Trying to fit in: Tips for hiring leaders

Dear A Advisor,

Many of the teams in my company are expanding and I’m looking for new managers to lead them. I’m looking for candidates that will fit in well with my teams’ cultures, but who will pinpoint improvements to be made in the teams. Since my teams already have a strong culture, I think it’s particularly important to protect it. How do I determine whether a candidate is able to balance these competing demands?


Looking for Leaders

Hi LfL,

You’ve described a tricky balance. Protecting your teams’ positive culture is integral to keeping them satisfied and engaged in the workplace. With a new manager, teams often go through a challenging adjustment period; a new leader who does not have an interest in preserving culture may be detrimental to engagement, especially during this period of change. A growing company needs a leader who can move a team forward, streamline processes and take proactive steps to improve the health of a company, but the leader’s first priority should be to coach, inspire and guide a team to success. In other words, a leader should ensure employee engagement.

One of the most effective ways to define which qualities are needed in a new leader is to ask your staff. Their varied perspectives will shed light on their professional needs, and the needs of the company at different levels. Team member and other leaders are two broad categories who can offer unique insight into the qualities that a strong leader should possess:

Leaders. The leadership team, or whoever will be supervising your new managers, will have concrete, strategic goals to accomplish. At this level, their bird’s-eye perspective makes them prioritize the health and growth of the business. Ask them to provide examples of the kind of progress they would like to see in their business. Your interview should ask the candidate how they would strategize to reach those goals.

Team members. The team will have the strongest perspective of the day-to-day successes and frustrations of the business. They are the front line; for them, company culture and the professional environment is of utmost importance. Team members will be your most valuable resource to understand culture, how it needs to be improved, or how it needs to be protected. Ask them what they would like to see improved in their daily professional lives, how their job could be made more efficient; ask them what works, what keeps them engaged, and what they’re proud of. Their answers will direct your assessment of a candidate’s cultural fit during the recruitment process.

The answers you receive from staff at all levels of your organization will intertwine to give you a detailed picture of what your company needs in its managers.

Good luck in your new hires!

The A Advisor

How do you find candidates who fit with your company culture?

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