I Resolve To… Hire Leaders

For many employers, it may seem the intuitive choice to look for candidates that are willing and eager to take direction.  Especially for those among us who are decision makers or managers already, knowing that you’ll be adding a hard working and malleable team member provides comfort in knowing that your daily assignments, tasks, and directions will be performed to your specifications.

This line of reasoning is all well and good, but it opens the door for organizations to overlook perhaps one of the most vital qualities in longterm, lasting employees.  We’re talking leadership and the ability for individuals to one day, if not from the outset, guide their own teams and provide direction to subordinates. Maybe the position isn’t management or not even on the same track, you may say.  Here we lay out why one of your top resolutions as a good hiring manager should be to identify and hire leaders within your teams, regardless of the individual job specification.

Leaders Show Initiative

A strong propensity to be a leader will often go hand in hand with a level of independence and confidence in your candidates.  While at a minimum you need a group of employees that are willing to take direction, it’s neither efficient nor an ideal working environment when a single “boss” is micromanaging a team with individual tasks.

Employees with leadership tendencies will feel comfortable striking out on their own.  These candidates will be able to work independently and will require far less day to day guidance in order to produce stellar work product that meets the job specifications.  Be sure to have weekly or monthly meetings and communicate your goals and the responsibilities of the position clearly and your team members with leadership skills, and your business overall will thrive.

Leaders Will Innovate

Along with a strong tendency towards initiative in their roles, leader personalities also can help organizations think outside the box.  Whether they are managing a team or working independently, the comfortability with taking on a guiding roll will prompt a leader to always consider whether there’s a better mousetrap suited for the position.  Depending on the level of the employee you may need to provide guidance or otherwise ensure they haven’t gotten too far off task with their new way of thinking, but there isn’t a business around that couldn’t benefit from a fresh set of eyes on an existing structure, process, or problem.

Leaders are Able to Step In

Need another reason you should be looking for leadership traits among all of your potential hires?  Consider what happens in your day to day business when a manager, team or group head, director or other report person has to step out.  Whether its unexpected sickness, employee departure, or plain old vacation time, if you don’t have a stock of leaders to pull from in their absence your business can and will face gaps in performance while the person is away.  

In addition, by having existing leaders on your team you have a built-in recruitment pool when its time to hire.  Internal promotes are already familiar with your business model and processes and will save time and money when they step into their new position efficiently and with little lag time.

How to Attract Leaders

It’s all well and good for us to lay down the facts and convince you it’s in your best interest to hire leaders, but just how do you go about finding them in the first place?  Leaders have the ability to think independently and know when to act, when to be flexible and when to seek guidance. Identify these traits and use them in your job listing and recruitment materials to single out quality candidates.

Another way to ensure your business is attractive to leaders is to focus your recruitment campaigns on your existing managers and guiding employees.  Messages directly from your president, CEO, or senior leadership are great ways to lead on any recruitment marketing video or flyer. Have the message regarding company culture, expectations, and opportunities come directly from the top to appeal to leadership personalities.

A leader is often recognized as a team member who can think and act independently while considering the team’s mission and direction. A leader is astute at knowing when to act when to be flexible, and when to seek guidance. Many organizations have replaced the term “manager” or “supervisor” with the term leader to represent a more holistic view of a person who doesn’t simply instruct people but also participates in the development of the team and its members. However, leadership is a coveted skill for almost any staff member, regardless of any official authority.

Other ideas for making your company and corresponding job positions attractive to inherent leaders include:

  • Showcase videos featuring existing employees including awards, success, and the relationships among existing team members.
  • Train your managers and HR staff in identifying leadership traits in candidates so that they are better able to identify these candidates in wider employee pools.
  • List the opportunities at your company that includes innovative thinking, an opportunity for growth, and career development.  Leaders want to excel and grow and you should highlight just how your company provides those sparks.
  • Set clear expectations of the opportunity and your company from the outset as leaders are attracted to a strong workplace with solid structures.

Last but not least, be sure to regularly perform a comprehensive talent assessment at the company level.  This will allow you to identify your current talent pool and opportunities for improvement or to shuffle positions or staff to areas where they may be better suited.  Consider the leadership or other skills needed every time a new position comes up and use your existing workforce whenever possible to maximize efficiencies and demonstrate loyalty that will only further your employer brand.

Read Related Articles:

Article Updated from the Original on April 15, 2019