Navigating Job Fit and Ideal Leadership for Career Success


A report by the Global Economy Foundation revealed that employee turnover costs the global economy up to 8.8 trillion dollars. Organizational psychologist André Martin attributed this to the fact that only 23% of employees consider themselves thriving in their jobs simply because they might not be in the right roles.

The author of "Wrong Fit, Right Fit" told CNBC Make It, "When you're in the wrong fit, your energy needs to go into other things, like adjusting behavior or negative feelings."

"You need to find ways to succeed within the system. It doesn't mean you don't have the energy [to engage in the work], it just points to other things, and that's disheartening."

Ensuring the job is the right fit is what initiates the interview process, and Martin found that employees often notice warning signs even before starting the job.

He added, "Every time someone told me about their wrong fit experience, they said, 'I knew it in the interview, and I didn't care.'"

"What happens is, we're so excited about wanting this job... we tend to only pay attention to information that confirms our choice to join the company, and confirmation bias plays a role."

Martin said it's challenging to gauge if you and the employer will make a good team in the first interview, but there are questions you can ask to get more than just initial positive impressions.

He added, "The interview process isn't designed for us to get to know each other on a deep level."

"You have to be skilled in asking questions, and you need to display your best investigative journalistic skills during the job interview."

According to Martin, job satisfaction comes when your expectations for the following three areas align with what the new job can offer:

1. Work Approaches

For a job to be the right fit, the first thing should be compatibility with expectations of how work is accomplished on a daily basis. This means asking yourself the fundamental question: "How do I like to work?"

Imagine when a talented individual is forced to work in a way that doesn't align with their talents, Martin pointed out.

"It's not about values or lofty aspirations. It's about how the company strategizes and collaborates. How do they handle conflict? How do they develop people and integrate ideas? What's their relationship with time?"

Asking candid questions about how the work is done and who succeeds can be a great way to gauge your fit.

"If you can answer these questions, you'll know a lot about how you'll feel working there on a random day, as opposed to what the company is trying to present itself as," he said.

One of the key things to discover during the interview is the profile of the person who succeeds in this workplace. For example, what are the qualities they possess, the skills they exhibit, and the amount of time they dedicate to work.

Martin added, "Asking open-ended questions about how work is accomplished and who succeeds can be a nice way to gauge your current position."

2. Define Your Ideal Leader

Another survey conducted by Gallup in 2020 found that 70% of an employee's engagement is influenced by their managers. Martin said, "That's why it's crucial to make sure you're working for your ideal leader or manager."

In his book, Martin encouraged job seekers to build a "Ideal Leader Profile" that outlines key areas such as:

1. Values

2. Leadership style

3. Team approach

4. Recognition and development approach

5. Personal character and traits

One question you can ask your potential manager in the interview is: "What's the latest positive feedback you've received from your team regarding your management style?"

You can also ask others conducting the interview about your prospective hiring manager - specifically, "What's the reputation of the team I'll be joining? What makes it great?"

Martin added, "Finally, my advice is to spend as much time as possible with this person during the interview and before the start date."

"I made it a practice to have some conversations with my managers before the start date so I could get to know their identity more, what their values are, and how they lead."

3. Don't Get Hung Up on the Entire Job Description

Job descriptions often consist of a compiled list of all the things you can do in the role.

However, according to Martin, the realistic job preview should focus on two or three of the most significant achievements that can be accomplished within the next six months.

"Then you can ask yourself, do those achievements align with my superpowers or strengths?"

He added, "Because if they do, you have an easy path to early wins. But if they don't, you're immediately struggling to show your competence, and that's a tough recovery."

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