Poor Leadership and Employee Stress

poor leadership and mental health

Lately, we’ve discussed the topic of improving executive leadership and executive presence.  In contrast, let’s take a look at the other side of these skills and how poor leadership and employee stress are linked. Certainly, it is without question that the two go hand in hand.

Defining Expectations.

As a starting point, the management staff of any business or organization is responsible for setting priorities for the staff. These priorities define expectations and allow the entire team to run smoothly.

If management does not fulfill these responsibilities or is doing a poor job, employee stress is going to increase.

What Employees Seek.

When it comes to organization, the human mind is actually a very simple machine to operate. In practice, the mind loves to compartmentalize situations.

Therefore, employees perform best when duties and responsibilities are clearly defined. Defining duties and responsibilities allow the mind to further divide tasks into attainable daily, weekly, and monthly goals.  

Which, as a result, works perfectly in-line with larger goals put forth by management.  

Bite-sized goals. Now that’s the stuff that motivates employees!

Identifying Mental Health Priorities.

Furthermore, to expand the message of how poor leadership and employee stress are entwined, we found this perfect bullet list of risk definitions from the World Health Organization.

Risks to mental health include:

  • inadequate health and safety policies;
  • poor communication and management practices;
  • limited participation in decision-making or low control over one’s area of work;
  • low levels of support for employees;
  • inflexible working hours; and
  • unclear tasks or organizational objectives.

Additionally, The WTO released an information sheet in 2019 that speaks directly to mental health in the workplace.  

“Mental health interventions should be delivered as part of an integrated health and well-being strategy that covers prevention, early identification, support and rehabilitation. Key to success is involving stakeholders and staff at all levels when providing protection, promotion and support interventions and when monitoring their effectiveness. “

Setting Workplace Priorities.

Altogether, leaders are responsible for deciding the team direction. Leaders choose the project focus, and how fast it needs to be done. Unfortunately, some managers project management skills are weak. This throws a team into chaos.

As a rule, the best management goals are ones that are quantifiable. Stick to concrete numbers or measurable benchmarks.

For example, a good goal for a sales department is to increase sales by 15 percent over the next quarter. A poor and vague goal is to “do a good job.”

With this in mind, clear standards of performance allow employees to measure their individual success at work. As a result, a lack of clear standards causes morale to suffer. Which, in turn, makes it very difficult for an employee to gain a sense of fulfillment.

Ultimately, everyone wants to feel like they can ask for a raise, pursue a promotion, and, generally, feel successful at their job.  Indeed, we all want to achieve.

Mental Health Awareness.

What’s inspiring is the framework being established as the norm when it comes to employee stress and the nature of workplace mental health.

Over the years, we’ve seen a rise in corporate efforts that support a positive and healthy work environment for all team members. These days, it’s not uncommon for companies to have a functioning wellness program.

Most recently, some organizations are adopting the title role of Chief Wellness Officer. A role entirely dedicated to navigating employee stress. For example the facilitation of training seminars, leadership coaching, employee support sessions, and programmed stress-reducing retreats.

Furthermore, institutions such as Stanford University School of Medicine offer Chief Wellness Officer courses. While initially, these targetted only healthcare professionals, they are fast becoming desirable by those in high-level leadership roles.

In the case of Standford’s course, registration is formatted as a one-week intensive. Designed to “help participants cultivate expertise in the principles and applications that contribute to physician well-being.”

With learning objectives as follows: 

  • Leadership skills to spearhead the organization’s physician wellness efforts.
  • Knowledge and hands-on experience in developing a customized strategic plan.
  • Expertise in the principles and applications contributed to physician well-being. Including the development of an organizational culture to foster engagement and professional fulfillment.

As leaders who aim to create optimal work environments, our focus points are well defined to encourage healthy and vibrant mental health across our teams.

The Road to Executive Level Leadership

The road to executive leadership

With there being a lot fewer executive positions than mid-level management roles, the road to executive leadership is highly competitive. Therefore, it’s abundantly more difficult to climb to this next rung of the corporate ladder. 

However, with the right attitude, work ethic and connections, you can prove your value and earn that coveted executive title and responsibility.

Understand And Embody ‘Executive Presence’

It seems as though the concept and practices of executive presence have tremendously increased in value over the years.  Last week we dove deep into what EP really is and found that, at the roots, executive presence is the powerful ability to inspire confidence.

