Category

Leadership

Invest in Your Employees to Help Them Thrive

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People hire great candidates, and then won’t get them the required licenses or tools they need to succeed in the industry. It’s up to you to remove these barriers to success by making strategic investments in employee engagement, professional development, advanced technology, and mentoring. Start by recruiting the best candidates, then enhance their opportunities for success using some of these strategies.

Spend Time with Every Employee

Too many organizations put the needs of their customers before their employees. Great leaders understand the importance of investing heavily in their employees, and the best way to find what employees need to succeed is to go directly to the source.

Great leadership styles prioritize spending personal time with employees to build relationships and ensure alignment. Studies even suggest that leaders should spend up to six hours per week interacting with their employees to boost inspiration, engagement, and motivation. Even ten minutes spent with seven people each week can be an effective way to connect with employees. From taking employees out to lunch to inviting them to conferences, personal time investments are the most valuable because they help create a trusting work environment.

Planning

Remote workers also need engagement. How do you do it? A growing number of organizations are appointing Chief Fun Officers to encourage teamwork and enjoyment. Just three or four minutes can change the whole outcome of the day by transforming a hostile work environment into a positive one. Leaders must work through this by setting up zoom meetings, communicating with employees while walking down the hall, and visiting employees where they are. If you ask them to come to you, consider how that impacts them.

Focus on Employee Development 

Training employees and having them leave is better than not developing them and staying with your company. It’s imperative to show new hires that you are dedicated to employee development to keep them from seeking other jobs where their development is central. If you want to be known as an employer who cares, create an environment that promotes continual improvement. These companies win in the end with rosters of loyal, exceptional employees.

If you want to attract and retain better employees, then it’s never too late to start investing in your human resources. Personal time investments are an excellent place to start. Then, focus more on keeping your remote employees engaged. Don’t overlook the power of ongoing employee development, either.

 

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New Leadership Help Lead Companies Through Hypergrowth

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VimpelCom and Compass are both companies that experienced rapid growth around their initial product offering periods. Hypergrowth can be incredibly challenging, with every meeting seeming to focus on overcoming obstacles. Shortages in staffing and network capacity seem to exacerbate the problems.

With proper management and organization, companies can successfully navigate hypergrowth. In some ways, start-ups have an advantage over established companies when it comes to hypergrowth, as they are more flexible and management sits at the top. However, when the right people are in place, midsize and large-size companies can successfully navigate hypergrowth.

The Impact of the Compass CFO

Compass is a company offering digital tools for real estate agents. Kristen Ankerbrandt joined the team as its CFO in 2018. This followed her 12 years of experience at the Carlyle Group and time as a Goldman Sachs investment banker.

Ankerbrandt had extensive experience with acquisitions and mergers, which she applied to Compass. The most relevant of this was her experience with tech companies and investors during growth periods. According to Ankerbrandt, the most vital characteristics of a successful CFO in this position are managing well and being direct.

Her leadership was critical during this time of expansion and growth.

The Impact of the VimpelCom CEO

Compass faced similar challenges during times of hypergrowth during its adoption of cellphones in the Soviet bloc. To prepare for this growth, Alexander V. Izosimov joined the team as the CEO, focusing on management basics.

According to Harvard Business Review, when Izosimov joined the team, all meetings were crisis meetings, with decisions made in panic mode. According to Izosimov, a combination of solid culture and his management strategies helped the company thrive.

Some of those management principles included selling first and asking questions later, not over-focusing on innovation, organizing “like McDonald’s,” having the front line handle decisions, and creating a “can-do culture.”

Do Not Neglect the Rest of the Team

In addition to hiring the right C-level executives for your company’s rapid growth, companies in this phase should prioritize hiring qualified talent for other roles. Remember that one of the many challenges companies in this phase frequently face is low staffing, so an effective hiring strategy is critical.

According to Forbes, the best strategy to find an ideal team includes creating a relationship with the company’s hiring managers, increasing inbound methods of finding talent, and following up on slow hiring processes. Additionally, working with industry-specific recruiters can provide you a competitive edge when successful hiring is crucial.

