What is George Hartnett’s secret weapon in filling an open leadership position?
He talks to the employees who will be working under that supervisor, securing their feedback around the job description and explaining the other qualities he is looking for in a leader—decision-making ability, good judgment, and positive work habits. This valuable communication with front-line employees helps them appreciate that seniority or ‘breathing rights’ alone will not be the basis of his decisions. Rather, George will do what is in the best interest of the organization.
George’s direct yet compassionate approach to making difficult decisions has led to a successful career as a turnaround specialist, transforming organizations so that they are financially viable and free from labor strife. Now he serves as director of Modern Management, an elite human resources consulting firm that provides creative and skillful assistance in HR management. George’s expertise with integrated human resource strategies is highly effective in facilitating desired organizational outcomes during accelerated periods of change. He holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in finance and philosophy from Boston College. George has also served as a healthcare executive for a number of hospital systems.
In part two of our dialogue, George discusses what he learned about himself from taking a position that didn’t work out. He speaks to the difference between leadership and management, his theory of ‘trust begets trust,’ and his instinct for recognizing a person’s character. I relate a couple of stories from my early days working with George, sharing how his mentorship influenced my moral compass and communication style. Listen in for George’s insight around hiring—and firing—people in leadership positions and how to create a supportive environment that allows employees to take risks and learn from their mistakes.
[01:53] George’s approach to filling a leadership position
- Seniority, tenure not basis of decision
- Feedback from employees around job description
- Explain other necessary qualities (i.e.: decision-making, judgment, work habits)
[09:32] What George learned from taking a position that didn’t work out
- Revealed own intolerance, impatience
- Discovered value of feedback
- Difference between leadership and management
[13:56] George’s theory of ‘trust begets trust’
- Trust employee to do assignment well
- Support in getting job done
[17:21] George’s instinct for a person’s character
- Inherited father’s ability to spot phony
- Saw initiative in first meeting with Dave
[20:00] George’s insight on taking someone out of a position of responsibility
- Should always bother you
- Last resort after given chance to improve
- Don’t avoid if in best interest of organization
[26:10] George’s advice around leadership
- Ask what you’re trying to accomplish
- Create environment that allows for risk
[28:07] George’s final takeaway
- Good leaders spend quality time with staff
Connect with George Hartnett
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