Executive presence includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  EP consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

Technical skills might have landed the job, but an executive presence moves a manager up. 

 Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

Lower levels of leadership focus on the day-to-day execution of the strategy. Executive levels focus on developing a broader view of the organization.

The development of strategic thinking allows you to become aware of the big picture.  Develop more skills in seeing the interconnections between the operating systems and long game strategy. Lean into thinking more strategically and from a systems perspective.

Maximize your Influence.

Given that great leadership is about influence, and not authority, you have to learn how to maximize your influence. Your ability to influence others is impacted by how you are perceived. Therefore, you have to figure out how to increase the perception of your value. The single best way to do that is to solve important problems for influential executives. 

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – Network with the Entire Team

To lead at the executive level requires comfort outside of usual routines.  It’s relatively easy to limit our office interactions to those inside our sphere of expertise, however, to build confidence as a leader you’ll want to connect with the entire team.  Start expanding your tribe outside your core area.

Network with people from different parts of your organization in order to learn different business functions or program areas.

Build your reputation outside your comfort zone.  This way if/when opportunities open for advancement, decision-makers already know your name, and know it well.

Work With A Leadership Development Coach

As professional athletes know well, a trusted coach can soften the learning curve dramatically. A coach will guide you to clearly see your strengths, blind spots, and competencies. They will also show you how to identify the people and roles that will enable you to thrive.

Some coaches are focused on skill development, others are sounding boards. Find a coach who can do both and make the investment. 

Build Self-Awareness For Growth

This is a big one. It can also be the toughest one to chew on. Building greater self-awareness about one’s leadership presence and effectiveness is a key piece to preparing for an executive-level position. If possible, participate in a 360-degree feedback process.

This process can uncover your leadership strengths to build upon, as well as, identify others’ perceptions of your efficacy.  Disparities included.

Be Clear in Your Goals.

If you have a clear goal for your career, let it be known. Ask your immediate supervisor to craft a skill plan for you on exactly what you need to do to get to the level you want. Then start executing. It will take a combination of building relationships, professional training, results you’ve achieved, and lots and lots of emotional intelligence. If you really are in it for the long haul, let it be known.

Develop Executive Courage

It’s usually the tough decisions that move the needle. Therefore, executive courage around action, communication and trust is a critical leadership skill. Like any muscle, the more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. You cultivate executive courage by trying new strategies (even if some fail), engaging in crucial conversations and confronting challenging situations that trigger discomfort.

Manage Up

Managing up is a common challenge for emerging leaders. It’s important to manage your own boss, as well as extended relationships with your boss’ boss, board members, C-level executives, etc. These relationships directly correlate with the level of influence you have. Knowing what to communicate, when and with whom, will increase the visibility of your impact as a leader. 

Think About What The Company Needs

The end result, on the road to executive leadership, you want to build your business acumen. By showing you can make good judgments and quick decisions, you show preparedness toward the next step in career growth.

An executive is accountable at a whole new level. If a manager wants to move up, they need to think about what the company needs. Have the team you manage to be outstanding. Be known as someone who helps other people succeed. Be someone whose word is impeccable.

What Executive Presence Really Is

Executive Presence

In 2014, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and her team huddled over an extensive collection of data drawn from 14 sectors of corporate America. The goal was to identify, at the corporate level, what Executive Presence really is and why we need it.  

What the data reflected was that Executive Presence is not so much about performance. It’s not about what you do when ‘delivering the goods’ or ‘hitting the numbers’.  It’s about what you signal. 

Executive Presence or EP. What is it and where do I get some?

In the simplest terms, executive presence is about the ability to inspire confidence. It includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  Executive presence consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

As a leader, you inspire confidence by showing that you are capable and reliable. Which is critical to being trustworthy of supporters.  By contrast, inspiring confidence with your own superiors shows that you have the potential for greater achievements in career growth.

The 3 Main Pillars of Executive Presence

As part of the 2014 study, the group singled out 3 main traits associated with EP.

#1. Gravitas

Gravitas is the projection of credibility and assertiveness with the confidence to convey a clear message.  In comparison, gravitas is the way of signaling impact in a compelling manner.

As an example, the study asked senior leaders who they saw as career role models.  Significantly, the #1 role model identified was Nelson Mandala.  A man that earned his placement through sincerity and understanding the power of symbolism.  Nelson Mandala had gravitas in spades and showed it by routinely connecting at a very human level.

