[September 17, 2013] One of the key attributes of senior executive leaders is their ability to select the right people for the right job. Unfortunately, sometimes people are chosen even to be senior leaders who turn out to be stunning failures.
Choosing leaders is not just a difficult task, but new senior executive leaders should quickly establish their own teams and staffs with those who believe in the organization’s strategy and vision. The success of an organization depends upon the people who are around you. So, it is not good enough to have the best people, but also those with the right fit; the best is not always the right person.
Being an effective senior executive leader also means that there will be some disruptions, so making those new leader hires happen quickly, allowing a new clean slate. Taking an aggressive, proactive hiring approach also helps prevent organizational stagnation.
The senior executive leader cannot do all the hiring, so recognize that top-notch executives who are doing some of the hiring will typically hire others who are exceptional and that leaders who are not the best often will not hire exceptional employees.
Proactive hiring also means that the senior executive leader should be in contact with a network outside the organization that identifies the best talent. Waiting for the need to appear before an executive/employee search begins, ensures your organization remains behind the curve.
What are some of the traits to look for in potential hires? Not all traits can be found in their reputations, interviews, or resume/biographies. Just a few attributes are listed here and reflect my personal bias:
- Positive attitude and sense of humor.
- Ability to “see” outside the obvious.
- Diverse, interesting, useful opinions.
- Ability to think quickly and recognize solutions.
- Dedication to one’s family and community.
- Activities outside work.
In the end, the senior executive leader is responsible for all hires. And, if an employee is not contributing to the organization or creating a toxic environment, the senior leader must ensure swift action is taken to remove that person from their position (reassign, terminate, transfer, demote). The only wrong decisions are to fail to act or to transfer a problem employee to someone else.
Ensure that the selection of the right people is based on your senior leader priorities, not those of others. Ultimately, the senior executive leader has final say and final responsibility.