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Hiring a leader

The last leadership role I held was within a large New Zealand business. The appointment process into the role was handled with speed rather than care, and left me confused about what this business required from me. One skill I knew they required was the ability to lead – so I started researching. I came across this article – ‘A Leadership Job Description’ Click here to read the article

I found I fit the bill for a leader in some areas, but needed work in others. The question remained – what type of leader did this role, at this time, require me to be? We all have our own ideas and therefore our own biases of what a ‘good’ leader looks like, yet it is important to consider and review what our business requires from our leadership throughout every hiring process.

The different leadership strengths can depend on the current business phase, the business’ clientele, their staff and the culture of the business. For example, a business that is established, yet in a transition phase will require a different leader than a start-up business. Likewise, a business requiring a leader for a small, tight knit team of long serving staff dealing with change will require a different leader to a business searching for a leader for a new branch. Each may have overlapping skills and qualities (e.g., “integrity, vision, confidence, commitment, great communication skills” (Mike Myatt, Forbes)), yet when we consider the importance of leadership in reaching a goal, we need to be strategic in choosing the appropriate leader to fulfil that goal.

As with the ebb and flow of the tide, leaders will come and go, in flow with your business needs. The main thing for any business leader, and in saying that I mean anyone in a leadership position within the business, is to remain aware of and responsive to the needs of the business at any one point in time.

When hiring a leader here are a few questions for consideration:

  • Why am I hiring (e.g., replacing a leader, growth, future proofing etc)?
  • What are the skills and skill gaps of my current staff?
  • What are the development needs or growing edges of the people they will  lead? (aim to hire someone who exhibits these as strengths and can coach the team and model these strengths)
  • What are my growing edges as a leader? (aim to hire someone  who exhibits these as strengths)
  • What are the businesses weak points that could be mitigated by the right hire (aim to hire someone who has experience and strength in the areas of weaknesses you identify)
  • What are the future needs of the business? (how is this individual able to assist in any of these areas? Are there already staff within the business that fit this role?)

So, what have you found works in hiring the ‘right leader’ for your business?