#2. Communication

Communication includes the ability to read an audience. To assess a complex situation and act accordingly. This is the ability to command a room. It’s what you say, when you say it, how you say it, and to whom you say it. Communication is also portrayed through the masterful use of body language and concise speaking skills.

These skills combined show you’re able to communicate the authority of a leader.

#3. Appearance

While the data showed appearance to be the smaller piece of the puzzle, it is still worth significant attention. Appearance is commonly referred to as “looking the part.”

By taking the time to look and feel your best, it shows consideration and respect toward the people you interact with. Appearance also includes dressing appropriately for the environment and occasion which in a corporate setting carries high-level importance.

Why You Need Executive Presence

Ultimately, executive presence determines whether you gain access to opportunity.

There’s a saying in leadership, “All the important decisions about you will be made when you’re not in the room.” It’s true. In particular, whether it’s a decision about an important opportunity, a promotion to a critical role or an assignment to a high-visibility project, it’s likely that you won’t be in the room.

Therefore, the opportunities you gain access to depend on the confidence you’ve already inspired in the decision-makers. Additionally, the more significant the opportunity, the more important executive presence becomes.

How To Build Your Executive Presence

As with any other skill, some people are naturally more gifted at executive presence than others. That being said, everyone can improve their EP with focus and practice.

Cultivate a foundation of quiet confidence.

At its core, executive presence is about confidence, yet “the more confidence the better” isn’t always the way. Presence is confidence without arrogance.

Sadly, confidence is often confused with cockiness however, the truly “present” executive is one who doesn’t need to trumpet his achievements. Instead, he or she has an internal resolve driven by a solid sense of self-worth. As a result, they have learned healthy, effective ways of dealing with challenges and relationships.

Key points to focus on while developing your own executive presence:

  • Learn to operate effectively under stress.
  • Become an excellent listener. 
  • Build your communication skills.
  • Understand how others experience you.
  • Have a vision, and articulate it well.

Most importantly, find your voice as an executive.

Identify your assets and leverage them to the max. Some people are naturally gregarious and can fill a room with their personality. Others rely on their listening ability, sense of timing, and ability to maintain their composure when others get emotional.

In an increasingly diverse world, executive presence will look very different from one executive to another. Just keep building the confidence of others that can step you up as a leader if and when times get tough.

Building Your Senior Management Team

BUilding your senior-level management team

In the startup stage of every enterprise, it’s a matter of survival to create the most cost-effective operating system.  Naturally, this requires owners to do as much as possible on their own. But with growth comes a massive shortage of time which means eventually, building your senior management team will need mandatory.

Especially if your plan is to take the business to the next level.

Building the best team demands matching people’s strengths to specific jobs.  So while your best buddy from grade school may feel like the right choice, you’ll still need to cross-reference strengths and skills to job requirements prior to signing an offer letter.

When assembling a senior team, you’ll want to take the time and consider all the critical areas of your business. At the rudimentary level, we’ve assembled a thorough recap of senior-level roles. 

A Breakdown of the Roles.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 

Basically, and without much exaggeration, the CEO is the boss of everyone and everything (but reports to the Board of Directors). Realistically, you’ll either be the CEO or hire someone more suited to the depth of the role. Which is not entirely uncommon. 

Owners are oftentimes ‘too close to the center’ when it comes to determining the company’s executive strategy. Therefore, hiring your own boss is fundamentally in the company’s best interest. 

Your CEO will have the ability to rise above the daily details and decide where the industry and business are headed. An exceptional CEO must be a remarkable strategic thinker.  They must be able to decide the company’s best route for navigating the future market conditions. 

That being said, the CEO’s ultimate skill is in hiring and firing. It is essential to assemble the right management team as support for your CEO. As a result, your chosen CEO will need to be able to identify and hire the best, fire the ones who don’t work out, and run the show all the same.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

A COO handles a company’s complex operational details. Think about UPS moving three billion packages in the two weeks before Christmas: The company’s COO ensures the business can deliver day after day. Their team creates the systems to track the measurements and take action when the company isn’t delivering as expected.

When ensuring smooth operations become a big part of your business, it’s time to hire someone who revels in measurements, operations, and details.

