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Leadership

Practice Rescue: 3 Tips to Hiring the Right Candidate

T he unemployment rate is at an all-time low, and the war for amazing talent is at an all-time high. What can employers do to find the best fit for the position they seek to fill?

A dentist client recently told me that she was so desperate to fill an open dental assistant position in her practice that she hired the first candidate that applied, despite the “yellow flags” she sensed when she was interviewing the candidate. These same warning signs resurfaced during the employee’s 90-day onboarding/contingency period.

What are yellow flags?

Yellow flags are indicators that a candidate or new hire may not meet all our requirements from either a skills, personality or cultural fit level. The applicant does not quite give us the obvious red flag that would disqualify that person from consideration, but rather shows elements that cause some sort of underlying concern that he or she may not be the ideal fit.

Yellow flags are indicators that a candidate or new hire may not meet all our requirements from either a skills, personality or cultural fit level.

Often, we feel in our gut that something just isn’t right, but not being able to pinpoint exactly what it is, we may be inclined to hire anyway. Dismissing those gut feelings can come back to haunt us, especially if we overvalue the candidate’s potential due to an urgency to fill the open position.

Three examples of yellow flags during the interview process may include the following:

  1. Workplace timelines do not add up on the candidate’s resume.
  2. The candidate is very eager, or even aggressive, about securing employment with your practice.
  3. The candidate offers openly negative discussions regarding a previous employer and that employer’s work environment.

3 tips

How do we avoid getting sucked into a yellow-flag employee?

  • Use words in your job posting to describe your practice and the position that would attract the type of candidate you are looking for, such as “growth-minded” or “fast-paced.” You want to sell the position. Great candidates are not just looking for a job, they are also looking for a great fit. You want a candidate that is as particular about where they work as you are about hiring the right person.

You want a candidate that is as particular about where they work as you are about hiring the right person.

  • Ask yourself if the candidates applying for the position are hungry for more. Are they teachable and passionate for growth in your business? Initiative cannot be taught.
  • Ensure you have a system in place for true references, background checks and interview processes with several current members of the staff prior to making an official job offer.

Green, yellow, red

In some cases, you just know when you’ve stumbled upon a great candidate. The signs point to green from the beginning and nothing throughout the process gives any indication to doubt those signs. Yellow flags are more common when you find someone that has some, but not all, of what you are looking for in an ideal candidate.

In some cases, you just know when you’ve stumbled upon a great candidate. The signs point to green from the beginning.

These yellow flags are not to be confused with red flags that come with candidates who have a criminal or drug history, are not a cultural fit with your organization or simply possess an incapacity to do the job. On the racetrack, yellow indicates caution. If your candidate is causing you to raise the yellow flag, I suggest you proceed with caution before offering that person a position.

Download Our Free Hiring Guide.

In this guide, you’ll get access to the seven most important questions to ask when hiring someone. And yes, they go way beyond a basic job description.

5 Characteristics of Great Leaders

T  he hope of every employee is to work for a leader they like and respect. While each person may have their own definition of what constitutes a “great leader,” we can agree there are certain traits that appeal to the masses.

If you are a leader and you possess these five traits, you are probably quite successful. If you don’t think these traits describe your leadership style, working on one or more of these areas would be a great place to start in order to build a better rapport with your teams.

Humility

We may often think a successful leader needs to be a commanding or charismatic presence, yet often it’s exactly the opposite type of leader that appeals more so to a workforce. A leader who shows humility steps out of the spotlight and lets that light shine upon the team. While having a fiery or attention-grabbing personality may be great for a leader doing a public speaking engagement, that approach can wear thin with workers on a day-to-day basis.

We may often think a successful leader needs to be a commanding or charismatic presence, yet often it’s exactly the opposite type of leader that appeals more so to a workforce.

Sue Shellenbarger of The Wall Street Journal said, “Humility is a core quality of leaders who inspire close teamwork, rapid learning and high performance in their teams, according to several studies in the past three years. Humble people tend to be aware of their own weaknesses, eager to improve themselves, appreciative of others’ strengths and focused on goals beyond their own self-interest.”

