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How to Hire the Right Leaders for Your Team

November 14, 2022

From team lead to department head to VP, the leaders you put in place set the tone for your whole organization. Hiring for leadership roles requires not only a detailed assessment of skills, but consideration of how this person will steer you company’s culture. The interview process is an opportunity to assess how they handle the most crucial leadership skills: decision-making, ability to inspire, communication, a drive for results, and collaboration.

Effective leadership doesn’t just direct employees but motivates them.

Where do you want your company to be in three months? In one year? In five years? An effective leader will orient their team toward these goals rather than simply telling them what to do. They lead by example while offering support and encouragement. When interviewing candidates, probe with questions like:

  • How do you describe your leadership style?
  • What drives you?
  • How do you motivate your team?
  • How do you demonstrate appreciation for your direct reports?
  • What’s your approach to guiding your direct reports toward their targets?

Ask for examples of their inspiration and motivation of team members so you have a better understanding of their style and how they interact with their team.

Decision making and people skills are a must.

Leadership has to make decisions for their team every day, so getting a good understanding of how they make choices is vital. Can they make decisions and stand firm on them? Are they able to consider their team members first? Most importantly, are they willing to make mistakes too? Leaders in the workplace should never present themselves as perfect to their employees, so finding a candidate who is confident in their choices but can admit when they’re wrong will benefit everyone in the long run. Mistakes are a learning experience, and the leader sets a positive example by owning up to them.

Leadership is not just about assigning work to employees and making sure they get them done, but about interacting with people positively. Leaders should be kind, encouraging, empathetic, engaging, and good communicators. Employees will be more motivated to work for leaders who are kind and understanding of mistakes or life situations. Having good communication skills is vital because it eliminates confusion and gives employees the information, they need to do their best work.

Goodhire, a background screening company, conducted a survey of 3,000 workers and 82% reported considering quitting their job because of their bad manager. The human resources and leadership development company Development Dimensions International did a 2019 survey of 1,000 people and discovered that 57% of employees have actually left their job because of bad leadership while 14% have done it several times. Positive leadership is a key in retaining talent.

Lastly, ensure your company is a great place for leaders to work

Study your employer brand and reputation on websites like Glassdoor. A positive image helps to attract and retain leadership. Here are a few steps to ensure your workplace catches the attention of top talent in leadership:

  • Offer competitive compensation and benefits
  • Prioritize a work-life balance
  • Prioritize inclusivity and diversity
  • Take interest in how customers feel about your company
  • Implement your culture

While hiring any kind of employee, you not only want to talk about how your company is a great place to work but to show it. Ask yourself is your work environment supportive of the encouraging, kind, and motivating people you want to hire? If not, work towards those improvements and look for leadership that can help you succeed.

Want to see more posts on startup hiring? Check out this post on when to hire a Head of Product for your startup and this post on developing a hiring plan.

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