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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Leadership Insights


Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Leadership Insights

Anyone can demonstrate leadership qualities, regardless of your level. You don't need to be CEO of a company to demonstrate leadership. Below are some of the latest articles sharing thoughts on leadership and improving your skills in this area. 

1) Leader, Know Yourself from Lead Change Group

"Servant leadership is not easy to do in today’s dog-eat-dog, me-first business environment. Yet we’ve all had great bosses that embraced their role to help team members succeed, to feel good about their contributions, and to feel trusted and respected in their workplace. In fact, when working for a boss that cares and serves, employees’ engagement increases, production increases, and service to customers increases."


Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Hiring the Right Leadership


Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Hiring the Right Leadership

Your leadership team and management are a key part of your company. A company's strategy is pushed down to all employees through these crucial levels, so it is important the right people are in place for these roles. That starts with hiring the right leadership. Here are some articles to help you think through how to bring in the right people to fill these crucial roles. 

1) Hire Great Bosses from SmartBrief

"One of the most important hiring decisions companies make is who to put into leadership roles. How well does your company do on this critical task? The Gallup organization reports that organizations make bad leadership hiring decisions 82% of the time (!). Gallup’s research indicates that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. That huge impact on employee engagement translates into good or not so good performance, customer service, quality, profitability, and discretionary energy being applied to daily tasks."


Creating Buy-in for Your Ideas


Creating Buy-in for Your Ideas

Have you ever been in a situation where you have said, “I told you so”? Those words include the thrill of being right (I for one live for these moments of being right!). But these words indicate that a person didn’t follow your advice. What good is that? Who cares if you were right, the person didn’t believe you enough to follow your recommended action, which resulted in the unfavorable outcome you predicted.

A mentor of mine shared this advice with me when I told him a story where I ended up being right about what would happen if someone didn’t follow my advice. He said the fault isn’t on the person for not following the advice, but rather on me for not being able to convince the person to take my advice. This really changed my mindset and approach when convincing people to believe me.



Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: What Makes the Best Boss

Bosses get a bad rap. Let's face it, they're in tough spots - managing upwards, downwards, sideways, crossways. Needless to say, they juggle a lot. We’ve all had experiences with both bad and good bosses - those who could care less what you did on the weekend, and those who go the extra mile to advocate for you during performance reviews. You need to have enough of them in order to recognize those qualities that make a boss great because sometimes we don’t realize we have a good boss until we have a really bad one. This week’s weekly round-up includes insights into what makes the best boss, so pay close attention all you current and future bosses!

1) Why Gay Men Make the Best Bosses from

"...during Snyder’s five-year study of American executives, he stumbled on some startling findings: Gay male bosses produce 35 to 60 percent higher levels of employee engagement, satisfaction, and morale than straight bosses. This is no small achievement: According to human-resources consulting firm Towers Perrin, only a measly 14 percent of the global corporate workforce are fully engaged by their jobs. And the Saratoga Institute, a group that measures the effectiveness of HR departments, found that in a study of 20,000 workers who had quit their jobs, the primary motivator for jumping ship was their supervisors’ behavior."

2) Top 10 Traits of an Exceptional Boss from Huffington Post

"They’re effective, not productive. We live and work in a fast-paced, ever-changing, highly competitive world. Maybe there was a time when process and productivity ruled, but these days, management needs to be flexible and adaptive. Sure, you’ve got to prioritize, but once you figure out what needs to be done, it’s generally more important to be effective than to squeeze every last iota of productivity out of yourself and your people."

3) On Leadership: Things a Great Boss Never Does from PR News

"A great boss never…assumes he or she is the smartest person in the room. - Nikki Bracy, public relations account executive at Vitamin. Organizations are full of creative and talented people, and all of the smarts are not reserved for the corner office. Good bosses need confidence in their own intelligence, but they should also have an open disposition and seek input from all levels of the company."

4) Best of the Rest: Articles for Your Boss from The WorkBuzz (powered by CareerBuilder)

"Fear doesn’t really work as a motivational technique – and it takes on a life of its own in an organization. “Some leaders believe that a little fear actually keeps everyone on their toes,” says Laurie K. Cure of Innovative Connections, Inc., a consulting company that focuses on organizational effectiveness. “I maintain the belief that creating safe, open work environments is a better way to ensure innovation, creativity and productivity.” Why Fear Doesn’t Create Accountability via Intuit. Lesson: Fear can be stifling. Transparency and respect are more powerful leadership tools."

