As discussed last week, two principle responsibilities of leadership are selecting people to join our team, and routinely evaluating each team member’s performance going forward from the date of hire.
Over the past couple of decades, we have coached through eight key characteristics for selection and evaluation of personnel. The eight attributes consist of 5 character attributes: Available, Faithful, Teachable, Enjoyable, Responsible; and 3 technical capabilities: Administrative, Communication, and Technical skills.
This week we are providing a bit more detail on the first attribute: Available.
The obvious aspect of this is to ascertain whether the person is physically available. This shows itself behaviorally in punctuality (getting to work on-time), absenteeism, and schedule dependability. Checking a candidate's history with references from previous employers can help sort this out in the hiring process; after that, it is a matter of practical observation, and if necessary, documentation.
The second element of availability is a bit less objective and yet remains a vitally important question: Is the candidate or staff member available emotionally and/or mentally? Yes, there are many potential sources of stress in a person's life - children (child-care, child illness, school issue, etc.), relationships (past/present), hobbies, aging parents, and so forth. Any of these personal issues can become radical distractions to a candidate or staff member - or to any of us.
The question is whether or not such issues adversely affect the person's availability to focus on their employment responsibilities. Is the candidate or team member free from mental and emotional distraction(s) and truly able to focus on their tasks and assignments with diligence? The answer can determine suitability for participation on a team. Granted, this is a sensitive area, and compassion is a crucial leadership trait. However, leadership does not succeed by ignoring reality (regarding this or any other matter).
Available: both physically, and mentally/emotionally. This is one of the criteria - and a very practical criterion - that is useful in gauging the potential or actual effectiveness of a member of the team.
In the weeks ahead we will discuss each of the remaining attributes and technical capabilities listed above. We have found that this comprehensive set of metrics continues to constitute a very effective and yet simple methodology for assessing candidates for employment and then, for those who are hired, evaluating their on-going performance.