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Female Leaders

Female Leaders Proven More Likely to Coach and Mentor

By | Leadership | No Comments

Women make up more than half of the labor force in the United States and earn almost 60 percent of advanced degrees, yet they bring home less pay and fill fewer seats in the C-suite than men, particularly in male-dominated professions like finance and technology.

Research suggests that the male presence in the majority of senior leadership positions does not indicate that men possess better talent than women, but rather there is no significant indication of better performance in a specific gender. In fact, many studies consider women to be more likely to excel in leadership and mentorship roles.

Female leaders are proven more likely to coach and mentor successfully for many reasons:

Less transactional and more strategic relationships with employees

While men use networking to advance their careers, women tend to use their networks for both support and relationship building. Women’s presence in the upper echelon can enhance the social networking and mentoring opportunities of other women in the organization.

Women tend to be kinder in leadership roles

Kindness is rarely ever associated with leadership. However, some form of reassurance, compassion, and empathy can make a huge difference in your team’s dynamics. According to studies, women tend to be equalitarians, sharing evenly with peers while men tend to be more individualistic. Effective leadership demands kindness. In fact, leadership in itself is an act of kindness.

Women trend more emotionally intelligent

When it comes to empathy and self-regard, women tend to score higher than men. Studies show that women are more likely to identify emotions and subtle cues of emotional expressions.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman considers higher emotional intelligence a major trait of ineffective leaders. A leader or a mentor needs to connect with people at a deeper level to make an impact in their lives. These traits help them support, coach, influence and resolve conflict among individuals and teams effectively.

Most people imagine leadership to be a male-dominant field. For example, qualities such as confidence, independence, and assertiveness are frequently associated with men. We hardly ever think of empathy, kindness, relationship building, or collaboration to be leadership traits. This is a bias handed down to us since our childhoods. It is time we change these narratives and think of leadership as an amalgam of traits that cater to both a variety of qualities and attributes.

Mentoring is critical for team growth and talent retention. Are you doing enough to support your team? Hire a recruiter today to find the next leader for your team!

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Executive Assistant

Your Executive Assistant Interview: Questions the CEO Must Avoid Asking Support Staff

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Legal restrictions prevent CEOs from asking support staff possibly biased questions in interviews. That’s a good thing!

When interviewing support staff, avoid asking questions like these:

  • How many children do you have?
  • What church do you go to?
  • When are you planning to retire?

Some questions are better left unasked out of respect for the candidate. Avoid asking any of these questions:

  • Do you have to wear that scarf on your head?
  • Why are your clothes so dated?
  • Is that your natural hair color?

Instead, try asking open-ended questions based on work-related scenarios.

 Questions the CEO CAN ask support staff in an interview

It can seem like there are a lot of questions you can’t ask in an interview. Rather than focus on what you can’t do, try these more positive questions that reveal behavior:

  • Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
  • This job sometimes requires working after 5 pm or on weekends. Often, tasks like making reservations or scheduling meetings can be done from anywhere. Could you commit to working like this?
  • What prior experience do you have that would be useful in a job like this one?
  • Tell about a time when a challenge prevented you from completing a critical task.

Applicants can use the STAR method for answering questions: explain the situation, task, action, result. For example:

  • SITUATION: Two days before a major holiday, our company held a quarterly board meeting at a retreat. Weather forecasters predicted severely inclement weather – the kind that could cause significant travel delays.
  • TASK: My job required that I secure travel arrangements home for board members and the C-Suite. Most of them were flying.
  • ACTION: I worked with the other executive assistants to create several backup arrangements, including car rentals and chartered grand transportation. We also secured hotel reservations, just in case. Then we made “survival bags” consisting of bottled water, snacks, and a few other necessities for each person.
  • RESULT: As it turned out, air travel was canceled for only a few hours, so everyone made it home safely. The survival bags were a big hit!

Open-ended behavioral questions allow candidates to respond in more detail, especially when using a template like STAR.

