As an executive job seeker you should incorporate both strategies into your job search game plan. These strategies can be complementary and can land you a new position more quickly. One offline strategy is to grow your local network by joining the local chapter of a professional association. This is a great way to meet people who are in your field who are in a position to refer you to job vacancies that may not be advertised. You can volunteer to be a member of a committee or even present at a monthly meeting. This will raise your visibility and better position you to be referred to a job opening. In addition, you can join the local chamber of commerce and attend executive breakfast meetings to expand your local network. Hiring managers prefer to hire candidates who come referred, so the more you become known in your local job market, the more opportunities are likely to come your way. You can also enlarge your network beyond your local community by connecting with people online. By participating on social networking platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, you can meet people who you would not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with. All of these sites have groups associated with them that are clustered around different areas of interest. Joining groups and participating in them can raise your visibility, which will in turn increase your number of connections as people get to know who you are and start to invite you into their networks. One tool for finding great people to follow on Twitter is www.exectweets.com. ExecTweets has different categories in which you can search for executives in specific fields. The executives whose tweets are posted on this site are considered to be top executives in their respective fields. Another great tool is Mr. Tweet, which will recommend people for you to follow based on your current Twitter following. Another online job search strategy is to identify thought leaders in your field as well as hiring managers in companies you want to work for and try to connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Facebook. If they agree to be part of your network, you can then interact with them personally and cultivate a professional relationship. This relationship will give you an opportunity to find out what their interests are and how you can help them. It’s always best to offer something first in a professional relationship rather than to start out asking for a job. Also, you can connect with people you meet on social networking sites in person if you choose to. There are groups on all of these sites that are based on geographic location. On Twitter, for example, you can do tweetups—meet face to face with people who are in your area.On LinkedIn and Facebook you can join groups that are centered around certain metropolitan areas (i.e. Washington, DC or New York City). Once you are a member of these groups you can find out if there are any local meetings. The combination of online and offline job search strategies is powerful. By leveraging both strategies you can not only find a new position more quickly, but you can also nurture authentic relationships with people who will form the backbone of your network for years to come. Executive online job search strategies image from Shutterstock
A leader inspires and motivates others to do and be better. It’s about being a servant leader who focuses on the growth and well-being of others, regardless of title, bringing out the best in who they are.
Anyone can be a leader if they choose to develop the right skills. I know! I’ve made many mistakes along the way by focusing on the wrong things (i.e. micromanagement, poor communication, lack of flexibility, you get it). Once I realized that leadership requires being able to connect, motivate, inspire, and be present, I began to make a real difference in the companies and people I worked with.
Here are four things I do to earn my leadership every day.
Strong communication skills include being a good listener as well as customizing your communication style to suit each situation and team member. This is an area I’m continuously working on. I have written down the following and keep it visible in my work area so that when I interact with anyone, I am conscious of my communication style:
- Present, Attentive, & In The Moment
- Ensure Active Listening
- Ask Questions (Open-Ended, Clarifying, Probing) That Engage My Audience
- Not Interrupting
- Withhold Judgment
- Share Information That Is Helpful
- Brainstorm With My Team
- Summarize My Understanding
A leader who has strong communication skills will build trust and improve morale across the organization.
I grew up in the “kill or be killed” era of business and I’m glad it’s changed to a focus of connecting with people to form lasting relationships. I’ve learned to be a more empathetic leader who is able to understand the needs of others, their point of view, what they are feeling, and why they act the way they do. That said, I still have more to learn as empathy is an emotional and thinking muscle that becomes stronger with use. What I try to do with my daily interactions is:
- Be Authentic
- Show Genuine Interest In Others
- Help Others Wherever I Can
- Be Self Aware
- Pay Attention To Body Language
- Be Open To Feedback
Empathy is a key element of servant leadership and leaders who are able to show compassion tend to be the most admired and are also able to drive significant business results.
Change is accelerating and at an unprecedented pace. In order to be successful, leaders need to embrace change in this constantly evolving global environment. I for one love change. While it can be somewhat scary at times, it can also bring about many opportunities. I’ve worked hard to embrace change and lean into the unknown by focusing on the following in my work and personal life:
- Being open to seeking and seizing new opportunities
- Have a clear purpose, develop a plan and prioritize new opportunities
- Remove obstacles that inhibit the path of progress to create quick wins
- Seek continuous learning and feedback
- Embrace risk-taking and the possibility of failure
- Take action quickly
Leaders who embrace change tend to be more adaptable, flexible, innovative, strategic, and have engaged employees. Change creates transformation and growth.
Develop Your Team
I was taught how to do my job but not how to be a leader who manages and develops teams. So when I first started managing teams, I struggled with continuing to do things myself vs. learning how to develop and inspire people. Along the way, I’ve made a number of mistakes, but through that, I’ve had some amazing nuggets of success that I work hard to put into practice all the time.
- Set clear goals and expectations
- Focus on serving, teaching, & mentoring
- Allow team members to problem solve
- Invest in people: resources, training, education
- Give direct feedback and ask for feedback
- Celebrate the wins and be quick to praise
- Foster collaboration and open communication
- HAVE FUN!
I’ve found that to earn my leadership every day requires a continuous journey of personal development and grace. Great leaders inspire others, bringing out the best in them while also leading by example. I hope these tips motivate you to earn your leadership. You’ve got this!