Leadership Articles: TALKING LEADERSHIP


A Feature Article from Gaynor Consulting Inc.
May 2017   |   By Dan Gaynor

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Job Fit and Performance

Leaders are limited or lifted by the people they lead. Their success and that of the mission depends on the contributions of others. With this in mind, I believe all the best leaders have a kind of healthy discontent about the state of their teams. They are never satisfied with status quo. They are always looking for ways to boost team performance. This is why casting the right people into each role is always essential leadership work.

The key to casting well is Job Fit. For me, job fit is the combination of talent and values that make an individual well suited to the role he or she must play. When people are doing the work they have talent for, for leaders and teams that matter to them, and they have the right values, they are invariably satisfied and productive.

Talent is the stuff we are born with, the raw material. When talent is trained, and accompanied by the right experience, high performance and job satisfaction are natural outcomes. I learned a long time ago that I do not have the talent for math. Trying to make me into an accountant or mathematician would be an exercise in frustration for everyone and it would be a frustrating exercise for me, but I have other talents. The key to lasting success is matching talent and values to work. While this might seem obvious a lot of people are doing work they'll never do very well or feel very good about.

Talent alone is not enough, we also need the right values. An individual could have lots of talent for math but be completely unable to respect others or take direction. Such a person will only damage the team and undermine the mission. Talent AND values are the keys to job fit and lasting success for everyone. So every great team-building leader is in a constant search for job fit with each and every team member.

Through job fit leaders build high performance teams one individual at a time. As I've been known to repeat constantly, "Great leaders surface and resolve the big questions about people and the work they do." They do not sit by and watch someone struggle without doing something about it. Job fit becomes their reference point.

This is why great leaders make every performance count. They know that performance is always the best indicator of job fit. When performance is strong and the individual enjoys the work, we can be fairly sure of job fit - this is evidence of good casting. When someone is consistently performing poorly, job fit questions arise and it's time to do something about it. This is when a leader's observation, feedback, coaching and accountability skills all become essential. When performance improves in response to the leaders intervention, we can dismiss job fit concerns. When it does not, it is time to make a change for the individual and the organization. The most frustrating situations I came across during my newspaper leadership career were those where I knew there were job fit issues that previous leaders had ignored, sometimes for years.

When job fit is the issue, performance and job satisfaction will not improve until the casting issue is resolved. Delaying these changes is not skillful or caring leadership. While you can't guarantee that everyone who leaves will find the right job the next time, know for certain that they won't even get the chance to by staying in the wrong one.

Discussion questions:

  1. What are you currently doing to build your team's performance?
  2. Are there any job fit issues that need to be surfaced and resolved?

To go deeper on leadership call or write about a half day workshop or a keynote address.

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A Feature Article from Gaynor Consulting Inc.
May 2017   |   By Dan Gaynor


Has this article sparked some thinking?
Join our blog Talking Leadership here to share it with other readers.


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Download our articles below:

Lead Like Scrooge, December 2017

Follow Well To Lead Well, October 2017

Fundamentals First, September 2017

Leadership from Supervisor to CEO, August 2017

Job Fit and Performance, May 2017

Thinking "Corporate", February 2017

Authenticity and Vulnerability?, November 2016

The Pain Problem, October 2016

The Big Question, September 2016

Risky Business, March 2016

Mentoring in the Moment, January 2016

Sacrificial Leadership, December 2015

5 Tactics For Better Meetings, November 2015

Leader as Follower, October 2015

Dynamic Balance, September 2015

Fearless Humility, August 2015

Fear and Accountability, July 2015

Building a Feedback Culture, June 2015

Fostering Accountability, May 2015

Confront or Avoid?, Apr. 2015

The Heart of Accountability, Mar. 2015

Powerful Ambition, Feb. 2015

Inspiring Possibilities, Jan. 2015

Ralphie and the Strategic Approach, Dec. 2014

Disagree Well, Nov. 2014

Culture and People, Oct. 2014


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