• Sunday, July 14, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

How to attract the right leadership team (3)

Maturing into a leadership role (4)

We continue with part three of this multiple-part article exploring how to attract the right leadership team. In the second part of this article, we stated that you could only teach skills, but you cannot teach values. In principle, you will succeed more often if you hire for values, not skills.

Studies on leadership styles have revealed that there are not only differences in the styles preferred by followers in different national cultures but also the specific behaviours. Many communities and countries in the world are now trying to discover and explore their system of leadership, having recognised the importance of culture in leadership.

In terms of style, you can afford to be non-judgmental: different styles work in different situations. In terms of values, you should be judgmental. There are good values, and there are toxic values. Let’s try the following contrasts:

Industrious or Idle; Honest or Dishonest; Optimistic or Pessimistic; Helpful or Selfish; Open or Devious, and Reliable or Sloppy.

When you are recruiting, you are selling a role, and you are selling yourself. As we have already seen, the starting point for persuading is listening. If in doubt, let people talk about their favourite subject: themselves

We have all had to work with bosses and colleagues who had the wrong values. It is not worth it. Be clear about the values you want and those you want to avoid. Then hire to your desired values.

Once you know whom you want to hire, you must find a way of hiring them. This is easier said than done. If you are hiring the right people, the chances are that they are in high demand too. Their existing boss will not want to lose them, and they will have plenty of options open to them. So why on earth would they choose to come and work with you?

When you are recruiting, you are selling a role, and you are selling yourself. As we have already seen, the starting point for persuading is listening.

If in doubt, let people talk about their favourite subject: themselves. The sweetest sound in the world is their own voice. Indulge them, however painful it may be.

By listening to them, you can start understanding what drives them, what they want as the next steps in their career, what is frustrating them now, and what they like and dislike. This can be a major investment of time and effort.

But it is an investment that yields significant returns for you as a leader. They are giving the sales pitch you need to make. Once you understand them, you can present the role in the way they want to hear. And you can also explain the position in the way they want to hear. And you can also present yourself in the way they want or expect.

The major trap at this point is to get locked into negotiations on salary. If the candidate is primarily driven by money, you may want to ask whether they have the values you want. You may also ask whether they have good judgement.

If you have built a truly great team that does everything you want, you are left with a surprising challenge: what is your own role? Is there anything left for you to do if the team is great? That is not a riddle you want to leave to the end. Answer that question first, and you will be clear about what you need to do and what sort of team you need to build.

Read also: How to attract the right leadership team (2)

The more senior you become, the more ambiguous your role becomes. If you are a junior salesperson, it is clear what you must do. You will have clear sales targets that you have to meet. As you move up into management, the fog slowly descends. As a manager, you will have multiple goals.

It becomes clear that you cannot deliver them all by yourself. But if you must build a team to make things happen for you. But if you have a great team that delivers the results for you, how do you add value: what is the point of your job?

As a leader, you need to know where you add value to your team and where you make a difference. If someone in your team can do what you are doing, let them do it. Don’t work beneath your role: you don’t have the time, and it costs too much. This means you must leave your comfort zone of working with familiar challenges. Your role is now based on the following.

1. Ideas: know what you want to achieve

2. People: build and manage the team to deliver your idea

3. Action: create the conditions in which your team can thrive

Once you know what you must do, you can decide what you need the rest of the team to do. As a leader, one of your key roles is to create the conditions in which your team can succeed.

That means picking the right team, securing the right budget and resources, ensuring top management supports your vision, running political interference where necessary, driving up and delegating tasks, and managing performance. These are the things that only you as the leader can do and everything else your team can do for you.