As a leader, one of your main responsibilities is to build a solid team. This means choosing “A” players – doing your due diligence to find the best players possible.
But there is a second responsibility that is often overlooked, or at least downplayed in its importance. That responsibility is the correct placement of each “A” player you hire.
If you are having team issues, ask yourself if you have done your homework in choosing the best candidate for your organization, and then if you have placed that person in the role for which they are best suited.
You can hire an outstanding player for your team; but if you put them in the wrong role, you are setting them up for failure. And though they may suffer the ultimate consequences of this misalignment, it is also a leadership issue.
There was a corporate attorney who decided to hire a candidate for an entry level assistant position. This candidate was very much a “people” person who loved to have fun in her work. Admiring her upbeat attitude and desire to work, he hired her.
She really was an “A” player in that she worked very hard at whatever task she was assigned. Yet as time went on, frustrations grew. The attorney became annoyed at her desire to chat with everyone who walked by her desk; and she became overwhelmingly frustrated as he piled on more and more intricate legal work to the level of paralegal in range.
In time, he put her on “probation.”
She then tried even harder to do the work, becoming increasingly stressed, which only exacerbated the problem.
Then the day came when he called her into his office and issued the proverbial pink slip.
Who was to blame: the attorney or the “A” player?
To some degree, both. But mainly, in this case, the leader was to blame.
He had chosen a very hard worker, indeed an “A” player. A single mother, she never missed work, not even in ice and snow or when a child was sick.
But she was fired.
Because the leader failed to realize the importance of proper role assignment. Had he realized her innate personality and strengths, he would have known she was a great fit for the company, but a very bad fit for that role.
The fact is, there are some jobs that just don’t fit. No matter how hard a person works at it or how much character they have, there are just some positions that don’t fit certain personalities.
How can you as a leader prevent this mismatch and save frustration and heartache?
1. Watch for the signs before you hire.
If you take the time to study the DISC assessment system, you will learn there are physical characteristics and mannerisms that will give you clues as to the person’s personality.
For example, watch how they enter a room. Do they…
- Walk in briskly with a heavy foot and reach out their hand to shake yours before you have extended your hand to them? You are likely dealing with a D-wired personality.
- Bounce in quickly and with a big smile? This would indicate high I-wiring.
- Glide in smoothly and calmly, with a light step and calm smile? You have an S-wired candidate.
- Walk in with quiet intent, precision, and excellent posture? These would be the hallmarks of a C-wired candidate.
If you have pre-determined in advance the type of candidate you need for a position, this will help you quickly filter out candidates for whom the position is not a good fit. After all, the purpose of an interview is not just for the person doing the hiring; ideally, it is also to help the candidate find a position where they can bring their “A” game.
Just because you have identified an “A” player does not mean they would be the best for the role you have in mind. Use discretion to determine a great fit, for their sake and yours.
2. Watch for the signs after you hire.
Roles grow and change over time. Always be observant regarding the effect of these changes on your workforce.
If you notice signs of apathy, frustration, inaccuracies, attitude, or changes of habits that are not normal for a person, address the issue with them. It is not uncommon for these to be indicators of some new responsibility that does not fit who they are. Frustration, especially, is a sign that they are trying to do something that is not natural for them.
You want your team members to grow and expand beyond their comfort zone. Accomplishing more than they imagined they could makes them feel and be successful.
But pushing them beyond their strengths zone is another story. This makes them feel like a failure. And when they feel like a failure, they will fail.
If you have an otherwise “A” player with a great track record, take the time realign responsibilities. You will be notice immediate improvements in attitude and in productivity.
No leader with a conscience enjoys firing a staff member, especially an “A” player. Addressing these two issues will prevent the unpleasant task of firing an otherwise great employee.
To learn more about DISC assessments, hiring, and communicating well as a leader, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.