The Top Ranked Competencies That Employees Look For In A Leader

Being a leader comes with its challenges.  You’re pulled in one hundred different directions in one day (#nosweat) and you’re trying to understand each employee on a personal level so your mutual work can benefit. But it’s not always easy to tell. Susie in Sales does well with direct, blunt communication, while Ross the Developer prefers to communicate quite simply only over email. Jane from Department X is going through a divorce and Jim from Department Y just welcomed his first child into the world. Professional environments are strung together by complex emotions, experiences, and perspectives. As a leader, it can be difficult to cut through all of that noise and understand what people need on a base level. Benefits? Culture? To be pushed and challenged? To be encouraged and supported? Here are the top areas where leaders need to excel in for employees (and the entire organization) to be healthy (as studied by Harvard Business Review):   1. Being ethical and sticking to it 67% of individuals stated this as the number one factor for solid leadership. Clearly conveying a strong moral compass helps to create a safe environment, garrisoned with trust and fairness. If you practice what you preach and are consistent, your employees will know that you’ll play by the rules, won’t throw anyone under the bus, and will give credit where credit is due. Communicate your values and stick to them and you’ll create an environment of safety and trust.    2. Being organization and goal-focused Employees need direction, but not too much of it. When the leader has the blueprint of the entire plan, but allows employees to take their specific parts and run with it, everyone benefits. You’ve often heard that nobody likes a micro-manager, and it’s true. 59% of employees want a leader...

The One Skill Every Leader Needs To Master

What are you like to work with? Have you ever wondered? Are you moody? Inconsistent? Intense? Approachable? Do you think you know? Have you ever asked someone? I was recently re-reading a favourite article (if it were a paper copy, it would be heavily earmarked) on the six habits of highly empathetic people. And it occurred to me that a lot of the ways we talk about “leadership” (developing it, being it, honing it) presumes a one-size-fits-all view of ‘who’ a leader is… Sure, the best leaders generally share a number of traits: Good communicators Trustworthiness Experience Knowledge Visionary …But with every team being made up of a number of personalities, I wonder: Am I a different leader for each of my staff? Am I a tailored coworker for every teammate? The article, which I highly suggest you read, defines empathy as “the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.” That’s where empathy takes its leap from kindness or pity  (i.e. making small talk with the new marketing coordinator is friendly, not empathetic). Bill Drayton, founder of social entrepreneurship and the Ashoka Foundation, believes that “in an era of rapid technological change, mastering empathy is the key business survival skill because it underpins successful teamwork and leadership.” No doubt, the word empathy is buzzing for a reason – people are figuring out what works in the modern, team-oriented, open-space office – and interpersonal relationships are key. Here are some of the top empathetic traits laid out in the article and how you can apply them to work: 1. Be Curious About Others You’ve spent a lot of time strategizing the best roles for your department. You’ve made some bang-on hires and now...

What’s Your Leadership Style?

Truly effective leaders should be able to describe how they will behave as leaders. Why? Team members like to know what to expect. A good interviewer will come prepared with his/her understanding of what the current team needs to perform and what kind of leader can effectively usher them there. Your leadership style, as communicated in an interview, should acknowledge the flexibility and adaptability required of all leaders, but also come clean with your own tried-and-true style. As Karen Hood, HR Director of Virgin Atlantic says, “I’m looking for what their preferred or natural style is. What’s the style that you tend to feel comfortable with and you tend to use most of the time, under most circumstances?” Sometimes people mistakenly answer this question as if the interviewers themselves had asked: Will I like you? In this case, we advise you stay authentic to yourself, trust your experiences and celebrate your unique leadership style. If the HR Manager thinks they need a hard-nosed authoritarian and you are more emotionally driven, the fit might not be there – for either side. The best answers will be concise (3 words that describe your leadership style) and illustrative (that time you made a tough decision, that time you had to get your team on board with X). Here are some examples:   Avoid These Answers When Describing Your Leadership Style :   I guess I’m just a natural leader (AKA I don’t know) If you don’t know your leadership style, you have work to do. There are a number of insightful tools (Myers-Briggs, DiSC, StrengthsFinder) and even career coaching programs (we have one you can read about here) that can help you make sense of what leadership means to you. In essence, it’s all about knowing who you...

