Tuesday, 22 May 2012

How to Hire the Best Candidate

Well yes... you do all the interviews and effectively ask the "tell me about" questions and kaboom you still get a lousy hire! 

Almost inevitably when interviewing for new staff you end up (before you you make the final decision) with a shortlist of say half a dozen to ten candidates.  

I read in an article on hiring managers recently that had a quote as follows:

"The biggest mistake business owners make is to get the best technical expert and assume they'll make the best manager, Paknis said". (A management consultant apparently)  

Now if you have read any number of my past blog posts you would have seen this assertion, or a similar statement quite a few times. It is a true statement. 

So how to decide. Over my years of conducting management and leadership training I have found that the real cultural, leadership, management or interpersonal skills rise to the surface during the conducting of games or exercises. So why not get your six finalists in and get your training manger in to conduct a couple of games to see how well the individuals fit into whatever role you are looking for. One I would suggest is, "Lost at Sea" ...and if you have the players stacked with a couple of astute employees you can find out about how well your candidates fit your culture and their ability to work well with your existing team. 

All this can be done in a couple of hours and will be time well spent. 

More management articles by Ric

Friday, 18 May 2012

Finding Effective Managers!

Traditionally managers have been appointed based on their superior technical expertise. As I have said before however, often we do nothing more than “lose our best engineer or salesperson and promote someone who turns out to be a lousy manager”.

So the question becomes, how do we go about finding staff to become our next crop of managers… or probably more importantly, our next generation of leaders!?

Obviously competence in the technical aspects of the job are important however perhaps a few other traits can give us a additional hints to find the talent.

Can I suggest the following when looking for leaders / managers.


- those who regularly tell others what they are doing and the results they have achieved on behalf of the company. Yeah I know they can be seen as braggers but better this sort, than the ones who are mumbling about the problems at home or type of mobile they are thinking of buying

- those that seem to be able get their colleagues to help out when things need to get done, the characters that say ‘hey lets all come in on Saturday finish this off and we can go to the pub for lunch together after’

- those who are willing to be in the spotlight… you know… the types that volunteer to plan a company event or activity or that will give presentations to other employees

- those with a good network, they know ‘everybody,’ the sort of person you instinctively go to, to ask… do you know anyone that can get me a left handed widget for my ‘whats-it-thingo’

- those that finish tasks on time without sacrificing quality or wasting resources

- those that seem to make others feel good about themselves, the types that say, ‘he’s a good guy’ or ‘she’s a great help’ and that are comfortable paying compliments to others

- those that can sell the ‘no’ or a different point of view with tact and still maintain relationships by knowing what is common ground and strengthening that, rather than accentuating differences

- those that don’t bad mouth others or complain about workmates, ‘those idiots in financial control, production or the upstarts in the pampered sales team’

- those that solve problems in imaginative ways and through negotiation rather than the ones that come to your office and say, ‘this is a cock up what do we do now’!

- those that listen and show they are listening rather than those that love to just talk.

Well I agree it is not a complete list, however it does give some hints as to the qualities we need in a leader / managers.

More management articles can be found at orglearn.org just follow one of the links management, leadership and career success.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Delegation and Career Success Part 3

To continue....

Responsibility of the Delegator for each level is to follow the delegation approach (referred to in the model’s original form "Leadership Style")

(S1) Telling or directing, characterised by one-way communication in which the delegator defines the task of the person being delegated to and tells them how, when, and where to do it. To gain more commitment and motivation from your employee, then you should of course use a participative style.

(S2) Selling/Coaching for D2 tasks is required as while providing clear direction as to responsibilities, the delegator needs to employ effective two-way communication and emotional support, to get the individual to "buy into decisions that have to be made."

(S3) Participating (high relationship/low task behavior). Here decision-making and task management is shared between the delegator and the person nominated to do the task – the main role of the delegator is to "facilitate and communicate" and to ensure the approach is based on "high support and low direction". Low direction is used because the person being delegated to is competent in the task.

(S4) Style 4 - is referred to in the original model as "The Delegating/Trusting Leader" With a task being delegated to someone whose is both competent and willing the delegator just needs to hand over the task. The problem here is that if the delegator is not trusting of the employee taking in the task he or she will tend to over control the situation and frustrate the person doing the job.

If the manager uses the approaches (S1 to S4 above) and remembers to praise people for doing a ‘good’ job, rather than just correcting them when they fall short, great improvements in delegation practices and performance can be achieved.

Another key to effective delegation is to ensure that the individual you have delegated to understands the overall purpose of the project or task being delegated and where it fits into the overall process or operation. Always provide picture of what a successful outcome or output will look like including measurements to be used regardless of the level of delegation or style being applied.

A final point: Keep The Task or Assignment Delegated!

One of the most common reasons for the delegation process to fail is that the manager takes the work back! Do not do this… as an effective delegator a manager must fix the problems not avoid them by taking back the task.

If you delegate effectively remember you will need to evaluate the improvement (or otherwise) on an ongoing basis and… be patient… as successful change and improvement through delegation can take some time.

ORGLEARN http://www.orglearn.org/ has more management articles

ref: "Situation Leadership II" (Blanchard) is still in my opinion the best base for understanding how to delegate effectively to different individuals. Here is a handy link to his booklist: 


If you cannot delegate well, you will never manage (or lead) well!