“How many of you took a psychology course in high school or college?” I asked. A few hands went up. “And how many of you have a degree in psychology?” Most of the hands go down, still leaving one in the air. “And are you certified by the state to practice either as a psychotherapist or a psychoanalyst?” The single hand dropped.
We were talking about hiring and the tendency of the manager to try to climb inside the head of the candidate to discover motivations and intentions. “Stop trying to play psychologist! You are not qualified to do it,” I said, looking straight at Raymond.
“But, I think it is a valid question,” snapped Raymond. “I just want to see where their head is at.”
“That’s the problem. You are not trained to make that kind of psychological evaluation. Listen,” I continued, with another question, “How many of you, as a manager, can spot positive behavior out on the floor?” The hands were tentative, but every hand in the room went up. “And how many of you can spot negative behavior out on the floor?” All the hands rose higher. “And how long does it take for you to spot it?”
“Immediately, on the spot, right away,” came the replies.
“Here it is, then. Stop trying to play amateur psychologist, you are not qualified. Play to your strength. You can spot positive and negative behavior in an instant because you are a manager. Play to your strength as a manager.