She ascertains that humility leads to lower turnover and absenteeism, because these leaders tend to let their teams get the majority of the attention and the accolades, making them feel more engaged.

Conviction

Author Nishant Bhajaria wrote an article entitled, Four Mistakes That Made Me a Better Manager. In this article, Bhajaria cites four key attributes that any leader needs to have to empower them for success: conviction, courage, good listening skills and the ability to mentor.

“Believing in the mission is at the foundation of everything a manager does. All plans and strategies are built from that mission. You can’t build a sound structure without a solid foundation, and it works exactly the same way in business. As the leader, you are responsible not only for yourself, but for every member of your team. You have to believe in them to be able to support them in times of need. The bottom line is simple: employees want to follow a leader they believe in and a leader in whom they trust.”

Courage

Put more than one person in a room and disagreements are bound to occur. When there is a disagreement, a great leader needs to be able to stand their ground believing in their position, while still being receptive to the opposition’s point of view. Conversely, they have to understand that there are occasions when their beliefs may not be best for the organization and they must be willing to be flexible. The key is to win others over through a sound and calm fact-base case rather than by becoming emotional or argumentative.

Part of having courage is trusting your people to do the job without a lot of interference.

Part of having courage is trusting your people to do the job without a lot of interference. Constantly being involved with minutiae can become more of a distraction than a help, and it impedes an employee from wanting to take chances and expand their comfort zone. An employee that is constantly challenged becomes tentative, and eventually, complacent. A great leader will provide instruction and direction, then trust that the employee is capable enough of carrying out the duties out in a meaningful way.

Great listener

A great leader certainly needs to be a support system for the team, but the leader must also let the workers grow. With growth comes the occasional failure, which is perfectly acceptable since it leads to expanding comfort zones and learning new skills.

Workers typically want to know that when they have a need or a concern, their manager will be there to listen to them and lend support, if needed. Sometimes, just letting an employee verbally brainstorm or even vent is all that is needed. Being a good listener can be as powerful, if not more powerful, than a “fix it” manager who always feels the need to try to fix problems that may not actually exist.

Mentoring

Very few people are “born leaders.” Most leaders need to learn their skills somewhere and from someone. Virtually every great leader can immediately recall someone who helped them over the years, especially when they needed help the most. Even if the mentor’s involvement seemed insignificant at the time, it can often leave a long-lasting positive impact on the person who was helped.

A great manager understands that the more they listen, the more they can learn, and let’s the employees do the majority of the talking.

Virtually every great leader can immediately recall someone who helped them over the years, especially when they needed help the most.

Mentoring can be done in a structured, formal capacity or very casually. Mentoring is simply helping others get to where they want to go. It can be a full-fledged training program or a properly timed pep talk.

When I was a young sales executive, I didn’t have an official mentor or a predesigned career path to get into management. I did, however, have a high-ranking division leader that I went to when I needed words of wisdom. That leader came through every time, no matter how seemingly insignificant the issue. While he may not have even realized he was being a mentor at the time, I credit him with a key role in my eventual move into sales management because of his words of wisdom and the things I learned from him, including the example he set as a leader.

Conclusion

There are many people who hold positions of authority, but there is a shortage of great leaders. When I think back to the leaders who made the greatest positive impact in my life, there were a few consistencies. These were the leaders that respected me as a person and a worker, supported me in good times and bad, and gave me the space to do what I did best – produce results.

At times, a week could go by without more than casual conversation with these great managers. This was perfectly ok with me because I knew what I needed to do and the manager knew I was getting the work done at a high level. Micromanaging simply wasn’t necessary. But when I needed the manager, they made themselves available. The mutual respect led to a great working relationship and the results spoke for themselves.

Download Our Free Hiring Guide.

In this guide, you’ll get access to the seven most important questions to ask when hiring someone. And yes, they go way beyond a basic job description.

Mentoring Using DISC

L eading a successful team can be compared to a directing a musical performance, such as a classical orchestra or choral concert. Individuals who bear little resemblance to each other often need to learn how to harmonize and respect the differences they bring to the team. Their diversity in style and substance, when properly harmonized, makes beautiful music.

It is rather easy for a conductor to identify who plays what instrument. It is no less important for managers to know the behavioral or work styles of the individuals they manage and how they can best contribute to the organization.

