If you are thinking about hiring soon, here’s a little tip: Don’t put your candidates under unnecessary pressure just to see if they crack.

So many leaders have told me that they do this when they interview a potential hire. Maybe you’ve even done it before?

On the surface, it seems like a good idea. If the candidate can keep cool while you poke at them, then you know you likely have someone who can handle pressure all around. But it doesn’t work in practice. Why?

The reality of the job is, you want them to feel safe first, then use that as a platform to be able to cope with stressful situations. This is called psychological safety.

Drilling someone in an interview won’t give you the best outcome… Unless you lead like this everyday. And if that’s the case, there’s other issues at play. For example, you might think that finding a great person is the challenge, but your challenge will likely be keeping them because there is only so long someone will want to work for a leader who uses these tactics.

Another downfall of leading like this: Stress makes us dumber.

People who work for leaders who push limits often struggle with burnout and low self-worth. You’ll probably find yourself constantly dealing with lackluster work, picking up the pieces because your team is so stressed they can’t deliver.

At which point I’ll ask you the question: Is it really them? Or your leadership style?

When hiring, the people you’re interviewing are also checking out how YOU do things. You have to sell yourself and your business’ culture as well–build trust with the right people from the beginning. They don’t have to take your offer. And if they don’t trust you, they may not accept the job… Especially not the best candidates who know their worth.

Psychological safety–or lack of–is the cause of that underlying stress that some employees feel. You probably have a friend who works in corporate, or you’ve been there yourself, and every time the boss says, “Can I have a minute?” they immediately think they’re going to lose their job.

Why would you want to start with that sort of stress in your working relationship?

I could talk about this forever, but I’ll get off my soapbox for now because this week’s podcast episode breaks down the science behind psychological safety. I want you to understand not only what NOT to do, but why it’s important to avoid this common mistake.

Take a listen on Apple Podcasts

Take a listen on Spotify

And if you feel a bit guilty because maybe you’ve been this kind of leader before, remember that this is a judgment-free space. The goal is learning and growing, just a little bit each day.

PS. This is exactly the kind of thing that we cover in detail inside Solo to CEO Guided Program. I literally walk you through hiring good people (who won’t leave you or steal your ideas and start their own business) step-by-step. Get on the waitlist here.

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