Are you having trouble hiring and keeping top talent? If your answer is “yes”, you’re not alone. This is the top issue I’m hearing from business owners right now.
Two weeks ago, I said that the first step to hiring and keeping top talent is to set a clear mission. You can watch that video below if you missed it. Summary: step 1 in hiring and keeping great employees is clearly defining what you’re aiming to accomplish, when you’re aiming to accomplish it by, and why it matters.
So, what’s step 2? Great question! Read on.
Step 2 - Lead the person in the mirror
I know, I know. You thought I was gonna give you the secret to finding the perfect employee.
I promise - we’ll get to that soon. Here’s the thing, though - as an owner and leader in your business, you can’t lead others until you’ve learned to lead yourself. John Maxwell refers to this as the “law of the lid”. I’ll let him explain:
Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. The higher the individual’s ability to lead, the higher the lid on his potential. ~
In other words, the effectiveness of my team, and therefore my company, is limited by one person - me. In your company, you are the lid.
You can fix you
Yes, you are the lid. And that is great news, because you can fix you!
If you’re the person holding the potential of your team and your business back, then all you have to do is raise the ceiling of your leadership. Note: I didn’t say, “raise the ceiling of your time, or your productivity, or your technical ability”. If you want to take your team to the next level, you’ve got to take your leadership to the next level.
I’ve got more good news - this isn’t difficult to do. You don’t have to go to school or read hundreds of books.
Humble, Hungry, Smart
I’ve shamelessly stolen this from Patrick Lencioni’s The Ideal Team Player. No, I’m not gonna make you read it (although, you would like it). I’ll give you the Cliff Notes right now.
Lencioni argues that the best team players are humble, hungry, and smart. Humble - they are teachable, share praise, and care more about the good of the team than themselves. Hungry - they are intrinsically motivated and are eager to work hard to win. Smart - they have people smarts and are both self-aware and others-aware. The best team players aren’t just strong in one of those areas, they’re strong in all three.
If you take just a few minutes to reflect on those qualities, your own experience will likely validate the same conclusion.
Play an infinite game
Upping your leadership ability is an infinite game - there is no end, no finish line.
But there is a starting line - it’s today. Right now. If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, then hopefully you’ve already started to lock in a mission for yourself and your company. The next step is to ensure that you are the sort of employee you want to hire. If you worked for you, would you fire you?
If you wouldn’t hire you, then you’re not ready to hire anyone.
If the answer is “yes”, that doesn’t mean you’ve arrived. Your number one priority as a business owner and leader is to continually stretch and grow yourself. Raise the lid.
How this will make you money
The first thing this issue will do is save you money.
If you get these steps out of order (no mission, poor leadership), then it won’t matter if you hire a “great employee” or a “terrible one”. The “great ones” won’t stay, and the “terrible ones” may or may not. If you don’t take care of steps 1 and 2 first, you’re wasting your hard-earned money by hiring out of step.
Second, this issue will make you money.
Because when you get steps 1 and 2 locked in and then hire, you’ll be building or growing your team on the solid foundation of a meaningful mission and strong leadership. And when you add “great employees” to that foundation, your business will grow and you will make more money.
Do this next
Today, you’ve only got two action items:
- First write that mission statement! If you haven’t already, what are you waiting for?!
- Take a good look at your own capacity to lead others. Read this for some ideas on where to start.