Assessing Character

As we strive to build productive teams at work, those we choose to bring into our circle of influence need to be vetted carefully. We need to assess the nature of their character. Our future employees can create a wonderful balance of talent, vision and humility, or throw others out of balance through unhealthy insinuation or unabashed self-promotion. Being a good judge of character can help us create a mutually respectful and high functioning organization.

Anthony K Djan from The Harvard Business Review has some great tips on how to quickly assess a potential team member’s character during an interview.

Is the person a good listener? Yes, we need to know the qualifications of the person we’re interviewing, but we also want to know if this person is interested in learning. Djan recommends paying attention to the “talk to listen ratio,” and suggests that if talk is over 60%, this person may be more interested in self-promotion than professional development.

Does this person use and support positivity and optimism? People who tend to be optimistic are better problem solvers and approach challenges as opportunities. Positivity brings energy to the team.

Is this person self-aware? If they are, they’ll possess an “intellectual honesty” about who they are as a person. They’ll be able to describe an interest or a pathway to expand on their strengths. They’ll also be up front about areas for self-improvement.

Is this person being authentic? You can easily tell when someone is “trying too hard to impress,” often by showering praise. Authentic people are comfortable in their own skin and exude a quiet confidence. 

Being a good judge of character helps us build high functioning, productive teams, but it can also save time, energy and capital.

“Take good care of your character and your reputation will take care of itself.” -- Alan Sugar

At Possibilities Consulting, we help companies take good care of their organizational character. We provide leadership coaching and offer educational training to develop intentional culture.