There is not a driver alive who has not accused his GPS of going in the wrong direction. Yet, drivers worldwide continue to rely on this form of guidance to get where they’re going. If only this kind of reliable
guidance were available for people. Managers continue to hire by instinct, believing it never lies and will always guide them to the right destination. The system of reasoning, which feels like an internal GPS, will often lead a well-meaning hiring manager in the wrong direction. But, why is that?
Likability is a Bad Predictor
Advanced GPS apps and devices will predict time of arrival based on accidents and traffic. Other devices show depth and location and predict a number of other factors. People are different. A frequently used and perceived to be scientific indicator of future performance is the likability factor. Whether or not one likes a candidate is not a good skill predictor. But in the average interview, when a leader is looking to hire the right person, whether or no there is an initial click trumps nearly all other criteria.
Assumptions are Misleading
While driving in the Greek Isles on the Island of Crete, a Garmin GPS shows you to be driving on water, the entire time you are on the island! Certainly, a savvy driver assumes the GPS is incorrect, while continuing to drive on what he or she can see is pavement. But with people, assumptions typically work just the opposite. People with technology
problems assume a problem with the equipment. People with people problems tend to assume a problem with themselves or their judgement. In employee development and hiring, this will cause the keeping of a poor performer far longer than appropriate, or hiring the wrong person in the beginning.
Behavior is Ever Changing
Data suggests people consistently cover who they are authentically and are constantly changing what they show others for a variety of reasons. People change and most managers believe themselves to be far more adept at reading people than they really are. Believe someone is capable of performing at a higher level and indicators will start to appear implying validation. Believe someone is always going to be a poor performer and
similar indicators will take shape.
Critical Information is Missing
What leads many leaders to such potentially inaccurate reliance on the previous factors is a lack of pre-planning or thinking, before taking action. No assessment, single interview, quick instinct, funny feeling, or pre-screening metric can take the place of a well thought-out list of key criteria for promotion, top performance, and hiring. Define the criteria
and gather the critical information before making and taking hiring, promotion, firing, or coaching actions.
Leaders are Eager
Put a team on a new job site, under pressure, and chances are high mistakes will be made. Leaders react similarly in prolonged periods of pressure and stress. Their instincts are off; decisions get made quickly; and assumptions are believed to be factual. Eagerness to accomplish a project is good, but being a bulldozer when that eagerness becomes demanding will point a leader in the wrong direction.
Whether a leader, manager, or front line team member, the truth one will experience is that in all cases, people are not easy. Our instinct that says a candidate is “cool” allows us to forget that being a likable guy doesn’t always mean he will do that job well.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a keynote speaker and leadership development specialist. Through her firm Contagious Companies, she and her team train and coach managers who’ve been promoted, but not prepared. To learn more, or request Monica’s coaching,
go to: www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or call 866-382-0121.
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