When hiring, what takes priority in my candidate interviewing process is asking evocative questions that reflect the level of the person’s emotional maturity. It’s even emphasized in the first paragraph of job postings:
“Emotional resiliency is the foremost skill we require because good interpersonal relationship skills transcend the best technical skill set in the world. We choose our new team members carefully so you can bring your best self and awesome chops to this exciting project.”
Turning “old school” hiring on its head
This turns on its head the “old school” hiring of bringing in the people with the best chops. If you’ve ever been in a workplace where you hired or worked with someone highly skilled but they were totally incapable of interacting in a healthy way with others, then you know that a kick-ass skills set can be negated by the drama this toxic person stirs up.
Long before my enlightened hiring practice, I brought in a salesperson with impeccable skills (and good references but references can be manipulated). Turned out her strongest suite was belittling co-workers and undermining others’ wellbeing. Yet, once a new employee is in place, depending on hiring laws, the process to fire them can be prolonged – and painful as the rest of the team has to endure this poison person.
In typical workplace jargon, this dysfunction is often dismissed as: “does not play well with others,” and co-workers get mired in having to put up with the person’s misconduct, and everything suffers. Frequently, in my 1-to-1 coaching with professionals, there are involved sessions about how to maneuver with a toxic colleague.
So given the distress that one bad apple can inject into a work environment, it’s wise to hire first based on emotional maturity then consider their technical skills set.
Having said that, it’s not possible to check our emotional baggage at the workplace door and walk in as neutered automatons in order to “play well with others.” That might be the expectation in our business culture – but far from the reality.
So we all need to up our game when it comes to emotional maturity. In fact, for someone looking to be of their highest and best service — in whatever career arena they choose — it’s imperative that they do the deep inner work on themselves to learn how to mindfully process their strong emotions. This important emotional processing enables a person to move through the ups and downs of life with wisdom and grace and help others do the same. That’s true emotional maturity and is a hallmark of conscious leadership.
P.S. Do you want to up your game in the maturity department and don’t know how? Join me in the new year (in early January!) for our 8-week Emotional Expansion Masterclass Course
. Click though to check-out the details and add your name to my wait list.