How to Follow their Example

Both Compass and VimpelCom recognized that to get through hypergrowth periods, they needed strong management with excellent organizational skills. This is an example that all midsize to large companies should follow when focusing on hypergrowth – find the proper C-level executives to provide the necessary organizational leadership.

 

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Why Qualified People Are Hesitant to Lead

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Vince Lombardi said, “Leaders are made. They are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” It’s difficult to argue against one of the most successful NFL coaches in history, especially when research supports his claim.

Research shows only about 30% of leadership is genetic, while 70% results from life lessons and experience. Many excellent and capable employees are hesitant to assume leadership roles. Below are some of the reasons why and a few things that can help organizations identify and develop potential leaders.

Recognize Promising Employees

The first step in getting more qualified people to lead is identifying leadership potential. Then, there’s a fine line between encouraging employees to become leaders and forcing them into positions they are not comfortable with. It’s also important to remember that just because an employee has significant knowledge and on-the-job experience doesn’t automatically mean that they have an innate sense of leadership.

When recognizing potential leaders, start by looking for employees who show an eagerness to learn in their current roles. People who hold themselves accountable for successes and failures usually make good leaders too. Potential leaders will have a history of staying calm amidst challenges and bringing solutions to the table during those times.

Understanding Perceived Leadership Risks 

Recent studies have indicated some of the main reasons why qualified people are hesitant to lead. The degree of interpersonal risk associated with being a leader scares employees. Employees fear that they may have to compromise their interpersonal relationships with colleagues if they chose to become leaders. Others are reluctant to become leaders because they don’t want to be seen differently. In addition, some people are afraid of taking the blame for failure. Fortunately, there are some practical ways to help people overcome these risks and still become strong leaders.

Mitigating the Risks

Many potential leaders in your organization may see leadership as risky. We can help people overcome these additional challenges by including them in significant projects and commending them for their leadership contributions in company newsletters, social media channels, and boardroom meetings. Lastly, career consequences tend to hold people back from leadership opportunities. If you can provide high-potential people with safer environments to maintain their credibility, more of them will be willing to advance their careers.

Since most people aren’t born leaders and may be reluctant to take on new responsibilities, companies have to be proactive in identifying those promising employees and focusing on their development.

 

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How to Help Your Employees Develop

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Although some organizations argue that external training programs are the most effective, there are also plenty of advantages associated with internal training for both employers and employees. As executive recruiters, employers are always asking us what they can do to improve employee retention. If you’re already offering competitive salaries, the opportunity to do meaningful work, and exclusive benefits, the next step is to enhance your training and development opportunities. For instance, there are various informal methods that can be very constructive for developing talent internally. When it comes to talent development, sometimes it can be helpful to go back to the basics.

  1. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings. Talent development should be a top priority of any manager. Unfortunately, too many employers fail to learn what training their employees need to reach their short- and long-term career goals. The best way to learn is to ask them what they find most compelling about their current position, what tasks they find most challenging, and how they want to grow. Then, be an active listener and show them empathy during these meetings.
  2. Encourage job shadowing. Job shadowing isn’t only effective for potential job candidates. It can also be helpful for current employees so that they can view what life is like at many different levels of an organization. A growing number of employers are promoting take your coworker to workdays to improve engagement and create knowledge across company functions. It’s easy to start a program like this by asking employees to list a couple of different jobs they would like to shadow for a day.
  3. Assign formal mentors and coaches. Perhaps one of the best ways to develop talent is to assign formal mentors. However, be prudent when choosing mentors. Successful mentors will already have the requisite knowledge that enables them to teach new employees.  They should also be well versed in your work culture, honest, and have strong communication skills.
  4. Cross-train your employees. It’s essential to assume the next person-up strategy for those times when your key players are out of work due to vacation, retirement, or changing roles. Cross-training can be effective for building a team of employees with a working understanding across many different disciplines. Although it might cost you some short-term productivity, your organization will become more efficient in the long run.

The good news is that these talent development methods don’t require many resources or a significant investment, but they can still make a significant impact. Remember that most employees want to advance and there are many ways you can support them along the way. 

