ball noted that without Vance, her character and the show would not have been as funny or creative.
If you're a No. 2 and proud of it, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And if you want to be a great No. 2, here are some ways to do it:
* Keep confidences. Once you blab to others about something going on with No. 1, you become a lousy No. 2.
* Don't always say "yes." That's not being a great No. 2, that's being a doormat. Be ready to give your honest opinion to No. 1 when asked.
* Show a united front. No matter if you agree with No. 1 or not, when you're in front of others remain loyal. No eye-rolling, sighs or scowls behind the No. 1's back. That's cheating in the "united front" game.
* Execute. No, that doesn't mean you "take care" of problem employees by hitting them with your Sebring in the parking lot. It means that when No. 1 has an idea, you create the detailed road map of how to get to the goal. That's how you execute.
* Take initiative. When the No. 1 gives you a job and you don't know how the hell to do it, find out. Don't whine to the No. 1 or bother her with problems. A great No. 2 is resourceful, and finds out what she needs to do to complete a mission.
* Stay calm. A great No. 2 doesn't run around in a panic or get stressed or upset easily. The best No. 2's know that they are the ones who say "everything is going to be OK" and the No. 1 believes it.
What other advice would you have for No. 2?