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Would You Hire Your Own Boss?

Would You Hire YOur Own Boss? 

We've been in the recruitment business a long time. With thousands of candidate conversations under our belt, we can confidently list all the reasons a person might want to fire their own boss. But what about hiring a new boss?

If you're ready to make a career change and you're on the hunt for a new boss, or you ARE the boss (*read: manager, supervisor or team leader) and want an inside scoop on what your next hire is really looking for, read on! 

What to look for in your next Boss

Whether you're a boss or not, you have what's known as Leadership Quotient (LQ). Your LQ walks into a room before you do. It occupies your office chair. It precedes you down the hallway and follows you from one meeting to the next. Which begs the question, what exactly is Leadership Quotient and how can you look for it when you're on the hunt for a better boss. 

The Leadership Quotient Equation

There are three critical traits that, to one degree or another, we all posses. 

1. IQ: Intellectual Ability 

Intelligence Quotient covers a lot of ground. In a professional setting, it includes aptitude, judgement, strong complex problem-solving skills, the ability to strategize and see the big-picture. At it's simplest, IQ is the ability to assess and analyze WHAT needs to be done. 

2. EQ: Emotional Awareness

Emotional Intelligence as explained by Dan Goleman, is comprised of "four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management." EQ is all about how we connect with ourselves and others. Leaders with high EQ understand the emotional elements of WHO needs to do the "what". 

3. XQ: Execution Capability

Operational Leadership is all about execution. Leaders with strong XQ know HOW the "who" and the "what" come together to get things done. Leaders with effective XQ skills are clear, decisive, prioritizers who help their team implement the strategies required to accomplish a goal. 

These three traits combined form what's known as the Leadership Quotient. It's often expressed in an equation like this: 

Leadership Quotient

The very best bosses have all three of these traits in spades. It's no surprise then, that these types of bosses often have a stronger attraction power than salary or bonuses. And, in our fiercely competitive job market, this can be the difference between you taking the job or continuing the hunt. After all, people don’t quit great jobs, they quit bad bosses. 

So how do you spot you next boss?

Meet Tom 

We recently sat down with award-winning journalist and marketer, Tom Gierasimczuk. Tom's built owned media and content properties for clients ranging from WestJet Airlines to Microsoft while working with leading communications companies including Rogers Communications, Totem Brand Stories, Canada Wide Media and Transcontinental.

Today, he’s VP, Business Development and Chief Content Officer at Vancouver- and New York-based Resonance Consultancy, a place branding and destination marketing firm.

Tom’s had a few bosses in his time. It’s his experience navigating various boss styles that's allowed him to work closely with top brands, and equipped him with enough leadership lessons to fill a book.

Early in his career, Tom decided that "if your boss is a problem – you need to fire them." Now, as a top-level leader himself, one of the ways he measures his own LQ is by asking himself these two questions:

  1. Would I hire my own boss?
  2. As a boss, if the tables were flipped, would my team hire me? 

Tom's top 3 tips to spot your next boss

We asked Tom what he looks for in himself and in the bosses he hires. Here are his top three tips.

1.  More walk. Less talk.

A great boss will walk the talk. In fact, they'll be so busy walking they'll do a lot less talking. In other words, bosses with a high LQ will actively live out their values which, since they're so values driven, often align closely to the company values. 

Tom says the best bosses should "Always be exemplary of what they want out of people. Always. Work hard, and be willing to go the extra mile. But remember to always have your values in order. If you practice good balance, your team will follow." 

When hiring your next boss, do a little digging. Hop online, ask your recruiter, or, if you can, ask your potential new boss directly. Look for concrete stories and examples where they practice what they preach.  

2.  A talent for recognizing talent

If IQ + EQ + XQ = LQ, then a truly great boss will spot your talent from a mile away. They'll have such a keen eye, they'll recognize your aptitudes, assess how you'll connect with other team members, and they'll know how to leverage your skills to benefit both you and the company. 

You'll know you're talking to a boss with high LQ because they'll be able to clearly articulate your value and your contribution potential. Beyond that, they'll be excited about what you bring to the table. They'll see your skills as an opportunity to enhance their team, grow their business, and achieve next level goals. 

Hire a boss who's clear about your talent and how you can contribute. 

3. Beta test like a boss

“Leaders should live in a constant state of evolution," says Tom. "They should work in a lab—resetting and restarting when necessary. All leaders should be comfortable with the uncomfortable and should be rapidly prototyping new processes and new ways to do old things.”

High LQ bosses are above all, adaptable. They're clear on the ultimate destination and flexible on the mode of transportation.

Why? Because they can easily toggle between the traits required to get there. They have the skill to lean into their IQ, EQ, and/or EQ, and best of all, they can lean into yours as well. They know how to get the best out of themselves and their team, and they aren't afraid to ideate and iterate to get the job done. 

Look for a boss who's confident (or at the very least comfortable) beta testing with their team. 

Bonus tip

What happens when the answer to the question, "would I hire my own boss?" is "no". There are, of course, a number of options, especially for the patient. “If you’re committed to the company and love coming into work everyday, there’s nothing stopping you from targeting your boss’s job eventually,” says Tom. “And becoming someone your team would hire without a second thought."


Jody King, Community Manager Jody King
Community Manager 

Smart, Savvy + Associates are experts in helping marketing and communications leaders find people and develop teams that thrive and deliver inspiring results. As a people performance company, we specialize in finding marketing and communications talent in the Pacific North West. We also offer training programs for leaders and teams as well as options to become a certified coach or get coached. 


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Jody King

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