What T10ps Do Differently (Part 3) – Are you a fair and inspiring Leader? A T10p true Leader?

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part 3T10p’s (top ten percenters) are true Leaders. They help their teams and get to know them. If they go to another organisation they don’t take their old team with them. They assess the talent in the new organisation first and conduct a fair process for any new roles. They make quick decisions if there are performance issues and address it with respect.

I know as an Executive Search Consultant that people want to work for true Leaders. People who inspire them, not just dictate to them. People who practice what they preach, not say one thing and do another. People who are prepared to roll their sleeves up with the troops during the hard times and celebrate the wins together. People who are firm but fair, not hard and unreasonable. Who do you work for? Are you a T10p Leader?

The biggest criticism I hear about Leaders is during the time when internal opportunities become available. A T10p will make sure that there is a proper process in place to ensure that the best candidate gets the role. They never hire friends or ex-staff from past organisations they worked in, over their existing talent within their own organisation without a proper process.

A T10p I know well, is considered one of the best Leaders in the Financial Services industry. He told me that when he has moved to another organisation in his career, he never took staff from the company he left. He felt as a Leader he should give his new team a chance to show what they can do and give them an opportunity to develop where there were weaknesses. If he had to recruit in, it would be after a full assessment was conducted. He always follows a detailed process which includes assessing internals and externals equally together and having one fair process for both internals and externals.

Managers who bring people into roles without a process will damage their brand and people will start saying you hired your buddy’s. The underground network will start building a profile of you as someone who hires friends. If you are male and you hire other males you will be tarred with the ‘job for the boys’ tag – whether it is true or not, that is what people say. If you are female and you hire other females you know without a process you will be accused as playing the gender card.

Don’t take this as saying you shouldn’t hire people you have worked with in the past, as it is likely that you will at some stage. Especially in Financial Services where the industry is big but small, just make sure you have a clear and transparent process. Include other key stakeholders in your recruitment interviewing process for an unbiased view and have both male and females equally included on your interview panel.

In addition, T10p’s make sure the process doesn’t drag on and consumed by internal bureaucracies. Good people will drop out of a slow process and will form an opinion of the organisation and the Leader as a company that can’t make a decision. T10p’s ensures the process flows and will make a quick decision once all the due diligence has been done.

T10p’s will make sure the playing field is level so they can get the right person. This is very important and often underestimated. When a Leader adheres to a fair process it is recognised and people want to work for this type of person. Recruiting the best becomes easier because a good reputation gets around just as well as a bad one. People are currently seeking out who the good Leaders are.

Coming out of a tough few years, this will be important going forward as the competition for talent has begun. I am finding that people are moving for culture, for inspiration and challenge. If they have been in a negative environment or working for a manager who is not inspiring they are craving a change and starting to feel comfortable enough to look around for new opportunities.

In a recent search that I have undertaken, every candidate stated that they were motivated to move because of existing culture, not money. Have you done a culture audit of your team lately to see how they are feeling? I would suggest that you do to keep your finger on the pulse, otherwise you may end up losing your T10p’s.

In situations where there are performance issues, T10p’s don’t brush it under the carpet. If you have sales teams for example, remember that numbers don’t lie. If someone isn’t making their budget no matter how much you like them you need to get to the root of the issue.

T10p’s don’t let the numbers slip by, they address it early with the individual to see what the issues are. No point avoiding the pain and being afraid of confrontation. If you wait to address the issue after six months when two quarters have passed, you will likely be performance managing someone out.

If you see the signs and address it with the person early you may find that they just need some direction and support. On the other hand a T10p will know when to cut the strings and not to create a crusade that will end in keeping non-performers. They know by keeping non-performers and accepting their behaviours it will send the wrong message to the rest of the team. Non action will not change the situation, it will just make it worse. A T10p knows that sometimes they have to make the hard decisions which comes with the job they are in.

Stay tune for part four. Top T10p’s know how to build their brand.

About Judith Beck

Judith Beck has placed hundreds of executives over 20 years and is Managing Director of Financial Recruitment Group, Founder of Financial Executive Women and Chairman of Eon Mentis. Judith is a key note speaker on various subjects, such as How To Be A T10p, Stakeholder Management, Building your Internal and External Brand to name a few.


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