This review first ran in the Aug. 4 edition of The Hamilton Spectator.
New World Library
LinkedIn remains a mystery to me.
I get endorsed for skills I don’t have by people I don’t know.
And strangers keep sending me invitations. They’d like to add me to their professional networks. Why? I have no idea. We’re not in the same line of work and we don’t seem to know anyone in common. At last count, I have 338 invitations that will forever be pending.
While constant invites can get annoying, I know better than to do a Blazek.
Kelly Blazek, the self-described Job Bank House Mother, got a LinkedIn invitation from Diana Mekota, a freshly minted grad in search of a job. “Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you and tacky,” Blazek fired back at Mekota. “Wow, I cannot wait to let every 25-year-old job seeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job. Love the sense of entitlement in your generation. And therefore I enjoy denying your invite. Don’t ever write me again.”
Mekota posted Blazek’s reply on Facebook, Reddit and other social media sites. And so began the public shaming. Blazek’s slapdown got picked up by Buzzfeed and went viral on Twitter. Mainstream media then ran with the story. Blazek gave back the communicator of the year award she had just won. She publicly apologized to Mekota. And then she shut down her Twitter account, blog and purged her LinkedIn account of everything but recommendations.
“In a world where work is increasingly conducted online, high-character employees consider the consequences of every text, email, tweet and online forum post they make at work,” says Bruce Weinstein, author of The Good Ones: Ten Crucial Qualities of High-Character Employees. “Some go further and apply that standard to their online activity outside work.”
Remember, you are what you tweet and you really don’t want to say or do something so dumb that it winds up on the front page of the Hamilton Spectator or goes viral online.
Smart companies are becoming increasingly good judges of character. Forget what you know or who you know. Who you are as a person can make or break your career.
The good ones – the high-character potential hires and employees – are at a premium.
“Character and performance are strongly intertwined,” says Weinstein, who helps organizations hire and promote high-character people.
High-character employees are high performers. They’re fully engaged in their work. They keep their promises and can be trusted do the right thing even when it’s easier to do something wrong or slightly questionable.
Employees who suffer from ethical lapses will, at best, be marginal performers who suck up an inordinate amount of their managers’ time and attention. They’re poison in the workplace and a real threat to your organization’s reputation.
“Companies that place a premium on the character of job applicants and employees are positioned to succeed in ways that their competitors cannot,” predicts Weinstein.
So what should employers look for? Weinstein has identified 10 qualities associated with high-character employees. Honesty tops his list. “No matter how knowledgeable or skilled a person may be, if he or she is fundamentally dishonest or doesn’t value honesty, that person is detrimental and possibly even dangerous.”
The other nine qualities of high-character people are:
- patience, and
Weinstein’s written his book for managers looking to hire high-character employees, job candidates wanting to stand out from the competition and employees angling for promotions. He offers sample job interview questions for each of his 10 qualities that do a good job of revealing a person’s true nature.
And here’s one of Weinstein’s best practical ideas. Start good-mouthing at work. Say nice things about people behind their backs. A little gratitude goes a long way and speaks to your character.
“Character may be an unusual topic of conversation in business but character is observable, subject to evaluation and indispensable. It’s time to place character front and centre in our thinking about business in the 21st century. The good ones do. How about you?”