President

To be honest, the role of a president is a little less specific than other executive team members. Presidents can oversee staff functions–human resources, finance, and strategy–while the COO oversees daily operations. In some organizations, the title of president is a synonym for COO, especially in smaller companies. Sometimes, the president fills gaps left by the COO and CEO. Other times, the title goes to someone you want at the strategy table but who doesn’t have an obvious C-level title.

Additionally, not every enterprise needs a president as many find this title fully covered by the efforts of a CEO and COO.  All things to consider when looking at your own enterprise.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Plain and simple, your CFO handles the money. They create budgets and financing strategies. They figure out if it’s better for your business to lease or buy. Then they build the control systems that monitor your company’s financial health. Money is your business’s blood, and in entrepreneurship, cash flow is everything.

If you don’t know the difference between cash flow and profit–go find yourself a CFO.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Many current business battles are battles of marketing. Especially when corporate strategy hinges on marketing strategy. As a result, companies have been bringing in a marketing expert at the C-level rather than as a traditional vice president role. 

The CMO owns the marketing strategy–and that often includes implementation of the sales strategy. Your CMO will learn your industry inside out and help you position your product/service, differentiate it from your competitors’, enlist distributors, and make sure customers learn to crave your product.

If your business’s success depends mainly on marketing, you need a CMO. That could be you–but only if you have time to keep up with competitors, oversee the marketing plan, and still do the rest of your job–and do it well.

Otherwise, you need to look for the person with the right kind of buzz for the job, ready to keep up on what’s hot and what’s not.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

This role is only really significant if your business or industry is impacted by technology. Specifically, if your company’s chosen programming language affects the overall company strategy. In this case, you may need a CTO.

Is your enterprise tech-based? If so, delve into your professional network and find yourself a strategic thinker rooted in the tech industry. If you are not tech-based, you can sit this hiring process out and keep the focus on the above mentioned senior-level roles.

Building Your Senior Management Team

Ultimately, trust your instincts when interviewing and hiring. You have successfully grown your business to the level of needing an executive team, which is a major win all in itself.

As always with leadership; hire smart, fire fast, keep working that strategy to get the work done.

If you need inspiration for job postings at the Executive and Senior-Level, we’ve got some great site resources available in our Career Help section.

Planning an Executive Job Search

executive job search planning

The final quarter of the year can be a catalyst for change. With routine year-end reviews and personal goal reflection, executives who feel that they ought to be advancing further in their careers or are not being fairly compensated can seek to make changes. Planning an executive job search is vital to balancing your job search time and efforts.

For this reason, we’ve outlined 5 tips to help you plan as efficiently as possible: 

1. Optimize Your Resume in Advance

Of course, resumes are the cornerstone of any job search plan. So its best to ensure yours is current, consistent, and compelling.  Overall, executive-level careers generally require long term employment in individual positions. As a result, it’s common to require a resume refresh when looking to make career changes.

2. Learn How to Articulate Your Key Success Stories

Consider the use of metrics and data as this helps authenticate your story and give scale to your professional accomplishments. Any awards received can be great conversational additions during interviews or networking opportunities.

While it may feel awkward at first, ultimately, it beneficial to understand how best to communicate your story with ease and grace.

3. Be Mindful of Your Online Presence

In today’s digital age, recruiters and employers are taking to the internet to search for, and vet, potential executive candidates. If you intend to present yourself as an ideal candidate, think clearly about what all your online profiles say about you.

In consideration of this, look for areas to improve in order to best reflect your career successes. Perhaps archive a few of the college day party pics or any office related vices. Clean your look up to shine the way you prefer to be seen.

4. Prepare Interview Answers

As one would expect, executive interviews are fraught with tough questions for potential candidates to navigate. The aim is to test your ability to perform under pressure.

Oftentimes, executives are asked tricky questions, including those relating to professional failure. Be open and honest. Especially when demonstrating your ability to learn from mistakes while improving your decision-making skills.

Furthermore, you could also be asked for reasons behind leaving your last job. Again, it is important, to be honest, yet professional. Be ready to answer this while directing the conversation on to the next question.

A little research can go a long way. Google some executive-level interview questions or ask your network if they have any tips. Practice your responses to find your voice and boost your chances of success.

5. Build and Maintain Your Network

As a rule, professional networks should be nurtured throughout your entire career. The aim is to ensure dependability during periods of uncertainty. Without a doubt, this network can be your safety net should directions change in the future.

