What makes a great recruitment business leader? Truth is there is no definite answer, but what we can do is share with you the top traits that we have seen in those recruitment entrepreneurs we have had the privilege to partner with over the last 13 years and more.
Here they are:
1. They visualise success
They have a clear vision of what the future looks like for their agency and they have developed a plan (aka ‘mission’) of how to get there. More importantly, by effectively communicating this vision with the rest of the business, their teams get on board with it and recognise the role they play as individuals in making this vision a reality.
2. They are confident
Successful recruitment entrepreneurs are not only confident in their own capabilities, they clearly communicate what they expect from the people who work for them. They are equally comfortable with taking the plaudits when things go right, as they are when things don’t quite go according to plan.
More important is that they trust their consultants to do a great job and support them as much as they can. They also seek out new ideas too. Indeed, successful agency owners are confident enough in themselves to listen to ideas from others about how things can be done better, smarter and faster – their focus is not on them as an individual, it is on the greater good of the business and its people.
3. They are determined
Recruitment can be a challenging industry to work in, but the rewards are there. Successful recruitment business leaders are driven to build an agency business that is built in their vision.
New recruitment entrepreneurs often tell us that one of the main reasons for starting their own agency was that they wanted to have a business that they would have wanted to engage in if they were an employer.
But they know that this will not happen overnight. To create a business that is not only sustainable but can grow over the longer term takes time and an unwavering self-belief that they are on the right track.
4. They are flexible
No one can predict the future with any certainty, and while all new businesses need to have a business plan in place, it should be viewed as a working document only and not something that is set in stone.
For instance, if you had started your agency a year before the previous economic downturn the chances are that your business plan would have been revised a number of times during the subsequent five years. Life, like the economy, is unpredictable at times so your business plan needs to be flexible enough to react and adapt to changing conditions – both positive and negative.
5. They are not afraid to make tough decisions
Many of us have worked with managers who often hesitated when key decisions needed to be made for fear of being made responsible if things were to go wrong. But when it’s you who is in charge that is not a luxury that you can afford.
There has been much deliberation over whether well thought-out reasoning or relying on gut instinct is the most effective approach when it comes to making key decisions. The truth is there is room for both.
The Harvard Business Review reported that around 50% of all business decisions are made after all the facts have been considered, while the remaining 50% were based on gut decisions. Both forms of decision-making are based on your years’ of experience and both carry equal chances of being right or wrong. The point is this; to run a successful business you sometimes need to be willing to make decisions with the knowledge you have at that point in time – hindsight is a wonderful thing.
There are many other important traits that are shared with successful recruitment business owners, but the five above are the ones that stand out time and time again. You don’t necessarily need to possess all five to become a leading recruitment entrepreneur and there will invariably be some skills that work well for you that we haven’t even mentioned.
However, leadership and succeeding in business is all about playing to your strengths and doing things differently to your competitors. Isn’t that why you wanted to start your own recruitment business in the first place?