By October 14, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Don’t Hire Your Clone

Don’t Hire Your Clone

It's a natural tendency. We gravitate to people who are similar to us. Your friends, the colleagues you tend to socialize with, the neighbours you know and even the people you hire.

Unfortunately, if you’re hiring people who are just like you, or are a 'fit' for your team, you are doing yourself and your team a disservice.

Studies show that teams with different types of people, with different experience, backgrounds, and even personality types can be more are more effective. Of course, that assumes that you like debate, discussion and even dissent in your team. It may make managing a little harder, but you are more likely to arrive at better decisions, stronger solutions and improved problem solving.

Not to mention, you’ll have a wider range of skills and abilities in your team that complement each other, not duplicate each other. That way, with the right management, your team can help support each other's weaknesses.

Hiring someone like yourself is even worst, and can lead to more of a group think or herd mentality, rather than bringing in a fresh set of ideas, thoughts and solutions. Even hiring a ‘wallflower’, who may be easy to manage, is crippling your team. while it's harder to manage someone with strong views that may not always be consistent with yours, if you have an open mind, you are likely to see the benefits where it really counts - success and improvements in your team results that get attention from others in the company and help support your career growth.

In the past, I've referred to the 'Arctic Survival Situation' exercise I participated in when I was a new manager. The results of the exercise were striking - the large difference between the average individual score and the group results were an incredible demonstration of the benefits of a team. What I didn't mention is how diverse the group was. It included new staff, long term staff, engineers, architects, planners, and more, all with very different backgrounds and even personalities. I'm told by the folks at Synergistics the company who developed the survival situations exercises, that the large improvement with the group I experienced isn't always seen with other groups. I'd assume it has a lot to do with the diversity of the team.

So what does this mean for your hiring practices? It means you have to prevent your bias - the natural bias towards people like ourselves - to influence your hiring decisions. In fact, you should purposefully look for background, experiences and other valuable traits that bring something new to your team. That means revising your job ads and your interview evaluation criteria and then honing your management and leadership skills so you can make the best of your diverse team.

About Michel Theriault

Michel is the founder of Success Fuel for Managers. He is an author, speaker and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is also a contributor to Forbes and AllBusiness Experts . Michel is available for speaking engagements, training and consulting. Connect with him or send an email.

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