If you select the wrong team member, all bets are off.
In a previous organization, I had team members concerned that an open position was still vacant after several weeks. So I felt the pressure to hire quickly without fully examining an individual’s Character, Competency and potential Chemistry.
The results were what you would suspect: it was evident after several weeks that they were not the right person for the role or organization. And I needed to own it because it was my decision.
We’ve all been there: you’re trying to fill a key vacancy while the work piles up. Results are being comprised. And you just want to “fix” the problem and select someone who generally is “good enough”. Instead of being careful, we speed up the process.
The worst thing you could do is hire quick. It’s the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot – but on purpose. Because as a leaders you have to own selecting the wrong person for the role. Likely, it was your own stress that got you into this mess.
Do yourself a favor and follow these guidelines: (and trust me, I wish I had)
- Look for both Competence and Character. Think “And” because you need both. Yes, you can train the right person, but if you think “either/or” you’ll compromise.
- If you hire and Eagle, they won’t want to work with a bunch of turkeys. Make sure your existing team is healthy. Eagles want to fly with other eagles, or they’ll fly away after awhile.
- Don’t Blame Them – Train Them. Every Eagle wants to grow, develop and become a better leader. So provide it! Don’t just direct – but DEVELOP. Yes, really good leaders will develop themselves. But don’t let that be an excuse not to care about someone else’s development. We all need others to challenge and stretch us.
There’s no fix for hiring the wrong person. I’ve rarely seen a team recover or have a “come to Jesus” moment and decide to fix all their own problems right after their hired.
Select the best people can. Correction: Select the best LEADERS you can. Leaders will produce other leaders. That’s how a high-performing team is built.
You are energized by the energy of others.
The people we surround ourselves with greatly influence our growth and success.
Although unavoidable, negative interactions can derail you – even stunt your progress – if you don’t know how to handle it.
And, there’s a HUGE difference in receiving feedback from a generally positive person who makes meaningful contributions to the culture and people around him or her, and receiving feedback from a truly negative person.
Negative comments from a positive person can almost always be helpful. Negative comments from a negative person is designed to tear you down.
The key is to differentiate between the two. Here are 5 Questions to determine someone’s impact on you:
- Is optimism or negativity part of a pattern?
The criticism you’re dealing with is either ‘in character’ for them or ‘out of character.’
If it’s in character, then they are negative about many things in life. You just happen to be one part of the whole.
If it’s truly out of character (and they are generally a positive person), its time to listen.
- Do they Pass the Caller ID test?
As subjective as this sounds, the call display test is a pretty good indicator of whether a person drains you or energizes you. When you see anyone’s name come up on your caller ID, you get an immediate emotional reaction to it.
Sometimes you’re thrilled to see the name and can’t wait to take the call. Other times you’re neutral. But sometimes you wince. Whether it’s a phone call, a text or an email, you respond negatively and quietly think “oh no.”
That’s a sign that the person’s overall influence in your life has been negative, not positive.
- Are they “for” something, or just “against” something?
Sadly, negative people rarely know what they stand for; they only know what they stand against.
If the person you’re dealing with isn’t “for” anything positive, they likely have a negative worldview
- Are Compliments sincere, or are they followed by the word “but”?
A positive person (and even a neutral person for that matter) can give a compliment. Negative people can’t.
What starts out positively (“I really enjoyed the event today”) is inevitably followed by a “but” (“but had they turned the volume down and shortened the message it would have been better.”)
People who can’t give a compliment are rarely the kind of people you build the future on.
- Do they Add value or Extract value in relationships?
Negative people rarely give themselves to something that benefit others.
Because they are against so much, few people want to work with them. Stalled out careers, a history of frequent job changes, financial trouble and other similar markers often characterize negative people.
Honor the humanity in everyone. But you don’t have to hang around everyone.
People who make a real difference lead out of Influence, not Title.
And that person can be you.
Ever wish to really add value to others? Have more friends than you know what to do with?
It’s part of our make up to want acceptance and approval from our piers.
However, few ever fully understand the real things that make us attractive to others. This is absolutely vital as we seek to be gain influence in the lives of those around us.
Artie Davis defined the term “Craveable Leader” and shares several habits that actually make people “crave” to be around you:
- Listen to others’ ideas.
Nobody likes a “know it all.” So get over your own ideas, and actually become interested in someone else’s ideas. We all like to talk about ourselves and what we think. So, when we find a person who cares what we think, Bam! We love to be with them!
- Speak only good things about others.
