All Posts By

Angelica Rains

4 Examples of Successful Leadership

By | Career Guidance | No Comments

Transition to a leadership role can be challenging. You may not be used to giving direction and being someone who must set an example for everyone else. Even long-time leaders know that there is always room for improvement where leadership is concerned. Leadership is especially important in the world of high-profile CEOs, venture capital investors, and the high-level professionals who support them. Here are four examples of successful leadership.

Practice Accountability

Great leaders don’t make excuses when things go awry. They take full responsible for their decisions and performance. They own up to their mistakes and work hard to become better for their team. They don’t shift the blame to their employees because they understand that part of their role as a leader is to motivate employees and make sure they live up to their potential.

Don’t Dwell on Failures

The best leaders don’t let failure bring them (or the team) down. As humans, it is natural to feel disheartened when we experience failure and often obsess over the mistakes that were made. But as a leader, you need to maintain a positive attitude. It’s important to accept failure as part of the job, learn from it, and move on. Otherwise, it’s just going take longer for you to succeed.

Action-Oriented

When there is a problem or crisis, great leaders don’t wait to take action. They acknowledge the problem and find a solution. Sometimes, leaders will take their time when they need to make an important decision because they fear making the wrong choice. Be willing to take risks. You need to inspire confidence from your employees and clients. Inaction won’t accomplish this.

Rethink Hierarchy

When most people think about the hierarchy of a business, they imagine the CEO and other executives at the top of a pyramid and everyone else is below them. Great leaders, however, don’t see themselves as the most important part of their company. They understand that one of their biggest responsibilities is to support their team and provide them with the guidance, mentorship, and resources they need to perform at the top of their game and make the company successful.

When an organization has exceptional leadership, it attracts and retains better talent. Strong leadership also ensures that your employees stay motivated and morale and productivity stay high. To improve leadership, practice accountability, learn to bounce back from failure quickly, take prompt action, and provide the team with a support system.

Read More

Areas of Growth in High Profile C-Level Support

By | Career Guidance | No Comments

Exceptional executive support is at the heart of any successful organization. High profile C-level support is experiencing growth in several major areas, including family office directors and chiefs of staff. Below is a closer look at some of the areas of growth in  high profile C-level support.

Family Office

C-level support has become increasingly prominent in Family Office Management. Family office directors and directors of operations—the people who manage the entire family office, estate, and staff, serve a role similar to a COO. Directors can help hire staff, manage property taxes and LLCs, and handle critical HR issues. High profile Family Office businesses need experienced support staff who understand the value of confidentiality and efficiency.

Chief of Staff

Chiefs of Staff serve many crucial functions. They assist with project management, communicate with direct reports, organize board meetings, help strategize, and act as the right hand to the CEO. They problem solve and manage direct reports, often shielding the CEO from direct involvement with issues that arise. The C-level support ensures day to day operations run smoothly and leadership remains organized, strategic, and productive.

Trends in Executive Support

Five years ago, these types of support roles were not being recruited for very much. Recently that has changed. These are not run of the mill executive assistants. Salaries for these roles range from $200,000 to $500,000. In this high-tech environment, the number of millionaires and ultra-high net worth individuals has exploded. C-level support professionals usually need advanced business and administrative degrees. Some even have Doctor of Jurisprudence degrees.

Business Experience

Support staff at this level also need a high degree of experience. Often this business experience comes from serving as an executive assistant and then growing into more operational roles. Most executive assistants at the C-level also have some legal background and understand business operations. These professionals may have worked as personal estate managers, director of operations, paralegals, or attorneys. Sometimes, executive support staff grew up in the world of high-profile executives and have established connections within this dynamic and high-stakes field.

Recruiting Top Support Professionals

In the past, people didn’t actively recruit for C-level support roles. But now as the number of high-profile millionaires has increased, executive support roles have become more important than ever. When hiring for C-level support positions, seek out professionals with extensive educational, professional, and operational experience, as well as a sense of confidentiality. A recruiter steeped in this world can help you find C-level support staff who fit well with the company’s culture, operational requirements, and the executive.

