Leaders are known by the influence they leave on the communities they serve and the staff they lead. When faced with adversity, the skills as a leader will be challenged beyond what can be imagined. In the last few months, leaders have been pushed to the limits as the COVID-19 virus became the forefront of all human life.

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There are many warning signs to look out for when it comes to an ineffective team, and they should never be ignored. After all, the efficiency of your team determines the volume of your work output, the quality of that work, whether or not deadlines are achieved, and whether or not project goals are accomplished and key performance metrics met.

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Social Media is changing how we communicate with others. The anonymity it offers has people choosing to say things they might not say when face to face with a person. We all can be a target, both personally, as a member or owner of an online community, or on our business pages. So, how do we deal with online trolling?

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When thinking about hiring mums, I often reflect on years ago when I used to manage recruitment for a large online business. Whenever I’d get an application from an entrepreneur I’d immediately turn them down because I thought their skills wouldn’t be a good fit, they didn’t fit the brief and they wouldn’t want to work for someone else for too long.

Wrong. In fact, my mantra now is “Always hire the entrepreneurs!”. The skills, resilience and work ethic needed to be an entrepreneur means there’s a high chance they’ll be successful anywhere.

Now my new hiring tip is mums. Why? Well, let’s look at the skills you want in an employee.

Time management

If you’re anything like me, chances are you get way more done on the last day before you head off on a holiday because you know exactly what you need to get done before you go and you have a hard deadline. This is how mums approach Every. Single. Day. They just don’t have time to muck around.


One thing you can be sure of in business that things will get hard on a regular basis. You want employees who can rise above the stress and keep a clear head. Being a mum dramatically changed my definition of stressful. Give me a tough day at work over dealing with a screaming, wriggling child whose nappy hasn’t been able to contain a truly astounding amount of explosive poo on less than four hours sleep over the past three days combined. Hiring mums cannot builds resilience in your team.


Things don’t always go to plan and the ability to be flexible and find a way around problems rather than grinding to a halt at the first sign of difficulty is a crucial skill. This pretty much describes every day of my life since becoming a mum. I feel like Macgyver half the time, using whatever is at hand to get the job done and changing plans at the last second to accommodate my daughter Izzy is the norm.


In any team you need people with empathy, especially in your leaders. Empathy is the grease that keeps a team working well together, and customers happy. Needing to learn how to provide for a small human who can’t talk is a great lesson in empathy. And when they can talk, they’re still learning to control their emotions and feelings which can challenge and grow those empathy muscles in a big way.

Hiring mums is great for your leadership team

In my experience, mums tend to make strong leaders. Just like each child is different, with different needs and wants, the same is true of adults too and parents seem to intuitively get this with those they manage. It’s also pretty hard to get kids to do anything you want and you quickly develop mastery of creating a compelling vision and getting everyone on the same bus to get there as a team.


This is probably the most important one for me. Having Izzy quickly realigned what’s actually important in my life. So many things I used to feel were important suddenly didn’t feel all that important anymore. This has translated directly into business for me, I find it much easier to let things go and find myself asking questions like “is this the best for the business, or am I doing it for me?”. This is a trait I really look for in my team – the ability to check your ego at the door.

About Libby Babet

Libby is co-founder of upcoming immersive business and wellness retreat for women hosted, Nurture Her, hosted 18-22 October in Fiji, which has attracted fantastic speakers including Julie Bishop. A wellness guru who has appeared as a trainer on The Biggest Loser: Transformed, Libby also owns several fitness studios and a healthy snack business with two brands, Chief Bar and Beauty Food.

What if you entered a room with five people waiting for your presentation and you won the deal after fifteen minutes? Or does this seem too good to be true? One year ago I was in this exact situation and it forced me to consider how to profile a customer.

I got a phone call from a CEO with an invitation to pitch my ideas to their company on how I would help them build their new company culture and develop their first line leaders, after a merger.

I knew that I was the last out of four consultants to present my ideas. “Normal” consultants would start their presentation by introducing themselves with their knowledge, experience and highlights of their offer. Is that familiar to you? Did you experience how monotonous it can be when someone does this?

Never do that! With this, you would miss the opportunity to profile your audience and to engage them, so that you get to know what is really important to them. Profiling your customer starts days, or even weeks, before with intense research.