Additionally, executive recruiters can be a key component of your professional network. When recruiters call, even if you are not interested in the role you can still cultivate a long-term professional connection. Offer helpful candidate suggestions or explain your thoughts regarding why the opportunity might not be right for you. 

6. Set Goals

To make sure you don’t succumb to job-seeker drifting, give yourself time-bound goals throughout your search. It’s your time and effort, use them wisely.

Finally, don’t sweat it. If all this overwhelms you, our team at PWU has just what you need.  We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization, Interview Coaching, and Recruitment Services. 

Connect with us here for a free 15-minute consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

5 Key Skills for General Manager Success

Any of us working in large or small organizations will attest to the high-value a good General Manager can bring to daily workflow. Although the title itself is very diverse, the executive role of a GM is to plan and execute an umbrella-like influence on business strategies throughout the organization. GM’s are business leaders positioned to assess the health of their market and to align appropriate growth strategies while simultaneously playing an essential role in delivering a delightful experience to customers and gracefully representing the company’s mission.

Jack of all trades and master of EVERYTHING.

We conducted a search for current executive employers seeking General Managers on LinkedIn and began to see patterns pertaining to key skills flagged as necessary for the recruiting and hiring process.  The data also reflected some ideal personality traits associated with successful GM leaders. Individuals with a tendency towards naturally optimistic attitudes achieve as GM’s as do industry leaders with a genuine sense of compassion toward their team. Powerful critical thinkers with instinctual abilities to review and act according to live situations are born for this role.

Check out our active search data here: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/search/?keywords=general%20manager

5 basics of general manager success

Whether your focal industry is retail, hospitality, food & beverage or running a multi-million-dollar hockey team, mastering these 5 skills can help you dive deeper into a successful leadership experience.

  1. Shaping the Work Environment – every company has its own individual work atmosphere which becomes the framework of which the new GM builds strategies.  These are the performance standards that dictate the pace and efforts from all employee’s, they are the business concepts that define the company’s operations and they are the key items that define the overall experience of employment with the company.  The details of these environments are never out of sight for a quality General Manager.
  2. Crafting a Strategic Vision – since the General Manager is the main executive who can commit the entire organization to an absolute strategy, the best GMs are invariably involved in the strategic formulations. They are actionable in approach to leadership rather than just presiding over their team at arm’s length.
  3. Marshaling Resources – allocating resources to support competitive strategies is a cornerstone of the GM role. This high-value operating technique maintains the company’s economic health and allows the company to produce high returns. The name of the game is an absolute focus on strategy.  For you to master this ability on a 360-degree perspective will aide you to gaining an important competitive edge.
  4. Developing Star Performers – The talk then comes to building an optimum team.  Everyone knows how important it is to attract talent, develop them quickly and keep the team challenged and pointed in productive directions.  Yet it’s a struggle to hire those that can make the calls when restructuring is in the company’s best interest.  Lack of management talents ranks at an equal degree to low standards as a cause of poor performance.  Making tough people decisions while nurturing the strongest aspects of your team is vital to success in the GM occupation.
  5. Up and Running – Strategies have been researched, formulated and educated across the organization and now the GM ‘s gaze looks to the supervising of operations and the particular implementation. GM’s are very detail-oriented with a heavy focus on result-based disciplines. Their operating plans are not merely goals, but actual commitments made to themselves and the company that hired them. A keen sense of an organization’s operational capabilities separates top GM’s from their less able executives.  
Job industry leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves.

These 5 responsibilities don’t tell the whole story, of course. Leadership skills and the GM’s personal style and experience are important pieces of the whole picture. However, focusing effort in these areas will help any GM become more effective. And that should mean making the right things happen faster and more often—which is what you want to achieve.

Every career change is unique and our team at Power Writers is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, and LinkedIn Profile Updates.  Contact us here for a free consultation and resume evaluation.

Trends in Executive Leadership

The Executive Leader of any organization carries a substantial amount of responsibility for the success of a business. Needless to say the investment in training and educating these leaders needs to be an ongoing priority. The landscape of business is constantly changing, therefore, it is important that the education of our leaders changes and adapts with it. In their article found in the Harvard Business Review, Mihnea Moldoveanu and Das Narayandas talk about how, “The need for leadership development has never been more urgent.”

