Healthy Leaders


Don’t Hire (or Promote) Familiarity

Jess MacCallumJess MacCallum

How secure are you as a leader? Secure enough to take criticism? Secure enough to actively seek feedback? Secure enough to delegate without micromanaging? Good. You’re about average amongst emotionally intelligent, mature leaders.

But are you able to hire, and promote, people you have nothing in common with? Can you see talent (and potential) in people that are so different that it challenges you to even consider having them in senior positions? Do you claim to be surrounding yourself with people who are “on the same page,” when in fact are you simply avoiding being uncomfortable?

If you’re an extrovert, do you avoid promoting introverts? If you are a man, do you see the strengths that can come from a team composed predominantly of women? Do people whose first language is not English give you pause when considering promotions? A leadership team made up of “you” is not going to promote the kind of discussions that healthy organizations need to have. So, the question is: Are you secure enough to not place “you” in every key role?

Most of us would like to think we are open-minded about our hiring, promotions, development, team-building, etc. And I would never suggest hiring someone based solely on their gender, ethnicity or other external factor. But even healthy leaders can fall into the trap of familiarity, when the talent and competence they need may be lying untapped in the unfamiliar.

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