Behavioral styles, such as DISC, can tell a lot about how a person will typically behave a majority of the time. The DISC indicators can be considered predictors of how a peer or colleague might approach a challenge or influence others to their way of thinking.

Being able to adapt to people who possess different behavioral styles is the key to success in both business and in life.

Being able to adapt to people who possess different behavioral styles is the key to success in both business and in life. Since behavioral styles are observable, it’s easy to determine someone’s style and react accordingly.

As someone who specializes in mentoring, I often discuss ways a mentor can best work with a mentoree, even with very different behavioral styles. While the examples below illustrate the mentor/mentoree relationship, these skills can be applied between any two people communicating in any setting.

DISC Defined

DISC is an acronym that stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. The science of DISC explains the “how” a person does what they do, and can be a strong predictor of future behavior.

When someone scores higher in one particular area of DISC compared to the others, they are considered “high” in that particular factor. High-D’s are all about results. High-I’s are about interaction. High-S’s seek stability while the high-C is all about following rules. This basic understanding helps to illustrate how to identify various behavior styles when entering a room with other people.

Working with an opposing behavioral style in a mentoring partnership

Sometimes, you might be paired with someone because of their career trajectory or technical expertise but find that you do not share much else in common. Here are some ideas for working with a partner whose DISC style feels in opposition to your own:

A high-D and a low-D — For the high-D adapting to the low D: Slow down. Drop the intensity. Create a safe learning environment.  If the low D feels calm and comfortable, they are more likely to admit “I don’t know” or “This is where I need help.” Low Ds like lessons to follow and a forum to discuss problem-solving options.

A high-I and low-I — Outwardly, these two styles share very little in common — one is people-oriented and the other is task-oriented. One tends to trust indiscriminately while the other tends to remain guarded and untrusting. The high-I will have to respect the low-I’s low-trust level and will need to seek to build trust gradually. Ask the low-I for their input while planning development activities and for their impressions on how comfortable they are with stretch assignments.

A high-S and a low-S – In this relationship, the calculated decision maker must adjust to a high-risk taker. In other words, someone who prefers a slower pace (high-S) needs to work with someone who moves quickly. The high-S will need to pick up the pace when communicating with the low-S: cover only the high points and strive for directness.

A high-C and a low-C – Because the high C and the low C are both task-oriented, the area of potential conflict lies within the scope of compliance and risk taking. The risk-averse high-C competes with the low-C’s need for independence which can many times cause a considerable amount of tension. The high-C will need to give the low-C honest feedback if they are tackling problems with little regard for the possible ramifications of a quick decision.

Using DISC to design developmental activities

No matter which style each partner brings to the relationship, savvy mentors will look for opportunities to move the mentoring meetings beyond philosophical chats and/or venting sessions. In other words, to maximize learning, mentors should engage the mentoree in a variety of situations and developmental experiences.

To maximize learning, mentors should engage the mentoree in a variety of situations and developmental experiences.

To keep your mentoree engaged, consider their DISC style (both highs and lows) when designing development activities.  For example:

High-D’s, high-C’s or low-I’s – Tend to put tasks before people, so they struggle with interpersonal skills. If the goal is to enhance people skills — ask your mentoree to consider investing one day each month listening to the concerns and needs of his/her employees or peers.  Encourage them to look for opportunities to help someone talk through a project with which they are struggling.

High-I’s or high-S’s — These two behavioral styles have trouble setting clear standards and holding others accountable – particularly people over whom they do not have authority. In this case, perhaps the goal would be to work with your mentoree to create a project management system for following up on outstanding tasks and action items.

Low-S’s or high-D’s —These two styles tend to struggle with maintaining emotional intelligence during difficult times/situations. The ideal developmental activity would be to identify someone for the mentoree to shadow who is going to lead a team through a difficult conversation about a failed project.

Low-D’s, high-S’s or high-C’s — These styles need time to think things through before making a decision or taking a risk. To help build confidence in decision-making and risk-taking, encourage your mentoree to journal about what holds them back from making a decision. At your next mentoring meeting, discuss the pros and cons of the decision and an action plan for moving forward.

