If there has been one successful tactic I’ve learned through our evolution to Sprint Recruiting has been how to become a more effective leader for the team. As I’ve spent some time with other leaders, I’ve learned what I thought was my little secret is used by successful leaders at firms like Netflix, Google and other coveted companies. Here is the one tactic that successful recruiting leaders use to scale their recruiting efforts and team.
The major difference in mindset shift I’ve made is from leading with control to leading with context. Leading with control is not only the antithesis of Sprint Recruiting but also the root of a lot of manager fatigue. Team members working in this environment must run every major decision by their boss before proceeding. Folklore of leaders like Steve Jobs who was known for being highly involved in every product decision has created a more gilded disguise for micromanagement.
As a Sprint Recruiting leader, you must force yourself to strive to develop good decision-making behaviors throughout the team. You will need to learn how to celebrate how few decisions you make versus how many you’re in. I am not defining or suggesting a complete hands-off management, though. Your new role is to teach your teams how to make decisions, to set context or a thought process for decisions, and to be highly informed of what is actually happening.
Setting the context is easier than controlling everything. Rather than walking your team through each step of the process, you simply set the end goal or the business initiative the team needs to solve for. The best way to learn how the context setting needs to improve is to explore a sample of the details. But unlike the micro-manager, the goal of knowing those details is not to change certain small decisions, but to learn how to adjust context so more decisions are made well.
As I began to evolve into our new methodology, I had to learn to force myself to ask team members, “How would you handle X situation considering our objectives?” This opened the dialogue for us to have a meaningful conversation regarding possible solutions. It also gave me more of an understanding of how each member of the team approached problem solving. I would use this feedback during the one on one times to delve deeper into the type of decision making process that would make each member of the team more successful in our new model. Over time, the calls I would get was less of, “Help me solve this problem,” and more “Let me walk you through what I’m thinking.” It was a great transition for the team to take ownership of our evolution and it freed a lot of my time to focus more on strategy and measuring success.
There are some minor exceptions to “context not control”. The first would be early in the implementation process. It will be important for you as the leader to set the course and guide your team through the mindset shift they will encounter. You will need to have many of the day to day decisions or problem solving run through you until your team and client are more comfortable with the methodology. Even when Sprint Recruiting is fully implemented, there will be times when an urgent situation with little time to think about proper context and principles will require your attention.
If you’d like to learn more about leading with context versus control, definitely check out the book about Netflix just released called “No Rules Rules”. There’s an entire chapter dedicated to how Netflix uses this mindset to continue to lead the industry in attracting and retaining top talent.
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