Lessons from a new Hire

We’re hiring new people and I’ve noticed something about the ones who are driven to succeed. They hunger for positive feedback and instruction. On the other hand, organizational drifters don’t seem to need nor do they desire the same level of feedback. Drifters may actual resent feedback.

I overheard a new hire…

Anxiously, she said to the supervisor training her, “I need to feel like I’m making a contribution.”  Frankly, that’s what any supervisor wants to hear from a new person. Her statement reveals some important leadership truths.

Affirming high potential people…

#1. New people committed to success can’t get enough feedback.

#2. Positive feedback for new hires reinforces desired behaviors during an employee’s most moldable days.

#3. Those driven to achieve need more affirmation than those who aren’t.

#4. Correction is least offensive to those who aren’t expected to know everything.

#5. Do more than affirm behavior by highlighting progress. Affirm the desire to excel. You may have the tendency to brush off questions like, “Am I doing ok,” by replying, “Oh, you’re doing just great.” If you do, you’ve missed a golden opportunity. Rather than brushing of the need for affirmation, speak to their motive. Say, “You’re asking the perfect question. I’m delighted you care about succeeding.”

#6. Get feedback on your feedback. Once a week ask your new hire, “How’s my feedback?”

A suggested practice…

It may seem counter-intuitive but I’m suggesting you ramp up positive feedback to those you perceive as high potentials and high achievers. Please understand I’m not suggesting you stop giving feedback to poor performers. However, it seems to me that you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck if you affirm and instruct the highs more than the poors.

Positive reinforcement works best
on those passionate about success.


How can organizations get new hires off on the right foot?


Leadership Freak,

Dan Rockwell