DISC as a guide for mentoring meetings

When meeting with a high-D or high-C: Expect these meetings to be brief and to the point.  Be sure to show up on time and prepared to dive into business.

When meeting with a high-I: Provide a friendly and fun environment. Give them plenty of time to talk. Remember they get pretty excited about things – lots of things – so you might need to ground them a little.

When meeting with a high-S: Just like the High-I’s, they need a friendly environment. Don’t rush headlong into business, give them a chance to break the ice and warm up to you. Always give them time to think things through. Be sure to send an agenda ahead of the meeting so they know what topics you would like to discuss.

When meeting with a high-C: Be sure to show up on time and stick to business. Don’t expect the meeting to run a full hour if they run out of things to discuss. Be careful of appearing too lighthearted, casual or showy and be sure to follow through on your promises. Just like the High-S’s, they will appreciate an agenda sent ahead of time.

Conclusion

Whether you are in a mentor/mentoree relationship or simply communicating with a friend or co-worker, understanding and being able to adapt to differing behavioral styles is the key to great communication and success in work and in life.

Download Our Free Hiring Guide.

In this guide, you’ll get access to the seven most important questions to ask when hiring someone. And yes, they go way beyond a basic job description.

3 Tips For Keeping Employees Engaged Using DISC [Infographic]

B ehavioral assessments, such as DISC, are an excellent tool helping leaders worldwide better understand and connect more effectively with their workforce, raising engagement and productivity.

Dominanace

  1. Be direct and prepared in communications
  2. Motivate them with challenges
  3. Eliminate small talk and get to the point

Influence

  1. Casually ease into conversations; avoid directness
  2. Provide opportunities to work with other people
  3. Create an open workspace where interaction is encouraged

Steadiness

  1. Communicate at a steady pace
  2. Let them ask questions
  3. Avoid asking them to act or react immediately

Compliance

  1. Provide as many facts and details as possible, preferably in writing
  2. Be patient; the C can be a meticulous perfectionist
  3. Clearly communicate expectations and deadlines

Using a tool as powerful as DISC eliminates much of the guesswork for leaders while providing a game plan from which to best communicate with employees.

Download Our Free Hiring Guide.

In this guide, you’ll get access to the seven most important questions to ask when hiring someone. And yes, they go way beyond a basic job description.

3 Tips for Leaders: How to Improve Your Feedback

When was the last time you gave constructive feedback to one of your employees? Have you ever felt like you’re reaching out to them with your words of encouragement? Did they change their work and behavior after listening to you?

Ah, that feedback. It’s one of your main responsibilities as a leader. You have to provide it, so your employees will understand their strengths and weaknesses, and they will get better at what they do. It’s a pressuring responsibility, though.

  • When you need to give credit for a job well done, you don’t want your feedback to lead to extreme self-confidence and arrogance.
  • When criticism is on the menu, you must take care with the way you express it. Instead of making an employee feel bad, you need to inspire them to get better.

Where’s the balance? How can you improve the feedback you give? Try something like this:

 

1.Clarify your purpose.

 

You invite an employee to your office. They may come with a smile on their face, but you know they are tense. They don’t know what to expect, so they are getting more and more stressed as you carry on with your long introduction.

Why are you giving feedback?

 

Instead of introducing them to the feedback with something like…

“So, about the last project we did… You were in charge of public relations, and your responsibilities involved marketing and social media management.”

…Okay, okay, cut to the chase. They know what their responsibilities were, and they know what they did. Start with something like this:

“I called you in to talk about the job you did on this project. The point is for both of us to understand the strengths and weaknesses, and do something even better in future…”

Be clear on the goal of feedback, and always state it right from the start. It’s always about bringing changes and improvements in the worker’s behavior.

 

2. Hear them out

 

What’s the worst thing you could expect from an employee who gets feedback? Defensive attitude. People value their own work. If you criticize it, they will try to defend it. The person will either try to explain their point of view, or they will act like they are listening to you, but you’ll keep seeing the anger in their face.

If your employee has something to say, hear them out. Maybe the situation was different from the way you perceive it. Maybe this person sitting in front of you wasn’t fully responsible for the mistakes. Maybe they had good intentions, so you’ll both have to discover what went wrong.