About the vaccine

Applicants are curious about vaccine requirements for work. Some candidates may find that the provision gives them peace of mind, while others may decide they cannot comply for various reasons.

No current laws prevent you from asking about someone’s vaccination status. Still, it’s better to let your HR department explain your company’s requirements. The applicant can then decide if they can agree to the condition or are better off finding work elsewhere.

Need help figuring out the questioning process? Your recruiter can help by vetting the candidates you interview. If you are the candidate, the recruiter can help you prepare for questions.

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Executive Assistant

Executive Assistants Are Vital for Growing Start-Ups

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Entrepreneurs growing a start-up find that one critical staff position is crucial to early success: the executive assistant.

Some CEOs balk at the idea of hiring an assistant right out of the gate. They want to avoid appearing too pampered, too self-centered, too corporate. Start-ups, after all, are supposed to be independent, aggressive, and robust. Why would the CEO want to delegate any responsibility to an executive assistant?

The real question is, why wouldn’t the CEO delegate to an executive assistant?

Every CEO Must Have an Executive Assistant

The most important reason to hire an executive assistant for your start-up is to give you the time to focus on the business matters that only you can handle. Your start-up is your vision, and you already devote most of your waking hours to its success.

The executive assistant is your chief of staff, the person who will take care of all the tasks you don’t have time for. If you have the financial capacity to bring one employee onboard, hire the staff position that will grow with your company and help develop your vision.

The Many Chiefs of Staff Duties

An executive assistant (EA) is invaluable to your success because of three critical skills:

  • Prioritization: An EA will prioritize workload, meetings, and who will be allowed to interrupt your work. Probably no one, including your mother-in-law, will get past your EA gatekeeper.
  • Organization: Count on your EA to know where to find everything, from your accounting documents to local zucchini lasagna that melts in your mouth. Your EA can even tell you where the latest version of your pitch deck is filed.
  • Communication: Well-known for their communication skills, EAs will initiate conversations via email, phone, and virtual meeting software. They’ll also make sure you have the words you need for expressing ideas. The EA hires copywriters and speechmakers.

You’ll find that your EA can meet demanding deadlines, handle impossible tasks with grace, and apply emotional intelligence in situations that would unnerve 5-star generals.

Eventually, your executive assistant will become your chief of staff, overseeing other assistants’ work in the workspace you created.

Hiring the Executive Assistant for Your C-Suite

Once you hire your c-suite, the executive assistant becomes your center of operations, often handling multiple roles simultaneously.

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, including start-up entrepreneurs. How you use these hours is up to you.

Hiring an executive assistant can give you the additional hours you need. With an EA onboard, you can build your business, practice work-life balance, or even catch on your sleep at night.

To make even better use of your time, turn to an executive assistant recruiter who can help you find the right person to make that happen.

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Support Staff that CEOs Need to Succeed

By | Leadership | No Comments

Hiring support staff is a critical investment that new CEOs can and must make quickly at the corporate helm in their first few weeks. Anyone taking the reins of a billion-dollar company recognizes that they cannot do everything or be everywhere themselves. Instead, they must have a support staff that is strategic, tactical, and can influence others.

Many first-time CEOs focus on implementing new initiatives that will meet the goals set by the board. Corporate leaders want to hit the ground running, likely deferring the hiring of their staff until much later.

They continue to work with the staffing system already in place. Maybe the current organizational system is working. More than likely, however, it can’t adapt to and keep up with the changes the new CEO wants to make.

Therefore, the CEO must hire support staff to succeed.

The Right Support Staff for Every CEO

CEO support falls into three strategic areas: communication, information control, and traffic flow. Patrick Aylward (Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey identifies the roles and duties this way:

  • Air traffic controller – Handlings systems and logistics for the senior leadership team and the CEO.
  • Integrator – Coordinating systems and information between departments and divisions so that no one works in isolation.
  • Communicator – Managing public, media relations, and corporate philosophy between company leaders and other employees.
  • Honest broker and truth-teller – Identifying challenges and opportunities without bias
  • Confidant – Listening without advocating for a personal or political agenda.