Let me tell you a little secret. If you think talking about others, just the things, “you heard” is going to win you juicy friends, you are in for a world of hurt!
If you talk negatively about someone else around someone, they are going to ask themselves, “what are they saying about me?” Gossip will ruin your reputation and sabotage trust in a friendship, don’t go there!
- Give generously when you can.
Nobody likes a “mooch!” Don’t develop a reputation as the “cheap-o” of the group. There is a Proverb that says “everyone is a friend to him who gives gifts.”
Generosity makes people feel valued, and not used! So always pick-up one or two more checks, bring something to dinner. Be the one everyone knows will be generous. Not an issue of amount, but rather attitude!
- Initiate with others.
If you are sitting by the phone, waiting for the invitation.. you are in for a long wait! Get over yourself and make the contact. I know it is hard, always feeling you have to make the first move, but that’s just the way it is.
People feel appreciated and valued when we make the first move, but don’t keep score! Just always make the move. Done!
- Authenticity is irreplaceable!
Don’t put on a mask. Don’t try and be several different people around different groups. You will always be found out! Be yourself. Trust who God made you to be.
If they don’t like you, you don’t need them. Find, initiate and love those who love you for you! They are the only ones that will be there when you need a true friend!
These are some things I have noticed that make me attracted to others, even makes them “craveable.” As I reflect on areas where I am growing as a leader, I keep coming back to a few seemingly basic –yet foundational habits.
These are things I am still very much learning, so I don’t pretend mastery. Any others you have noticed?
Over the years, we’ve seen lots of changes in both high school and college sports. Better equipment, stronger pads and helmets, even better rules to foster sportsmanship among the players.
But in my opinion, the last move made in Wisconsin is a well-intended mistake.
Author and speaker Tim Elmore commented on this decision. He states: “The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association stated that certain chants are officially banned at games. Now, on the surface, this rule may sound logical—such as excluding off-color remarks or profanity. But this ruling goes far beyond inappropriate language. The ban prevents chants like:
- “Air Ball.”
- “You Can’t Do That.”
- “We Can’t Hear You.”
Why has the WIAA officially banned such words from the fans?
Well, it might hurt a player’s feelings.
They’re called “infractions” by the WIAA. The fans are not even allowed to sing the popular song, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” song.”
Why I Don’t Agree
Yes, we need to build empathy into the values emerging leaders.
However, whenever we solve teens’ problems by getting other people to do it for them, it simply weakens their resolve. They become conditioned to look for rules from the outside to make life better. It actually fosters entitlement. Teens eventually find themselves saying, “We need a new policy,” or “It’s the school’s fault that I don’t have good self-esteem,” or “I deserve a reward, since I’m a victim.”
It’s a victim mindset that later produces an adult who looks to someone else to solve the problems he or she has internally.
We prepare the path for the child, instead of the child for the path.
Today, I am concerned we’ve cultivated such a fragile generation that they will need special rules on the job, or special favors or personal days, or special perks because they are… well, special. This is not a good thing.
Roll Back the Tape
Tim Elmore goes on (and I agree) “If I was a coach in Wisconsin and heard those banned chants from the crowd during an away game in a gym, I would meet with my players afterward and teach them the right way to respond to such chants:
- Reflect – What can we learn from this?
- Resolve – Let’s decide we won’t let it happen again.
- Resilience – Let’s bounce back and succeed.
The WIAA gave no indication it intends to change the rules, but state representative Dale Kooyenga — a former basketball player in the system — wrote the association a letter, urging it to do so. The letter is logical and heartfelt, and the best line of his letter, in my opinion, was, “If you think a high school student section is rough, try playing basketball on a playground on the south side of Chicago.”
Let’s go build some future leaders who are ready for the real world.
No, you didn’t.
You wanted to ask and there’s a big difference between those two things.
Your personal influence is really your leadership in all types of relationships -regardless of title. Relationships sometime involve “transactions” – when we sometimes give and also sometimes receive.
And, your Relationships are not just something -they are everything. Why? Because in your professional life, relationships often get you the first opportunity. Someone will take a chance on you because they know you and trust you. Someone will give you an opportunity your skills might not have earned yet because of a friendship. And phrases like “I had to ask” tend to wear away at relationships.
Author Jon Acuff states “If you say, ‘I had to ask,’ it removes the responsibility from you. Some outside force made you ask. Your hands were tied, there was nothing you could do except ask.”
So you did and the person you asked for a favor said no. You responded to his/her no with “I had to ask!” Or, instead you said, “Well, there’s no harm in asking,” only that’s not true either.