If they are not talking, but you can notice the defensive attitude on their face, ask: “Do you agree we can do things differently? Do you think my suggestions are okay? What do you suggest as a solution?”

Remember: feedback is not a one-way presentation of opinions. It has to come in the form of a conversation.

 

3. Timing is everything!

 

“I don’t like the job you did with this project. You made the same mistakes last time.”

Wait, what? Why didn’t you tell them last time? Remember: the sooner you give your feedback, the better for everyone. First of all, your employees don’t like waiting for hours or days just to find out what you think about the work they did. Untimely feedback is a great problem that leads to ineffective leadership.

Give feedback as frequently as possible. You don’t have to invite employees into your office each time, but you can give brief, clear statements that will serve as affirmation, criticism, or guidelines. When you value their performance on an ongoing basis, they will do a better job.

 

Clear, timely feedback that leaves space for two-way conversation – that’s the recipe for success. Here are the most important takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Provide very specific feedback and always explain why the employee needs to make changes in their behavior. Clarify the goal!
  • Get their opinion. If they don’t agree with your feedback, hear them out.
  • Your feedback should closely tie to the behavior in question. It’s more powerful when you provide it as soon as possible.

Now, take a deep breath. Are you ready to give some feedback today?

 

Written By Julie Peterson

4 Tips Managers Should Adopt to Relate to Millennials

There are few greater challenges for modern companies than managing the current dynamic of generations within the workplace.

In the past, many companies did not have to worry about major generational conflict at work: seniority and experience reigned supreme, while newer employees entered the pipeline, worked their way up, and were then rewarded with higher positions, pay, benefits and perks.

The Younger Generation will Comprise 75% of the U.S. Workforce in 15 Years

 

My, what a difference a few decades make!

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials have become the largest generation in today’s U.S. workforce and are projected to comprise about 75 percent in just 15 years.

Not only are millennials a massive cohort, they also have very different ideas about how and why they work when compared to earlier generations.

Despite their rapid movement toward retirement — within the next decade, a majority of Baby Boomers will be of retirement age — boomers still hold a large percentage of leadership positions, especially in more “traditional” industries (i.e. manufacturing, utility and power, government, etc.).

So, how can more senior managers and leaders relate to and draw the most out of their younger employees? Here are 4 tips for relating to this young generation:

 

1. Don’t be a boss, be a coach.

 

Like many of my peers, I was introduced to league- and team-based sports early in my life and participated in them religiously. Thinking back, I can still remember every coach I had and their impact on my performance and attitude.The good ones pulled performance out of me, were encouraging but firm, tough but fair, and provided guidance about how to do the “job” well. Because of their influence, I learned to love the sports they coached.The bad ones, however, played favorites, dismissed questions or concerns, didn’t listen, and were arrogant or hateful, and my perception of the sport was diminished.

The No. 1 reason a millennial will leave their job is due to a bad manager. If companies want to reduce their turnover costs and retain millennial talent, managers need to be coaches — not bosses.

 

2. Set your values and live by them.

 

Millennials have a strong inclination toward aligning justice and fairness across the various aspects of their lives. They want their work to be meaningful and make a difference — and to not just collect a paycheck every two weeks.

There is little forgiveness for companies that act unethically or hypocritically. Not only are they likely to lose their millennial talent, but their brand might also be blasted across social media and be publicly shamed.

If companies don’t have their values in order, or they haven’t communicated them to their employees, there’s no time like the present. If such corporate values are already in place, for the love of God live by them! Hypocrisy is an extremely toxic corporate value for millennials.

 

3. Create opportunities for development

 

The average tenure for millennials in any one job is two years. Yep, you read that right — that millennial employee you just spent a lot of resources to hire at the beginning of last year might not be with your company for the holiday party this year. Why are they leaving?

One of the primary reasons millennials decide to pack up and leave is because they don’t believe they are receiving any personal benefit or growth. Millennials have grown up in an era of instant access to information, leading them to become more efficient in problem solving, decision-making and critical thinking.

