Welcome! I’m Thomas…

How To Get Hired, Part Deux

How To Get Hired, Part Deux

In part one I discussed the four distinct development types that exist for everyone on the planet for any possible project related task. Knowledge of those four types can help you land your next job, providing you know about them before heading into the interview. Armed with such knowledge you can drill into the specific projects and tasks your future significant other has in mind for you in order to see if you are a match.

For example, if you find out they want someone with very high competence and very high commitment levels (a D4, and exactly what everyone is always looking for) for a task which you know nothing about, then it is not the right position for you at this time. Of course, if they want a D4, but they need a D3, and you can demonstrate that you are the D3 they need, then you have the chance to win that job offer.

You can well imagine that these four different development styles would require different management styles as well. After all, the best managers recognize that every person needs to be managed differently. This is applicable not only by person, but by task as well. Some people will need more direction than others on some tasks, and less direction for other tasks. As such, the very best managers, motivators, and coaches recognize this need and make adjustments along the way.

Coaching Lessons Learned

I learned a long time ago that individuals require much different motivational techniques than one another, but I also learned that as a team you could motivate the group as a whole. Looking back on events I am fascinated at how things would play out over time. Methods that could motivate one person would be lost on another, but you could find ways to get both people to work together for a common purpose, to help one another, to lift each other up off the floor whenever possible.

The best example I can give of this was the first year I was coaching basketball. My team was loaded. I knew going into the season we would win about twelve games on talent alone, but I was going to have to help them to win the remaining six. I also knew that they had enough talent to win them all, but was not certain if I was going to be able to get the job done because after all it was my first season as their coach.

Along the way I figured out how to motivate them as individuals as well as a team. As individuals I found out how to best put them into spots on the floor so they could be successful. And when they found success as an individual, the team found success as a whole. I also found ways to push them to get better at certain skills along the way. Working with the individual players to get stronger at things they already did well and also find some time to improve upon their areas of weakness. Of course, in basketball players are made in the summer, and teams are made in the winter. Which means there is only so much time to spend on skills, most of your time is spent on teamwork.

As the wins mounted I would try to find ways to bring the team back down to Earth. Whenever they started to get cocky and fool around in practice I would make them run some extra sprints and shout at them. But I was not just yelling anything, I was yelling something specific. In fact, for about four straight weeks they heard this very line from my lips:

You guys are going to be 16-0, go on the road to face the Red Raiders, and they are going to beat you because you decided to spend time fooling around today instead of practicing.”

I said that at least a dozen times to my team. Not as individuals, as a team. I never took one player aside and pointed to them as the weak link. No, it was the team that was going to either succeed, or fail. And sure enough we found ourselves sitting at 16-0, on the road, against a very tough team. After our warm-ups it was time for the pregame speech and I headed into the locker room. I have no idea what I was planning to say that night because I was struck by a comment made to me as I entered the locker room:

We made it coach, we’re here.

“Um, yeah” I thought and said “we made it fine…what are you talking about?”

“You told us we would be 16-0 and head on the road to play this very game…everything you said has come true, except that we are not going home with a loss.”

At that very moment I realized that the room was dead silent. All eyes were focused on me, and I was talking with the de facto spokesman for the team. I was essentially being told that these kids had been waiting weeks for this very moment, and they had no intention on letting it pass them by. These kids were serious, very serious, about the next ninety minutes of their lives.

My pregame speech was very short. I think I was a little scared about letting them out of the locker room because they had this…presence about them. As a group they were simply not going to fail each other. I was genuinely worried for the other team. Not that we would hurt them, but that we were going to win by fifty and run up the score along the way. I quickly started thinking about how to make certain I kept their emotions in control, and less about any game plan because I knew the game was already over.

Situational Leadership

Wha does the above story have to do with getting a job? I am glad you asked. As I blogged previously, there are four development styles (D1-4), each distinct for a specific task. It is important to remember that we are talking about tasks, and not the people, because your competence and commitment varies depending upon the task. There are also four leadership styles as you need different styles for different situations.

