the candidates… from an HR perspective

Right before the most recent election, Pres. Biden announced his intention to run for reelection. Right after the most recent election, former Pres. Trump announced his intention to run for reelection. Each, therefore, has now publicly stated they want the position. Hence, allow us a bit of an honest, raw conversation this day, for as a career human resources (HR) professional, one of my long term, ongoing tasks is to discern the best fit for a job.

Allow us first to reiterate an integral Intramuralist ethic. We will be respectful of each of the above and of their (dwindling?) ardent supporters. We will not ignore the truth nor be lured to deride any, even in passionate disagreement or potential disgust. Respect is a value we simply will not sacrifice.

Hence, when perusing wannabe candidates, I am always evaluating specific aspects. Such as…

Maturity… Are they both physically and emotionally mature? In one who is emotionally mature, there is no tit for tat, proneness to insult, nor propensity to lie. They can navigate conflict, communicate clearly, and acknowledge both error and responsibility.

Temperament… Do they show evidence of a healthy, general disposition? One with a solid temperament isn’t susceptible to mood swings nor fits of anger or fear. They are emotionally stable, work well with a team, and exhibit keen self-awareness.

Skill set… Do they possess the necessary abilities to succeed in said position? Every job description is accompanied by a set of unique prerequisites; not every person is qualified for every position. Hence, qualified candidates will have the job-specific, necessary combination of analytical, creative, leadership and more skills. 

Summarizing the above, for every professional fit, there is an evaluation of both character and competency. I’ll admit: it’s somewhat of a subjective process. I will also admit, however, that neither character or competency can be sacrificed if we are setting both the new hire and organization up for success. In order to be an effective, productive employee, character and competency must be consistently solid and unquestionable.

In truthfulness and respect, it is my sobering belief that with both presidents Biden and Trump, our country has sacrificed varying degrees of character and competency. It is thus no wonder why polls suggesting we’re headed on the right track or right direction are nonexistent. We’ve sacrificed what we cannot.

Let me add one more HR angle — and it’s a bit of a tangent, but still relevant and something I’ve long encouraged in those I’ve been honored to lead. While affirming each employee and their unique contribution, I also encourage each to think about how the organization would fare without them. In other words, one of the best, lasting marks of any great leader, is that the organization can both survive and thrive without them actually here. The employee has made their mark, stewarded their season wisely, and thus their physical presence is not vital. That is a key mark of an effective leader.

One of the disappointments, therefore, that I find with both presidents Biden and Trump is that I feel like, in their own way, they think we need them. My sense — from true, this limited vantage point — is that they each think they personally are what we need — like our country somehow can’t get along without them.

Sorry, but I don’t feel that way. One is 80 today; the other is 76. I deeply respect those who’ve gone before me, but clearly, at that age, there is some obvious cognitive decline — in some significantly more than others. I don’t think we need presidents Biden or Trump. In fact, I believe our country could benefit from a new generation of leadership.

Granted, whichever generation is next hired — hopefully a person who intentionally unifies more than divides — they must be far more than popular. They need to be one who is physically and emotionally mature, exhibits a healthy temperament, and possesses the necessary skill set. That means both character and competency.

Those are the people to hire.