Want or Need? Rethink Your Recruitment Priorities

Recognizing Long-term Potential Means Looking Beyond Short-term Expectations

Uncle Sam Recruiter

Before preparing a new job posting, recognize that the “ideal” candidate does not exist—yet.

In trying to separate the good from the great, people like to start with perfection and list all the traits that make someone ‘ideal.’

The Difference Between Needs and Wants

Whether it is describing the ideal mate, planning the perfect day, or defining the ideal candidate for a position, conventional wisdom holds that by making a wish list covering every preference, you have a firm base for comparing your options.

The trouble with this approach is that people are usually very bad at distinguishing “needs” from “wants.” You see this disconnect often in the form of budgeting and buying decisions, but the same principle applies to recruitment.

Think of this way: Needs are basics; Wants are all bonuses.

Typically, a new-hire wish list is made up of few Needs, layered between lots of Wants that ultimately hurt your chances of finding the best fit for the job.

Aim to Replicate Success

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat through a meeting where a new job posting is being drawn up, and the “must have” column gets so big and detailed, that even existing employees wouldn’t be able to fit every requirement.

You can define true Needs quickly by looking at what makes your current team function. Not what makes them excel—that comes later, through practice and slow, steady cultural integration.

It is easy to reinvent the wheel when preparing to do recruiting, but expecting new hires to come in to your organization ready to meet and exceed the performance of existing employees is beyond unrealistic, and sets the whole relationship up for failure.

Plan on Remedial Training

The fact is, you need to plan for remediation in any recruitment effort.

Too many executives hear this and think it is a compromise: if they aren’t getting the absolute most skilled recruits, they must be settling for mediocrity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any job in any company has a learning curve.

Bruce Tulgan, researcher, author, and expert on generational issues in the workplace, explains how organizations face a baseline skills gap even in the most promising new, youthful recruits.

He says this:

One of the things we’ve measured over 23 years is, what are the hiring managers saying? And an awful lot of what they’re saying, with increasing incidence, is that [Millennials] have the hard skills, but they lack the old-fashioned soft skills.” 

Before you can capitalize on any fresh talent, your recruits have some learning to do to get acquainted with your company, your staff, your product, your mission, your systems, your expectations (let’s face it: nobody is completely forthcoming in an interview).

If every new hire is going to require an upfront investment to train and get up to speed, why pretend that raw talent matters more than the will and ability to learn, fit in, and care from day one?

Tulgan goes on to say:

One of the things you have to do to succeed with the new young workforce, is find a way to channel their fresh training and new technology that they’re comfortable with, the new processes, new ideas, new energy—you have to find a way to tap that. But you also have to find a way to teach them some of the ‘here is how we do things around here, and this is our culture.’”

Reframe Your Needs as Learning Opportunities

Getting the best talent on your staff isn’t just a recruiting challenge, it is a responsibility of management and leadership. Know that going into a new hire decision, and you can make sure they know they are expected to learn, grow, and evolve alongside your organization, from the beginning.

Presenting potential recruits with a role as a learning opportunity allows you to cultivate a cultural fit alongside the skills fit your organization needs. This is where an investment of effort on their part will be met with an investment of training, high expectations, and coaching on your part.

Tulgan continues with this:

Good management is synonymous with teaching, and good followership is synonymous with learning. Good management is constantly, systematically focusing on what they can do to make things better. People should be doing that up, down, and sideways every step of the way.”

Whether that is remediating soft skills in Millennial recruits, or getting older workers up to date with the latest technology, every member of your team needs both expectations, and opportunities to continue learning and growing.

Attract Character by Demonstrating Character

If your hard skill need happens to be programming, remember that:

You don’t need the best programmer in the business, you need the best programmer your company and your culture can attract and retain.

When it comes to posting a new job and attracting candidates, you have more reach and access than ever before. The number of resources and opportunities you have to set yourself apart from the other dull, grey “Help Wanted” postings online (especially free ones) gives you freedom to experiment, have fun, and put the focus from the very beginning on what really matters: finding the right fit.

Try doing this:

  • Convey that you take cover letters as seriously as resumes.
  • Show how skills needs align with cultural norms.
  • Ask what you can learn from applicants, and what they hope to learn from you

If you are looking for skills without consideration for character, you’re trying to hire a robot, not a person. As a result, your job posting is probably going to come across as equally robotic.

Finding someone with the right skills who also fits your company’s culture requires you to not just ask for evidence of skills, but demonstrate an interest in the person offering to help you.

What are the most unique, captivating job postings you’ve ever seen? What made them memorable? How can you go from advertising a job to advertising a culture? Are you focusing on too much on Wants and forgetting what your organization truly Needs? How are you helping your youngest team members learn the soft skills that allow them to fully realize the value their hard skills can provide?

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Edgar Wilson is a Writer, Consultant, and Analyst
He follows trends in Education, Healthcare, and Public Policy
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Image Sources: recruitusmc.org

 

 

On Leadership, Forgiveness and the Authentic Leader

Leading with the Open Honesty called Vulnerability

Forgiveness

It is widely accepted that forgiveness is a sacred act…a sacrifice! But did you know that this single act has a lot to do with our authenticity as leaders?

Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” ~Andy Stanley

Having just written On Leadership, Suffering and the Sacrificial Leader, there is perhaps no better follow-on. From two Latin words: Sacer (sacred, holy) and Facere (to do, perform), nothing seems to touch the experience of both leader and follower quite like the sacrifice of forgiveness.

One of my favorite authors on servanthood and servant-leadership, Chuck Swindoll, describes forgiveness in the most practical, flesh and bone, earthy terms imaginable in Improving Your Serve:

It is tears of deepest sorrow and joyous relief. It is humiliation and affirmation. It is guilt grappling with grace, pain pursuing peace.”

These are aspects of forgiveness that should hold our attention and have our allegiance as leaders. Why? Because as Chuck says this:

…however we describe [forgiveness, it is] one of the most powerful acts of servanthood we can participate in—and one of the most difficult.”

It is powerful because the deeper the sorrow the greater the joy; the greater the humiliation, the higher the affirmation. It is difficult because guilt necessarily grapples with grace and there is pain in pursuing peace.

The Case for Forgiveness and Leadership

The roots connecting forgiveness to leadership in the organizational context run deep in the servant model. Dr. Jeffrey D. Yergler has done all of us a remarkable service by writing the 3-part series The Servant Leader and the Exercise of Forgiveness in the Context of the Organization, and for the sake of space I will simply point the reader there for further study.

Role Playing for Real Leadership

Because leadership is really about influence or impact, there are two distinct roles in the forgiveness process for every real leader and follower: that of the offender and that of the offended. If we are the offender, we need to understand more about repentance as David Augsburger describes it in Caring Enough to Confront:

Repentance is living in the open honesty called vulnerability. Repentance is growing in the decisive honesty we call responsibility.”

Anyone who becomes a student of servant-leadership will have the opportunity to learn many times over the immense value in living vulnerably and growing responsibly through our mistakes—specifically the ineffective impact that our restrictive leadership strategies or passive/aggressive-defensive thinking styles have on others.

But then there comes occasion for playing the role of the offended. Are we as prone to extend forgiveness in the learning process to others as we are in asking for it when needed ourselves? The answer to this question goes beyond vulnerability and responsibility to things far deeper and potentially far more insidious in our character: hypocrisy and accountability.

From Hypocrisy to Authenticity

The basic idea here is that the act of failing to extend forgiveness to others, when we routinely need and receive it ourselves, is hypocritical. This hypocrisy destroys our authenticity and, as a result, our ability to take responsibility for our mistakes or to hold others accountable for mistakes that are clearly within their span of control.

Before going farther, it is important that I explain what is meant by “…holding others accountable for mistakes that are clearly within their span of control.” This is not fixing the blame or playing the blame game. It is first and foremost the hard work of finding common causes of variation and then fixing the system.

In the vast majority of cases, the perceived error can be attributed to a management system that is outside the span of control for most in your leadership impact area. For the vital few that actually are attributable to factors that are truly local faults, I’ll defer the reader again to Dr. Yergler’s series on servant-leadership and forgiveness, with particular focus on Part III:

…forgiveness helps servant-leaders hold employees accountable for the stewardship of the organization in terms of production quality and the return on the investment of assets. Though forgiveness must consistently be applied regardless of the person or performance, servant-leaders should always expect a return on the action of forgiveness (ROForgiveness).”

And here-in lays the relationship to our role as offender. When we seek forgiveness for our mistakes and actually change our leadership behavior as a result, we model this practice for those who will themselves be expected, at some point, to improve their performance.

As forgiveness is extended for mistakes that offend our accountability for proper stewardship of organizational resources and finances, whether in areas of core values or organizational processes, there can authentically (and should rightly) be a connection to personal and/or performance change.

The Return on Forgiveness

The full return on forgiveness comes through the commitment of the forgiven to learn, change and grow and, in the organization, will remain largely unknown and unknowable.

There are a few ways, however, in which some of the return might be measured:

  1. Marked change in attitude or behavior
  2. Demonstrable growth in knowledge, skills or abilities
  3. Improvement of overall effort in performance, etc.

That said, much of the return depends on how it is carried out and the extent of the personal/ performance change demanded of good stewardship. In the worst case, the change may result in reassignment or termination-for-cause. Dr. Yergler again has incredible insight here:

Unintended mistakes, though always forgivable, are in some cases not worth the risk of a repeated failure. Even in reassignment or termination, forgiveness by the servant-leader remains an act of grace and can foster new beginnings for the person and the organization.”

I love that he goes on to describe this act of grace as something “…profoundly restorative, empowering and generative of the human spirit.” For the servant-leader, there is no alternative, particularly when called upon to make the most difficult decisions in the organization…those that directly impact the lives of others at the point of greatest vulnerability.

