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Elon Musk’s 1 Short Sentence Gives the Best Hiring Advice You’ll Hear.

Technology entrepreneur and SpaceX founder Elon Musk at a large conference in Austin said, “The biggest mistake, in general, I’ve made, is to put too much of a weighting on someone’s talent and not enough on their personality. And I’ve made that mistake several times. I think it actually matters whether somebody has a good heart, it really does. I’ve made the mistake of thinking that it’s sometimes just about the brain.”

He also eluded that for a long time, he hired talented people over kind people, but he tries to balance that now.

To explain, he went on to say, “Best person on the team is not necessarily someone who scores the most goals, it could be the person who assists in the most goals.”

This was something uncharacteristic for a scientifically-minded, tech entrepreneur, it made many people do a double take. But when you think about it, he’s right.

Mark C. Crowley, wrote a compelling article documenting the heart’s relationship to the brain. He says the heart “routinely informs the brain of the body’s emotional state, and the outcome has a profound impact on brain functioning and decision-making.” But let me preface, you first have to have heart, not just “a heart.”

Digging deeper, it gets interesting. Director of Research, Rollin McCraty, Ph.D, HeartMath Institute expands further on this :

When human beings experience a steady flow of positive feelings and emotions (e.g. appreciation, inspiration and happiness), the heart flips into what’s called ‘coherence.’ And when people feel appreciated by their bosses, supported, healthily connected to the people they work with, growing, loved and able to live meaningful lives, this inherently creates coherence. All boiled down, it means the communication going on between the heart and mind is so ideal that it puts people into their optimal level of performance.”

There is a compelling case for hiring people with a “good heart.”

Most of us weigh down heavily on skills over personality while hiring, but there is positive evidence found in work cultures that practice organizational kindness. Don’t laugh because it actually makes perfect sense. Sharing few more thoughts for you to mull over this:

  • Kindness fosters trust within an organization: It eliminates communication barriers, minimizes negative competition among staff, and strengthens relationships.
  • Kindness helps with hiring talent: A study from the University of Delaware shows that a culture of kindness attracts talent, and lowers recruiting, hiring, and training cost.
  • Kindness boosts employee engagement: Research also indicates that loyalty increases when employees have opportunities to demonstrate kindness in the workplace.
  • Kindness fuels learning and innovation: When employees are free to make mistakes and learn from failure, it fosters innovation because it increases ‘psychological safety.’ It is an important aspect of creating new ideas.

Research findings have recognized kindness to be an essential aspect of a productive work environment. And many successful leaders today rely on compassionate leadership to flourish in their field.

As it said, “Great leaders have a heart for people. They take time for people. They view people as the bottom line, not as a tool to get the bottom line”.

Each one in the company, contributes to its success not just as individual but how they influence, affect others around them.  So, focus not just on the skills but also on the goodness of the heart and create a work culture of kindness where relationships thrive – that is the bedrock for building and nurturing trust, fostering innovations, creativity, transparency, and more…. with all this any organisation is bound to succeed.

Kriti Makhija

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