A leadership style is the pattern of behaviors that are perceived by others over a period of time. Think about some of the better leaders you have known. Would you describe them to be effective (attitude, commitment, feelings) or would you describe them as successful (behavior, performance, results)? Or perhaps both? Well, chances are your perception of that leader is also based upon the associated tasks and projects you worked on together. If that leader did their job correctly then you should have different opinions of them over a period of time, because they would have fit into one of the following four styles:

  • S1: leaders in this group offer high directive and low support (directing)
  • S2: leaders in this group offer high directive and high support (coaching)
  • S3: leaders in this group offer low directive and high support (supporting)
  • S4: leaders in this group offer low directive and low support (delegating)

Now think about how those styles should be matched with the development levels. Better yet, just think about which style you would prefer to have. Take another moment and reflect upon how at different times it is necessary to have different styles based upon the tasks and projects you are working on. Chances are you can think of a example where you needed your leader to fit each one of these styles and yes, D1 should match to S1, D2 to S2, etc.


With regards to the above story, I had different development levels for each of the players on my team. They all had varying skill levels in different areas. Some could shoot, some could dribble, some could rebound, and some could pass the ball. During practice some would require more directing, some needed coaching, some just needed support, and for others I could delegate specific items. For example, I could let three guys do shooting drills by themselves for twenty minutes because I knew they would take it seriously and didn’t need me to teach them how to shoot, they just needed to practice some shooting drills. Meanwhile I could work with other players directly that needed specific help and direction.

The Secret, Part Deux

I know, I already gave away one secret, well here is the other part that I was holding back. When you are interviewing for the job, and you already have ascertained exactly wheat development level they need for their team, you next need to find out more information about the leadership style you are going to be working with. So, if they need you to come in and be a D3, chances are you will not work very well with a leader who is a rock-solid S1. Of course, it is okay to be a S1 some of the time, the trick for a good leader is to understand that you need to fit your style to the person and the task.

So, as you sit there in the interview you should try to find out more about your new lover boss to see if they recognize the different leadership styles. Ask them questions similar to “how many team meetings will we be having weekly or monthly?” Or, “how often do you expect written summaries or progress reports?” If you find that you are spending most of your time in team (or one on one) meetings and writing up summaries of your activities, you can rest assured your leader is more of an S1. And from the sounds of things an S1 most of the time.

Now, if your new boss says the magical words “it depends”, then this very well could be your dream job. If you have matched your development level to their needs and found their leadership style to be one that varies based upon the situation then the only thing left is to secure the offer. If the development levels and leadership styles do not match, then you should probably continue to look elsewhere as chances are you will not be very happy for very long.

How does this help you get hired? Well, think of it more as “how this will help me find the right job”. Knowing your strengths, what your future employer wants, as well as what they need, and an idea as to how you will be treated are crucial elements when dating interviewing. The first step is to show how you can fill their need, the next step is to show that their leadership style suits your development level. When you leave that interview you need them to be thinking about how wonderful things will be once you start working there.

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  • chris

    What was the final score of the game?!?!

    • Thomas LaRock

      we won easily, but i don’t remember the actual score. i have the book for that year and can look it up later, i forgot to do that before the post was published.

      I remember my players kept trying to pressure the ball despite me telling them to back off. they were like sharks out there. they controlled the entire game. it was amazing to watch, almost out-of-body like, as they perfectly executed everything we had been working on for months.

    • Thomas LaRock

      checked the book, we were up 37-13 at the half and held on to win 73-42. I know, we gave up 29 points in the second half. I am guessing I was playing the third team for most of the second half anyway, which probably energized everyone even more.

  • Nice post, Thomas. I think that I remember a lot of this stuff from Ken Blanchard’s books too.

    • Thomas LaRock

      thanks, i never heard of ken until just now when i banged him. i will have to look more into his work.

      the development level and situational management thoery happened to be items that were discussed during some recent Six Sigma training, and seemed to be applicable to anyone actively interviewing.

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