 

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Emotional Intelligence Can Make You A Better Business Leader

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Many different skills and traits can help someone become an exceptional business leader. However, one of the most important of these skills is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and positively control your emotions. Here are some ways that this ability can make you a better business leader.

Helps You Connect with People More Easily

Emotional intelligence allows you to manage your emotions when interacting with other people and helps you identify how others around you are feeling. Together, this enables you to connect with employees and colleagues more easily. If you can empathize with others and understand their emotions at any point in time, employees will connect with you. Over time, this will allow you to form close relationships with your team built on mutual trust and respect.

Helps You Adapt to Changes

Leaders with high emotional intelligence adapt to changes in the workplace faster than others. This is because people who are good at understanding and regulating their emotions have an easier time recognizing the positives that come with change and are more receptive to new thinking. In contrast, people with low emotional intelligence often fear change and become bogged down by what-ifs. We live in a world that changes rapidly, so adapting to change quickly is one of the most significant advantages you can have as a leader.

Emotional Intelligence Keeps You Humble

Emotional intelligence can help prevent you from becoming too arrogant and proud. If you stay humble as a leader, you are more likely to listen to your team members’ ideas with an open mind and treat them with respect. Employees want to work for humble and level-headed managers because they feel more comfortable voicing their opinions. Thus, open-minded leadership can help cultivate a safer work environment. High emotional intelligence will also make you more receptive to feedback, which can help you improve your leadership skills over time. 

Helps with Employee Retention

The quality of leadership that a company has plays a significant role in the employee experience. One of the top reasons that people quit jobs is because they don’t like their manager. It can help you become the kind of leader people want to work for. Emotional intelligence also helps you engage employees, improving team morale, employee motivation, and retention.

Emotional intelligence is one of the most critical business skills you can have as a leader. It allows you to communicate with others and foster healthy work relationships effectively. It also helps you regulate your emotions, so you react favorably to changes. Lastly, this skill helps you stay grounded and receptive to feedback, new ideas, and other people’s opinions.

 

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How Diverse Job Experience is an Asset

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People who have diverse job experience may feel like they don’t have as much to offer potential employers. However, the reality is that having a variety of experiences can be a massive asset for job seekers. The key is to frame your diverse background as an advantage instead of a setback. Here are some of the main reasons why diversity of experience can make you a better employee in executive support.

Companies Want Employees with Unique Ideas

Companies recognize that when they hire people with similar backgrounds, their team members end up all having the same approach to problem-solving. Instead, companies look for people with unique experiences who can bring fresh perspectives. When businesses speak about diversity, it is about more than just ethnicity, age, and gender. It is also about the experience. Show how the variety of job experience you have gives you a point of view no one else has. What is unique about how you solve problems, how you make decisions, and how you come up with new ideas?

Diversity Leads to Change 

Many companies may feel stuck in a rut, so they are looking to hire people who will help them change and grow. These companies will seek out candidates who have diverse work experience because they aren’t stuck in their ways. Candidates with diverse backgrounds are more adaptable and are more likely to have a growth mindset. As a job seeker, highlight how your experiences have made it easy for you to adapt to changes in work culture and how you have demonstrated a growth mindset throughout your career.

You Can Communicate More Flexibly 

If you have worked many different jobs, you have learned to communicate with a wide range of customers and professionals. Excellent communication is one of the most important skills you can have in the C-suite. Demonstrate to prospective employers how you have adapted your communication style to different audiences and scenarios during your career. Show employers that you can give their customers a better experience than anyone else.

You’ve Seen it All

People who have held many different jobs have experienced a wide variety of challenges and obstacles. This is one of the main reasons having a diverse background is such a huge asset. With your history, you are better prepared to handle setbacks and crises. You’re less likely to crack under pressure and more able to overcome challenges that come your way.

Professionals in C-level support who have diverse job experiences bring a lot to the table. These candidates often have a fresh approach to problem-solving, a growth mindset, excellent communication skills, and the ability to overcome various challenges. As a job seeker, you can leverage your diverse employment history by showing how your experiences can provide value to employers.

