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...

LeaderLounge Recap: Brene Brown’s “Rising Strong” Jul28

LeaderLounge Recap: Brene Brown’s “Rising Strong”

Last night, our LeaderLounge took place in the absolutely fabulous Minami Restaurant, where we were dished Brene Brown wisdom with a side of sashimi. Our own Catherine Ducharme led us through the book itself, covering topics such as how vulnerability and courage are linked, how to face failure and come out strong (and #badass), and how the stories we create about others affects our judgment and generosity towards them. Talk about inspirational subjects. Bailey Heckel accompanied Catherine, with a three-part series of her own story regarding the rumble, the reckoning, and the revolution. Here’s what you missed last night if you couldn’t join us:   Vulnerability “Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brene Brown Are you that person who cries in public and is maybe a little too sensitive? Did you have to take personal leave from work and offer TMI to your boss? No thanks. I’ll pass. Brene Brown starts off straight away by challenging our understanding of vulnerability and why it can actually make us stronger, not weaker (which we always assume). Vulnerability breeds courage, and courage breeds further vulnerability. It’s a terrifying place that puts us out into the open, even though we may receive judgement, criticism, or public failure in front of our peers. But Brene Brown pushes us to believe that vulnerability is actually the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and meaningful change. So if we all want more courage and further innovation, why don’t we openly accept being vulnerable? "Vulnerability is not winning or losing, it's the #courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome." #leaderlounge — Smart Savvy (@smartsavvy) July 28, 2016 The Courage To Fail “If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall.” – Brene...

The 5 Components Of Corporate Culture That Employees Want

Fitting the job to a person is important enough, but fitting a person to a corporate culture is where the real matchmaking in recruitment occurs. Do they allow dogs in the office? Are leaders the ones who run meetings, or is there a conch so everyone gets their say? Are there casual Fridays or is every day suit and tie day? Here at Smart Savvy, we’ve asked thousands of candidates what they want from a corporate culture, and I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised to find that some consistent themes emerged from the data. The people want five major things from a corporate culture, and leaders should focus on building and shaping these areas of their internal brand:   Vision People don’t respond to tasks or to-do lists, they respond to purpose. They like to know where the company is going and why and how they fit and contribute. A corporate culture that has a shared and purposeful vision fuels motivation and gives an understanding of the desired state or destination. With a clear vision your staff will work hard to make it happen.  Keep your company people-centric, and keep your people vision-centric.   Communication Despite it being overused, we’re going to say it anyway: communication is key and you can’t overcommunicate.  It’s always relevant. Employees want a corporate culture that listens but also cheers loudly; one that gives feedback and gives room for autonomy; one that is honest but not defeating. Employees crave honest, valuable, empowering communication from both their colleagues as well as their leaders. The days of painting a rosy picture are long gone; people would rather face issues (both good and bad) head on, in the open, and with immediacy. As Career Cast says, “Show me a company with great communication, and I’ll...

3 Ways To Unlock Your Employees’ Potential

One of the greatest resources in corporate Canada is openly and unnecessarily going to waste. It’s not money, it’s not hydro-electricity and no, it’s not printer ink. It’s potential. These dynamic and multifaceted humans that work on your team may very well be, wait-for-it, good at more than just one thing. They’re not just sales-people. They could be a painting-golfing-analytical-with-a-side-of-novelist sales person. And marketers aren’t just marketers. They could be a behind-the-scenes mathematician or the founder of the next Snapchat. People are ripe with possibilities and potential. And as a leader, it’s your job to maximize on each team member’s individual potential. Here’s 3 simple ways to do that from the top:   1. Say “I Don’t Know” Leaders are often expected to have it all, know it all, and be walking encyclopedias of constant wisdom about their industry/market/product. But the reality is even leaders like Mark Zuckerberg don’t know everything. Saying “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” at meetings should not be a stamp of failure but should instead be an encouraged part of your regimen. It opens up the floor for those thoughts and ideas that your team have been mentally wrestling with (or mentally rehearsing) to go public. It pulls them out of their “I’m listening to good ideas” mode into an “I’m collaborating with good ideas” mentality. When you pass the conch, it puts the onus on your employees to get creative with solutions and ideas, and it encourages potential to be discovered. You never know what hides in the silence of a boardroom — but it could be the next best idea (or even the next Facebook).   2. Ask About Spare Time That colleague that’s in sales but writes in his spare time? That graphic designer that does coding classes on her weekends? These are entire skill sets going...

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...