Hiring multiple team members devoted to these five areas enhances the CEO’s ability to make rapid changes. In many cases, that’s what CEOs establish. They hire a Chief of Staff and several Executive Assistants. 

Support Staff Characteristics

The difference between good support staff and great support staff lies in their skills and their attitudes about the role they play.

The most outstanding support staff:

  • Understands the corporate culture
  • Wants to see the company succeed
  • Collaborates with stakeholders at all levels
  • Demonstrates exceptional executive functioning skills
  • Initiates tasks independently
  • Works with little supervision
  • Communicates well verbally and in writing
  • Uses software management products with proficiency
  • Maintains high levels of confidentiality

It seems like the CEO’s support staff must have the strategic acumen of Sun Tzu, the confidence of Joan of Arc, the wisdom of King David, and the compassion of Mary Poppins.

In reality, however, finding the right CEO support staff is a task made simple. It merely takes working with recruiters who know what successful corporate leaders need and where to find the talent to support them.

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Why You Need a Chief of Staff

By | Leadership | No Comments

Corporate and non-profit CEOs share one common element: they need a Chief of Staff. The chief of staff in any organization is the CEO’s right hand, managing a plethora of activities, information, and staff.

The chief of staff, often along with multiple Executive Assistants, creates the synergy necessary for the organization to operate effectively. No other person can communicate across various levels and throughout various departments as effectively as the chief of staff.

The person holding this position promotes the corporate culture, shares the company philosophy, and manages executive functions.

The Chief of Staff Coordinates C-Suite Functions 

While your chief of staff will work directly with you, they also have other responsibilities since this role is responsible for seamless c-suite workflow.

Your chief of staff will:

  • Prep materials for meetings and schedule their date, time and location.
  • Develop and distribute internal and external communication, including emails, newsletters, presentations, speeches, reports, white papers, and more.
  • Organize special corporate events
  • Take on project management responsibilities for annual strategic planning
  • Monitor and update KPIs
  • Supervise the work of those who support the CEO and c-suite management

When you’re not available, your chief of staff will be. That can keep your leadership team functioning all the time, not just when you’re in the office.

Scale-up your Business Wisely

Sometimes businesses decide that scaling up means adding more. That means more initiatives, bigger goals, and an expanded staff of C-Suite leaders, like a COO.

That kind of thinking can jeopardize your corporate success and damage your career. Hiring a leader like a COO is a costly strategy that your company might not yet be ready for, especially in the early stages of corporate growth.

How do CEOs scale when adding expensive positions isn’t an option?

Savvy CEOs hire a chief of staff, and here’s why:

  • Time is everything, but there’s not enough of it in the day. The chief of staff does the things you don’t have time for
  • No one knows your business better. This person serves in the role of confidant, allowing you to pitch an idea or muse about possibilities effectively.
  • Streamlined services save money. No one recognizes cost-saving initiatives like your chief of staff, who will likely have sound recommendations for implementing ways to save money.
  • You gain another channel for communication. Keeping teams informed and up to date can be difficult. A competent chief of staff and a team of executive assistants can get the word out so you can get on with business.

Corporate and non-profit CEOs can’t afford to lose out on the one staffing position most likely to help them succeed and advance the company goals.

The time is now. We can help you find the chief of staff best suited for your needs.

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Executive Assistant Salaries Have Skyrocketed Since Pandemic

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Executive Assistant salaries are often money well spent in any company. This position supports the role of the executive, serving as the company’s senior management liaison for communication and planning.

Since COVID-19 erupted worldwide, executives have become even more reliant on the one hero or heroine that holds it all together during global panic: their executive assistant.

As a result, EA salaries have been on the increase.