Read More

Top 7 Podcasts to Start Your Year Off Right

By | Career Guidance | No Comments

January is the time for a fresh start. It’s the time we put the baggage from the previous year behind us and focus on what we can do to improve. These seven podcasts will help you stay focused and inspired in 2020 so you can start the new year off right.

Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations

In Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, Oprah interviews thought leaders, health professionals, prominent writers, and celebrities about topics that focus on being your best self. She discusses everything from forgiveness to the importance of keeping a positive mindset. Some of her guests include Cheryl Strayed, Dr. Phil, Michelle Obama, and Wes Moore.

How I Built This

How I Built This by NPR tells the story of some of the most successful companies in the world and how they became household names. The episodes centered on Airbnb founder, Joe Gebbia, are particularly insightful. He discusses how a simple idea to help himself pay rent led to a multibillion-dollar empire.

The Tim Ferris Show

The Tim Ferris Show is one of the top business podcasts in the world. Some of his guests include Neil Gaiman, LeBron James, Tony Robbins, and Reid Hoffman. In each episode, Tim Ferris analyzes a successful performer in areas including business, sports, and investing, and figures out the tools and tactics each guest used to fuel their success. He discusses topics like morning routines, time management, diet and exercise routines, and more.

Work Life

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist. His podcast, Work Life, discusses the science of how the mind has the ability to make work enjoyable even if it isn’t your dream job, focuses on topics such as valuing feedback and turning work frustration into a source of positive energy.

Meaningful Conversations

Meaningful Conversations with Maria Shriver teaches how to use self-reflection to find meaning in life and relationships. To be your best self you have to be able to connect with the people around you.

On Purpose

On Purpose with Jay Shetty is another popular inspirational podcast. Shetty is a monk turned content creator who shares the wisdom he has gathered conversing with the people around him. He discusses topics such as making better decisions, goal setting, and how to be more present.

A Better You

A Better You by Guy Raz focuses on self-improvement. Part of the Ted Radio Hour show Raz did on NPR, he discusses how self-improvement is easy to start but hard to follow through on. He touches on the importance of embracing rejection, how to overcome fear, and more.

As the new year kicks off, many of us want to focus on improving ourselves. These podcasts will help you jump start your resolutions for 2020. Following through on your goals can help you find fulfillment in your professional and personal lives.

Read More

As Women Get Closer to the C-Suite, Something Confounding Happens

By | Career Guidance | No Comments

In the United States, many young women aspire to success. Almost three quarters of female professionals start off their careers with the goal of one day reaching the C-suite. A recent study conducted by Egon Zehnder showed that while women remain ambitious through most of their career stages, their ambition drops off when they reach senior management.

Why Does This Happen?

It seems confounding that women professionals aspire to reach the C-suite but lose focus and determination just when they’re closing in on their goal. The problem is that women in the workplace face consistent challenges when it comes to career advancement. As women advance through their careers, they observe these challenges and the idea of reaching the C-suite starts to feel more farfetched. They see women being passed up for promotions for men who are younger and less experienced than them, and eventually this affects their morale.

Professional Challenges

Women in the workforce report several major challenges that influence their prospects for career advancement. Three of the biggest obstacles women face are expanding their skillsets, finding opportunities to highlight their abilities and potential, and balancing their professional and personal lives. Essentially, there aren’t enough opportunities for development and many face more pressure for work-life balance than their male counterparts. Gender and age bias are also major issues.

Diversity and Inclusion

What can we do about it? The first step is to confront age and gender bias in the workplace. Not everyone agrees on the value of diversity. While diversity helps develop a creative, forward-thinking work environment, some leaders worry diversity leads to too many differences in thought and opinion. Diversity issues tend to come from the top down. To keep women motivated, leadership needs to overcome age and gender biases and actively work to create more inclusive workplaces.

