A dose of people wisdom from Peter Drucker

by Michael Haberman on September 20, 2017 · 0 comments


A management lesson from Peter Drucker.

Often people are hired for the wrong reasons. Hiring managers seek to minimize weaknesses rather than maximizing strengths. That is not the formula for success in hiring, according to Peter Drucker. From his book The Effective Executive, as quoted in The Daily Drucker, “Effective executives make strength productive. They fill positions and promote based upon what a person can do- not to minimize weakness but to maximize strength.” There is danger in that approach.

Drucker points out that “Strong people always have strong weaknesses.” Avoiding these weaknesses by looking for someone whose performance is acceptable all around is the not the formula for achieving excellence. He feels that human excellence can only be achieved in one area, or at most, in very few. All hiring should start out with what a person should be able to do well and “then demand that he or she really do it.”

Area of weakness that is important

As a human resources professional, I had a concern that not addressing weaknesses might lead to problems in people interactions. One weakness of some strong leaders is that they tend to run ”roughshod” over people. Drucker did address this as well. He said:

There is one area where weakness in itself is of importance and relevance. By themselves character and integrity do not accomplish anything. But their absence faults everything else. Here is one area where weakness is an absolute disqualification.”

In my experience, technical weaknesses can be overcome but having character weaknesses can often lead to people problems that can be disastrous to a company. A new way to program or sell can be taught but teaching someone character and integrity is often much harder to do.

 


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