As demand grows for executive education that is customizable, trackable, and measurably effective, new competitors are emerging. Business schools, consultancies, corporate universities, and digital platforms are all vying to provide skills development programs, and each player has certain advantages and constraints.


Moldoveanu, Mihnea and Narayandas, Das (2019, March). Educating the Next Generation of Leaders [Web log post]. Retrieved March 26, 2019, fromhttps://hbr.org/2019/03/educating-the-next-generation-of-leaders

Moldoveanu and Narayandas explain what the training and education opportunities for executive leaders have been as well as the trends we are seeing in this area now. They refer to as the “Personal Learning Cloud” or PLC as an up and coming method of executive leadership training. Essentially what they are referring to here are the online training courses and forums and any sort of social platforms where learning/education can be found at the click of a mouse. These are being sourced not only by traditional institutions but “upstarts” as they say. This clearly opens up the way for leaders to gain access to learning opportunities quicker and more conveniently and most likely at a lower cost point.

Companies are seeing a disconnect between the training their executive leaders are receiving and the actual practical application of that training on the job.


Chief learning officers find that traditional programs no longer adequately prepare executives for the challenges they face today and those they will face tomorrow. Companies are seeking the communicative, interpretive, affective, and perceptual skills needed to lead coherent, proactive collaboration. But most executive education programs—designed as extensions of or substitutes for MBA programs—focus on discipline-based skill sets, such as strategy development and financial analysis, and seriously underplay important relational, communication, and affective skills.
No wonder CLOs say they’re having trouble justifying their annual training budgets.
Executive education programs also fall short of their own stated objective. “Lifelong learning” has been a buzzword in corporate and university circles for decades, but it is still far from a reality. Traditional executive education is simply too episodic, exclusive, and expensive to achieve that goal. Not surprisingly, top business schools, including Rotman and HBS, have seen demand increase significantly for customized, cohort-based programs that address companies’ idiosyncratic talent-development needs. Corporate universities and the personal learning cloud—the growing mix of online courses, social and interactive platforms, and learning tools from both traditional institutions and upstarts—are filling the gap.


Moldoveanu, Mihnea and Narayandas, Das (2019, March). Educating the Next Generation of Leaders [Web log post]. Retrieved March 26, 2019, fromhttps://hbr.org/2019/03/educating-the-next-generation-of-leaders

It appears that more practical, ongoing (online) training is starting to come into favor versus the more traditional forms of education when companies are budgeting for their Executive Leadership training. The benefit of going this route is having a more flexible schedule as well a more tailor-made training program curated specifically for a particular business’s needs. This is will provide companies with a higher Return On Investment for the training of their Executive Leadership because it is less likely the leaders will be spending time and resources on material that will not translate directly into their roles within that company.

Additional Resources:
https://www.aesc.org/insights/thought-leadership

6 Executive Communication Tips for C-Suite Success

Executive Communication

Communication is critical to the success of any organization, particularly if you are the leader of that organization.  It is important to take time to develop your communication skills so you can ensure your organization is performing optimally.  Take a few minutes to read these great points.

Original article click here.

Yes, your strong communication skills helped you climb the corporate ladder, but now that you’ve made it, thriving in the C-suite requires a different set of communication skills to master.

To be truly successful at the executive level, effective communication is key. Not only can strong communication skills make your job easier by reducing confusion, they can encourage open dialogue, maintain transparency and vastly increase collaboration and the productivity of your staff.

“Executives can sometimes get by without great communications skills — they compensate with other skills or knowledge that are critically important to an organization’s success. That said, it makes them less effective and can put them at professional risk. I’ve had clients that were ultimately jettisoned by organizations because of communication issues, despite their functional excellence,” says Howard Seidel, senior partner at Essex Partners.

The communication skills you hone as an executive might be different from the skills you needed in management, or in other lower-level positions. These six tips will help you master the communication skills necessary to thrive in the C-suite.

1. Drop the jargon

At the executive level, you’ll need to interact with more people outside of IT — so you’ll need to adjust your language.

“I had to drop all the cybersecurity jargon. Finance, marketing, sales, operations, all have jargon the rest of us probably don’t understand. I found success by using language that was more neutral. Like using ‘risk’ rather than ‘zero-day exploit,’” says Kip Boyle, founder and CEO of Cyber Risk Opportunities.

