Nothing fixes the mess a bad leader leaves behind. Yet phenomenal leaders are hard to come by, and you can't build a great company alone. A Gallup report shows that managers fail to hire the right leaders 82% of the time.
Corrupt leaders cost companies billions of dollars a year, so we've pulled together some thoughts on hiring the best leaders. It's a complicated and deep subject. Thus we are simplifying it with just one warning. Don't hire leaders who lead to their own needs, not the organization.
In his engaging podcast, motivational business speaker and pastor, Craig Groeschel, asks the question of leaders, Does the manager lead to himself, or does he lead to the organization?
Some people will direct others towards their benefit or self-interest and not the organization. The difference between personal ambition and organizational drive is the difference between a weak leader and a good one.
The lesson is to avoid people with strong personal agendas for individuals who have a drive to better the organization.
How do you spot those with high personal ambition ( so you can avoid hiring them)?
Are they self-absorbed, and always talking about their success? Do they ever attribute success to others?
Do they talk about themselves a lot? Do they use the words I and me ( self-focused) or we and us ( team focused)?
Self-absorbed people can be very driven, but it's for personal gain. It's their ambition that moves them; they will often attribute success to their efforts and not the group.
As a result, they may dampen team pride, protect their turf, promote people who worship them, and drag down morale.
WHEN TALENT KILLS A COMPANY
Leadership at Enron serves as an extreme example of letting personal ambition get the best of you. Rank and yank was a business practice at Enron that ranked all employees and routinely fired the bottom 15% of performers. This culture created conflict within the business and praised the most talented and put them on a pedestal. Only the strong survived, creating smug insecurity that valued success at all costs.
In Enron's case, the top performers, in a drive to be perceived as the best, engaged in unethical business practices, and consequently, brought down the whole company.
WEED OUT ONLY A HANDFUL
The drive to rank high in performance encourages short term results, personal gain, and not long term learning. By shining a spotlight on talent, Enron created a competitive cut-throat culture that honored ego and personal gain while it discouraged teamwork, growth, and education. In its place was cutting corners, holding back information, deceptive activities, distrust, and lying.
Enron taught us that ranking and grading people can put a shallow ceiling on potential. Just like IQ tests, if you score poorly on a matrix, you lower your expectations for the future. Trust is significantly essential.
The ranking also opens up the culture to deception and hero-worshiping that dampens real growth and team spirit.
Talent helps, but there isn't a shortcut to success. Hard work is the best way to get ahead. Good news for anyone who believes their friends are smarter or more capable; we all stand a chance to succeed.
More important is the effect that worshiping talent has on company morale. A culture of growth and learning would shine a light on group success, not individual talent.
HIRE LEADERS WITH AN OPEN DOOR POLICY
Some leaders believe open-door policies are death to personal productivity. Yet, they ensure you are listening.
Self-absorbed Leaders grow tired of trying to solve everyone's problems. Never does a day go by where the revolving open door isn't always dragging issues to a leader's feet. Personal productivity plummets when you are constantly distracted. Anyone with a robust personal agenda wants to accomplish their gains at any cost.
Hire leaders who lead to others and not to their agendas.
An open-door policy suggests staff can come to you with any questions and challenges, and you will help. A closed-door system was reasonable 30 years ago, where fear and intimidation made people afraid to speak up.
Today, not only are we encouraged to speak our minds, we have social media tools to broadcast our thoughts all over the world. Leaders are aware that what they do is often under a microscope, so they have to listen.
In some workplaces, people are still afraid to ask questions, but today it is so much easier to find answers.
Open door policies work if people are still encouraged and empowered to think through and solve problems. Miscommunication happens when people don't know the right solutions and then don't know they don't know.
Leadership Speaker: Is your door open or closed?