Work with this generation to make a development plan for their job that includes continuing education, progressive job training and coaching. This type of development provides them more responsibility and will allow them to move up the proverbial corporate leadership ladder.

 

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

 

From my experience, if there is one key concept for working well with millennials, it’s communication. My generation is used to instant communication in almost every facet of our lives, from parents, teachers, coaches and peers, so it makes sense that we would expect the same from our managers.

However, this is a big shift for a lot of managers. Whereas older generations would only receive feedback during annual performance reviews, millennials want to receive feedback much more regularly. It’s not just the frequency of communication, but also the content. Millennials want to know if their performance may be suffering, as well as when they are succeeding.

Moreover, they want to be included in brainstorming about how the job could be improved, provide new ideas for productivity or efficiency, and learn how their role fits within the organization. Think about your communication. If you believe you’re communicating too little, you most likely are not meeting the mark!

 

Maximize Your Resources!

 

If you follow these four tips, you will be well on your way to maximizing your millennial workforce.

Take this to heart: Millennial workers, if managed properly, can be your most productive, innovative and motivated employees yet! Once they feel invested in, the sky is the limit.

 

Written By Tyler Howell

How to Build a High Performing Team for the Future

A future high performing team will be more diverse than ever and so will be the makeup of those teams. According to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers. Diversity comes from many different perspectives, including gender, generation, race, workforce type and the way a team functions.

So what will teams look like in ten years? Here are five trends we predict based on what’s happening in the workplace within the past few years.

 

Trend 1: Global workforce is still in

According to American Sociological Review, companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity in their organizations bring in nearly 15 times more sales revenue than those with lowest levels. With the trend of globalization, international talents mobility continues. By 2065, no racial or ethnic group will be a majority and therefore there will be no US corporations that have employees consisting of a single race.

We can expect that there will be more culturally diverse teams in the workplace in the future.

Question for employers: How can you offer intercultural communication training and support for your team members?

 

Trend 2: Multi-team is rising

Employee retention is going away. Today, more individuals are hiring companies to fulfill their dreams and teach them specific skills rather than a company hiring employees and trying to retain them permanently. As a result, it’s not uncommon for employees to function in a “micro career mode,” which develops their skills while performing in their current positions in order to prepare for their next career move.

What we need to watch for in the future workplace is more project-based and less department-based teams.

Question for employers: How can you provide your employees opportunities to work on different projects that leverage their talents and passions?

Trend 3: Generation Z in workplace

2017 will mark the first full year that Generation Z will be settling into the workplace, with a new mindset on business and new expectations on their optimal work environment. Just as Millennials brought a new dynamic to the workplace when they entered the workforce, Gen Z is now adding another layer of complexity to cross-generational communication. While Gen Z will bring new insights and perspectives into the workplace, be aware they will also bring some challenges and new modes of thinking into the workplace.

Question for employers: How might you develop a balanced team consisting of members of Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers?

 

Trend 3: Blended workforce type

Multiple studies from Intuit to The Freelancer’s Union predict that at least 40% of the workforce will be freelancers in the next few years. The rising number of freelancers indicates that more companies are outsourcing services to maximize their resources. At the same time, more individuals are pursuing micro-careers. This combination will lead to teams with a blended workforce.

You will notice more part-time employees, freelancers, contractors and agencies will be working side-by-side with full-time employees.

Question for employers: How might you provide the flexibility and a work-life balance for your talent?

 

Trend 4: Team over individual performance

The function of our jobs is no longer singularly task based. More than ever, we are relying on each other to move the organizational goals forward. According to ATD (Association for Talent Development), one of the biggest challenges for managers is how to motivate a team to a more clearly defined goal. Based on Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends, 88% of this year’s respondents across the globe rated building the organization of the future as a very important issue as networks and ecosystems replace organizational hierarchies.

This shift reinforces the trend that teams will become more collaborative and team performance will be weighted higher than individual performance.

Question for employers: How can you build a perfect team that can deliver high performance while working well together?

With these five trends, employers might need to upgrade their talent management strategy. Ensuring alignment of the whole team is more and more critical than recruiting and retaining a few rock stars. What’s your talent strategy regarding creating a high potential team?

 

Written By Kefei Wang