Career Advancement

Career advancement is the other key. The study also showed that women receive less mentorship and career development training the older they get. Interestingly, women in the C-suite rely heavily on mentorship, advocacy, and other career development resources. The use of these resources increases with seniority but decrease with age. Career advancement resources need to be made more available to older professionals and leadership needs to encourage female professionals to work closely with mentors throughout their career.

When women start their careers, they strive to climb the corporate ladder. But the closer women get to the C-suite, the harder it becomes for them to advance. Part of the problem is a gender and age bias, and part of the problem is a lack of consistent mentorship and career development. Now is a good time to review your organization’s efforts toward greater inclusivity, mentorship, and skills-building programs. As companies evolve to meet the needs of women in leadership roles, we’ll see fewer women’s ambition wane and more women reaching the C-suite.

Read More

How to Follow Through on Your 2020 Goals

By | Career Guidance | No Comments

The start of a new year is the perfect time to reevaluate how you approach goal setting. Setting goals is easy. The hard part is following through on them. Most professional goals are challenging. They involve hard work and dedication. So how can you keep yourself motivated? Here are some tips to follow through on your 2020 goals.

Be Consistent

The key to following through on a goal is consistency. Work on the steps toward your goal every day. Not only will this help turn it into a habit, it will give you with momentum. One way to approach this is with a calendar. Each day, when you make progress on your goal, put a red X through the date. The further you go into the year, the harder it will be to stop. When you see the long chain of crossed out dates, you won’t want to break the chain. It seems simple but having a visual representation of your accomplishments is powerful. Seeing that you’re making progress on your goal every day will motivate you to continue.

Connect with Others Who Have Similar Goals

Look to friends and coworkers for support. Some of them have likely set yearly goals that are similar to your own. It is much easier to follow through on goals when you have people to support you and hold you accountable. Finding trusted friends to keep you honest can make the experience more fun. Schedule lunch dates to discuss the progress made toward goals or plan an outing together when you hit important milestones on the way to your end goal.

Use Self-Knowledge

You won’t follow through with goals if you don’t select those that you have the ability to accomplish and strategies that play to your strengths. Reaching a challenging goal always requires some sacrifice. When setting goals, make sure you consider what those sacrifices will be. For example, the goal you set might require you to work longer hours. Are you willing to sacrifice your work-life balance? Don’t pick a goal if you know you don’t have the will to make the necessary compromises. You also want to play to your strengths. If your goal is to be more organized, don’t plan time in your schedule to work on organization in the morning if you know you’re not a morning person. Think about what time of the day you have the most energy and focus.

Many of us make goals for ourselves every January. Fewer of us follow through with them. Usually, adjustments aren’t made to build the momentum necessary to achieve them. Selecting attainable goals that you genuinely care about, being consistent with your progress, and building in accountability can all make it easier to follow through on your goals in 2020.

Read More

How to Create a Perpetual Prime of Life

By | Hiring Strategies, Leadership, Training | No Comments

As recruiters, we ask candidates a powerful question which typically elicits immediate pause, reflection, and authenticity in the answer. It is a question that catches most off guard, creates a feeling of nostalgia, and sometimes even prompts a smile. “At what point in your career did you feel most fulfilled? When did you feel you were truly in your prime, or at your best?” Unfortunately, more common than not, the answer is a story of the past. This creates a dual-sided dilemma; how do we expect others to be inspired by our vision and actions if we ourselves are not inspired by them? How do we create a perpetual prime of life for ourselves and for those we lead?

Perpetual Prime: Yourself

A commonly cited quote (original author contested) reminds us that “it’s never too late to be what you might have been.” It might help to know that celebrity chef Julia Child worked in advertising for the majority of her life and did not release her first cookbook until age 50. Legendary comic creator Stan Lee did not create his first comic until he was 39. Colonel Sanders of KFC fame did not start franchising his company until the age of 62. The individual responsible for inventing instant ramen noodles did not do so until he was nearly 50. However, this is not an article about the possibilities of succeeding later in life. It is about how to take the environment of previous success and push yourself to stay in it, year in and year out.

