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November 2021 – Question Of The Month

November 25, 2021 - By Wendy Lambourne, Director, MA Industrial and Organisation Psychology, Registered Psychologist with SA Medical & Dental Council

Question:  When recruiting staff, how do you select givers rather than takers?

Answer: Firstly, if you want an organisation where you have more givers than takers, you need to have givers in charge. This is simply because givers beget givers. Whenever you appoint someone to a leadership role, therefore, it makes simple good sense to appoint givers rather than takers.

Legitimate Leadership has developed a process to help client organisations select first line managers who are givers. It begins with giving the candidates a half-day of input on the basics of the Legitimate Leadership Model, then testing their comprehension via a multiple choice questionnaire. The next step in the selection process is to give candidates a series of accountability scenarios which test not whether they would do the right leadership thing in practice, but whether they at least know what the right leadership action is (right being ‘aligned to the Legitimate Leadership Model’). The final step in the process is structured interviews which probe for and determine the candidates’ willingness to embrace this kind of approach to leading others, and also their basic ability to lead in this way.

The Legitimate Leadership Model fundamentally changes the traditional view of what the real job of those in authority is – namely, to care for and cultivate exceptional people (which is a precondition for legitimate power). Succeeding as a leader requires holding people appropriately accountable. It is the hardest part of caring for and growing people. Legitimate Leadership’s accountability scenarios test the candidate’s understanding of what holding people fairly accountable really means. There are givers at work but the give they want to make is to the task, not other people. Not everyone either wants to be or can be a leader. So the last step in the selection process gauges the candidates’ desire and ability to lead.

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