Skills for the job 

EAs are experts with technology, whether they coordinate electronic meetings and calendars or keep up with messages in software apps like One Note and Telegram.

Other duties include:

  • Initiating and responding to communication
  • Taking notes
  • Conducting research
  • Planning events
  • Preparing reports, data, and meeting materials
  • Coordinating travel on the ground, in the air, and by sea
  • Training assistants and support staff
  • Maintaining office supply inventories

Since the pandemic, many EAs have redefined their roles by spearheading new initiatives. For example, executive assistant Ratna Sreerangam asked his travel industry CEO for permission to assist customers needing airline refunds. With no other travel permitted during the pandemic, a strategy like this can keep a business afloat until flying is once again permitted.

Executive assistant preparation and training

Most training takes place on the job, but an EA will have to meet foundational requirements, such as having a high-school diploma. In some fields, having a bachelor’s degree might complement the executive office needs. A law office might require that a senior EA have a law degree. Similarly, a construction firm might favor EA candidates with a degree in construction sciences.

The EA might also earn software proficiencies and have certificates verifying their competency. They may also take advantage of other professional development opportunities that will help them excel in their jobs.

Executive Assistant salaries 

With excellent job and communication skills, a versatile EA can earn a good salary.

Industry and location can play a significant role in salary. For example, the average annual EA salary is $53,199. At Walmart, EAs average $75,865, but the same job pays $101,073 at Paramount Pictures.

You may have heard that, despite the salary increases, there are fewer EA positions available. Positions are down by 4% and are expected to decrease more. Still, top-notch EAs are more in demand than ever because many senior executives share executive assistants – especially those who take the initiative and redefine their roles.

Now is the time to reach out to hire the executive assistant that will help you be more successful.

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Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant Questions That You Must Ask

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Preparing for the executive assistant interview means developing a set of key questions that will give you enough insight to make a hiring decision.  These questions will allow you to assess the candidate’s fit for the job.

Before you meet with the interviewee, take these two critical steps for a successful interview.

Preparing for the executive assistant interview

First, when developing an interview question, avoid any query that can be answered with a simple “yes”or “no”. Instead, ask open-ended questions that will require explanation. You’ll be able to see the candidate’s thought process, and you’ll have a better understanding of how your future assistant will handle challenges.

Next, section your interview questions according to the skills for which you are looking. These can be categorized in three groups: the job itself, behavior, and communication.

Job skills

Providing support for an executive requires diverse skills.

Ask:

  • How do you prioritize your day?
  • What computer experience do you have?
  • Which software programs do you use most?
  • If the executive for whom you work has simultaneous engagements, how would you handle the conflict?
  • Explain how you would make travel arrangements for an executive who needed to fly to a speaking engagement.
  • How do you handle confidential information?
  • If you had to set up a half-day meeting for executives, how would you plan it and be sure that everything would be ready?
  • What’s your most significant professional accomplishment?

Behavioral skills

The person you hire for this role should have the necessary skills and characteristics to get tasks done completely and confidently.

Ask:

  • How would you handle an emergency if you are already busy working on a project with a deadline?
  • What are your thoughts about occasionally working from home evenings, weekends and holidays?
  • Explain how you maintain flexibility in your daily schedule.
  • How do you keep your work-life balance amidst hectic schedules?
  • What do you do when things don’t go the way you planned?
  • Who has been the most challenging person to work with – and how did you handle the difficulty?

Communication skills

Also known as soft skills, these characteristics will establish a candidate’s ability to communicate with others.

Ask:

  • How do you prioritize your day?
  • Tell about a time you had to deal with a demanding visitor or caller, in person or on the phone.
  • Describe your process for writing an email for the executive to send.
  • What three words describe the perfect executive assistant?
  • Tell about a time you had to think on your feet. What was the outcome?
  • How do you handle constructive feedback?

Finally, ask the candidate you interview what questions they may have for you. Both of you should walk out of the interview knowing clearly whether the job is the right fit.

