Should ‘Enjoyment’ be a key requirement for Leadership Roles?

I’ve been recruiting for nearly twenty years. In that time, I’ve read simply THOUSANDS of Job Descriptions, and written hundreds myself. A fair proportion of the roles we tackle as a team at Jack Hammer are brand new – roles created in response to a specific business challenge – so it’s important that we get it right. Our Job Profiles are one way of assuring the client that we ‘got it’ at the outset. We’ve heard the challenge, we’ve translated that into a set of required competencies, and our narrative on the opportunity is both accurate and dynamic.

Our C-Suite roles typically require a blend of similar characteristics – resilience, ability to influence, analytical thinking, emotional intelligence, and so forth. And so I’m always delighted (and surprised) by something new that comes into the mix. The latest lightbulb moment comes compliments of a client in Germany who has a large commercial farming operation in Africa that needed a new MD.

We briefed. We asked all the right questions. We gauged the broad dynamics and challenges of the business. And we delivered a Job Profile for the client’s sign-off and comment.

Our client acknowledged that we’re spot-on with the technicalities of the role – from the need for irrigation and workshop management to the labour dynamics and the commodity trading element of the role. We even nailed it on the ‘other’ crops that will assure a relevant expertise (stone fruit works; tobacco and grains don’t). We also agreed on the appropriate ‘personal characteristics’ – including cultural agility and a comfort with the rural lifestyle.

But we missed something really very important. In bold red font, my client adds a line to the job profile. It’s this:

“Must ENJOY farming”.

I don’t believe I have ever, not once, seen a job profile that suggests that ‘enjoying’ the work is important.

Which is a pity, don’t you think?

Tracy Dawson – Partner

Tracy Dawson

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