A Good Leader Hires UP

hire up

Have you ever noticed those leaders that consistently hire people who are under-qualified for the position they’re in?

I worked with 2 good examples of this over the years:

  • My boss who stayed away from a very qualified supervisor candidate. He felt this individual would challenge his decisions as he was a very sharp restaurateur. When questioned by his boss why that candidate wasn’t hired, he excused it away and said there was work history issues that disqualified him.
  • A colleague of mine in social services who always hired people with 2-year or no degrees for clinical positions that other facilities required a minimum 4 year graduate degree. She desired to be the heart of information and the center of the department that she oversaw. Her justification was that she could never find a candidate with all the necessary qualifications.

Both of these examples showcase the two main reasons why people of position fail to hire strong, qualified candidates:

  • Fear. The fear of hiring someone who can hold you accountable, show your weaknesses, or maybe take over your position. This causes leaders to shy away from great people.
  • Power. There are leaders who choose to squelch ideas from their subordinates so they can be the guru, the one from whom all the decisions and answers come from.

As a leader, it can be somewhat scary to bring aboard good solid candidates if we view them from the two lenses above.

Yet how many of us, as job candidates ourselves at one time or another, have been passed over from positions we were qualified for because our potential employer had barriers due to fear or power?

A great leader will have no problem hiring top notch, solid people to be on their team. The best leaders and teams know how to Hire UP.

By Hiring UP, you are seeking out the best candidate for the job without any restrictions or prejudices. You are looking for those individuals that will positively push the envelope, raise the bar on standards, elevate the purpose, and most important of all, stretch you as a leader and make you grow.

Years ago I had a young woman named Caroline who was terrific at her job yet her strong sense of black-and-white caused her to be abrasive and not well-respected by her peers or my supervisory team. I instructed my leadership team to work with her to see others for their views and to be more uplifting to those who work in a different manner than her but still did quality work.

Over time, Caroline grew in her people skills and when it was time to hire internally for a supervisor position, I asked my leadership team to consider her. They balked, mostly out of fear. They were afraid that because of her past negativity and being a stickler for rules, that she would scrutinize their every move.

I reminded my team to remember what I asked them to do to me – that I wanted them to hold me accountable to keep me sharp. I asked them to set aside their fears and interview Caroline with an open mind and for her qualifications for the job. We had a unique opportunity to raise the caliber of our leadership team and I asked them to Hire UP and interview every candidate with that in mind.

Caroline did get selected for the supervisor position, and succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations, including mine. She did indeed hold my leadership team, myself included, to a high standard, yet it was met with an openness and willingness to work together without fear or any internal power base.

Fear restricts good candidates from finding a place on your team. Power squelches growth from within.

Hiring UP allows leadership, and your people, to grow, thrive, and push each other to another level of performance.


(image courtesy of officesvirtual.com)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on August.10.2014, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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