Are You a Coach or a Tyrant?

coach_clapping_hr

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to lead others and how this gets measured in the interview process.

Two recent things have caused me to really ponder this issue about leading/managing/coaching a group of people.

First, I am high school girls basketball coach. In my first 5-6 years of coaching at the high school level I obtained mediocre results. The last couple of years, I’ve obtained extraordinary results. The quality of the kids coming into our program is no different in the last few years that it was 5-6 years ago.

So, if player quality is essentially the same, what’s the factor that accounts for the performance difference. I believe it’s my understanding of how to coach a high performing team. How do I extract a level of results from a team or group that exceeds their individual capability – the SUM is greater than the individual parts? It took me 5-6 years to get to that place.

Layered on top of those epiphanies of how to lead high performing teams comes a burning desire to “sharpen the saw” as Steven Covey called it when he wrote his book on the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. I am a life-long passionate learner. I can’t go to enough workshops, seminars, conferences about leading and coaching. I can’t read enough books, blogs, and magazine articles about leadership.

My current leadership focus is on teaching mental toughness. I just finished the book Jay Bilas, the ESPN commentator, wrote on the same subject. I am continually watching, observing, and documenting what other coaches and leaders do. I reading everything I can on resilience, ability to overcome obstacles and challenges, and handle criticism and negativity. I want to MASTER the process of teaching my team mental toughness. I’ve actually put a plan together of how I’m going to teach mental toughness to me team this coming season.

Completely different perspective: My son is taking an AP World History class in high school. We’ve been having lots of discussions about leadership styles since reading about all the failures of dictators and autocratic rulers. Suddenly, it set me to thinking about all the CEOs and “C” level executives I’ve worked with over the past 30 years. What’s their dominant style: are they passive, dictatorial, or coaches of outstanding teams?

Take these two divergent areas of thought, and I’m re-thinking: how do we measure great leaders of teams in the interview process? What do the very best leaders DO that the average and mediocre leaders DON’T do? How can translate that understanding into specific interview questions that yield strong, quantifiable, rich, detailed, and specific examples?

I’ll be sharing some of these personal observations –  from the basketball court to the executive suite – over the course of the next few months.

Here’s what I would like to hear from the readers of our blog:

When was the last time you became deeply introspective about your style of leadership?

How much time do you spend “sharpening the saw” for your own capability and impact? What grade would you give yourself in the leadership department?

What’s the ONE thing you could be better at as a leader – more importantly, what are you doing about it?

Your capability to hire and retain a great team is directly correlated to your capability as a leader. Average leadership capability yields an average team.

Let’s work together in the framework of this blog to wrap our arms around the issue of measuring “real leadership” in the interview process.

Barry Deutsch

What Percentage of Your Hires Don’t Live Up to Expectations?

Over the last 15 years I’ve presented to well over 25,000 CEOs and senior executives. One of my favorite questions to ask is:

Of all the hires you’ve ever made, what percentage hit or exceeded your expectations? What percentage missed missed your targets?

Almost all these CEOs and Senior Executives claim that if they were hitting 50% they feel they would be doing a great job. Most readily admit they’re somewhere around 25%-33%.

Amazingly, this statistic is borne out through a lot of the research that has been done studying the accuracy of interviewing. Most studies, at best, show successful hiring less than 50% of the time.

Does this sound dysfunctional? Why do you except results in hiring that are basically random?

We call this CRAPSHOOT hiring since the success rate is essentially equal to rolling dice on the craps table in Las Vegas.

Rolling the Dice during CRAPSHOOT Hiring

You don’t accept this level of random results anywhere else in your business. Why then do you accept in when it comes to hiring? You would never accept random accuracy and results in the payroll checks you write or the invoices you send to customers. What rationalizations do you use to justify accepting random hiring results among your team?

There are many reasons that hiring fails in the vast majority of companies. However, the one that stands above all the rest is that the person or team conducting the interview lacks the skills and knowledge to do a decent job of interviewing.

In most companies, hiring and interviewing is not a process. It’s a set of arbitrary events predicated upon each individual executive or manager. Each one does it differently based on their life experiences.  This random, arbitrary, and poorly trained effort leads to random results.

Another one of the questions I pose in my workshops, seminars, and hiring manager training is:

When should you make a hiring a systematic and rigorous process – not unlike any other key process in your business?

The intuitive answer to that question is RIGHT NOW. Reality then sets in and you recognize that to move hiring from a random effort to a systematic, rigorous, and reliable process requires behavioral change among your executives and managers. Putting forms in place, sending managers to training, and giving out a list of questions to ask in the interview (this would actually exceed what most companies do) is not enough – you actually have to change the hiring behavior of executives and managers that when it comes to hiring adopt the philosophy of “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.”

When will stop accepting poor hiring decisions in your organization – hiring people who either can’t deliver your expected outcomes or can’t fit in the culture of your business? When will you become so disgusted with your current approach to hiring that you’re finally ready to implement best practices to raise hiring accuracy? Discover some of the most common best practices in hiring and the most common mistakes by clicking here.

Barry Deutsch