The best place to start is by learning from the past. What is your answer to the question above? When have you felt truly in your prime, and what circumstances were in play at that time?

  • Commonly, the following four statements are generally the answers we hear most often as recruiters:
  • I had a team around me and we were all rowing together, hard, to achieve a goal we all believed in.
  • I was busy, maybe even overwhelmed, but overwhelmed doing meaningful work.
  • I was tasked with a challenge and given autonomy but support to solve that problem.
  •  I was surrounded by a team or a leader who pushed me to be more, learn more, take on more and grow more.

Sound familiar? You might identify with some or all of those experiences, whether they are in the past or in the present. The remaining question is “what changed?”

As leaders, we are in a position of power – a position to recreate the very circumstances that once made us feel we were the zone or at our best. We have the ability to take control of the variables that put us in those situations and control of the variables that detract.

Consider instead:

  • What is our collective vision, and what can be done to make it a more purposeful goal?
  • What mundane tasks should be outsourced, freeing up time for the most fulfilling and highest gain daily activities as a leader?
  • What can you do to create an ongoing learning environment with new challenges to overcome?
  • Are you surrounded by the best, both peer-level and those on your team? If not, what changes need to be made?

It is normal to find yourself entrenched in the day to day routine of work, family, and life. Many people go through the day on autopilot of knowing what is expected and performing to that expectation. It is not necessarily easy or comfortable to take the time to answer the questions posted in this article and start to understand true aspirations, motivations, and desires. It is certainly not comfortable to initiate change and uproot unproductive teams or face the reality of uninspiring objectives, but it is necessary in order to create an environment in which everyone feels at their best.

Perpetual Prime: Your Team

Being a leader can often times feel like being a parent, where every word is heard and every action is emulated. That leads us to another question: who was the best boss you ever had? Most answers include things such as “he/she had a vision and could articulate where we were going and how we would get there” or “their impact was felt daily as they worked tirelessly towards our goal” or “he/she put me in a position to succeed and I felt there was a strong belief in my abilities and potential.” Sound familiar? Although we are all different, we are also often alike. Creating a professional environment in which your team feels they are all in their prime takes work, but it is not a unique challenge.

In fact, someone once felt it with you; think about it! The best boss you ever had took responsibility for inspiring you, for making you feel heard, and for believing in you at times more than you believed in yourself. As leaders, we owe it to those who have put their careers in our hands, and the formula exists for what to do. It has been done for you already in the past. In fact, Google has even made leadership a replicable quality! Google’s people analytics team started by researching the qualities that make managers great at Google and then built a training program that teaches those exact qualities. Once the program has been completed, Google measures the behaviors of the leaders to ensure that they’re making improvements and morphing into managers that Googlers want to work for.

We don’t need to make it as complex as Google has. Start with becoming the boss you most admired and recreating the circumstances that used to make you feel you were in your zone. So goes the leader, so goes the team; once you feel you are in a perpetual prime of life, you will be surprised by how many others follow.

Read More

Retention Tips: How to Retain Your Best Talent for the Long Term

By | Executive Assistant, Hiring Strategies, Leadership | No Comments

Retaining your best employees is an essential strategy in growing your business. Poor retention drives up an organization’s costs and can negatively impact the team’s morale and confidence. Here are some retention tips to help retain your best talent for the long term.

Overcommunicate Expectations and Details

One of the main reasons new employees quit is because the job isn’t what they expected. Throughout the hiring and onboarding processes, overcommunicate expectations and other important details. New hires should know exactly what to expect when it comes to their job responsibilities and the company culture. Also clarify what their priorities need to be in order to succeed in the role.

Establish What it Takes to Accomplish Their Goals

Employees need to know what to do in their position that will allow them to accomplish their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals within the company. Often, employees leave because they don’t see how they are contributing to the company in a meaningful way. Instead of putting out fires, they need to know they have a purpose. Part of your job is to communicate to employees clearly and consistently how the role will allow them to contribute to the company. If you make that clear from the start, then they will have a much greater chance of reaching (and exceeding) those goals and feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes along with that success.

