If you’re like most business professionals, one of your burning desires is to become a better leader.
You’ve read books, attended seminars and taken on challenging assignments. You search within yourself to find the ingredients to become the next Jack Welch, Bill Gates or Meg Whitman. These efforts are praiseworthy: The business world is in desperate need of more great leaders.
It’s an admirable pursuit, but here’s the rub: No one can lead B- or C- players to consistently high levels of performance. These followers simply don’t have what it takes.
In fact, poor performers are an albatross around the neck of aspiring leaders. They suck up the energy & attention and distract the organization from achieving its important goals.
Supervisors spend 17% of their time (nearly one day each week) managing poorly performing employees, according to Robert Half. Even more troubling, the same study revealed that 95% of respondents said a poor hiring decision at least somewhat impacts the morale of the team, with 35% reporting morale is “greatly affected.”
Why do organizations end up hiring poor performers? A CareerBuilder study reveals the key reasons (virtually all of which are preventable by simply improving your recruiting skills):
- The candidate didn’t have all the needed skills, but the employer thought they could learn quickly: 35%
- Candidate lied about their qualifications: 33%
- Took a chance on a “nice” person: 32%
- Pressured to fill the role quickly: 30%
- Had a hard time finding qualified candidates: 29%
- Focused on skills, and not attitude: 29%
- Ignored some of the warning signs: 25%
- Lacked adequate tools to find the right person: 10%
Every organization makes bad hires. But your goal should be to improve your hiring success rate from the industry average of 50% to an exemplary, yet achievable, rate of 80%-90%.
And it’s far easier to do this, than to become an outstanding leader. Here’s how:
- Create a disciplined hiring process: Organizations that lack a standardized process are five times more likely to make a bad hire than those that have a good process, according to a talent acquisition study from Brandon Hall Group. Train your hiring managers to ask revealing questions, compare candidates objectively and check references early in the process instead of as an afterthought.
- Insist that candidates complete a “Test Drive,” which is a project or a day in the office to see tangible evidence of their performance abilities.
- Assess for DNA: Never again hire someone who doesn’t match your culture. Closely examine the motivations, attitudes and working styles of candidates to ensure they will work well with your existing top-performers.
- Never settle: Challenge your managers to hire only Rock star-level candidates. Establish the goal of placing A-Players in every position.
When you build an organization that is dominated by a performance-driven culture, leaders naturally emerge and flourish.
In my experience, nothing accelerates the growth of a company faster than committing to place Rockstars in every role at every level. The business thrives, the culture strengthens and top performers enjoy multiple opportunities for growth experiences.
And happily, leaders no longer need to micro-manage and babysit problem employees.
Recruit better. Lead less. Grow your business faster.