The phrase you’re not a fit somehow crept into the everyday language of corporate leaders and HR professionals and it appears to be here to stay. In those four words that seem to be short and sweet is a powerfully unspoken message.
In fact, it breaks all of the rules and guidelines for giving effective feedback. It is not specific and it does not provide the individual receiving it with any direction on what to do to fit in.
It is dismissive and shuts down any attempt to fit in. It says a lot about the culture and leadership when this is used as a way of turning down applicants for new positions or severing people from their position mid career.
By using this term, it would suggest that the leaders and HR professionals that use this term day in and day out, are cowardice and unskilled in sharing constructive feedback. Hiding behind the phrase wreaks of unprofessionalism.
In any and all of the scenarios that leaders and Hr professionals use this term, there are adults involved. This means that as adults at some point in their lives, they have received some constructive feedback and survived.
Protecting the people from the potential negative consequences and avoiding the possibility of a confrontation seem like irrational motivators in a professional setting.
There are three Cs that can be used to further understand the corporate rejection that comes with hearing the words you’re not a fit. They are Concrete, Courage, and Confidence.
Each of these Cs gives additional credence to why the phrase is harmful and destructive to any leader’s style or organization’s culture. Only when we identify the negative contributors to performance can they begin to be eliminated.
Concrete refers to the lack of specifics when someone is told you’re not a fit. The abstract message that is inherent in the phrase causes more questions than answers, and the dynamic that is set up does not invite a dialogue.
With the absence of concrete information to support the phrase, individuals are left to either imagine the worst or some other horrible scenario. Rarely will an individual jump up excited about the incomplete phrase, you’re not a fit.
When telling someone you’re not a fit, it would be more effective to add some of the reasons for them to ponder and process. Clearly, if the reasons are illegal or immoral, it stands to reason why that information would be omitted.
They are relevant reasons why someone might not be a fit and they can be shared. Someone could not be a fit, if they do not have the academic achievements required for a position that they applied for at a company. Another reason could be that they do not have the work experience in the area required for the job.
This leads to the next C which is Courage. Leaders and HR professionals are required to be courageous in their roles and to take on the critical and crucial conversations in their organizations. As leaders and HR professionals, they are not empowered to do a la carte leadership.
Selectively picking and choosing what leaders and HR professionals want to do from their job descriptions is typically frowned upon in most companies. Finding the courage to have the conversation that starts with you’re not a fit and ends with a summary of the reasons that were discussed, is what leaders and HR professionals are expected to do consistently.
One of the ways that leaders and HR professionals can develop the courage required to perform all of their job functions, is work with a coach or mentor. With the coach or mentor, the leaders and HR professionals can develop their courage in a safe judgment-free space.
Courage is something that can be developed into a habit that readily supports leaders and HR professionals through some of their most challenging situations.
The last C is Confidence and it takes into account the belief whether or not someone can perform a specific task of their job. When leaders and HR professionals lack the confidence needed to do parts of their jobs, they are shirking their responsibilities. In most of the companies not performing all of the job’s tasks and duties, is not tolerated very well.
Confidence is not nearly as daunting as some would make it out be. It is a habit that can be developed and strengthened with each attempt at doing something new and unfamiliar. Confidence builds over time with experience.
Some people rely on others to support them as a coach or mentor while they develop skills for their job like being more confident. Confidence building can be measured at each new juncture, which supports the progressive process of becoming more confident.
The confidence needed to share more feedback beyond the phrase, you’re not a fit is available to anyone in any role. The focus and attention to developing it and making it a habit lies squarely on the shoulders of the leaders and HR professionals.
When giving the feedback, you’re not a fit, the leaders and HR professionals have an obligation to go beyond and share some of the reasons. Only with the support of the three Cs can they begin to see their way to enhancing their performance.
People who hear you’re not a fit and the reasons are able to process it and move on the looking for the workplace or team where they will fit. It leaves them with hope rather than doubt and confusion.
Deciphering the nebulous phrase you’re not a fit requires each leader and HR professional to focus on the three Cs in order to rise up to the occasion.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see how your mindset shifts to be more respectful of them when they are being rejected in a corporate setting.
What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to discuss, gain insights, build communities— and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join below!
Join the Conscious Intersectionality FACEBOOK GROUP here. Includes our new call series on Human Rights.
Join The Good Men Project Community
All levels get to view The Good Men Project site AD-FREE.
Register New Account
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request a new password if needed).
ANNUAL PLATINUM membership ($50 per year) includes:
1. AN ALL ACCESS PASS — Join ANY and ALL of our weekly calls, Social Interest Groups, classes, workshops, and private Facebook groups. We have at least one group phone call or online class every day of the week.
2. See the website with no ads when logged in!
3. MEMBER commenting badge.
ANNUAL GOLD membership ($25 per year) includes all the benefits above — but only ONE Weekly Social Interest Group and ONE class.
ANNUAL BRONZE membership ($12 per year) is great if you are not ready to join the full conversation but want to support our mission anyway. You’ll still get a BRONZE commenting badge, and you can pop into any of our weekly Friday Calls with the Publisher when you have time. This is for people who believe—like we do—that this conversation about men and changing roles and goodness in the 21st century is one of the most important conversations you can have today.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Photo courtesy iStock Photo.