 

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Navigating the C-Suite as a Mom

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Although having a child happens to both parents, mothers still take on more work at home than their counterparts. That hasn’t stopped moms from making an impact in the C-Suite. The number of women in senior management roles continues to grow globally, leaving many moms searching for a perfect balance between their personal and professional responsibilities. According to many current executive mothers, an ideal balance is impossible, but you can still be successful at both. Here is some advice for navigating the C-Suite as a working mother.

Recruit Top C-Level Support

Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher. Start by raising your business and relationship standards. Don’t underestimate the power of recruiting positive, forward-moving executive assistants, either. Even though there might not be an ideal work-life balance, it will get better if you are comfortable enough to delegate critical tasks to other people on your team. The return on investment from hiring a skilled assistant is substantial, too. Top C-Level support can save you well over five hours per workweek completing administrative tasks ranging from information flow to attending meetings on your behalf. Disruption is inevitable in the corporate world, but it can be reduced by recruiting a strong, trusted team of employees, along with a support network of friends, family, and colleagues.

Define Your Priorities

Define your priorities and where you are willing to compromise. We’re not saying that anyone should sacrifice one passion for another. Rather work-life balance is making compromises as priorities change. Balancing a leadership role with motherhood can be difficult. Working C-Suite mothers face significant challenges, including little paid time off after giving birth, difficulty finding quality childcare, and juggling responsibilities when working from home. Finally, don’t hesitate to discuss your career/family goals with the leadership of your company. It could open the door to flexible work arrangements like more vacation time, increased remote work, and other accommodations.

Leverage Technology

Mobile technology is helping C-Suite moms to be in two places at the same time. Standard video conferencing has advanced to telepresence technology, enabling people to attend meetings virtually and give presentations without traveling extensively. However, video conferencing alone may not be enough of a consideration. Also, keep in mind the timings of meetings and asynchronous options.

Motherhood should always be viewed as a strength. Accept that there will be some chaos that goes with balancing business leadership and being a parent. C-Suite moms can still be successful by recruiting great personal assistants, leveraging technology, and setting achievable goals.

 

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Traits That Lead to Success in the C-Suite

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The modern work environment continues to change around the country rapidly. Workplaces are trending toward remote workforces, focusing on employee health and wellness, decentralized offices, and using more technology than ever before. To stay competitive, be ready to adapt and develop these traits.

Be Resilient

If we learned anything from the pandemic, it’s the importance of resilience. Adversity and stress are unavoidable in corporate America, and resilience can help you adapt and emerge even better than you were before. Although some people might have built resilience through their life experiences in the past, it’s still something that anyone can develop. First, build your connections by prioritizing your relationships or joining a group to gain social support. Resilient people also tend to focus more on personal wellness than others. From getting regular exercise to finding purpose, be proactive to learn better and faster. 

Be Consistent

Becoming a little better each day doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. Small habits can make a big difference. Spending just ten minutes a day reading can help you finish a book a month. Some of the world’s leading executives prioritize self-improvement and ongoing learning by reading consistently. If you’re struggling with consistency, then follow these rules:

  1. Focus on the process rather than the outcome.
  2. Be present.
  3. Don’t wait around for inspiration.
  4. Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable.
  5. Forgive yourself.

Be Patient

Patience is often the key to the C-suite. Since many leaders are promoted from within, sometimes it pays to stay the course if you are a great culture fit in a company. Remember that you’re already in line for a promotion, but you have no control over career succession. If you can’t wait for the current leadership to retire, then an executive recruiter can help by sharing other options. Be patient, but keep adapting to the changes going on around you.

Be a Forward-Thinker

Forward-thinkers stand out in their ability to see the larger picture. Don’t hesitate to move outside of conventional thinking to solve problems, because pre-established ideas will only take you so far. Being average is comfortable, but some of the world’s most outstanding CEOs have been eccentric, open-minded leaders.

Finally, don’t be complacent when it comes to developing new skills. Set realistic goals and solicit feedback to learn about your strengths and weaknesses. Career progression is a marathon that requires consistency and patience. Succeeding during uncertain times also requires a certain amount of resiliency and open-mindedness.

