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The HR Manager: Building Your Leadership Team

Today’s difficult circumstances can reveal tomorrow’s leaders

By Becky Scheeler

Albert Einstein’s name is commonly associated with genius in the realm of science. However, what is often forgotten is that he was also heralded for philosophical views, which included the belief that “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
It’s of the utmost importance to heed Einstein’s words and build the leadership team today that ensures the future of your organization before it becomes a thing of the past.

It’s all in the mind(set)
The once-depleted work talent pool has been re-energized with individuals ready to take advantage of new opportunities. Thus, excuses pertaining to developing a leadership team should now be null and void as companies rethink business models and increase focus on the present to hire for growth and innovation in the future.

In hiring for leadership positions, employees typically exist in one of two spaces mentally: Fixed or growth. Those with fixed mindsets are exactly that: Fixed on what they do well but limited in their ability to handle things outside of their comfort zone. They are likely to avoid uncertainty (i.e. the future) and are more concerned with looking smart than listening to other points of view in order to improve. Growth mindsets love learning and taking on new challenges and constantly seek opportunities for improvement. They leverage feedback to their advantage and are inspired by others.

Knowing how to spot these diamonds in the rough during the interview process is key. Growth mindset people will provide in-depth answers to interview questions about not only their successes, but also how they built up others along the way and what they learned from their failures. Additionally, growth mindset people are self-starters who have maximized their unexpected time at home to enhance existing skills, explore their interests and improve their lives by taking on new challenges. When our organization is helping a client with hiring, we find that situational questions (“Tell me about a time when …”) are our best ally in ferreting out those with a fixed mindset. Growth mindsets will always be transparent about failures and eager to discuss what they’ve learned from them.

Re-alphabetizing your team players
In the wake of the current pandemic, economic shortfalls found companies letting go of their “C” (or fixed minded) employees, often placing an increased workload on their “A” and “B” performers (many of which are growth mindsets or those with the potential to be). It leaves one wondering, why did they wait until a pandemic to make the change? And how much time and money has been wasted—along with frustrating and unnecessary conversations—because “A” and “B” players were forced to play alongside or, worse yet, carry the weight for “C” players?
While these A and B-level talents are likely to stay with their current employers throughout this crisis, research shows their increased workload will likely find them seeing their way to new opportunities as soon as possible—unless they are provided with the proper support from the right leadership team.

Support and development for all team members
Everyone remembers what it was like working on group projects in class in their youth. The “overachievers” would overcompensate for the “underachievers” who would ultimately receive a grade they didn’t deserve. In the business world, however, the overachievers will get tired of waiting on those who do not pull their weight, get frustrated and eventually leave. That is why it is crucial to keep your “A’s” motivated, develop and encourage your “B’s” and the others that don’t measure up will eventually sort themselves.

Hiring and, more importantly, nurturing your “A” and “B” players with growth mindsets will help you retain employees that want to—and can—grow along with your company.