When business owners see themselves through the objective lens of leadership assessment, the process of crafting and hiring a management team becomes better focused.
Small business entrepreneurs rarely start their business journey with an MBA, and even those who do wouldn’t say they learned the secrets for going from a 1- to 2-person start-up to leading a staff of 50+. 

[EasyDNNnewsToken:Left Justify Embed 300 x 250]In most cases, “small business people are just not wired to hire well,” says Bill Bonnstetter, creator of one of the premier leadership assessments and founder of TTI Research. It’s not a criticism of their ability to be a successful business owner, but research shows that hiring well requires a set of skills that aren’t commonly among the skills that make for great entrepreneurs and business owners. The sense of ownership over every process makes it doubly hard for the entrepreneur to detach enough to build job profiles that are likely to generate successful candidates to interview. 

Nonetheless, if a business is to grow into a sustainable enterprise, eventually the business owner must design a management team from incumbents or new hires. And while the repetition of hiring cleaning technicians can help make leaders more comfortable with the overall process of hiring, especially in an industry with an average turnover of 300%, the approach for securing ideal candidates for positions of higher responsibility and accountability is considerably more challenging than for technicians.

The Bias Hurdle
The first major hurdle leaders must overcome is recognizing, accepting, and then compensating for their own biases. Bias = the biggest barrier (challenge) in selecting superior performers.

The law provides some help in avoiding some biases that do not affect a person’s ability to succeed in a job, but “many people are also unknowingly biased on experience, education and intelligence, and this keeps them from selecting superior performers,” says Bill Bonnstetter. 

The first thing leaders should do when they’re ready to begin hiring their first staff is to get themselves tested using qualified leadership, behavior and motivator assessments; this will provide an external and objective evaluation of how they like to get things done and why. A second assessment of personal skills can also help determine what kind of manager a person is naturally as well as what skills should be honed to improve management. Remember, although being a leader and being a manager are not the same thing, in a small business, often one person wears both hats and must combine and develop both sets of skills to lead the business toward success.

The key to selecting your assessment provider is to look for three things:

 1)  The “how you do what you do” – this is often seen as a four-quadrant behavioral assessment like the classic DISC assessment. 
 2) The “why you do what you do” – this part of a leadership assessment is often missing, though research shows that an individual’s passion for the job has a stronger direct effect on success than his/her meeting a specific behavioral profile.
 3) The post-assessment debriefing – beyond digging deeper into oneself as the subject of assessment, the debriefing often extends to how the subject’s behaviors and motivations mesh or don’t mesh with some profile types that appear as “typical” for a particular kind of job.

The Job Profile Hurdle
Armed with comprehensive and intimate knowledge of yourself and better guidance on what to look for in new staff, a leader can begin to build job profiles. This part is tricky because most job profiles are built and enhanced using a process called benchmarking — profiling the top performers in a company and then combining their mutual skills into a uniform profile of a person most likely to succeed in that position.

But in the small business world of the cleaning industry, few companies are large enough – even at their largest – to have multiple people performing the same job. But that doesn’t mean benchmarking is out; rather, benchmarking can be extended industry-wide. How? Because the ideal profile is the same for a particular job no matter the company within an industry, says Bonnstetter.

That’s the second key result of a good, comprehensive leadership assessment: assistance creating informed and ideal job profiles as well as the key accountabilities of those jobs. But more than just a “job description,” the owner gains a better understanding of why certain personal attributes or behaviors may not lead to success, though they may often appear on sample descriptions. In addition, the resulting profile should include screening clues and even interview questions to help owners tease out the information that is truly valuable in making a hiring decision:

 – Pre-employment assessments
 – Educational requirements 
 – Experience requirements 
 – Phone Screen Questions 
 – Pre-qualifier Questions 
 – Resumé Screen Preferences 
 – Recommended Background Check Package
 – Compensation Package
 – Marketing Plan for the Position

The process of building a job profile begins with the person currently performing a set of tasks itemizing those tasks and attaching an average time to each task; generally, a profile or description should assume that for 10-15% of the work day, an individual is distracted from primary duties, so keep that in mind when calculating how many hours a week are needed for the position. 

According to TTI assessment creator and behavior researcher Bill Bonnstetter, all good leaders share some basic profile characteristics:

A Compelling Vision: Leaders must know where they’re headed, toward what vision, and that’s rarely a revenue number.
A Silver Tongue: Leaders must learn and hone their skills of persuasion because their first job is to persuade a manager, a technician, and a colleague to believe in that vision enough to follow their lead.
Stage Presence: Leaders must become skilled in a variety of presentation styles because they must present ideas in ways that different kinds of listeners are ready to hear.
Personal Accountability: Leaders must be ready and able to own responsibility for their personal and public commitments, as well as the praise or blame that comes from their success in meeting those commitments.
Goal-driven: Leaders must be able to establish reasonable goals and be able to stay focused on those goals without becoming unduly distracted by the minutia of the day-to-day business.
Keen Interpersonal Skills: Leaders must possess and continually develop a broad collection of communication and listening skills.

While many other personal attributes can influence what kind of leader an individual is or might become, this foundation illustrates the essence of those people who inspire others to work for them in a variety of roles, including the key business management staff.

Three Steps to a More Successful Hiring Experience
Few business owners invest in themselves as the primary resource of their business, and this shows as the business grows and there are more opportunities for what the owner does not know or do well to restrict the development of the business. 

Small cleaning business owners who have begun to hire their office and support staff without starting with a self-assessment have either gotten lucky or gotten stung. Here’s a quick reminder of what it takes to boost your luck and minimize any stings:

 1) Go through a solid leadership assessment – including behaviors, motivators, and personal attributes – to gain a more objective profile of yourself; remember, anyone you hire has to “fit” with you.
 2) Invite your existing management – especially any superstars – to complete the assessments toward building a job profile of the ideal candidate; at some point, you will want to clone or need to replace those people you can’t do without.
 3) Add leadership assessments to your management hiring procedure early in the process to avoid a large time investment in a bad fit.

Taking control of your business – in every way – begins with owners knowing exactly what they bring to the table, using every strength to its fullest extent, and seeking out those who meet the job profiles needed to complement themselves as leaders. 

“He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is wise.” Lao Tzu

Tom Stewart and his wife, Janice Stewart, are co-owners of Castle-Keepers, the 1st company to acheive CIMS certification. Tom is a nationally-recognized leader & innovator in the house cleaning industry. He is co-founder and Publisher of Cleaning Business Today.

Bill Gelderman is President of The Steering Group, Inc., and a leading certified behavioral and values analyst. He is a recognized leader in teaching companies how to select, attract, and retain the best talent for their organizations. 

Bill Bonnstetter is a 2012 Edison Award nominee for his 30+ years in the research and study of human behavior, leading to the development and patenting of the TTI ground-breaking job benchmarking process, its internet delivery system, and employee success prediction system. Bill has authored many books and articles on leadership and personal attributes assessment as it empowers strong hiring and employee retention.