Leadership, just like great romance, needs an awareness of “chemistry” to be at its best. Leaders who are mindful of this have a solid advantage, while those who don’t take it into consideration are missing a key piece of information.
Think about it: whether you're managing a team, merging / acquiring, hiring, coaching performance, resolving a conflict, getting to know a colleague, or building relationships with your board of directors, you know where chemistry is present or absent. Yet we don’t often speak of “chemistry” because it sounds mystical or certainly unquantifiable – yet it’s among the most important information for any leader. Its presence can mean great things, and a bad fit can mean a big headache.
When hiring, if you ignore the need for a great fit (in addition to your other standards), or let it fly under the radar of consideration, you will create avoidable problems. Use it / master it, know how it feels when it’s missing (and manage through its absence), and it’s a great ally in your success. I see its impact on leaders and organizations every day.
For example, have you ever had a time when you, your job, your boss, and the organization were a great fit for each other? Now think about a bad fit in your professional history. How did that work out? Were you aware of it? Did you actively manage through it?
Consider asking yourself the following “fit” questions, and see what you notice:
Are my role and this organization a great fit for me? If not, what’s needed?
Does my leadership team have great chemistry? If not, what needs to be done about it?
As I reflect on the candidates for an open position, what’s the fit factor (high, medium, or low) for each one?
What, if any, are the chemistry problems between our firm and the company we’re planning on acquiring / selling to?
Who on my team is simply a bad fit, and what needs to be done about it?
Seeking a good fit is an outstanding way to hire, acquire, resolve issues, and promote – and ignoring or glossing over a bad one usually comes around to bite us, sooner or later.
When the stakes are higher, don't ignore your instincts when it comes to fit or chemistry -- you'll be very glad you took it seriously.