Be tough on problems, not on the people helping you solve them. Yes, you’ll have to make some difficult decisions but this doesn’t mean you should be difficult to deal with. Inspire your team – don’t terrify them. “This is being ‘soft.’ The tone you set will reverberate through the culture of your organization.”A crash course in leadership… via Fast Company. Lesson: Working side-by-side with people to solve problems will work. Raising your voice and losing your cool won’t really help."

Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.



Talent and HR News Roundup: Building Employee Relationships Edition

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 8.58.10 AMThink about the people data your organization has: employee satisfaction, hiring metrics, performance reviews. What do all the data have in common? Work. All we know about the people we work with is about how, why and when they work. But to build better employee relationships, we need to get to know who our colleagues are.

Take leadership expert and author Mike Figliuolo's leadership maxim: He drinks 7UP. It's a reference to his days as a platoon leader and how getting to know even the simplest personal preference of one of his soldiers changed everything. If we take the time to get to know our employees' families, their internal selves (personal motivations) and external selves (what else they do outside of work), we can better understand who they are and drive better performance.

But don't just listen to me, this week we've rounded up stories and examples of how you can do just that.Perks for Employees and How Google Changed the Way We Work from the Independent Star

"Dan Cobley, the search giant’s UK managing director, told a conference of business leaders at the Albert Hall in London this week that Google’s meal-time lines are intentionally kept long, “because we know people will chat while they’re waiting. Chats become ideas, and ideas become projects.” Forward-thinking firms, Mr Cobley told his audience, ought to nurture “serendipitous interaction” between their staff."

Caterpillar offers numerous recreational activities for employees from the Journal Star

"Caterpillar Social Activities and Services (CSAS) makes sure it's not all work and no play at the world's manufacturing leader. In the last 10 years, participation in CSAS-sponsored events has grown from roughly 9,000 to approximately 25,000, said Scheffler, who acts as CSAS senior representative. That growth can be attributed to the steady addition of activities and events...."

Getting to Know Your Employees and What Motivates Them from Wiley Online

"Stepping back to look at the science of human behavior can give enormous insight into what really drives people to make choices and take action. However, in business and in the design of employee reward and recognition initiatives, too often companies fail to consider the people whose behavior they are seeking to influence. Companies must better understand their employees as individuals to effectively motivate and engage them."

3 Tips to Build Better Relationships With Your Employees from Harvard Business Review

"Relate whenever you can. View every interaction as an opportunity to get to know someone a little better. Make a habit of asking employees one question about their work or their personal lives each time you encounter them."



exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.



Memo to Executives: Women Don't Want It All

There are a million voices in the debate on women in the workplace. And I was reticent to add another. But there's a perspective no one is talking about and that's the work. Until the work changes, the ratio of women in leadership positions won't change.  My latest post in Forbes addresses just that. What if women don't want it all? What if it's not about promoting us but rather whether we even want it? This is an important conversation. I'd love your take. Check out the Forbes article and then share your perspective.



Brand: Jerry Leo

If all I watched was Top Chef, The Millionaire Matchmaker and Inside the Actors Studio, I'd be a happy couch potato. And, I'd only need the "Bravo Channel" package from Comcast. From a channel that brands itself as every show being the next big thing (and then delivering) comes the brand of Jerry Leo. The Senior Vice President, of Program Strategy and Acquisitions for Bravo, Jerry has the enviable task of figuring out what happens next.  How did he get here?  A great personal brand for starters. Susan: Thanks for taking the time to chat--I know you have many things on your plate right now. So let's get right to it. I've been thinking about how selling yourself and angling for that next job or promotion is really, in essence, a pitch.  If you were a show, how would you pitch yourself?

Jerry: "An energetic, fast paced, competition reality show with high stakes on the line."

S: High stakes can be risky, but it can be good to be known for taking risks too.  What else are you know for? When people talk about Jerry, what do they say?

