Archive for May 2011

Avoid A Common Hiring Bias

May 22, 2011

Hyperbolic discounting is the tendency for people to prefer a smaller, immediate payoff over a larger, delayed payoff. Much research has been done on decision-making, and many factors contribute to the individual decision making process. Interestingly, delay time is a big factor in choosing an alternative. In fact, studies have shown, most people would choose to get $20 today instead of getting $100 one year from today.

Leaders often make similar mistakes when selecting new hires.  Hiring managers many times are seduced by certain hard skills a candidate can immediately apply and may pass over a stronger candidate who needs time to develop that hard skill.  Remember: most employees are hired for hard skills but fired for lack of soft skills.  When selecting new hires, challenge yourself to consider the candidate’s future contributions; not their immediate productivity.

Empower yourself to understand human behavior and how you can overcome your natural tendencies and you’ll be a more successful leader.

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Beware Of The Impact Of Workplace Motivators In Your Group

May 14, 2011

Most leaders are aware of the different behavioral styles people have at work and have taken measures to leverage those styles among their team.  Some conflict may arise when the deliberate, contemplative analyst works with the free-wheeling, aggressive sales person; or when the rigid, critical quality manager works with the scattered, impatient marketing associate.  But most of these conflicts are manageable because the behaviors are observable and the co-workers can easily identify the cause of the discord.

It’s the conflicting workplace motivators or values causing deep disputes that can damage a team’s performance.  What happens when the caring, selfless HR Manager and the no-nonsense, bottom-line oriented Operations Manager disagree over a termination?  Or when the dogmatic, judgmental Buyer and the over-achieving, controlling Branch Manager oppose a new product line?  These disagreements often end in stalemates, irreconcilable impasses, and sometimes unjust or irreparable personal attacks.  The reason for these unhealthy clashes is that we often don’t understand and appreciate our internal motivations and those of our coworkers.

Empower your team to assess workplace motivators; share the findings, talk about the likely conflicts, and prepare for solutions before confrontations arise and you be successful even through the most difficult situations.

It’s Okay To Be A Passive Participant In Your Interviews

May 8, 2011

Most leaders admit to being poor interviewers.  Interviewing is a learned skill and is something hiring managers seldom do and typically have had little or no training.

Those leaders who conduct their own interviews often miss much of the candidate’s response (verbal and non-verbal) as they prepare for their next question or process the answer to a prior question.  Also hiring managers tend to spend too much time talking and not enough listening.  We recommend hiring managers use an experienced interviewer to conduct interviews while they observe the candidate being interviewed.

The hiring manager learns much more watching and listening to the candidate when they are not leading the interview because they have the opportunity to use the critical thinking skills they’ve honed while processing the answers from candidates.  The leader may contribute occasionally but the majority of the interviewing should be done by someone else.  You’d be surprised how much more you are able to evaluate a candidate when all you have to do is observe them.

Empower yourself to have an experienced interviewer lead your interviews and you’ll make more successful hires.