Set Employees up for Success, Not Failure

To ensure that new hires are happy at the company, set them up for success from the beginning. During the onboarding process, help new hires understand what challenges they will face in their new job, and provide them with the appropriate resources, such as a mentor, to overcome these challenges. You also want to give them tools to learn about the company and their role as quickly as possible. Finally, you want to provide new hires with opportunities to socialize with their peers so they can start to feel like part of the team right away.

Give New Hires Time to Train and Attend Regular Meetings

The most common complaint that new hires have is that they don’t feel like they have adequate time for training and meetings. New hires need the appropriate amount of time to train and attend meetings so they can learn their role and learn what they need to about the company and its culture. Otherwise, they might not figure out how to perform their job fast enough, become overwhelmed, and leave.

Have a System Place

With the above in mind, you have a system in place for training new hires and providing them with the onboarding they need to succeed. You might also want to incorporate a mentorship program to help accelerate the learning process and help make the new hire feel more comfortable.

Retention is essential for a successful business. You need your best employees to stay loyal to the organization so you’re not wasting time and money constantly searching for talent. To improve retention, make sure expectations are clear, establish how the role will help them accomplish their goals, provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed, and give them sufficient time to train.

Read More

Loss Aversion in the Workplace

By | Hiring Strategies, Leadership, Training | No Comments

Imagine this scenario: a colleague offers to flip a coin and give you $20 if it lands on heads. If it lands on tails, you give him $20. Would you accept that bet? For most of us, the answer is no. Behavioral science experts Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman performed an experiment which resulted in a clear example of human bias towards losses. The experiment involved asking people if they would accept a bet based on the flip of a coin. If the coin came up tails the person would lose $100, and if it came up heads they would win $200. The results of the experiment showed that on average people needed to gain about twice as much as they were willing to lose in order to proceed forward with the bet. This tendency reflects loss aversion, or the idea that losses generally have a much larger psychological impact than gains of the same size.

You likely experience this phenomenon daily. Have you ever purchased something knowing you’d likely return it, but the longer you keep it the more attached you get? Sending the item back now feels like a loss. The longer we wait to be seated at a restaurant, the harder it becomes to leave, because it feels as if the time we’ve invested would then be lost. The more we try to fit a new couch through a too-narrow entryway, the less inclined we are to give up and accept that we need a smaller couch, and the more steadfast we become in making it fit. It seems that sometimes we will persist with a belief or course-of-action long after it is rational to do so. We feel trapped by what we have already committed.

Although a fascinating piece of knowledge about human behavior, what does the concept of loss aversion have to do with the workplace?

As leaders, knowing that losses have a tremendous psychological impact can cloud judgement when it comes to truly evaluating employee performance. We have a tendency to double down with those we’ve invested time with yet who continue to underperform.

“B” and “C” Players

A less enjoyable component of management is the act of working with and coaching the perpetual under-performers. Every department has them, every leader has struggled with them, and some may even have a few who come to mind immediately. They are the few who we try to encourage, who we try to train, and for whom we hold out hope that change will come, but it can seem like an endless cycle of performance management and frustration.

We all recognize “A” Players. Within most organizations, there is even room for the competent, steady “B” performers who balance their work and personal lives while still performing a significant amount of tasks that need to be done. They stay in their lane, don’t require a great deal of attention, and they get the job done.

On the other end of the spectrum, “C” Players sometimes make up the smallest segment of the team yet require the most time and attention. They are the employees with a constant litany of excuses – a vehicle is broken, someone is sick, excessive days are missed, and the workload either gets passed to someone else or delayed altogether. They walk the fine line between “good enough to get by” and “fireable offense worthy of termination.” They are granted continual employment primarily because the act of hiring, training and managing someone you don’t know is sometimes more intimidating than continuing to deal with the perpetual issues of the presently employed “C” performer.

