An Authentic Hiring Conversation

We’re in the middle of a hiring process to replace a team member. It’s always been my philosophy to hire s-l-o-w-l-y. We are taking our time. The position is too important to not get it right. One candidate, during the series of interviews and conversations, said, “I don’t want to let you down. I’m nervous.”

My immediate response was, “I hadn’t realized it until just this minute, but I’m nervous too! I don’t want to let you down!”
Then we had a good conversation about our expectations of each other.

We left the discussion with an agreement that this was not about letting anyone down. It wasn’t about judging or putting undue stress on anyone. It was about an assessment of fit. And it works both ways. We both left feeling a bit more confident and free to speak our minds.

This is one of reasons I value being on a team. I learn so much from my interactions with others. Vulnerability leads to safety. And safety leads to clarity. And clarity leads to humanity. And humanity leads to a healthy, productive team.

#teamwork #authenticleadership #hiring


Leadership is not always easy, but it’s worth it.

Here are a few ways that indicate you are doing a good job as a leader – even when it feels like you may not be.

  1. Connection. People initiate a connection with you. They come into your office. They reach out to you. They seek your advice. Initiating connection is an indication of trust.
  2. Results. The results are there. You are achieving your goals. You are achieving the goals of the organization. And you’re doing it as a team.
  3. Empowerment. People around you feel good about their own success and the success of the team. They express pride in working together to achieve something difficult. Credit goes to the team, not you.
  4. Self-Honesty. Just questioning whether you are a good leader indicates humility and an effort to be honest with yourself – qualities of a great leader. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t admit to a healthy dose of self-doubt every once and awhile.
  5. Enjoyment. This is, for me, the most important measurement. I suppose there are a few incompetent leaders who enjoy themselves, but most are stressed and anxious. When you’re enjoying yourself (at least most days), and the people around you are relaxed and having a great time doing hard stuff, you are doing something right as a leader.

You may have your own list. I’d love to hear what is on it.

Six Signs your team is in sync and working well together.

Lots has been written about dysfunctional and problematic teams, but let’s look at indicators that your team is synchronized and working well together:

  1. Clarity and Alignment. When you ask: What’s our purpose; our vision; and what do we value, are you all on the same page and inspired by the answers?
  2. Authentic Alignment. Every person understands how their unique nature and contribution meaningfully connects to the purpose and vision of the team. People know their value as well as their values. They know that their gifts and passion are needed on the team, and that if the alignment isn’t there, they will move on to a new job.
  3. Connection, Openness, and Joy. You feel connected to each other and enjoy being together. You have fun creating good stuff together. Any tension and conflict that arises gets addressed and dealt with openly and respectfully.
  4. Boundaries and Respect. All good relationships have good boundaries. People respect each other’s NO. People look after themselves so they can be their best for the team.
  5. Accountability. People understand what is expected from each other, what they are accountable for, and have a clear process for managing and following through on expectations of each other. You have high standards and aren’t afraid to tell each other the truth.
  6. Patience, Grace, and a Commitment to Learn. While you have high standards clear agreements, you also grant each other some grace. No one gets this teamwork thing perfectly. Working well together means you’re on a journey of discovery.

Learning to connect when you’re a lone wolf

Being somewhat of a lone wolf, I am hyper-independent when it comes to business. I started my career in private practice as a family therapist, and then, for the past three-plus decades, as a speaker, consultant, workshop facilitator, and coach, I’ve been a solo business owner.

Over the years, I’ve tried partnerships, but inevitably I’ve not been able to let go of my fierce need for independence. I must do things my way.

While I proudly list self-sufficiency amongst my better character traits, my inability and unwillingness to include others has created a barrier to my success. Like all virtues, when independence exceeds its function, it becomes a liability.

Psychologists might suggest that my hyper-independence is a coping response from chronic trauma in my upbringing. Or maybe I feel so strongly in my purpose and mission that I have not had the confidence to allow someone into my space.

But there is only so far you can go alone. I’m truly discovering that in this next chapter of my life.

The irony is that I have spent much of my career helping people build high-trust partnerships and teams. Perhaps what we are most capable of building in others is what we are most in need of developing within ourselves.

Humanity is where it is today because we learned to collaborate. We can go fast alone, but together we can go further.
Relationships not only make our goals possible, they make them meaningful. Even if we get to the top of the mountain alone, who wants to be there with no one to share the experience?

Take a moment to stop and value your relationships – both at work and in your personal life. It’s the company that makes the journey worthwhile. Opening ourselves to connecting with and valuing people in our lives inevitably leads to opportunities to exchange ideas, receive inspiration, and deepen the meaning of our existence.

And this week I am thrilled to facilitate our Authentic Leadership Academy. Integral to the success of this experience is the meaningful connections and community we will build together.