The Exit Interview Questions You Should Ask Before People Leave.

A recent article in entitled “Making Exit Interviews Count” Harvard Business Review April 2016, caught my attention. It was discussing the importance of doing exit interviews. I realize that this particular topic may cause to say “Wilson what on earth are you talking about?” I don’t blame you, in fact if you found yourself saying,”strange topic to bring up since you haven’t written anything for three months.” Again I am forced to agree with up to a point. Let me explain.

First, I admit it has been three months maybe longer since my last post. For that, I once again apologize. At times, it is difficult coming up with topics that I feel are worth writing about. But, hey, as I have said before it’s my Blog so I can write about whatever I desire. With that in mind, I’ve decided to cover a number of issues that I believe relate to issues around management, diversity, team building, accountability, trust, communications, along with developing a strategy to be a star in your organization.

Second, which brings me to the topic of Exit Interviews. Well, this is one of those topics I’ve chosen to cover briefly for no other reason than this is my blog. Look, if you really want to know about Exit Interviews grab a copy of the April 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review and read the entire article. But, there is a simple concept that I wish to borrow from the article. It has to do with these three questions by the article writers that I think should be asked prior to an Exit Interview. In fact, I believe a good manager should be asking these of his employees on a regular basis they are:

  1. Are we helping you be effective in your current job?
  2. Are we helping you build a successful career?
  3. Are we helping you have a fulfilling life?

Three excellent questions that you as a manager you should be asking your employees constantly. Why? Well, take a moment and think about it and I will discuss it in our next post.

© Timothy A. Wilson 2016

Real Teamwork in Action

I’m still in morning over the fact that my boys from Syracuse lost to Dayton. But, all you die hard UNC fans no doubt are looking for new timing rules considering how that game ended. My friend out in San Francisco who grew up in Kansas and went to Kansas University and is a lifelong Jayhawk fan is still screaming at his TV. The redeeming feature for both of us is neither one of us has to have our picture taken in the winner’s jersey as proof whose team is better, both of our teams lost and won’t be in the sweet sixteen where we thought they face each other.

This event known as March Madness is indeed a period of madness. Sixty-four college basketball teams come together to determine which college get bragging rights to claim they’re the best of the best in college basketball. It’s indeed a spectacle to watch. There is lot of talent flying up and down a basketball court. The wizardry and athleticism of these young men is something to behold. Their ability to handle a basketball and leap hang in the air and make a 30 foot jump shot seem so natural is magical. When you watch a team of well-honed athletes operate in unison you realize they aren’t playing as talented individuals but as a talented team. As one commentator said, “it’s not the talent of the individual, but the ability to work together to bring out the talent of the team.” The success of a team is the combined efforts of everyone working as a unit.

What makes March Madness so much fun to watch is you get to see real team work in action. Only if managers and leaders would learn from this things might go better in the workplace.

© Timothy A. Wilson All Rights Reserved

Managers You Want Better Candidates? Then Help HR With “Your”Job Descriptions

According to a recent WSJ article, the way job descriptions are written may be the cause for managers saying they can’t find talented people. Oh really?

Traditional job postings represent about 40 -50 percent of what most people see when it comes to their job search. By traditional, I’m referring to the job description which insists on five years of experience for a technology that has only been around for two. Is there any wonder that people don’t apply with this sort of job description?

Interestingly, the article mentioned that companies should discontinue overloading their job descriptions with requirements, even dropping education requirements as they are not really a predictor of success. As informative as the information from the article was, it was a bit shortsighted on the need for managers to be more involved in the process.

Traditionally, when a manager needs to replace someone, or is hiring for a new position, they tell HR their requirements and sit back and wait for the candidates to come flocking in for the interviewing process. When they start rejecting applicant after applicant, they complain that HR isn’t doing their job and putting forth capable candidates for their precious position. Since HR has limited knowledge of the job requirements, they use traditional approaches, which result in less than desirable outcomes, for the applicant, hiring manager, and the company.

The article presented some interesting suggestions on what could be done to correct the situation, such as adding livelier text in the job description, reducing the job description down to 300 words, dropping education requirements to hiring companies to help with putting more life into their job descriptions.

All the above suggestions have merit, but, the key component in any good job description requires the hiring manager to be a significant participant in the process. After all, she is the one who will have to manage and evaluate the performance. She knows they type individual who will work well with her team. I realize that managers are busy individuals and they would like to have the luxury of being able to hand a replacement or new hire requirement off to HR and feel comfortable that a bevy of candidates would come through and they would have the pick of the litter. However, that’s not reality.

Managers own the responsibility of providing meaningful descriptions of what their people do, and it’s up to them to work with their HR folks to insure that they get they type of candidate in for review. As previously stated, they know what does and doesn’t work in their environment. They know what skills sets are needed to perform the work. As such, they must be an integral part of the developing job descriptions. Once HR has them, they can be about the process of finding capable candidates based on the data they have and presenting those who will bring value to the organization.

If it sounds like I’m advocating that management and HR find a way to work together to develop job descriptions that are more reflective of the type of talent a hiring manager needs for the good of her team, then I made my point.

© Timothy A. Wilson 2013. All Rights Reserved

Can You Handle Someone Smarter Than Yourself?

Can you trust? As a leader, manager, can you trust people who are smarter than you are? As a leader can you, be comfortable with the words of Mike Lamach current CEO of Ingersoll- Rand;

“It’s important to surround yourself with people smarter than yourself. That’s tough for many people. A lot of people worry smart people will steal the spotlight. But the opposite thing happens when you build talented teams. They’ll become your advocate, particularly when you don’t micromanage them.”

Is it in your nature to have people around you who are smarter as part of your team or do you have individuals who think everything you say is correct? As Lamach points out it’s important to have a team of individuals who aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. The fact they are smarter helps as it allows you to entertain other points of view and avail yourself of the best possible opportunities to a successful outcome.

For far too many executives, the idea of employing individuals who are in possession of superior skills then themselves is an anathema to them. They fear being overshadowed by their subordinates. This is faulty thinking. The manager or leader who is unafraid of having individuals on her team that are smarter than she, will enjoy success more frequently than her counterparts who hire people just like them in every way. As Lamach said, as long as you don’t micromanage them they will become advocates.

By encouraging members of your team to speak openly and freely along with asking questions and listening patiently, you’re setting the stage for advancement, for yourself and members of your team. By trusting your team, they will in turn reciprocate and support you.

This starts with you not being afraid of having people who are smarter than you are as members of your team. It means you have to have confidence in your own abilities and aren’t afraid that you’ll be outshined by members of your team. It means you will have to trust them.

Which brings us back to our opening question, can you trust?

© Timothy A. Wilson 2011. All Rights Reserved

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