If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to contact a recruiter who knows the industry.

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CEO

What Sets the Best CEOs Apart from Others

By | Leadership | No Comments

As the leader in any organization, the Chief Executive Officer holds an exceptionally visible position of power and influence.

The CEO’s job includes setting the mission, visions, and goals, motivating the executive team, collaborating with stakeholders, representing the company and its values, and developing a solid work-life balance.

How does a board find someone who can execute these tasks flawlessly?

As it turns out, the board can’t because perfection doesn’t exist. It isn’t even preferable. Instead, hiring boards should consider these five characteristics.

  1. Education and Experience

Many boards tend to seek out leaders with degrees from prestigious universities. There is little correlation between the stamp on a sheepskin and the recipient’s ability to lead an organization.

What does matter, however, is the CEO’s willingness to learn and apply their knowledge and previous skills to help to make decisions.

  1. Personal Characteristics

Many people identify extroverts as the best CEOs because they are charismatic leaders. In reality, introverts perform better in this role, quickly meeting or exceeding their goals.

While confidence may land a candidate a CEO position, it does not affect job performance.

CEOs are willing to confront others when necessary. They don’t hide from challenges; they meet them head-on. Those who excel in their roles focus on meeting their goals – and winning.

  1. Best CEO Decision-Making Habits

CEOs who can strategize and make decisions quickly excel over those who do not. 

The reason is simple: executive-level leadership requires decisiveness. CEOs must make decisions confidently, even when there’s little time to respond to developing situations. Making a mistake is preferable to making no decision at all.

Those surrounding the CEO prefer consistent and immediate decision-making to uncertain delays.

  1. Getting Buy-In from Others

Those in the top position in a company seek feedback and gather diverse viewpoints. These viewpoints may shape the CEO’s decision, but the decision is based on facts rather than popular opinion.

Top CEOs prefer to hire people with the skills they may be lacking; these employees often become trusted advisors.

  1. Strategy-Building Skills

Not everyone can see the big picture, but that’s what the CEO does. This role requires eagle-eye acuity for envisioning how all the parts work together. Those who work with CEOs often describe them as:

  • proactive proponents of change for the right reasons
  • committed to thinking long-term
  • trustworthy individuals who follow-through
  • positive and predictable
  • makers of bold moves

Not everyone has the skills and mindset to be a CEO. To be the best at the top position in any company requires a unique set of characteristics. As it turns out, no one thing defines a successful CEO. The most successful, and ultimately the best CEOs, are a combination of everything.

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Corporate Woman

More Women Left Corporate Jobs During the Pandemic

By | Leadership | No Comments

The pandemic has completely transformed perspectives about work, especially for women. In the 18 months since COVID-19 appeared, more than half of working women are less optimistic about their job opportunities than they were before a novel virus took the world by storm.

For women in corporate jobs, the future appears even bleaker.

How the Pandemic Exacerbated Conditions

During the pandemic, many women who had corporate jobs reverted to traditional roles.

They found themselves in the position of being the caretaker for everyone around them. These women provided emotional support and encouragement for their employees on their teams.

During the lockdown periods, these same women were also the support system at home, assisting their children with virtual learning, checking on relatives, and holding the family together. Women traded their career aspirations and took on greater domestic responsibility.

As a result, the women burned out quickly.

Difficulties Women Face in Corporate Jobs

Landing a job in corporate America isn’t easy as a woman. It’s even more difficult as a woman of color or LGBTQIA.

Many corporate women have experienced the broken rung syndrome: making their way up the corporate ladder is nearly impossible because the first step in moving up is often disconnected. It’s so shattered that getting to the second rung is a tremendous hurdle.

Corporate roles require considerable face time when managing or leading teams of employees. During the pandemic, women:

  • experienced higher stress levels than men (74% compared to 61%)
  • burned out quicker than men in similar jobs
  • earned less than men for the same job
  • left the corporate workforce at a rate of 3:1 compared to their male counterparts

Women gave up the positions they worked for on the ladder. In doing so, they also may have given up their opportunity for further advancement.