Stop Doubling Down

It’s time to step away from the fear of losing $100 and focus instead on the opportunity cost of not winning $200. The obvious unintended consequence of having a seat filled with an under-performer is having it not filled by a significant contributor. What rarely is considered is the impact on those who are current significant contributors; there is little more frustrating than having your own success consistently hampered by another person’s incompetence. If the majority of your team is working hard, producing great results with tremendous collaboration, what message are you sending by supporting the 10 percent who are doing the opposite? How long do “varsity players” want to be surrounded by sub-par athletes?

Beyond performance issues, it is likely time to top-grade when:

  • The individual is the central cause or perpetual perpetrator of office drama
  • Co-workers (or possibly worse, clients) have taken note of the incompetence
  • The employee has an apathetic attitude
  • He or she ignores actionable feedback
  • The individual handles emotions poorly, mistaking the work environment as a therapist’s office
  • You spend more than ten minutes a week, week after week, dealing with issues created by the employee

Toxic Workers, a Harvard Business School study of more than 60,000 employees, found that “a superstar performer–one that models desired values and delivers consistent performance” brings in more than $5,300 in cost savings to a company. Avoiding a toxic hire, or letting one go quickly, delivers $12,500 in cost savings.

Sometimes, it truly is best to return the item, leave the overcrowded restaurant, or succumb to a smaller couch. Instead of experiencing a loss, you might actually gain the improved morale of the entire workforce. Instead of experiencing a feeling of loss over time invested, you might actually gain more time to invest in those worth investing in. Instead of feeling the loss of an employee, you might actually gain a key contributor you would not have otherwise hired.

Read More

How to Deal with Office Politics Before They Diminish Company Culture

By | Executive Assistant, Leadership | No Comments

Office politics can be detrimental to a workplace if there isn’t a culture and plan in place to reduce its likelihood. Letting office politics run wild can create a toxic work environment, reduce morale, and lead to increased turnover. Here are some tips to deal with office politics before they have a negative impact on the company culture.

Have Your Team Make Commitments to Each Other

While training is used to increase competence, it can also be used to reduce conflict. During training, have your team members make certain commitments to each other and to the organization. For example, they can commit to eliminating gossip, being more clear in their communication, or addressing people directly. These types of commitments will create a drama-free company culture and make your employees more accountable to each other.

Avoid Conflict by Cutting Out Gossip

Encourage your team to eliminate office gossip. This can completely change your internal culture. When everyone gossips, it becomes hard to separate fact from fiction and stories from lies. People often think that gossiping with coworkers helps them build relationships, but in reality it more often destroys relationships and contributes to a toxic work environment.

Lead with an Abundance Mindset

Some people lead with a scarcity mindset. They frame their leadership around what they lack. These leaders frequently complain about not having enough time, resources, etc. This often comes from a place of fear. It is much better to lead with an abundance mindset. These leaders concentrate on what they want to achieve and work toward their goals, regardless of the resources that they have. A scarcity mindset often leads to more workplace drama because people feel like they have to struggle to succeed, so they tear each other down. If everyone on the team works together to succeed toward common goals, there will be less conflict and more healthy collaboration.

Conscious Leadership Group

If your company has a lot of workplace drama, partner with an organization like Conscious Leadership Group. This organization consults with business about how to reduce conflict in the office and increase self-awareness and engagement. This is a multi-year program that will give your team shared goals, which in turn, will help them work better together.

Too much conflict and politics can make a work environment unbearable for you and your employees. Focus on leading with openness and directness and encourage your team members to avoid gossip and other toxic behavior. This is the best way to reduce negative office politics and encourage team cohesion for the long term.

Read More

An Era of Authenticity

By | Leadership, Training | No Comments

Is the very act of reading an article about how to be authentic in and of itself inauthentic? The topic of authenticity is likely discussed in counseling sessions but rarely discussed related to the workplace. However, we live in an era where social media has perpetuated the need to showcase an idyllic life, in a time where a news story breaks every few minutes that erodes the reputation of highly powerful individuals we once trusted, and in which old friends want to reconnect ultimately to try to get you in their downline of their newest multi-level marketing.