Highlights From Our Inaugural LeaderLounge™ Event, “To Sell Is Human”

This past Wednesday we took the THNK School of Creative Leadership by storm with our flurry of red, white, and smavvytinis. We descended on the Sun Tower location—smitten with its Euro-esque feel inherited from its native Netherlands—and filled the room with catered carpaccio, Truth and Endeavor from The Liberty Distillery, and 60+ brains (and beauties) currently in leadership roles. LeaderLounge™ began with a buzz of networking and continued all night with the Twittering (not twiddling) of thumbs and the opening of eyes (that’s right, Bob).  So, if you weren’t there — and even if you were there, because let’s be real there was a LOT of content — what did you miss? How might improvisational theatre help you pitch and sell your ideas? It comes down to listening, making it personal, making your partner (or fellow actor) look good, and shared purpose. As always, #peoplearetheplan — great lessons at #LeaderLounge! A photo posted by THNK Vancouver (@thnk_van) on May 27, 2015 at 8:38pm PDT   1. First things first, we’re ALL in sales. Lawyers aim to sell a verdict to a jury, teachers aim to sell a subject to their students, and online daters try to sell their personality and profiles to others. We’re all aiming to persuade an individual to either “move” away or towards something. Sales is about moving–moving others to part with their time, energy, attention and money. #LeaderLounge #influence — Tracy Bains (@tbains) May 28, 2015 2. The internet hasn’t (as once predicted) put sales into its grave; it has simply revamped what the sales life cycle looks like. At one time, the buyer had to lean on the words and wisdom of the salesperson, who was the expert in their field and was “all-knowing” of their product. Now, there is the freedom to no longer put...

Smart Savvy’s LeaderLounge™ Series Switches Venues to Accommodate Demand

We have a problem… but it is a good one! Given the tremendous response to our newly released LeaderLounge™ series, we’ve implemented a venue change in order to accommodate our group. We have connected with the fine people at THNK School of Creative Leadership. As we explored possibilities with THNK, it is apparent there are many synergies between our two companies, specifically with respect to shared values, culture and overall focus/mandate. We are excited to partner with them on our inaugural LeaderLounge event, featuring Dan Pink’s NYT Bestseller “To Sell is Human” on May 27th. Given this new partnership we will no longer be hosting our LeaderLounge™ series at The Profile in the Landing.  Our new venue is as follows: The Sun Tower Ground Floor – 128 West Pender St., Vancouver Rapid Transit: Chinatown/Stadium Skytrain Station (one block from The Sun Tower) Wednesday, May 27th 6:30 – 8:30 PM Click here for tickets. About THNK THNK’s mission is twofold: we accelerate the development of global creative leaders across corporate, private, public, and social sectors. Together, we create innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing and inspiring challenges. About Smart Savvy + Associates ~ People are the plan™ With offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, we find proven, high-performing marketing, communications and sales professionals for companies who need them. About LeaderLounge™ At Smart Savvy, we meet a lot of great leaders.  Leaders who stand apart for their ability to think, communicate, influence, mentor, strategize, deliver results and ignite passion. They are game-changers.  We are committed to helping up the leadership quotient within the communities we serve. Food and Beverage Sponsors The Liberty Distillery At The Liberty Distillery authenticity, quality and heritage are the heart of our philosophy. We wish to celebrate and pay homage to the...

