You put your business and culture at risk with every hire. If the leaders or team members you bring into your team do not embrace your organization’s common goals and shared values, then trust, respect, and dignity are eroded.

What happens when team members feel distrusted, discounted, or dismissed? They quit and leave, or – worse – they quit and stay.

Team member productivity drops. Self-preservation jumps. Cooperation diminishes. Doing the minimum seems like a good way to cope.

That’s no way to run a successful, sustainable business.

What is the most important hiring decisions you make? Who to put “in charge” of a team. A bad leadership hire – a self-centered, prideful individual – destroys team spirit, cooperation, and creative service. A brilliant leadership hire – an individual that demonstrates authentic care, grace, humor, and accountability – creates a purposeful, positive, productive team culture.


What do great leaders do? They act daily on their primary responsibility to remove team members’ frustrations. They genuinely enjoy their team members. They laugh with (not at) team members. They celebrate team members’ efforts and accomplishments, not just at work but in the community and at home, too. They give credit rather than giving blame. They lovingly hold team members accountable for results and service. They don’t tolerate rude, aggressive, or self-serving behaviors by anyone on their team.

If all your leaders operated like this, how would it help your business? My experience and research indicates that an aligned culture with caring leaders boosts employee engagement by 40 percent, customer service by 40 percent, and results and profits by 35 percent.

That’s a powerful, positive impact.

How can you hire more genuine, caring, inspiring leaders? During your interview process, don’t focus exclusively on past accomplishments or accolades – focus equally on these tips:

Values and Behaviors – Ask leader candidates to describe their personal life values – principles that guide their day-to-day living. Ask for examples of their behaviors – plans, decisions, and actions – that model their life values or principles. Ask how they handle people they meet and interact with who hold very different values and behaviors. How kind are they? How aggressive are they?

Leadership Philosophy – Ask leader candidates to describe their leadership philosophy. What are their reasons for being a leader? What results are they striving for from their team? Who do they serve – and how? What does that candidate expect of team members? What can team members expect of the candidate? Ask yourself, “Is servant leadership a core foundation of their philosophy?”

Relationships – Ask leader candidates how they gauge the quality of their relationships with team members they’re leading. Which are the candidates’ most important relationships at work? How do they handle disagreement from team members? What do they do regularly to build and maintain positive, professional relationships with team members?

These are not “normal” interview questions or conversations. You might find that candidates are not prepared to answer these questions – you might stun them into silence! However, if you don’t inquire about these important foundational ideas, you may find you’ve made a hiring mistake – again.

Your business, your staff, and your customers all deserve the best leaders you can attract. Try these ideas out with your next leadership hire – and let me know what you learn.

Would these tips improve the quality of your hiring of leaders? What has been the impact of great/OK/lousy leader hiring in your past organizations? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Monkey Business – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

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The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: Good Comes First (2021) and The Culture Engine (2014).
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