It is fair to say that most people have a heightened sense of skepticism. It is also fair to say that in the face of that skepticism, most people crave an era of authenticity more than ever before. This is not limited to life outside of the workplace; many articles have been written about the importance of the boss-employee relationship and how the lack thereof is one of the largest contributors to turnover within an organization.

Many of these suggestions may simply serve as a reminder of best practices you already know, though common sense is not always common practice. Knowing and doing are not necessarily the same; you may know much of what is listed, but it’s the doing that makes the difference.

Intent

To learn how to be authentic, or to react authentically, treat authenticity as something we have instead of something we are. As complicated as that sounds, it is actually quite simple. In the perceived nature of human interaction, there is an element of intent that cannot be dismissed. As a leader, having an employee’s best interest at heart is not something that should be overlooked. If you think about it, the phrase “constructive criticism” is an oxymoron. Coaching is an opportunity to contribute to another person’s development; it is a two-way partnership where both parties share knowledge and experiences in order to maximize the person’s potential and help them achieve their goals. Instead of considering criticism as something negative, consider this context: “As your leader, I am fully committed to your performance and to your success. My intent behind sharing with you this feedback is to provide information about your performance that I believe will have a profoundly positive impact on your ability to succeed.”

Thus, constructive criticism is instead constructive feedback. Feedback about a performance deficiency does not have to be any less positive than reinforcing proficient capabilities. To a certain extent, Zig Zigler’s famous quote that “you will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want,” is incorrect. If the reason you want something from others is because it will benefit you, that is inauthentic behavior that few will trust. If your intent is to genuinely serve those around you, you have begun to create an era of authenticity.

“Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.”
Stephen Covey

The Law of Attraction

Part of the importance of authenticity in the workplace is to serve the relationships of the existing team. How genuine interactions can influence the interviewing process is also important to consider. Reflect upon some of the most authentic personal connections or experiences that stand out in your life. It may be that you can only think of a handful but those likely stand out as being extraordinary. You feel moved by authentic people and are attracted to them. Similarly, you feel attractive when you are being authentic, and when you connect with someone who is authentically engaging. When you really connect during an interview with a candidate, what you usually are saying is that you encountered a rare moment of mutual authenticity.

In an interview, genuine connections can be tough. As recruiters, we certainly understand three of the core functions of an interview are to assess if a candidate has the core capabilities to perform in the role, if you will enjoy working with them, and if they are genuinely excited about the opportunity. However, if everyone has their game faces on and are trying to deliver the answers the other party wants to hear, how do you balance selling with a true connection? Remember, whether obvious or not, people sniff out inauthentic behavior. Use the interview to screen one another. But if we go back to the importance of intent, help a candidate understand how as their leader, you have the ability to help them uncover who they have yet to become. Even having an open discussion about mistakes and failures can be uncomfortably refreshing. Mistakes do not define an individual, nor do they define who that individual has the potential to become.

Start Simple

So if authenticity is something we all want, but it’s something you are and not something you get, then authenticity must be impossible to teach, right? This is likely true and quite a paradox. Therefore, let’s start simple. Decide to stop being inauthentic. Catch yourself when you make a false compliment and try to offer up a genuine one instead. Recognize when you offer up a canned, knee-jerk response to a question and try to express an answer more firmly rooted in reality. Remove the hollow statements, the feigned interest, and the formulaic answers.

There are two most common scenarios in which colleagues pick up on inauthentic conversations. The first is the small talk; those situations in which you are grasping for something to say in order to avoid awkward silence. This does not mean that you need to ask deeply meaningful questions while collectively waiting for the elevator, but it is worth evaluating the types of discussions you engage in during those encounters. The second are in more formal settings such as important meetings or professional reviews. Corporate jargon is often used to either avoid conflict or as assert a sense of being in control. Instead, work on asking purposeful questions, perfecting your active listening skills, and delivering a professional recommendation that better represents who you are and what you believe. If you truly believe in what you say and the intent behind why you are saying it, others will as well.

Read More