How do you assess your leaders and managers?
Hiring great people is not easy. The best strategy in the world is not going to happen unless you have great people to implement it.
So when you are planning to hire someone, (or considering promoting someone in your team), how do you decide on the type of person that is going to perform best?
Over the years of recruiting at manager and director level, these are my observations of the characteristics of people who are the most successful.
Energy. People with great energy get things done, and are a tonic for people around them. They will energise their team and give them incentive to maximise their capabilities. Low energy people will pull you down and the rest of the team down.
Integrity. People with integrity exhibit honesty and reliability. They play the game by the rules. They are willing to admit their mistakes and forgive mistakes in others. It is a key quality in all employees and is particularly important when making tough decisions.
Intelligence. There is a natural propensity to associate academic qualifications with intelligence. And it is a pretty good measure - it is the key measure we have in society. Plus it is easy - right? Someone has a good degree - they must be bright. Tick the box. But not always. For managers and leaders, intellectual curiosity and the ability to grasp a wide range of subjects, goes a long way. And these skills are not always exhibited in the person with the best degree.
Strategic understanding. Effective managers and director have to able to grasp a decent level of understanding about the strategic direction of the business. Without this, you may find that they are failing to impart the relevant information that team members need to do their job, or are steering their team in a different direction from the rest of the business.
Resilience. When the going is easy, any good manager can keep the ship on course. When the going gets rough, you need someone who can step up to the mark, take the knocks and keep going. The people that have experienced tough situations, which they have then turned around, are the ones that you can rely on.
Communication skills. It goes without saying that anyone who turns up for interview for a managerial or director role is going to have good communication skills. Taking this further, the real test is whether they can communicate complex ideas to peers in senior management, and staff members, in a way which is easily and comprehensively understood. Listening skills are important too: aspirational managers and directors are often good talkers; the test is whether they are good listeners. Good listening is a key component of communication.
Technical skills. There is a natural tendency to focus on hiring for the best technical skills, which is a worthy objective. After all, if they are weak in technical skills, they are soon going to get found out, by their peers and their staff. But the best technical skills will not cut it when it comes to managing people, so they have to have a good dose of the other criteria to be a strong player.
Cultural fit. There are lots of methods for measuring culture and attempting to fit people to those measures. In my experience, it invariably comes down to gut feel. It is a matter of assessing the “chemistry” fit (ambiguous I know) with the type of people that this person will be working with. A CEO told me a number of years ago that his measure is “If I was to go away on a business trip for a couple of days, would I want to spend all my time with this person?”.
I concede that hiring people who exhibit oodles of all these characteristics is not always going to be realistic - but the more the better.
About Ross Search Consulting.
Ross Search Consulting specialises in helping technology and tech led businesses to fulfil their strategic business objectives, by making the right hire for vital leadership and senior management roles.
If you would like to discuss hiring at manager or director level for your business, contact me on 07766 720889 or firstname.lastname@example.org