As leaders, hiring good people can be the most difficult aspect of our jobs. However, good hiring decisions can also yield the most reward. When looking to hire folks for your team, it is important to not only consider a candidate’s skill set and prior experience, but also what they can bring to your team as far as IQ and emotional intelligence. I know some managers who like to surround themselves with yes folks - those who are just going to tell them what they like to hear and simply carry out orders given from on high. From my perspective, my success and that of my team is a result of having team members who challenge assumptions or dismantle the, “but that is how we do it here” refrain in order to get to the best possible result. I have seen that the top performing team members are those who possess the confidence to challenge the status quo, think strategically and speak up in order to put the success of the organization at the front of every decision.
When looking to hire new team members, I am drawn to innovators. These are folks who can look at a challenge in front of them, analyze and synthesize the necessary information, and come up with a plan of attack in order to create something new, exciting and profitable for the organization. Simply put, they are willing to try new things. This is in contrast to team members who operate from a place of “no” and are the first to give you five reasons why something cannot be done. I like people who say, “why not?” As we have discussed in previous posts, office politics and the emotional needs of team members and colleagues can take up a lot of time and energy and be dispiriting for all folks involved. And so, when casting for new team members, I like to onboard folks whom I feel will stay above the fray and not get embroiled in organizational politics. For them, the top priority is a job well-done and one that supports the organization as a whole, rather than their own personal advancement.
But hiring smart, innovative people is only half of the equation. Keeping them engaged and their skills sharp requires work. The best way to foster this type of focus and dedication is to really get to know your team members. This is done by developing lasting and meaningful relationships with them. Listen to them, find out their passions and concerns, and understand how they envision their professional growth and development. This will deepen your bond and breed loyalty. The best team members are often the most creative, and providing them with additional outlets to shine will drive them even further and make them even more valuable.
The key to leading a successful organization is developing a team that enables members to contribute to the best of their ability. By surrounding yourself with smart and driven folks, who are able to be just that - smart and driven - you will develop a culture that yields a great deal of success.