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The 5 C’s of Emotionally Healthy Hiring

Posted on February 25th, 2016

Hiring is, perhaps, the most challenging tasks of leaders.  Why? Poor discernment in this area results in stalled momentum, lots of extra meetings, and, often, hurt relationships.  I am not an expert on hiring, but I have made plenty of costly mistakes over the years.

5 C’s summarize what I call “emotionally healthy” hiring:

  1. Competence. This is on every list of hiring – and should be. Does the person have the skills, knowledge, and ability to do the job? I overlooked asking hard questions in this area for years when I had great “chemistry” with the person, had history or friendship, or had become impatient waiting for God’s provision. I have never made a good hiring decision under pressure.
  1. Calling. Does this potential person discern God is in this for the next step of their journey with Jesus? As we pray, do we believe God is in this? What does their spouse hear from God about this possible “fit”? If they are single, what is the counsel of their close friends?
  1. Connection. How would you describe their expertise in intimacy and love? (Keep in mind we represent the Intimate One, one God in three persons living in perfect relational intimacy.) Are they emotionally open? When you are with them, do you sense they are with you? Do you “feel felt” by them? Are they relationally present one-on-one or in meetings? Would their presence promote love and genuine community and not simply efficiency? Remember, we are building countercultural communities where, through our love for one another, we learn to live in love with the Triune God.
  1. Character. Are they humble and teachable? Are they the same person on the inside as they are on the outside? Are they flourishing in their marriage or singleness? Do they have a solid sense of “self”? Are they differentiated enough to disagree with you? How do they cultivate their relationship with Jesus? What is their track record around self-control? How do they steward their money? A mentor of mine, a CEO with a doctorate in marriage and family, doesn’t hire anyone who has significant, unresolved issues with their parents or caregivers because they inevitably get projected onto authority figures at work. I have found this to be very true.
  1. Culture. Culture is that imprecise something, that invisible personality of a place that can be difficult to describe without actually describing it. From the way we conduct relationships, set goals, handle conflict, or define authentic spirituality, it consists of the “way we do things around here.” At New Life our 5 values– monastic, multiracial, emotionally health, marriage to Christ, and mission to the poor and marginalized – provide the skeleton of our culture. Nonetheless, this often can take 1-2 years to discern once a person is hired – even I they are coming from inside the church. Why? The intensity of culture is experienced most intensely on the staff/board level.

You may be saying right now: “How will I find anyone with such a list?”  Yes, it is challenging. But remember two things. First, the more responsibility and power a person will carry, the more deeply you will need to look into these 5 C’s.  And secondly, pray, keeping in mind Jesus’ words: “With humans this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mk.10:27).

Send me your thoughts and comments on Twitter @petescazzero.

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