There are two types of customers you need to profile (no matter what you have to offer)

  • The company itself
  • The decision maker as an individual

Concerning the company, you should find out:

  1. What is the companies products or services? High price, medium, low?
  2. What is the situation concerning their market? Expansive, stagnant or shrinking?
  3. Do they have many branches and, if so, in which countries?
  4. How many employees are there?
  5. Do they have a vision, mission or any guidelines?
  6. And anything else you could ask them upfront?

In my specific situation, I could rarely find something about the two previous companies, before they had the merger, concerning their leadership habits or their vision. So what would you have done?

I called the CEO and asked whether they could provide some information about their past. Anything would be helpful – I said to them – because I would suggest not to ignore what eventually had worked in certain areas and to acknowledge what made each company successful, to build the new culture from there.

They provided this information and I was able to get an impression of what was important to both companies. Now I could prepare my presentation based on my knowledge of how to profile a customer, their values, needs and desires, enriched with new possibilities for a greater future.

Concerning the decision maker as an individual, you should know and perceive:

  1. How many and which hierarchy levels will be present with which responsibility? This is also easy to find out. Just ask.
  2. The second is your ability to perceive the character of each person so that you can address each person individually.

Here is how it works:

How to profile a customer you ask? You have four elements to profile a person:

  • A handshake when you first say hello.
  • Eye contact, mimic, gesture when they place themselves or when they already sit at the table.
  • The tone of their voice.
  • Behaviour during your presentation.

How does a handshake, eye contact, mimic, gesture, tone and behaviour come together and is visible for you at the very beginning?

  • A strong handshake can give you the information that this person knows what they want. They will have direct and sometimes intense eye contact as they scan you inwardly. Their voice can be loud, precise or demanding. They may take over the conversation. They may mention in between what they like or dislike. Normally they are ready to make decisions soon after your presentation.

To win this person, you should integrate them into your presentation. Ask them questions and ask them about their experience. Acknowledge what they have accomplished already.

  • A “normal” handshake can indicate a balanced person. Their eye contact is friendly. Most of the time this person has integrative gestures. Their voice is moderate. They tend to open the conversation with a smile. They will ask questions but will wait until it is appropriate. Or they will ask – “may I ask a question?”. While the “strong” customers will just jump into your speech. The “moderate” customer loves to repeat at the end what they have learned and how the procedure will go on.

To win this person you can mention their integrative ability. This could be helpful for future cooperation. You could create a picture of the role they could have in the upcoming process. Be careful to integrate the strong customer as well!

  • A “soft” handshake indicates a more introverted person. When you first meet this person, they will not maintain eye contact or a handshake for a long time. They will not talk a lot and if they do speak, their tone is calm and quiet.

Don´t mislead yourself. Many introverted customers are very precise in observing what´s going on, are the grey eminence behind the scene and are the real decision maker! If you do not ask them a question during your presentation, they normally won’t say anything. However, they will register that you probably dismissed them.

Now, it´s your turn. You have all the information about the company. You have actioned this advice on how to profile a customer and met them. What do you do to win the deal?

Reflect on yourself when considering how to profile a customer

You set yourself up to win in raising your energy

With every handshake, be aware that your energy flows from you and through them, and then back to you and through you. Think of it as though you are inhaling and exhaling through everything you get in contact with. This is what I did in this particular situation. So I embraced everyone energetically.

I opened my presentation by asking them questions. For example:

“Before I start with my ideas concerning the new company culture we can create together I would like to ask you some questions.”

This immediately places them in a position of power and importance. Not me or my company. I presented myself strongly by wording statements and questions carefully to imply we will be working together in future.

During my presentation, I asked everyone questions, including customers that appeared to be introverted, and asked them for their perspective and point of view.

What was the result of my informed customer research? In their feedback after my presentation, they told me that I had them within the first 15 minutes because I did not present myself as a “hero” but asked and considered what was important to them as a company, and as individuals.

Imagine what this could mean for you and your business

You should take the lead in actively integrating everyone and everything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the customers you profile and don’t judge anything you perceive. Build your awareness, research avidly and, most importantly, have fun. You may find that you’ve won the game!

