Updated from July 26, 2013 post
If discerning character is so important, how do you discern if you’re dealing with someone of strong character?
The place to begin is with the first words out of their mouth.
There’s no fool-proof formula, but in my experience in building teams I’ve learned to pay attention to patterns of speech as early indicators.
Listen for these 10 indicators of strong character. Chances are, if you’re seeing these patterns in their conversation you may well be dealing with the kind of person you want on your team.
- They receive a compliment with grace.
- They receive negative feedback with humility and non-defensiveness.
- When they disagree with you, they hold their position and yet still extend respect.
- Their “yes” is yes, and their “no” is no.
- They are quick to shine the spotlight on others.
- Their apologies are unreserved; they don’t say, “I’m sorry, but” or “I’m sorry if…”
- If they don’t know the answer to a question, they say so; they don’t bluff their way through.
- They don’t dominate conversations; they are genuinely more interested in the voices of others.
- Their conversation includes plenty of “pleases” and “thank you’s”.
- They speak truth, regardless of how it makes them look.
This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good start.
When you’re adding people to your team, follow up by talking with every reference, and talk to the references of references. Talk to their former employer. Ask of they’d hire this person again.
Bottom line, is don’t cut corners when it comes to discerning character issues on your team.
And the first place you should begin is with the first words out of their mouth.
How do you spot strong character when you’re building a team?