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Finding An Employee That Matches Your Leadership Style
It’s not a process many employers enjoy – placing a “help wanted” ad, filtering through resumes, conducting interviews. Hiring an employee can be an arduous task, to say the least. And, though there are many important things to consider when looking for the right candidate, many of which a specific to the position you’re trying to fill, employers often overlook one of the most important elements – compatibility.
I’m not speaking of whether or not you would get along with the person you’re looking to hire. You probably can get along with all sorts of people – most of us can. More specifically I’m referring to finding an employee that compliments your leadership style. To do that, you must first understand the two types of employees you will find.
The follower type employee needs lots of direction. In fact, she craves it in order to survive any working environment. She needs to know what exactly you want done, how you want it done, when you want the task completed and your expectations for the final result. She will often have a lot of questions because she would rather you tell her how to do it, so that she can make sure it is done right the first time. Without guidance from her boss/supervisor, this employee will not be very motivated and she will not produce the best results.
The independent employee just needs basic guidance. He is the type you can hand a task to and he will get it and then some done. He needs minimal oversight from his supervisor. He is self-motivated to complete tasks at the highest possible performance, and will often seek additional tasks or responsibilities.
I’m an independent type of employee. I often go beyond the call of duty when I see that there is more to be done. I love to take on challenges and attempt to figure things out on my own. I am not afraid to make minimal errors, because I feel that it helps me to learn from the experience and strengthen my skills. (Sort of sounds like the “objective” or goal portion of resume, doesn’t it?).
Additionally, there are two basic types of employers/bosses:
The boss who likes to be in control tends to be the one that is constantly looking over his employees’ shoulders. He has a hard time trusting his employees to complete a task correctly, and will, therefore, provide detailed instructions and guidelines. He would often rather complete the task himself, knowing he would do it correctly, if he only had the time to do so. Since he must delegate, he keeps a close watch on his employees, making sure they remain on task and closely observing each step of the process.
Employers that are more laid back tend to loosen up on the reigns and allow their employees more breathing room. Though this type of boss won’t completely disconnect herself, she is more likely to trust that her employees know what they are doing and will accomplish the task sufficiently. If problems arise, she sees it more as an opportunity to teach, rather than reprimand.
Obviously, these types of employees and employers are not completely cut and dry to the descriptions I’ve detailed, but the basic premise nearly always applies. It’s finding the right compatibility between the two that makes for the best possible working environment. Clearly, the follower employee is better suited for the hand-on employer. And the independent employee is more suited for the laid back employer. Pairing the opposites together can cause conflict and lack of motivation and performance from the employee.
As I’ve mentioned before, I work in the legal field. The first attorney I worked for, right out of college, was a hand-on type of employer. I, as I mentioned, am more of an independent. I had never worked in the legal field before and was learning from scratch, but, as I saw my errors as a chance to learn, she tended to see them as more of inability to do things correctly. Though I continued to give the position my all every day, I would often come home very upset and in a sour mood.
As time progressed, and I became more efficient at the job, she eased up a bit. But it was still very difficult on a daily basis, even after two years in the position. I was just not compatible with her employer type, and eventually had to move on.
My current boss, on the other hand, is much more laid back and has been from the start. I feel completely comfortable coming to him with questions, but also feel that I can do many things sufficiently. He will often tell me to give something new a try and see what I come up with. If it doesn’t come out just right, he takes the opportunity to teach me, rather than scold. It makes for a much better working environment for me. I am must more motivated and enjoy my job a lot more than I had previously.
So, when you’re looking to hire a new or your first employee, be sure that you take the time to first recognize what type of boss you are, then to understand what type of employee will provide the best performance for your company under your direction. Ask the right questions in interviews to find our what type of employee each prospect is.
And remember, neither employer or employee type is better or worse than the other. It’s just a matter of compatibility.
• Entrepreneur.com: Getting the Most Out of Each Employee
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