Changing the Outcome

The good news is that the future doesn’t have to be bleak.

Companies can – and should – encourage women to return to their places in corporate positions. These five steps can help women step up over that first broken rung of the corporate ladder and on to richly satisfying careers.

  1. Offer greater flexibility 

Allow employees to take time off when needed. Some companies have experimented with unlimited paid leave. If that’s too big of a leap, try a smaller commitment of a few days at a time.

  1. Align accountability with financial incentives 

Too often, performance metrics don’t match up. Reward results rather than time spent in the building.

  1. Consider diversity when hiring 

More than numbers, diversity thrives when people of different backgrounds, races, and experiences work together.

  1. Eliminate bias and identify promotion trends

Make sure equitable performance reviews identify accomplishments and any need for professional growth accurately.

  1. Listen when women speak

Women in corporate jobs find that their ideas and contributions are often suppressed.

With your help, the women who shouldered the burden of the pandemic will be back, stronger and better equipped to lead companies forward.

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Woman CEO

More Women Running Fortune 500 Companies Now Than Ever

By | Leadership | No Comments

The climate change happening in the business world, albeit a slow progression, sees steady growth in acceptance of women running Fortune 500 companies. The companies that have taken the step to hire women CEOs have made interesting discoveries. Some women carry specific traits that help them not only land these top positions but thrive in them.

According to Fortune, women running Fortune 500 businesses in 2021 hit an all-time record high of 41, two of which are black women – another first.

Given women’s history in business, these records are worth celebrating, and Korn Ferry states that the celebration will continue with foundations like The Rockefeller Foundation starting initiatives like the “100×25” initiative. An initiative to hire 100 Fortune 500 women CEOs by 2025.

So what is it that helps women stand out as leaders that can profoundly change organizations for the better?

3 Traits Women Running Fortune 500 Companies All Possess

According to Forbes, McKinsey published research titled “Women Matter,” with proof of how differently women CEOs run things. The main finding suggests that women leaders implement at least five of the nine most important leadership behaviors to improve organizational performance, whereas men tend to lack in this area.

The five behaviors most commonly referred to by women include:

  • People Development: Teaching, mentoring, and listening to individual needs as a top priority.
  • Expectations and Rewards: Clearly defining expectations and rewarding when targets are met.
  • Role Model: Focusing on building respect and being a role model for the company.
  • Inspiration: Presenting a compelling vision of the future that inspires workers to implement the changes necessary to get there.
  • Participative Decision-Making: A team atmosphere where everyone is encouraged to participate in decision-making.

Aside from these behaviors, there are 3 personality traits that women CEOs possess as well:

  1. They are driven and committed to the success

It takes women an average of four more years than men to make it into leadership positions. During this time, women spend their careers in a number of different roles, companies, and industries. By the time they make it to the CEO, they are ready to commit to the company and apply their wealth of experience.

  1. They are devoted to positive workplace culture

In Korn Ferry’s study, 25% of women were proud of the positive culture they created in their companies. Women understand that for the company to succeed, it starts with the workers, and workplace culture is one of the main things that can make or break a company.

  1. Most have STEM or substantial financial backgrounds

Nearly 60% of all women in business have a definable background in STEM, business, finance, or economics, as posted by Korn Ferry. This type of knowledge serves as a catalyst for success, whether male or female.

Still, women know they have to work harder and prove themselves more than men do. This is a tide that is beginning to shift but still exists, nonetheless.

Women make it abundantly clear how beneficial it is to start from the bottom and climb your way to the top. Most women are forced to start in lower positions than men, but it only proves to help them succeed later on when finally promoted to CEO. Women continue to prove how resilient, courageous, and agile they are in business. They have the ability to revolutionize the modern-day workforce.

Every company that hires a woman CEO brings that reality into fruition.

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