The Tiger – Go Get ‘Em!

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 5, 2008 in Executive Coaching, Lessons Learned |

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When given the task to pick an animal for my “job search jungle” blog, I was immediately drawn to the commanding and charismatic tiger. After beginning my research, I learned that the tiger was the national animal for several Asian nations, including Korea. And as a Korean-American, I found this information quite fascinating. Was this a coincidence, that I picked an animal that represented my heritage??? Well, that’s a topic for another blog…

Tigers are powerful, highly adaptable, and one of the post popular and recognizable animals in the world. Whether in the board room or in the playing field, we grew up hearing the phrase, “get ’em tiger”. This has been a part of the American vernacular throughout generations. Tigers are also known to be fiercely territorial and this trait can be extremely damaging in the workplace. In Corporate America, you’ll find many “tiger managers” with this destructive trait. Throughout my 15 years of human resources and recruiting experience, I have encountered tiger managers who enjoy being the best, the brightest, the fastest, and who are very territorial. Even when given the opportunity to strengthen their team and hire a new staff, the tiger managers’ natural territorial defenses kick in and they employ someone who’s less threatening. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they hire candidates who may not be as bright or talented, for fear of being outshined. Hiring the weaker candidate will often leave tiger managers with incompetent staff and higher turnover. Thus, in the end, wasting time, energy, and money.

Moving up in the ranks of Corporate HR, I was fortunate to have managers and mentors who did not possess destructive tiger traits and they taught me the value of building and developing the best team. As a Partner and Recruiting Manager for CMCS, an (8a), women and minority owned company, I make it my mission to hire people who I think are smarter and better than me. So to all those tiger mangers out there…it should be obvious, but hiring the best talent is what’s best for you and your business, even if that means paying a bit more. Surrounding yourself with competent staff will free yourself to start tackling those business development projects that have been pushed aside for way too long.

Courtnie Cho
Partner, CMCS

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Nov 11, 2008 at 3:39 pm

You raise an interesting point with your selection of a tiger … commanding, charismatic and adaptable, and yet they possess the potentially destructive traits of being territorial and controlling. The challenge is in how you balance these character traits and don’t fall into the trap of becoming a “tiger manager.”

Apr 7, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Hello !! 🙂
I want to tell, that I’v found your blog very interesting
And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
Sorry for my bad english:)
Thank you:)
Your Piter, from Latvia


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