Nature or nurture - are leaders born or made?
Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Great teams don’t happen by accident. Though some people I have worked with seem to think that they do! In my experience, it’s about striving to get nature and nurture in harmonious balance.
So, what do I mean by nature. This is about finding, assessing and selecting the talent that has the technical knowledge, skills and experience to deliver whatever it is that needs delivering. As for nurture; this is about creating and believing in a set of behavioural principles that underpin the nature; that brings the best out of that nature; that sustains and helps that nature to grow and develop. And that’s what I set about doing in every job I have worked in.
Allow me to illustrate from my own experience in recruitment. Let’s start with nature. What I look for are skilled and experienced recruiters that know how to use the science of sourcingblended with the art of engagement. This is supported by the engineering of a well-planned, thought through process. And this merry triumvirate works in a ‘synergistic’ way.
If you think of a Venn diagram, each component interacts with its neighbour during the lifecycle of a recruitment campaign. At some points they meet in the middle; whereas at other times, a dual combination is the right solution at that time. The technical skills I look for varies from deeply skilled resourcers, through to up and coming, enthusiastic talent, eager to learn and develop in to a true professional. This interaction is heaven for me as I see them learn and grow together.
Now for the nurture. This is about creating a foundation where talent can thrive, grow, develop, make mistakes, and learn. This environment is the norm, not the exception. It is based on a number of business and human philosophies that inspired me on my own career journey. In particular, is Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (whether it be recruiters, sales people, lawyers, retailers….). For me, this has become the mainstay of creating an effective and efficient team, made up of individuals who are encouraged to try out new ideas, give it a go, and are designed to get the very best out of each individual and team.
As a freelance consultant, I advise my clients to use Covey’s principles as the DNA of their function and organisation. Those that do, have gone on to thrive in a highly competitive world. They’ve seen their productivity, engagement and customer satisfaction move in an ever upward direction. A ‘win-win’. Unfortunately, too many of my clients haven’t heard of Covey. The good news is that this creates an opportunity for me to introduce his principles that make a real positive difference to the success of their business.
In today’s divided, polarised world, where all I can see is a backward step to ‘me,me,me’, we desperately need to remember that this short-termism will end in disaster. If that’s ‘the end in mind’ we want, then we are doing all we can to make it a reality. Wake up good citizens of the UK, let’s ‘proactively’ ‘seek to understand’ each other, not shout just to be understood. Let’s ‘put first things first’, by recognising that to be stronger, we need to bring the best out of each other, not the worst. It’s time that we ‘sharpened our saws’ so that we can look forward to a better world.