Why do bad hiring decisions haunt good people? I’m involved in making an important leadership staffing decision as I write and I’ve researched some of the latest thinking to help minimize the potential for a poor staffing decision and thus prevent the long term damage that it causes.
I’ve been guided in the past by the timeless “3 C’s” of character, competency and chemistry, but I wonder if I can embellish this based on recent research. I found the work of Jeffrey Cohn and Jay Moran in the book, “Why are we Bad at Picking Good Leaders” (2011) most useful. They described what they feel are the essential attributes of effective leadership under the headings of:
- Integrity: the foundational attribute, honest, ethical
- Empathy: feel with people, social savvy, combined with integrity drives trust
- Emotional Intelligence: evident self mastery skills: “know yourself, control yourself, and improve yourself.”
- Vision: forward-thinking with a sense of possibility and wonder, innovative
- Judgment: focus on the important while seeing the “big picture”, take decisive action
- Courage: the ability to “act with grace under pressure”
- Passion: the drive to achieve, learn and master
In hiring decisions I’ve been encouraged to do my homework by the axiom “ You will get what someone has already gotten… no excuse for surprises.” I found the techniques that Cohn and Moran suggest, such as scenario discussions to be most useful for determining whether a candidate does indeed possess the desired attributes or not.
Help me out please. Have you ever made a poor hiring decision? What lessons can you share from the experience? What attributes do you view as important for leaders to possess and what techniques to you use to assess competency during the recruiting process?