There can be harm in asking. Maybe the person you asked feels used. You barely know them and have jumped gigantic intimacy levels by overreaching with your favor request. Maybe they felt manipulated by the ask. Maybe they’ve now quietly moved you from, “People who are my friends” to “People who just want favors” bucket.
Don’t kid yourself. There’s harm in asking, especially if you do it the wrong way with the wrong person.
Does that mean you shouldn’t ask anyone for anything? Of course not. Your friends want to help you. They’re excited to help you. The time you’ve invested in that relationship completely changes the request.
Asking is hard but it’s not complicated. Jon Acuff states that there’s a simple way to remember the right way to do it:
Ask friends for favors. Ask strangers for friendship.
That’s what I wanted to say last week when another leader asked me to provide some “team-building”. Why?
Because fostering collaboration and developing community cannot fix a problem if the leader is unwilling to address it first.
Instead, it’s easier to hire an outside professional to hopefully wave a “magic” wand through a training/workshop. Or individual executive coaching. Or creating a personal development plan (you get the idea).
But, training cannot compensate for a poor hire.
A leadership development workshop cannot replace a leaders’ unwillingness to develop their team.
So either me or one of my staff is requested to fix a problem. But I am not the Jedi Master. You Are.
You know your team best. You know who needs to be developed, who needs to be promoted. And who needs accountability. An outside consultant’s role is to equip you to equip your team. That’s true TEAM BUILDING.
Yes, we can provide a structure and partner with a leader to build a team, through focusing on Community, Best Selection Practices and Skill Development. But what your team really needs is You to fix the problem person.
Train them or hold them accountable. If that doesn’t work, share them with the competition.
Don’t shrink back from being a leader.
Make the tough call.
Provide the tough love.
Develop tough servant-leaders.
Then, you’ll see your team turn from Pathetic to Performing.
They need YOU more than they need me.
You have to now spend a great amount of time finding their replacement – which could take months depending on the role.
When your best people leave, you also suffer the psychological setback of low morale.
Finally, you suffer financially. The latest studies suggest 6 months of wages equals the cost of that particular role turning over due to the gap in training someone else to get up to performance level of the previous person.
Ragan Publications listed 10 ways to guarantee that your best people will quit:
- Treat everyone equally. This may sound good, but your employees are not equal. Some are worth more, because they produce more results. The key is not to treat them equally; it is to treat them all fairly.
- Tolerate mediocrity. A-players don’t have to or want to play with a bunch of C-players.
- Have dumb rules. I did not say have no rules; I specified dumb rules. Great employees want to have guidelines and direction, but they don’t want to have rules that get in the way of doing their jobs or that conflict with the values the company says are important.
- Don’t recognize outstanding performance and contributions. Remember Psychology 101: Behavior you want repeated should be rewarded immediately.
- Don’t have any fun at work. Where’s the written rule that says work has to be serious? If you find it, rip it to shreds and stomp on it, because the notion that work cannot be fun is actually counterproductive. The workplace should be fun. Find ways to make work and/or the work environment more relaxed and fun, and you will have happy employees who look forward to coming to work each day.
- Don’t keep your people informed. You’ve got to communicate not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. If you don’t tell them, the rumor mill will.
- Micromanage. Tell them what you want done and how you want it done. Don’t tell them why it needs to be done and why their job is important. Don’t ask for their input on how it could be done better.
- Don’t Think About How to Retain Them. This deserves your attention every day. Make a list of the people and write down what you are doing or will do to ensure that person stays engaged and on board.
- Don’t do employee retention interviews. Wait until a great employee is walking out the door instead and conduct an exit interview to see what you could have done differently so they would not have gone out looking for another job.
- Make your onboarding program an exercise in tedium. Employees are most impressionable during the first 60 days on the job. Every bit of information gathered during this time will either reinforce your new hire’s “buying decision” (to take the job) or lead to “Hire’s Remorse.” The biggest cause of “Hire’s Remorse” is the dreaded employee orientation/training program. Most are poorly organized, inefficient, and boring. How can you expect excellence from your new hires if your orientation program is a sloppy amalgamation of tedious paperwork, boring policies and procedures, and hours of regulations and red tape?
To reinforce their “buying” decision, get your best leaders involved on the first day and make sure your orientation delivers and reinforces these three messages repeatedly:
- You were carefully chosen and we’re glad you’re here;
- You’re now part of a great organization;
- This is why your job is so important.
He had talent – it just needed refining by experience.
We all know high-potentials who are “diamonds in the rough” who are currently proving a positive example.
