Friday, April 02, 2010

Harmony is the balance of tension not the absence of tension.

Have you noticed how more and more often job ads specify personality traits together with competencies required for the job. In fact it wouldn't be to harsh to say that it looks like many companies are trying to recruit the very same person or at least people with very similar personality traits. The truth is that many highly competent people just don't fit the perky, gung-ho image we often look for when recruiting new employees. This stereotyping can limit creativity and lower performance in your organization. A competent sour-puss or a difficult introvert might be just what the doctor ordered to lift us to a higher level of performance. When we say “he fits in”, “he’s a team player” or “we speak the same language” what we are really saying is we get along and there is no real tension. If you ever find yourself thinking like this when recruiting let it be a warning for you. The nice guy who fits in, the guy you would love to play a round of golf with is likely to be the wrong guy for the job.

Most of us have seen the research on how to create high performing teams and if we take a look at this research again we will be reminded that while we may not want to be throwing furniture at each other in management meetings we do want a high level of diversity and even tension. Harmony is the balance of tension not the absence of it.