 

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Top Tips for Being a Better CEO

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Strong leadership is always the common denominator of successful businesses. Some of the world’s top CEOs stress the importance of creating servant-leadership-driven cultures. You can start to reinvent your company from the inside out by giving employees more autonomy and allowing them to fail as they continue to learn and grow. Still, being a CEO is an ever-evolving journey and requires knowing different ways to approach growth. Here are some specific mindsets and tips for becoming a better CEO.

Beat the Odds

Did you know that companies only have an 8% chance of jumping from the middle to the top of their industry? Start taking more drastic approaches to beat the odds by focusing on making big moves that matter. Winning companies know the importance of their employees. That is why companies are so focused on hiring and retaining the best people. When you have good employees who share a vision and are focused on solving a problem, your company is sure to do great things. However, achieving this goal takes an investment in relationships and building trust within your organization.

Empower Your Employees

Great leaders inspire people to come to work every day. An effective way to empower your employees is to make stronger connections with them. Understand what their work means to them. Then, praise those employees regularly when you see improvements and progress.

Remember, people don’t like being told what to do or being told when they do something wrong. That is why having a relationship with employees is vital. More organizations are looking for managers who help turn employees into problem-solvers and innovators. This transformation can only happen when managers allow employees to make mistakes.

Join in the Recruiting Stage

You are only as good as your weakest link, so surround yourself with the most competent people possible by joining in the recruiting stage to learn what candidates think. Many hiring managers have a track record of recruiting the most credentialed and experienced candidates. Even though these people might appear more likely to succeed, it’s often the untraditional hires that can help you beat the odds by changing the meaning of success. Sometimes it takes unconventional interview techniques to find the best cultural fit for the job, like asking non-traditional interview questions or hosting a group happy hour.

It takes a different approach to beat the odds and lead hybrid teams during times of disruption. Focus on empowering and engaging your employees by promoting a healthy work culture of teamwork, honesty, and transparency. Then, involve yourself in the hiring process to discover genuinely exceptional candidates.

 

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How Informal Check-Ins Can Improve Employee Engagement

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From increased employee health to higher retention, there are significant benefits associated with employee engagement. It also tends to ebb and flow because of the influence of so many different variables. For instance, low motivation and job satisfaction can stem from toxic work culture, poor management, lack of recognition, or various other factors. Fortunately, there are some effective techniques, like informal check-ins, that can improve employee engagement quickly. Let’s take a closer look at some of these strategies.

Plan Informal, Yet Frequent Check-Ins

First, how do you determine if your employees are satisfied? Employee engagement surveys are a good way to elicit opinions about work culture. Since employees crave feedback and recognition, providing them with regular review sessions can improve workplace engagement. Employees that are recognized regularly express the most satisfaction, followed by those that receive feedback once a month. It’s important to let employees know that they are valued by rewarding their achievements. Some organizations are having success with CEO lunch programs to help employees connect with executives. Use this time to gather ideas by asking employees what is working and what needs to be improved.

Recruit the Right Managers

Another key to improving employee engagement is hiring great managers that know how to help employees reach their full potential. Managers are typically the first line of defense against toxic employee-organization relationships since they are the first to see progress and provide feedback. It’s essential to separate egotistical leaders from modest, competent managers.

The best managers have a relationship with employees based on clear communication and a shared vision. When managers ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal, the progress that can be made is remarkable. Having the right people in place can be one of the most effective ways to keeping employee engagement strong.

Long-Term Engagement Approaches

Improving employee engagement starts during the onboarding process. Always be transparent about company goals, values, and the responsibilities of the role. Then, focus on retaining employees with professional development and career advancement opportunities. Operational inefficiencies can cause engagement to plummet, so leaders are encouraged to analyze and optimize these processes. Find areas where you can improve and fix them.

In addition to frequent recognition, employees also want a better work-life balance. Show respect and consideration to employees by suggesting flexible work schedules to meet their personal and professional commitments.

Combining these fast-track tips with some dedicated, ongoing initiatives can improve employee engagement. It should be built on a foundation of good relationships, hiring exceptional managers, and providing employees with a career map to advance with your organization.

 

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