J: They say I am a "Pop Culture savant" and that I have my finger on the pulse of what's popular and trending.  [People] also think of me as creative, [always] craving new information and trying to figure out what's next. [I'm fond of] rolling up information to analyze what's happening in the big picture. I'm also a loyal friend, a teacher and mentor and high-energy.

S: I like your confidence and that you know what you're known for. It's absolutely key to a strong personal brand. You've had a pretty amazing career trajectory from NBC to MTV/VH-1 and now Bravo. Has what you're known for or your brand evolved with those different businesses?

J: I don’t think my specific brand has changed drastically throughout my career. While each brand that I’ve worked at have differences, my brand in its core has remained the same from my days at MTV through Bravo. I’ve scheduled for, and targeted, an audience and demographic that I am a part of and have grown up with for the last 15 years. In my 20s at MTV, the audience was young and fickle, and the challenge was staying ahead of and keeping up with them. In my 30s at Vh1, we were celebrating “retroeclectic” and our shared pop culture nostalgia. Now at Bravo, my audience is more precisely affluent and educated and we target them through five passion points in our unscripted programming – food, fashion, beauty, design and pop culture. At my brand’s core, tracking and forecasting pop culture has remained a constant thread throughout my entire career.

S: It's amazing that your career has aged along with a fine wine!  One of the important brand lessons I try to showcase to people I work with is managing those common career threads alongside what's new and different as your personal brand evolves.  Has your brand evolved with the increasing responsibilities and leadership roles you've had too?

J: In that respect, no. My core brand values have remained constant even with my increased responsibilities. I still conduct business with the same passion, enthusiasm, creativity and strategic focus. However, as my career progressed and responsibilities increased, there becomes a greater volume and scope of challenges that present themselves.

S: Core values--really setting who you are at the core is such a key part of the brand foundation.  So when you think back to your early days as a sales assistant at NBC, do you remember thinking about your personal brand then? If not, when was the first time you realized that your personal brand matters?

J: Yes. I had several role models, mentors and training. I think the personal brand begins the first day in any  job.

S: So true. It's not just a first impression. You're planting seeds of reputation and how you are and will be known.  Now, I'm a huge Bravo fan.  And "Watch What Happens" is a great tagline for Bravo, but it also strikes me as a great personal brand tagline too. Does it describe you? Or is there another headline that's Jerry?

J: Maybe “Imagine Greater” (SyFy's tagline). I’m always looking for the next big thing by thinking creatively and out of the box. It’s very important to me to always be trying to do something new and exciting and to grow to be a better strategist/businessman.

S: Thinking ahead is a hard thing to do. But brand management (both for consumer and personal brands) is about juggling both the current and thinking about the future. I appreciate that you have that mentality as well as the perspective of always trying to be better. On that note, what's your advice for people who want to have a good reputation in the workplace and have a strong, well-known brand?

J: Be loyal. Always hold yourself to a higher level. Aim to EXCEED, not MEET expectations. Carry yourself as if you are the level you want to be. Make sure all actions are congruent with your goals.

S: Sage advice from someone who's clearly a walking example.  We'll all be imagining great things for you, for sure Personally, I'm already excited for the premiere of Top Chef Season 9 (Nov 2. 10pm EST)).  Thanks for taking the time Jerry.

J: Thank you.

Stay tuned for our next Brand profile.  Want to suggest someone for the hot seat?  Let me know.


Jerry Leo's Bio (courtesy of NBC):

Jerry Leo, Senior Vice President, Program Strategy and Acquisitions for Bravo, is responsible for all phases of program planning for the channel including long range planning, scheduling of programs and stunts on the network, and all acquisitions. Based in New York City, he also works closely with the development and production departments as well as ad sales.Prior to Bravo, Leo held a number of positions at VH1/MTV Networks, most recently as Vice President, Program Planning. In this capacity, he was responsible for scheduling all programs, series, stunts, theme weeks and cornerstone events. Prior to that, Leo was at MTV, where he was Manager, Program Planning and Acquisitions. Previously, he worked in MTV's Production department as a talent coordinator as well as in MTV's Series Development department. Before his tenure at MTV Networks, Leo began his television career at NBC. He held the position of sales assistant at NBC's Prime Time and News Sales department, and also held positions in the Corporate Communications and Entertainment Programming departments.Leo holds a B.S. degree in television, radio and film management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.