So, when was the last time you asked for forgiveness as a leader? When was the last time you extended forgiveness to others as a leader? Here’s an even tougher question: How have your actions to forgive as a leader: (a) helped others realize that their self-worth is not tied to their mistakes and (b) reinforced the idea that learning from them is an inelegant, but essential process for worthwhile change and growth? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Richard Dillard

Richard S. Dillard is Founder/ Managing Partner at Dillard Partners, LLC
Pursuing Success at the Speed of Leadership!
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Web | Blog | Book

Image Sources: meditationsfromzion.files.wordpress.com 

 

Eliciting Excellence (BookBaby, 2016)

Eliciting excellence is the essence of exceptional leadership.

Everyone accepts that good leadership is important, but rarely is the question raised as to why and how good leadership makes a difference.

Although developing good strategies and making smart decisions are important, bringing out the best in people is the most important ability a leader needs in order to produce great results.

In Eliciting Excellence, Michael Beck explains why bringing out the best in people matters and shares with the reader how to do just that. More Here

More About the Author Here

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Michael Beck
Michael J. Beck is President of Michael Beck International, Inc
He helps leaders improve their personal effectiveness and productivity
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Skype: xleaders | 503-928-7685

 

 

On Leadership, Humility and Excellent Communication Skills

5 Tips to Significantly Impact Your Interpersonal Effectiveness

A college professor of communication was once asked by the students why the skills that they teach in the college were so important.

This professor taught the interpersonal skills that were related to the daily life of college students. Additionally he trained them in coursework that helped them prepare for a long professional career that included interpersonal skills.

Doing Some Research

So to answer the question as to why interpersonal skills were so important to them, he gave the class an assignment to examine and study the job postings found in the newspaper or at the online job portals and come back the next day with their observations.

The answer to their question was just simple:

The one common thing that each and every student observed with every job requirement was to possess a definite skill set of having outstanding interpersonal communication skills.

And these requirements are magnified for any leader to really be a person of influence.

Wow, who’da thunk?

Fundamental Communication Skills

So, what are those interpersonal skills and how do they influence our daily life as a leader?

It is clear that the interpersonal communication skills are an important part of everyday life on both the personal and professional fronts. Before we start learning how to develop the interpersonal skills, first let us understand fundamental principles of effective communication. It’s a three level communication approach that includes- ethos, pathos, and logos.

  • The ethos symbolizes ethics
  • The pathos symbolizes empathy
  • The logos stands for logic

All three above factors help you in communicating effectively by developing credibility, understandability of your listener and then coherently presenting the thoughts.

On Macro and Micro Communication

Often people in leadership roles assume that they are effective communicators. Since they often are effective at speaking to people in groups, at events, and at important meetings, the assumption can be that that this skill set transfers to the interpersonal level.

However, when it comes to a one-on-one communication skills, those macro skills often are the worst ways to be effective.

Leaders need to dial it back a bit and take a look at what is the most effective way to proceed on the micro level. What can frequently be found is that some of the things that are missing are there because of blind spots that everyone has.

And what can complicate things for leaders is that they see the remedy to increase their influence and effectiveness is seen as trivial or sophomoric. Consequently people in roles of influence continue to lose out on opportunities to better themselves and their operations because of pride, disbelief, laziness, embarrassment, or apathy.

But for leaders who want to improve themselves and the results they get through their teams, all it takes is just a few steps in humility and desire and the results can be dramatic.

5 Tips for Better Interpersonal Effectiveness

Although these steps may seem simplistic, the power of recalibrating one’s basic approach to interpersonal communication skills can be dramatic.

To get results quickly, here are some of the best ways that can help in improving one’s interpersonal communication skills and become much more effective.

1) Opting for a Speech Course

If you are interested in improving your interpersonal skills, especially related to communication, then it is advisable to take a speech course. A good speech course would help in building confidence in yourself while teaching you to communicate coherently. This could be considered as one of the best ways for improving your skills.

2) Rehearsing with a Recording Tool

In order to communicate effectively, it is important to understand the way you communicate. As you record yourself, you will have a great opportunity to listening as well as watching yourself talk. With this, you can observe your body language, have proper language command, appropriate tone of voice, confidence level and many other things. This will help you to become an effective communicator by improving yourself through the observations made.

3) Look Out for the Opportunities to Lead

We already know that great leaders are the great communicators. So, you must look out for some great opportunities for taking leadership roles along with enhancing your interpersonal skills. Being a leader means you need to be proactive and ready to take the initiative. Also, in a corporate scenario, it could mean voluntarily bringing down the co-workers for solving a problem or developing a concept.

4) Develop Good Writing Practices

Writing could help you in expressing yourself clearly. It helps you thinking twice before you speak. It has been observed that the internal communication precedes the interpersonal communication, so it helps you to personally communicate to yourself. The ultimate solution for this is developing good writing practice in order to improve your interpersonal skills.

5) Enroll in an Acting Class

Acting gives you an opportunity to relate to different kinds of people. This helps in boosting your confidence and the language command as well. As acting lets you communicate on stage in a way that the audience should understand you, it can prove to be a great platform to develop your communication skills.

Final thought:

You must have met the leaders in every sphere of human life and one thing that makes them more influential is their interpersonal communication. As a result, if you want to rock your world, you can follow above-stated some of the best tips that can help in improving yourself with excellent communication skills.

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Image Sources: Daniel Clark