The Number One Hiring Mistake That You’re Probably Making Jun08

The Number One Hiring Mistake That You’re Probably Making

First impressions are powerful ~ will the first date pave way for a second? Will the business card exchange lead to a sale? Can the eager interviewee transform sweaty palms and dry mouth into career magic? In fact, first impressions are so paramount you’re probably weighing if this article is worth reading solely based on my first sentences. (How am I doing so far?) Along with getting second dates and sales leads, first impressions are also, unfortunately, the common denominator of many bad hiring decisions. According to Monster, many recruiters derive go/no -go conclusions within the first six minutes of an interview, and many say the first 90 seconds are imperative for making a good first impression. Even more alarming, one study in 2000 revealed that judgments made in the first 10 seconds of an interview could predict the outcome of the interview. From a hiring perspective, these quick, uncognitive, and emotional decisions are a disaster and contribute to about 50% of hiring mistakes. In fact, from any perspective these quick decisions can lead to disaster. Imagine applying this philosophy to anything else in your life: would 10 seconds be enough to buy a car, choose a spouse, or decide you even want the new job you’re interviewing for? Would 6 minutes even be enough? (We’re hoping you’re saying no at this point.) We think we can tell a lot about a person quickly — we have this bias that makes us think we can tell a person’s Myers-Briggs, Birkman, and Kolbe scores just by the way they smile or shake a hand. But we can’t; vital decisions, like hiring, retention, and the makeup of a team, should not be made within the blink (or a few blinks) of an eye. Hiring requires contemplation, deep thought, and most of all, money. Hiring on an impulse is costly not only financially, but to your team, and, let’s...

e-LeaderLounge: SCRUM

Last night we kicked off another full house LeaderLounge, taking over Salt Tasting Room with our Leaders are Readers book study that focused on mastering the SCRUM methodology. Presenter Peter Reek unpacked the 256 pages of Jeff Sutherland’s Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time while Joseph Thompson (VP, Marketing & Communications @ BuildDirect) gave annotated examples of how to apply SCRUM both at work and at home. (His example? Why, he even used SCRUM with his construction team while renovating his house).  Scrum is a weird word — we’re convinced it’s an onomatopoeia — but if you’re a rugby fan you’ll be very familiar with this word. It’s a play that happens during rugby (see right) to gain possession of the ball. As Jeff Sutherland writes in the book, “The term comes from the game of rugby, and it refers to the way a team works together to move the ball down the field. Careful alignment, unity of purpose, and clarity of goal come together. It’s the perfect metaphor for what teams should do.” SCRUM Methodology, then, is a particular form of project/product management that involves close team collaboration and daily or weekly ‘huddles’ to check in. SCRUM essentially aims to create a structure around the learning process and allow the team to inspect, adapt, and improve throughout it.  1. The Agile Manifesto The backbone of SCRUM is the Agile Manifesto, defined by four principles: People over process Products that actually work, over documenting what the product is supposed to do Collaborating with customers over negotiating with them Responding to change over following a plan   2. Daily Scrum Just like in rugby, SCRUM is pieced together by players who play important roles: the product owner, the SCRUM master, and the surrounding team who support the vision of the product owner. As Joseph...

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...

Recap Of Our “Leaders Eat Last” LeaderLounge

n Sept 30, our LeaderLounge took to Simon Sinek’s “Leader’s Eat Last,” to delve in and digest just exactly what the word “leadership” entails. We had a fantastic showing of some Vancouver’s greatest marketers in the audience, as well as one on stage whom walked us through a case study of leadership during transitory and difficult times (thanks Angela Scardillo). If you attended our event and want a little recap, OR if you’re suffering from FOMO and simply must know what took place, here’s some highlights from our LeaderLounge event.   1. Managing vs. Leading Simon Sinek pushes the idea that the true cost of leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest. In order to succeed in the long run, organizations must build environments in which people truly matter and train people to be great LEADERS, not just “effective managers.”  Sacrifice the numbers to take care of the people. #LeaderLounge — Wisam Abdulla (@RealWisam) October 1, 2015 Best   2. Treat Employees Like People If leaders treat employees with trust, it creates a sense of obligation and a sense of pride. Work becomes a place to feel valued and employees will work together to achieve goals and hit targets. A leader that serves others wins in the long term #LeadersEatLast #LeaderLounge — Christine Nathaniel (@stinesupreme) October 1, 2015 "Firing is the easy option. Tough love, coaching all require more time and attention" #LeaderLounge — Smart Savvy (@smartsavvy) October 1, 2015 3. Look Past The Numbers When our relationships with our customers or employees become abstract, we naturally pursue the most tangible thing we can see — the metrics. If you place value on numbers more than lives, you’re more than likely separated from the people you’ve been called to serve. The further away, the less...

Upcoming LeaderLounge: Simon Sinek’s Book ‘Leaders Eat Last’

Why do only a few people get to say, “I love my job?” Finding fulfillment at work can feel akin to winning the lottery; with only a few ‘lucky ones’ feeling valued by their leaders (and organizations). Leaders play a significant role in job satisfaction and career fulfillment. Imagine a workplace where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful companies, great leaders are creating environments in which people work together to do remarkable things. To further explore the essence of trust and leadership, join us for our next Leaders Are Readers LeaderLounge workshop. We will do a deep dive into Simon Sinek’s book Leaders Eat Last and cut to the chase on what makes a leader trustworthy. Our guest speaker, Angela Scardillo, VP of Marketing at Best Buy Canada, will share a real-world case study illustrating the principles at work.   When: Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 6:30PM – 8:30PM Where: Shebeen Whiskey House, 210 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2 Price: $39.95 per session (the equivalent of 8.35 lattes) Limited seating....