Look Under The Hood Hiring – Take Charge

Candidates the organization is looking to hire can have a very professional and convincing initial impression in an interview which is why you have to look under the hood when hiring so you know exactly what you are getting that may not be visible from the outside.  One of the more easier characteristics for interviewees to fake in an interview is their willingness and ability to take charge by engaging and managing conflict.  This applies to both low and high take charge kind of people.  Like most candidates who want the job they say what they have to say and behave in a way that may not reflect the real them.  Perhaps you hire somebody who fit your expectations with taking charge and as soon as six months after they are hired, leadership and team problems are showing up that are setting off all kinds of alarms.  Now you and the recruiting team are left asking yourselves, “how did we miss that?”  Perhaps it’s because with a little practice, the behavior of “Take Charge” is very easy to fake.

It may offer some great insight to look under the hood more closely at the behavior of “Take Charge” so that you are successful at placing leaders in the right roles that fit their natural behaviors on this measure.  To accomplish this a good normative assessment with a data reliability score of .80 or higher can prove to be a very useful tool.  Leaders with low take charge behaviors have a tendency to avoid conflict or they can take a very indirect path to managing it.  Often the goal of minimizing conflict becomes a higher priority than team performance.  They are frequently well liked because they are good listeners but not always respected.  Leaders who display difficulty with engaging in conflict can break trust and lose respect from peers and direct reports.  They may lose balance on the team when the more dominant personalities start to get away with poor performance and blaming others for lack of results.  There is a proven equation to help low take charge leaders effectively manage conflict that we discuss in other messages.

Leaders who naturally engage in conflict can build some solid team trust because this behavior is reliable with the leader often not shy about setting expectations.  As long as they manage conflict to a fair outcome.  If not careful however, high conflict leaders can actually attach their identity to conflict and as a result cause conflict when it isn’t really necessary just to give themselves a purpose.  Unless you look under the hood for this level of conflict, in an interview setting it can show up as a misleading level of confidence.  At times leaders who possess a very high need to be engaged in conflict get in the middle of other people’s conflict that doesn’t involve them because it feels good and fulfills their purpose.  These leaders have a way of keeping the team so on edge that performance suffers.

Where a leader’s level of take charge can fool even the best interview panels is that high assertive high take charge leader who tends to be quieter because they have learned the art and value of listening.  This blend of leadership can prove to be absolutely wonderful.  High take charge leaders if not aware can have a difficult time listening because they demonstrate their take charge nature by talking in some fashion.  They interrupt people or finish sentences for other people, and frequently inject opposing views with absolute certainty.  It is critical to look under the hood for hiring here because a good take charge leader who also listens does not always display the stereotypical behaviors of taking charge and they can be true leadership rockstars.

There is no good or bad about one’s natural willingness and ability to take charge and manage conflict.  It is more important to determine how a leader wherever they fall will fits the culture, fits their team, and fits their role.  The question is, now that you have looked under the hood and know what you are getting, do you accept the responsibility of managing such behaviors.  The end result is a good hiring decision with no conversation at the six month mark with the hiring team saying “how in the world did we miss that?”