But they have the capacity to handle greater responsibility in the future.
They are all around us.
The following four key identifiers reveal who they are:
They Demonstrate Integrity. This is the absolute bottom-line requirement of any influence. It means a consistent display in thoughts and actions of a strong ethical code of conduct that is “focused on the welfare of everyone.” Their consistent adherence to their beliefs makes them predictable and therefore dependable. They have the courage to do the right thing even when it is difficult.
They Lead Through Relationships. Leading through relationships is the basis of leadership. They get along with others and value others. They “lead and inspire because of who they are and how they interact with others.” They don’t depend on their position or lack of it to influence the actions of others.
They Focus on Results. This is someone who maintains a wide perspective and acts with independent initiative. They use the end to define the means, which can mean working outside of strict processes to achieve the end result. They aim for the end they are supposed to produce so they feel responsible and accountable, not just for the demands of their jobs but also for successful outcomes for stakeholders involved.
They Remain Service Focused. This is different than customer service; it is an “awareness of how an action in a specific job affects someone else.” It is a big-picture focus and a value all at the same time.
For some ‘high-potentials’, one characteristic may dominate and others may need to be developed more fully.
If you know someone like that, then get to work helping them grow and develop.
Because they are about to make a HUGE difference in others’ lives.
These behaviors reflect tireless servant-leadership, and drive me to say “thank you.” If you were on my team, here are 10 things I would say to you which reflect our values:
Way To Go!
- You Do Not Whine Or Complain – You refuse to be a victim. Life is too short. When you encounter a problem, you help figure out how to solve it.
- You Are A Continuous Learner – Every time we talk, you tell me about an experience that taught you a new lesson. You are an avid reader, sharing what you learn with others. When you make a mistake or the business results aren’t what they should be, you are only interested in figuring out why so that you will learn what to do the next time.
- You Don’t Ask For More Money You ask for more responsibility. You understand that money comes with responsibility and you’re willing to do more.
- Excellence Is Important To You – You are not perfect, but you want to do great work. You ask for defined expectations so that you can meet them. You ask for feedback so that you know where you stand. You ask how you can improve the next time.
- You Are Never Bored – Long before boredom sets in, you are looking for the next project or to learn. You are alert to the possibilities. You volunteer for the next assignment.
- You Build Strong Relationships With People – You genuinely care about others. You take time to get to know them. You are there for them when they need help.
- You Have Amazing Positive Energy– Your first response is can do. You are willing to help until the work is done. Your energy is contagious and people want to work on your team and your project.
- You Listen Well – You do not need to do all the talking. You know others have skills and experiences you don’t yet have, and you want to access them. You do not need to always have the answer. You know that others on the team have much to offer.
- You Bring Values To Your Work – They are not just words that you talk about; they are alive and active in the way you work. People know you by your actions of integrity, honesty, and accountability.
- You Know Your Work Matters – It is not just a way to fill the hours in the day or get a paycheck. It is a place where you can touch lives and make a difference.
What it does do is give you a rather brief period of time to earn the right to lead. While you can be promoted into a leadership position, you cannot be promoted to “leader.”
Earning the right to lead begins with an understanding that people will not be managed, they expect to be led. In fact, they need to be lead. If you’ve been in a management role for a period of time and have struggled to get people to buy into you and your leadership it may well be that they feel “managed”, not led.
They may feel like “a cog in the wheel,” on equal footing with a copy machine or some fancy new software your organization just purchased. They just don’t believe that they truly matter.
The best you can hope for from people who feel managed is their compliance, they will do what they are told because they “have” to. Compliant people are not really following you, they are merely obeying you. Their compliance shows in the level of effort they offer to the organization, compliant people do what they are required to do and that’s about it.
When people feel as if they are being led they will commit. They don’t necessarily commit to the organization but they do commit to their leader. Committed people will follow their leader past the leader’s stated level of authority. They will do far more than their job description requires them to do. Not only is their effort generally better, their results are often far superior as well.
Don’t be a leader in name only.
Work each day to earn the trust and respect of the people you would lead. Authentic Servant Leaders know this fact without a doubt: if your people can’t trust you then they absolutely won’t follow you. It’s more than that, they actually can’t follow you; their brain won’t let them commit to someone that they can’t trust and if they can’t commit, then they are not truly following.
Once your people trust you, and by extension your motives, then you can begin the task of showing you care about them as people. They must know, without a doubt that they matter more than “stuff.” If anything in your organization takes precedence over your people then the people will notice, the morale will suffer and soon after, the trust is gone.
When you make a difference, then you are leading.