We all want to enjoy the work we do. The key to creating that enjoyment is collaborating with people who share our values. So what thought process goes into your hiring decisions if you have a say? I’ve thought a lot about this over the years, and it boils down to creating the perfect conditions for winning relationships. How do you create these ideal conditions? I love the quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” This is a perfect prescription for so many things in life, and hiring is no exception.You can create a harmonious culture by hiring great people who embody what you value and by how you exhibit those values personally and professionally. Consider how you create your favorites list when you stream music. Setting yourself up for hiring success means thoughtfully preparing your ideal list of qualities you appreciate in the people with whom you already work or spend time socially. Like your favorites list, the people you envision working with may be incredibly diverse but share one or more of the qualities you value. Here are a few of my front-runners:
I like colleagues who have a natural curiosity about them. They like to ask questions and engage their listening skills. This means they’ve taken an interest in others around them and gotten to know their team members to the point that they can anticipate their needs. It also means they recognize the value of everyone on the team—that no single person has all the answers. Outside of work, these are the friends who listen as much as they share.
I also appreciate constructive honesty. These are the colleagues who tell you what you need to hear rather than what they think you want to hear. Coworkers who are great at this shed light on the potential weaknesses of an idea without crushing the spirit of the person who suggested it. This balance preserves the spirit of brainstorming so people still feel encouraged to take risks. Constructive honesty is also a welcome attribute in a social setting. We love the friends who give us the truth when we ask for it.
These are the people in our work lives who show up ready to fight for results. They’ve got something to prove and show an earnestness to perform in collaboration with the team. They understand the big picture and why it matters. Socially, these are the friends who would defend your position, drop everything to help you, or protect a closely held secret.
Now that you’ve thought about what you think makes a great colleague or employee, be willing to honor your favorites list and act on it in the spirit of Gandhi’s quote. Do you exhibit those qualities? It’s not enough to ask for these behaviors in the people you hire. Ask yourself if you model what you believe in—not only at work but at home too. A disconnect between work and life won’t serve you or your colleagues well.
The best quality to look for in everyone you hire is the one that is most important to you and is beneficial for everyone who orbits that person. Take a moment to think about what you enjoy most in the people who help you get the job done. Then look for opportunities to push replay when you make your next hire.
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Steve, this is some great information! Finding individuals who care, who bring natural curiosity to the table, and who are comfortable with candid, constructive conversations is so key to building a successful team with a healthy, productive culture.