A Leader’s Job: Finding Meaning in Helping Others Find Meaning

Do you find your work meaningful? There are undoubtedly many factors that influence whether you find meaning in your work – the balance between time spent alone vs. time spent with people, your stress level, and even the degree of novelty, creativity, and physical activity all seem to play a role. It’s important that the job fits with who you are.

Nevertheless, according to glassdoor.com, the career that is most satisfying to the greatest number of people is this: corporate recruiter. [1]

The good news is that while we have other tasks, all leaders are, in a way, recruiters. Whether we scroll through LinkedIn looking for new blood to hire, do interviews, or observe our present reports to select a successor, we recruit people for jobs. Even delegating is a kind of recruiting.

Leaders should take the recruiting and hiring aspect of their job seriously. In their book, How Google Works, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and former Google Senior Vice President Jonathan Rosenberg declare that hiring is the most important thing a leader does. [2]

That’s quite a claim, but it makes sense given the fact that, when you hire, you determine who will be in the organization (and who won’t be). Given the importance of recruiting, and the level of satisfaction it gives leaders, we have a right to spend energy on this.

In our book, The Culture Question: How to Create a Workplace Where People Like to Work, we share what we’ve learned about the hiring process:

Early in our organization’s history, we interviewed in the same way that many organizations do – with the goal of finding the most skilled, educated, and experienced candidate. Using this approach worked for us some of the time, but the results were unpredictable. We learned that this type of hiring process sometimes gave us employees who were technically capable of doing their jobs, but who found their work unsatisfying or did not resonate with the mission of our company.

As a result, we began to tailor our interviews with the goal of discovering each candidate’s innate talent or aptitude, while discerning their fit for our culture…

After shifting the approach of our interviews to assess for innate talent and aptitude, we found that we were much more likely to establish mutually satisfying employment relationships.

As leaders, our most important job is to get the right people in the right places. That means knowing our people’s talents and aptitudes, and matching them to right work. When we do this, our people are themselves more satisfied – and we are too.

[1] https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/best-jobs-with-the-highest-satisfaction/

[2] https://www.toplinestaffing.net/staffing/how-google-works-by-eric-schmidt-says-hiring-is-the-most-important-thing-you-do/

For more free resources, visit our resources page


Mike Labun

Trainer, ACHIEVE Centre for Learning

Mike is co-author of ACHIEVE’s book, The Culture Question: How to Create a Workplace Where People Like to Work. This book is available on our website.

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