Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Are You A Poor Leader or Are You Hiring The Wrong People?

IF you are a good Leader AND you are hiring the right people:

You will have very low turnover.
You will be meeting or exceeding pretty much all of your goals.
Your business will be growing.
You will easily fill your new Leadership positions from within your team and you will not have to look elsewhere for your Leadership positions.
You will rarely find yourself putting out fires (your team will get ahead of most problems).
You will not have absenteeism or tardiness issues.
You will have plenty of time to spend developing the Leadership traits of your best team members.
Your team will be improving your systems and lowering your costs.

In general… you will be very happy with the way your business is running!
I understand it may be difficult for some of you to believe that the conditions described above are possible... that just means you have never worked on a truly high functioning team.

If the statements above do not describe you and your team:

You MUST admit that at least one of the following is true:

You are not the best Leader


You are hiring the wrong people

If you are not the best Leader:

You will need to find a mentor or coach, because if you could become a much better Leader on your own you would have done it by now!  This is the same reason we hire a golf pro, a personal trainer, hire a plumber or enroll in a class.  We generally cannot make significant improvements in our own skills by ourselves. 

We will all admit that being a better Leader will help improve every aspect of our business.  So if we had the time, inclination, and ability to become a better Leader on our own we would certainly do so.

Becoming a better Leader demands a mentor or coach that is a better Leader than we are.

If you are hiring the wrong people:

You will need to start by rethinking what you are looking for when interviewing and hiring.  Even if you decide to pay someone to do your hiring for you, some additional thought will need to be put into what qualities you should be hiring for.  The person you are paying might be giving you what you are asking for, only you are asking for the wrong things!  We need to get this right!

And… if we pay someone to do our hiring, we need to measure the results of their work just as we would measure the performance of everyone else we pay.  If we find that we are not getting the results we want/expect from the Leaders we have in place, (like not hitting the metrics, or not holding their team members accountable) most of us are pretty quick to hold them accountable with some sort of corrective action, and at some point find someone else to do that job.  Most of us hold our team members to even stricter standards.  However, we generally do not hold the people who are doing our hiring accountable for anything!?  Why is that?... Before you continue reading think about that for a moment.  

Do you evaluate the people who are doing your hiring in any way other than their ability to fill empty positions?  Do you evaluate the quality of their hires in any real way?

If the people you are paying to do your hiring are not consistently bringing on great people you MUST change how your hiring decisions are made OR make a  change in who is making those decisions.  Even if the people making those decisions are in your own HR dept., and you like, respect and trust them... if they are not bringing on great people something needs to change!

We can all recognize whether or not good hiring choices are being made.  This is reflected in everything we do.  Our turnover also directly reflects the quality of our hiring choices.  Yet so many businesses accept high turnover and second-rate team members.  It’s almost as if we believe the hiring process is some kind of black magic that cannot be questioned.  The end result is mediocrity… constantly struggling to achieve our goals, and trying new systems and implementing new programs to boost performance. 

It doesn’t have to be like that!

At this time I’d like to get some of the easiest excuses and justifications out of the way.

Blaming your team members in any way is unacceptable.  If we are good at hiring we should be able to ascertain the true nature of the people we are interviewing most of the time.  Sure… on occasion everyone makes mistakes.  And the majority of the time, if we claim that we (or the people we pay to do our hiring) are good at hiring, we should get this right most of the time.

Any excuses that center on blaming the team member are like blaming your SUV for getting poor mileage; blaming your neighborhood for being bad; or blaming your spouse for being who they are.  If you are unhappy with any these things… you made the wrong choice. You cannot pass the blame off onto someone else.

You might attempt to say “there are no good applicants in this area”… that is nonsense and rationalizing your underdeveloped hiring skills.  If you are a pretty good Leader you know that in any applicant pool there are plenty of people who can be great when put on the right team with a good Leader.  Plus, simply living and working in any area gives you access to great prospective team members who, for the moment, happen to be working for other people.  I am constantly finding great people out in the world who are very obviously under appreciated, under challenged, underutilized, and very often underpaid.  They are just waiting for the opportunity to be on the right team.

I have thought to myself something like “I inherited this team… I didn’t hire them and I am now stuck with them”.  That shouldn’t mean I am a poor Leader or bad at hiring, right?  Well… IF you just recently (within the last 6 months) took over this team AND you are actively working to help the wrong people (who you already know do not belong on your team) find their happiness elsewhere AND you are actively working to build relationships with the rest of your team members (and be careful choosing who belongs and who does not, as you will likely find some of the people other “Leaders” thought were poor team members will actually turn out to be good under a good Leader), then you get a pass. Otherwise…

I can’t wait to hear the rest of the excuses for either poor Leadership or poor hiring choices, or both.