As you move into the C-suite, you’ll want to gain a better understanding of the lingo and business-speak other departments rely on. It will boost communication and help solidify bonds with other executives if you can speak and understand their language.

2. Learn what other executives value

Communication skills at the executive level aren’t just important when you are interacting with the public or employees — they’re also important when working with other executives. If you learn what other leaders in the company value, you can find the best way to explain things or present new ideas.

“For example, the COO liked more reliability of operations and the CEO liked more indemnity. So, I was always trying to explain situations in those terms — either good or bad​,” says Boyle.

Figure out what matters to each department and try to keep that in perspective when you interact with other executives. Communication skills can help you make sure every interaction helps establish you as a leader, especially when dealing with other leaders.

3. Consider tone and cadence

Every department within a company has its own culture, goals and personalities — and that’s something to consider when you address individual departments. And sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

“What makes sense to the engineering department may not always resonate with the marketing team. That’s why it’s important for CEOs to adapt their tone, cadence and even diction to each team to truly motivate them,” says Neil Lustig, CEO of Sailthru.

If a team is high-energy, then you might do well with conveying that energy back to them, but the same might come off as insincere with another department that operates differently. You shouldn’t change how you act completely, but read the room to figure out how to deliver your message.

4. Know your audience and keep it simple

Executives are the face of a company, so it’s important to get to know your audience — whether you’re speaking to clients, employees, customers or the public.

“The C-suite represents the brand of the company, so he or she must always be ‘on message.’ At the end of the day, executives must always factor in the audience, what is meaningful to them, and how their message impacts them,” says Sabrina Horn, managing partner at Finn Partners.

Understanding your audience can help you prepare any message you need to deliver, says Horn. She suggests “preparing and outlining three key messages or themes” that you can use to frame communications. Don’t overthink it either; keep your messages “simple, understandable, focused and effective.”

5. Go beyond just listening

Listening is one of the most obvious communication skills, but as you climb the corporate ladder you should do more than just listen. Once you take on a leadership role, people expect you to follow through on resolving concerns, complaints and questions.

“To me there are three essential communication skills: listening, advocating and inquiring. All three are important at all levels, but as professionals welcome more senior positions, the ratios change,” says Seidel.

Listening is always important, but at the executive level you also need to know how to “inquire” so you can “fully understand another person’s position,” while also advocating your own opinion. Seidel says that inquiring without advocacy can feel like an interrogation, while simply advocating your own opinion without asking any questions can make someone feel like you are bulldozing them.

6. Rehearse any important messages

You want to have comfortable communication skills for daily interaction as an executive, but you’ll need to communicate differently if you are speaking to the entire company, the press or addressing a difficult topic.

“C-level executives are in leadership roles, and as such, have more of a voice and an impact on the audiences they speak to. From internal employees to the media, and from customers to prospects or investors, what an executive communicates and how he or she communicates key messages can make or break acceptance of a new product, program or service, a partnership, customer deal, or company direction,” says Horn.

She suggests videotaping yourself delivering important speeches, so you can play it back and watch your body language, listen to your tone and hear how fast or slow you are speaking. Ultimately, being a leader with strong communication skills takes a certain level of self-awareness, so watching yourself with a critical eye can go a long way.

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

Executive Interview Tips

Executive Interview

There is a plethora of resources that exist for how to prepare for an executive level interview including books, online articles such as this, interview coaches, seminars, YouTube video.  We are sharing a few points we feel are important to your interview success.  

Be Prepared to answer unstructured questions

When open ended questions are inevitably asked such as “Tell us about yourself”, be prepared to seize the moment and offer some positive insight, open up about your career trajectory, and focus on your strengths. Be careful though, accordingly to Fast Company There are many ways to respond to this question correctly and just one wrong way: by asking, “What do you want to know?”  You are better off considering the type of information a hiring manager or recruiter is looking for.  Think about the qualities they want in a candidate and apply your strengths to answer this common question.

Let your accomplishments be known

It’s no surprise that interviewers and hiring managers are looking for someone effective to bring on board their organization. Prepare in advance to hit on a few key accomplishments that truly demonstrate how effective you can be.  Capture your opportunities by listening closely to the interviewers and interject with a relevant accomplishment.  Use the CAR (challenge, action, response) to paint a picture of the situation, how you acted, and what the outcome was. Entertain your listeners as best you can with a brief but powerful story.  Remember to finish your accomplishment example with how your decision positively affected other people involved, whether it was a satisfied client, a boost in office morale, increase in stock price etc.  Also, keep in mind that demonstrating your accomplishments should not come across as bragging, but offering insightful information about how you handle adversity.

