Female Leaders

Female Leaders Proven More Likely to Coach and Mentor

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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

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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

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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

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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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