I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how our leadership style affects the hiring and retention process. We spend a lot of time thinking about candidates and their characteristics and skills but one of the things I find that is often missing is a lack of time evaluating ourselves and our style, strengths and weaknesses. As Leaders, most of us work to grow, evolve and seek to help other’s develop. And yet I know that is easier for some of us than others. And not only that, the way we develop others is not the same leader to leader. Each of us is as unique and different as every candidate that we interview.
For the longest time, I thought that to be an effective manager that I had to try and adjust my natural style to fit everyone else around me. What this produced was an inconsistent and schizophrenic approach with my employees and caused me a lot of anxiety. The notion of “you do you” which according to The Urban Dictionary means “the act of doing what one believes is the right decision, being oneself.” I interpret this to mean that being yourself is more powerful than trying to be something you are not. I think this is relevant as it relates to leadership success.
If we understand who we are and how we show up as a leader then it is easier to find employees or agents that fit more naturally with us. Often we focus 99% of our time in the hiring process on the candidate when we (as the manager) are more than half the story. As I developed as a manager, I realized that some jobs were better served by a certain behavioral style on the DISC but because of my leadership style, I eventually had to take a hybrid approach with the DISC profile when hiring.
When we take time on the front end to examine our own strengths, weaknesses, behavior, skills, knowledge, likes and dislikes AND then determine not only the job requirements but what type of person will work best with us then magic happens.
I have mentioned the Talent Profile that we develop for candidates and I would call this a Leadership Profile. It basically helps you examine who you are and what is important to you prior to creating a job description or Talent Profile. Once you know your own Leadership Profile then you can take these nuances into the hiring process to find a person that will mesh with you in many different areas. If we don’t know ourselves then aren’t we putting the onus on the candidate to adapt to our style versus finding someone that naturally fits our philosophy and style?
Following are someone questions to answer to create your Leadership Profile:
- What is your life philosophy? Do you work to live or live to work?
- What is your career|business philosophy? How does the impact others?
- When you think of the worst employee you ever had, what made you the most upset?
- How do you want people to communicate with you? Skype? Instant Message? Text? Phone? Email?
- How often do you want them to check in with you? Every morning? Daily? Once a week?
- What is your communication style? Straight to the point? Chatterbox? Indirect?
- How do you approach deadlines? High urgency? Calmly? Sense of humor?
- How do you view the work environment? People are there to work? People are there to have fun?
- What is your company culture?
- Do you want people to reach out to higher roles in the organization or do they need to go work through you? Is your organization hierarchal or flat?
- In terms of reporting, do you want someone who has competent writing skills? Does it matter? Do they need to be able to come up with what is on the report? Or do you tell them what to report?
- What is your DISC? Or whatever behavioral profile you use?
- How do you describe yourself?
- What are your top 5 strengths?
- What are your top 5 challenges or areas to improve?
Once you spend time figuring out who you are and how you show up, take some time to assess how you want to manage a direct report. Here are some key styles:
- Executional. This is a delegating style where you assign a task and walk away. You tell someone once what to do and walk away. You expect them to figure it out.
- Collaborative. You want to lay out a plan with milestones and collaborate on the front end and at key points in the project or process. For example, if there are five milestones you want them to check in at each milestone and update progress.
- Directive. You want to tell people what to do, how to do it and you want them to do it the way you direct.
I want to point out that all three managerial styles are perfectly acceptable. People often make judgments about certain styles but in reality, the better we can identify our style and find those who like to work in the same manner the better the long term fit.
On one final note, if you are someone who is looking for a personal assistant, executive assistant or someone who can support your sales growth there is a concept that I think is critically important. The catchphrase for it is “managing up”. I used to think this was just a catchphrase until I realized that in certain situations I am more successful if I manage up. And there are certain roles that support me that I need someone to manage me.
For example, I have two clients I work with and both of them are CEO|Owners of large companies. I used to think I was bothering them if I asked for their time or reminded them about a deliverable. I have learned that it actually makes it easier for them. They can relax and know that I am going to manage them and let them know what I need and the deadline. Then I will check-in to make sure we are on track.
On the other side of the spectrum, this term specifically applies to someone whose job is to support you. Managing up means they tell you what to do and when to do it. They organize your calendar, your calls, your day and make sure you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. They manage you thus making your life easier and giving you the leverage you need to focus on dollar productive activities such as sales and revenue.
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