Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wanted For Hire: Not Too Smart or Too Stupid

I was recently helping a friend of a friend whose son was in the process of moving from Europe to Canada.  This young man had an insightful mind, a strong academic background and an excellent attitude and ethic.

In the particular market and geographical area he was hoping to find a position in, he looked for over a year and came up empty-handed, finally deciding to move on to another part of the world.

With such a background, he should have been a shoe-in for a job but he couldn’t find one.  What held him back?

It seems that in the marketplace he had targeted, there were additional criteria that he couldn’t meet; a secret, fuzzy criteria that was impossible to study for or anticipate.

The people he had approached didn’t want him to be too smart.  In essence, they didn’t want him to be smarter than they are (by their own definition and judgment) because it left their ego with a sense of being threatened.

So my response to them was “so you need this person to be not as smart as you” to which the response was “well, we won’t invest in him if he is too stupid either”.

So the final criteria for this enterprising individual was that he had to be less intelligent than the hiring person but not too stupid either – a nebulous range that would vary from one hiring individual to another and a range that would be impossible to anticipate on an interview-by-interview basis.

A Blessing in Disguise?

To not be hired by these people is actually a blessing in disguise for this young man.  Who would want to work for such narrow-minded, ego-centric leaders?

True leaders want and need to find people who are as smart or preferably, smarter than they are.  True leaders know they are tasked with leading individuals and groups to produce exceptional results and in the process, create leaders who are more knowledgeable than they are.

When leaders can adjust their ego such that they have enough to be confident but not so much that they forget their purpose, to create results as well as the leaders of tomorrow, then we will finally be on the road to a balanced, exceptional future – in business, in government, in institutions and in society.

Such results are resilient, long-lasting, extensible and empower the next generation of leaders to go far beyond the previous generation.

I know what kind of leader this young man is.  I also know he will connect with other insightful leaders who understand and embrace his gifts and together they will create some amazing things.

Strong leadership and strong ego are both accelerants – one accelerates results and growth for everyone and one accelerates the demise of everyone.

When you are hiring, are you looking to create a legacy of results and strong leadership in your teams or are you hiring to fuel your own ego?

Which attribute do you exhibit more – strong leadership or strong ego?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood.


For my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Wanted For Hire: Not Too Smart or Too Stupid”, please click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment