Friday, July 22, 2016

Stop Calling Your Employees Introverts and/or Extroverts

Introvert and Extrovert are the most common “personality” classifications we hear from prospective clients. 

Here is why using those terms in the work place is a bad idea-

1.     Unless you are a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, we suspect you, like us, are not qualified to make a diagnosis and label someone with either of those nouns.
2.     People are much more complicated than those labels anyways. Many of us might exhibit behavioral tendencies at different times that might match either of those labels. It will typically depend on the environment or setting.
3.     Team members and employees do not want to be labeled. They want to see they can grow in a job and also know their manager, boss or team leader believes in them. A limiting behavioral tendency can be coached; a label on the other hand pigeonholes the person who was labeled.
4.     The complex matrix of behavioral tendencies that guides most of our actions, words and work styles, is very nuanced and granular.

We are not saying a manager, boss or team leaders shouldn’t know their people. We are saying the exact opposite. However, knowing your people does not mean giving them unsubstantiated labels. Not only is the label most likely inaccurate, it is demotivating to people.

People want to see a future of career growth in your organization. They want to work for and with people who truly understand them and their goals. They want to work with people who see their potential and want to cultivate that potential.

We do however, advocate using assessment tools that are predictive of behavioral tendencies in the work place.  If they are evidenced based, they can be used for selection in hiring and coaching for performance improvement.

Here are some examples of behavioral tendencies in the work place that can be measured-

Not Anxious
No Guilt
Even tempered
Not moody or irritable
No Complaints
Not paranoid or suspicious
Good Attachment
Good relations with authority figures

Notice, that in isolation some of these tendencies could be seen as introverted or extroverted. It will depend on the setting and circumstances.

There is an old saying, attributed to a number of people but most frequently to Adlai Stephenson. “Don’t just do something, stand there.”  The point being, in a number of work situations, doing and saying nothing is preferable to an irrational impulsive reaction. This learned leadership behavior does not make one an introvert. It is a learned behavior, born out of the wisdom of the discerning to think quickly as to whether words and action can make a situation worse.

Get to know your people for sure. Know their tendencies. Then coach and train them to perform, grow and excel.

By-Kenneth l. Greenberg, CEO, KLG Consultants, LLC
KLG Consultants, LLC  a Talent Acquisition and Talent Development firm based in Colorado. The firm offers custom professional development programs and skilled professionals on an outsourced and recruited for permanent hire basis, to organizations of all types and size. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Misconceptions about attitude, job fit and post hire performance

It always surprises us how many prospective clients say they want only people with positive attitudes on their team. 

When faced with this we have to ask,

1.    What do you mean only?
2.    And what do you mean by positive attitude?

Typically we hear the following answers in so many words-

1.    We want people who follow instructions and do their job.
2.    We want people who are resilient and can handle change and adversity.
3.    We want people who look for solutions not problems.
4.    We want people who can persevere.
5.    We don’t like people who talk back.
6.    We just don’t want any negative people in our company.
7.    When I say jump, I want people who say “how high!”
8.     I want “yes I can” people.

And we hear many other derivations of the above. 

Here is the challenge-Many positions actually require critical people who are highly analytical with an eagle eye for detail and error. These aren’t people with a negative attitude. Lets consider the following positions-

1.    QA Tech
2.    Compliance Supervisor
3.    Quality Control Manager
4.    Electrical Inspector
5.    Industrial Engineer
6.    Safety Manager
7.    Under ground wire and pipe locator
8.    Auditor

And many other positions, do not need, or should we say, cannot have a delusional sycophant (another word for “always has a positive attitude”) in place, if your the goal is a high performer. Many hiring managers and business owners who adhere to the positive attitude test, if left to their own instinct, would hire people who are prone to sycophant behavioral tendencies. 

This is the main point. When hiring, organizations need to know the behavioral tendencies required to perform well and those that may derail a candidate. This is much more nuanced than a simple gut feel if someone is negative or positive.

Jim Collins, in his Book, Good to Great, makes it clear that the best CEO’s advocate and promote debate and desire people who will stand up for how they see impact and potential outcomes from major decisions.

That being said, hiring managers and business owners need to know not only a candidate’s behavioral tendencies, but those behaviors that can lead to success or failure for each position.  We call this benchmarking or profiling a position.

Lets look at a few of the more detailed behaviors we suggest benchmarking and then assessing candidates for the tendency, using normed evidence based tools. 

Excitable, Skeptical, Cautious, Reserved, Leisurely
Bold, Mischievous, Colorful, Imaginative, Diligent, Dutiful 

As you can see, each one of the tendencies may or may not be perceived as positive or negative. Each one also has sub behaviors.  

And there a number of other behaviors and cognitive skills that are predictive of job fit and on the job performance. Every job and culture will have a different benchmark and profile that helps guide a decision about potential success or failure of a candidate.

As you might see now, assessing candidates, is not as easy as asking, “do they have a positive attitude”.  A positive attitude may not even be needed and in fact depending on the job, may be an impediment to post hire job performance.  

We believe, and research validates our belief, this cannot be left to gut or instinct feel of a hiring manger or business owner. 

By-Kenneth l. Greenberg, CEO-KLG Consultants, LLC

KLG Consultants, LLC  a Talent Acquisition and Talent Development firm based in Colorado. The firm offers custom professional development programs and skilled professionals on an outsourced and permanent hire basis to organizations of all types and size.