Beate Nimsky

About the author

Beate Nimsky is an inspirational catalyst for change and works with CEOs, business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders in companies developing their leading abilities. She has been a pioneer in consulting and implementing value-driven cultures in companies for more than 25 years. She is a certified Right Voice for You facilitator, a specialty program from personal development organisation Access Consciousness® and includes all the Access® tools within her coaching and consultations.


Does establishing boundaries seem harsh or restrictive? When handled correctly, it should have the reverse effect, leading to greater freedom. Relationships need to have structure, which shapes purpose and longevity. It all starts by getting to know the other individual and setting up parameters based on both of your needs. From there you can set healthy boundaries.

One of my friends and employees reminds me of the importance of setting personalised boundaries based on relationships all the time. She often says: “Let’s check in, but not too much. I don’t want to be micromanaged.” She wanted to stay connected, but not to an excessive amount unless absolutely necessary. Our relationship is mature because both of us know the expected behaviours.

Of course, I’ve had the opposite experience, too. One team member constantly pushed work on me, and I didn’t know why until she admitted she needed additional training. Her reaction to not having proper skills was to give me her work. By clearing the air, we were able to set up training for her and reestablish healthy boundaries regarding workflow and responsibilities.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of setting boundaries, in either your personal or professional lives, start by applying five strategies:

Take care of you

Establishing boundaries with others is impossible if you have zero sense of work-life balance. That imbalance can lead to burnout. You have to set up boundaries to protect your physical and emotional health.

The easiest way to reverse this unhealthy trend is to schedule uncommitted time into your day. For me, this happens during the early morning. I review my daily to-do list and layout top priorities. Those that aren’t important get rescheduled to a later date.

Don’t allow people to become time stealers

I’ve had clients and team members disrespect my time by showing up late for meetings or not being available when they promised they would be. Rather than get angry, I tighten my boundaries so people have no choice but to respect my time. This involves providing a specific window during which I will make myself available to them. If they choose to contact me outside of that window, I am no longer able to meet or converse.

You might feel awkward setting such clear boundaries at first. However, if you don’t waver, you’ll get results. Verify with the other person that you are allocating a specific timeframe for your meeting and that you will not be able to go past a certain time. If they show up at 3:45 p.m. for a meeting scheduled for 3 to 4 p.m., wrap up promptly at 4 as planned.

Understand other people’s needs

As you set your own boundaries, be respectful of others’. Otherwise, you can ruin relationships. Keep your eyes and ears open for others’ parameters. Listen to their challenges and successes, and give them the respect they’re owed. Incorporate what you learn into the boundaries you develop with them.

Hold your ground

You’ll be asked to compromise your boundaries in the name of negotiation. While negotiation can be the right choice in some situations, it can also be used as a manipulation device so the other person gets what they want at your expense.

An influential client wanted me to add a new target market to my business plan. While they had some excellent points, they lacked a deeper understanding of why the target audience was not justifiable. I held my ground despite their insistence that I make a change based on their suggestions. Even if someone influential advises you, trust your gut and work your plan.

Remain positive when thinking about how to set healthy boundaries

Nothing can derail boundaries faster than abusive internal self-talk. Speak kindly to yourself, and avoid language that cuts away at your stalwartness. When I started my company, I received an amazing amount of negativity everywhere I went. No one was positive. I had to be my motivator rather than rely on anyone else.

If you find yourself in similar circumstances, the greatest thing you can do is get a good night’s sleep. Waking refreshed will give you the energy you need to charge ahead and refrain from falling into an emotionally draining slump. Leave your phone outside the bedroom and refrain from screen time 30 minutes before bed for anxiety reduction and improved well-being.

Instead of continuing to move forward without boundaries, define your relationship borders for smoother, more pleasant travels.

Kelly HeggarAbout the author
Kelly Hager is the dynamic, visionary CEO of Arras Sisters, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for women. After a near-death experience, she built a $55 million business and launched a second corporation dedicated to helping others. Kelly is an international speaker, author, and business consultant and has been a contributor to Huffington Post, CBS, NBC, and Fox.

Kelly credits her near-death experience in 2010 with giving her the clarity to enjoy life, family, her profession, and giving back. Her speaking topics include leadership, creating opportunities for women, gender parity in the workplace, team development, overcoming adversity, and building community.