Be human, mention a weakness

Give time for self-reflection in advance of your interview and offer your interviewers and hiring manager a genuine response about a weakness you feel you have.  According to the Harvard Business Review “When leaders showcase their own personal growth, they legitimize the growth and learning of others; by admitting to their own imperfections, they make it okay for others to be fallible, too.”  Don’t stop there, explain what you are actively doing to turn your weakness into a strength.

Tips for Discussing your last position
  1. Explain perceived “job-hopping”.  Perhaps on paper it looks like you’ve bounced around a little too much in the past 5 years.  Or perhaps a company you worked for was acquired.  Be honest and forthcoming with your transitions, following up with a statement explaining where you want to land.
  2. Leaving your last position. You may be asked why you left your last job.  Give an honest answer, even if there was conflict, and keep the mood and the tempo of the interview upbeat.  Perhaps you can explain your decision in a way that you wanted to make a move to grow and develop, or were looking for a new or different kind of challenge.

 

Do your research

Whether you are changing industries or are looking for a new position within the same industry, do your research.  Not only about the company but industry trends.  Offer up some insights and your perceptions of the industry to your interviewers.  An interviewer may ask how you would handle a company or industry specific issue and you will need to be prepared.

 

Closing the Interview

You are essentially selling yourself in an interview, right?  Treat an interview the same as a sales opportunity and be prepared to close the deal if you think it is a good fit.  BlueSteps suggests you close with “I’m very excited about this opportunity. What’s our next step?”  Clearly let the interviewers know that you are interested (if you are) and remember to be enthusiastic and smile.

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

 

5 Ways To Make Employees Feel Welcome Right Away

New Hire

We write resumes for both sides of the hiring spectrum, those whose are hired and those who do the hiring.  This article is a good reminder that it’s not always easy to become integrated into a new work environment and what company leaders can do to make a positive difference in their new employee’s experience.  

Original article click here.

Everyone can agree that onboarding is extremely important for new employees. It helps answer questions, communicate expectations and introduce policies or procedures. Many experts agree that it’s vital to employees’ success at the company. However, in addition to the informative structure, it’s good to make employees feel welcome.This will boost excitement and enthusiasm right from the start.

As you are onboarding a new employee, consider implementing any of these five ideas that do a little extra in making the employee feel like they’re a part of the team from the start.

  1. Formulate a welcome strategy

Beginning with management, everyone who is working with a new hire should have a role in welcoming the employee. Putting a plan into writing helps communicate to the entire company the importance of first impressions and making new hires feel welcome. When new employees feel welcome, their enthusiasm and productivity also soar.

  1. Create a fun way to introduce employees

Instead of the plain organizational flowchart, add a little personality and fun. Include pictures of employees, and maybe add a little fun information, like hobbies, favorite movies, favorite travel spots, family – whatever your employees are comfortable sharing. Not only does this add some extra fun to the onboarding process, it’s also helpful for the new employee to learn about their coworkers.

  1. Implement a mentor system

A great way to make a new hire feel welcome is to pair them with another employee who can help them during their first week. The mentor should hold a meeting, or two, to go over questions and details of the job, take the new employee out to lunch, and just be available for support. While an individual employee can be assigned as a mentor, encourage others to jump in and extend their welcome to make the new hire feel comfortable.

  1. Get to know your new employee as a person

You don’t need to know your new hire from childhood, but it would be helpful to know a little bit extra to help them feel welcome as you go through the onboarding process. Things like knowing how your new employee likes to work (in quiet vs. background music), or how they learn best (visual vs. auditory) can make a big difference in how they respond to the onboarding process and information.

  1. Involve the employee in company culture

It’s important to get your new employee involved from the very beginning. Sure, they are still learning the ropes and getting to know the company, but you hired them for a reason so you can show them you value their opinion by asking for their input during meetings (nothing too daunting). Encourage their co-workers to do the same and to invite them into conversation or lunches when it makes sense. The more included the new employee feels, the more they will want to be engaged. This can lead to them greater success, which benefits everyone.

 

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!