LeaderLounge™: To Sell Is Human

Our first LeaderLounge™ is only a few weeks away (cue fanfare and trumpets). We are launching the series with a bang, bringing in the big guns: my talented colleagues Keith Bradley, Sales Recruitment Consultant, and Matthew Campbell, Recruitment Consultant for the Albertas. These recruiting pros with sales and marketing roots are leading the first ‘Leaders are Readers™’ session on “To Sell is Human” by Daniel Pink. Award-winning digital media executive, Tom Gierasimczuk, General Manager + Publisher at TC Media will also be on hand to share his insights on sales in the publishing world. If you have ever had the opportunity to see Tom speak you know you are in for some great insights and applications (with possibly a dose of sass here or there). Pink’s ‘To Sell is Human’ raises compelling points around connection and sales – the internet, in fact, has not killed sales jobs. In reality, the total number of sales jobs has increased since 2000. In Canada alone 25% of the workforce is in “sales and service occupations,” and around the world the average is 1 in 8. It’s simply the sales model that has changed. What is the Leaders are Readers™ series you ask? (If you don’t know at this point you should probably A) Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and B) check out our LeaderLounge™ introduction post.) In a nutshell, the workshops allow you to experience all the benefits of reading a top-ranked business book without having to do so. Our team prepares an in-depth presentation of a best-selling book and walks through key themes, learnings, insights, and applications. We also invite industry leaders to drive things home with a case study. It is a high-speed book study, perfect for busy marketing, sales and communications professionals. Not only will you learn...

LEADERLOUNGE™: Smart Savvy’s New Workshop Series

So your schedule looks a little something like the Prime Minister’s: rise far earlier than the sun will ever, stress over trying to run an entire country (or, at least, your organization and all teams/contractors/individuals involved), and go to bed, again, far after the sun does. (In fact, when was the last time you even saw the sun, aside from in a car or skytrain during the commute?) That means that book of “must reads” that Oprah or Bill Gates spouted as being the best of the best has been sitting on your side-table as more of a lampshade than anything. Well, let us do the heavy lifting for you. Smart Savvy introduces the LEADERLOUNGE™ series. Think of it as an MBA over the course of 2 hours. Smart Savvy’s monthly workshop series launching this May will be comprised of two series: One stream is based on those must-read books you’ve never quite gotten around to, while the other stream is led by well-respected, A-playing leaders on the “how-to’s” of exceptional leadership. If you’ve ever attended a Smart Savvy event before, you know we do them up right! Check out the LEADERLOUNGE website for more information or read on. The Quick Facts Who should attend? Leaders (and aspiring leaders) who want to stay current, well-read and uber-connected #StandApart professionals looking to excel at influencing, presenting, negotiating, building trust and growing strong teams Where: Vancouver sessions are held at The Landing in Gastown’s ‘Million Dollar View’ Room. When: Last Wednesday of every month Who will be there: Vancouver’s Top Marketing, Communications and Sales Leaders (and perhaps you!) Sessions are restricted to 60 participants (read between the lines – they’ll fill up fast so don’t delay). How much: $39.95 per session (the equivalent of 8.35 lattes). Buy 5 get 1 free*. But wait there’s more–...

Would You Hire Your Boss?

It walks into a room before you do and occupies your office chair while you’re away. It precedes you but also follows you from one boardroom to the next. Your ‘Boss-Factor’. ‘Boss-Factor’: aka – Your Leadership Quotient — measured by your ability to influence, communicate, inspire, assess, learn (from mistakes), empower and connect.  Central to this equation is the intersection of your IQ and EQ. In an always-connected, citizen-journalism era, your Boss-Factor provides more attraction power than salary or bonuses. And, in an on-fire, fiercely competitive job market, your Leadership Quotient can be the difference between a team-member signing-on, staying-on or moving-on. After all, “people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses.” If you don’t want your employees leaving faster than NHL trades, then you need to nurture (and refine) your Boss-Factor. Meet Tom G. (Or Gierasimczuk, if you’re brave enough to try). Polish(ed) publisher, editor extraordinaire, media maven, and hopefully a lover of alliteration. Tom’s office at TC Media sits at the foot of South Granville (atop Pottery Barn), with one window on the Pacific and the other on the shadows of neighbouring concrete buildings. Tom’s had a few bosses in his time. It’s Tom’s experience navigating various boss styles that has put him where he is today: sitting as General Manager and Publisher for TC’s Western Media Group with enough leadership lessons and wisdom to fill a book. Tom determined early in his career, if your boss is a problem – you need to fire them. Tom now has a mantra to measure his own (and others’) leadership quotient by: “Would I hire my own boss?” If the interview tables were turned, would my employees extend an offer to me or would they pass for someone better? Here are Tom’s 5 things to...