Executive Essentials helps organizations develop engaged, effective employees to reach their tipping point of success. Executive Essentials was founded by Michelle Tillis Lederman and she runs the the training, coaching and consulting services that focus on communication, team building and leadership.
Michelle Tillis Lederman is also the published author of The 11 Laws of Likability. She has appeared on Fox 5’s Good Day NY, The Gayle King show, John Tesh radio show, Martha Stewart Living, NPR, and over 25 other radio stations around the country.
MO: You mention that you are proud of your diverse client base. Can you tell us about some of your clients and how you manage to serve very different clients with the same amount of professionalism and excellence?
Michelle: I have clients in the financial services and insurance section including Morgan Stanley, deutsche Bank, Citibank, and MetLife; pharmaceutical and healthcare such as LifeCell and Kyowa; media clients include Time Inc and Sony Music; and many in the nonprofit world including MoMA, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Boy Scouts, and Achievement First . I also work with all levels of the organization from administrative professional to CEO. My Leadership Essentials branch provides programs for those in High School and college.
I enjoy working with the diverse client base because communications skills have applicability and impact at every level and in every industry. The key is to understand how each firm or person relies on the skills so I can show them how specific subtle changes can impact their personal results.
MO: Tell us how animals have advanced your career in a variety of ways?
Michelle: I love animals and have been involved with several organizations raising money, rehabilitating dogs, or chairing a benefit. A volunteer at one of the benefits was temping at JPMorgan in the training department and offered an introduction to his boss. That is how I got my first client. Most recently, I connected with a publicist that was hired to work on the book and we quickly found our way to talking about animals. Our bonding over a common passion is what I believe the reason she put together an incredible radio tour. Sometimes just doing what you love and connecting on common interests seems to lead you where you need to go. Real relationships – Real results.
MO: What do you believe is the number one thing people should know who want to improve their leadership skills?
Michelle: The Law of Curiosity. When you don’t know where to start, start by being curious. As a leader, recognize that the best information is going to come from the people closest to the work. Ask. Seek input and then share how their feedback was considered and incorporated into the final decision or explain why it wasn’t. Either way – appreciate their effort and thank them for their thoughts.
MO: You have been featured on so many reputable radio shows and publications. What do you think draws people to want to interview you and your company?
Michelle: Of course a main draw is the fact that the topic of the book and my work is so critical in this time of unemployment and is as applicable to those starting their career as to those advancing it at the highest levels. Why me? I sure hope it has to do with The Law of Authenticity! I truly believe what I am talking about and I think my passion for it is clear when I speak about it. I think people see that I want to help and are giving me that chance.
MO: You mention that you work with a virtual bookkeeper. How has this worked out and can you offer our readers advice for how to have “virtual employees”?
Michelle: Virtual working arrangement have great benefits for everyone. The employer does not need space and the employee has flexibility and no commute. There are a few critical components to making the arrangement work:
1. Expectations must be clear. You must be clear on what you want a person to do and have measurable results and specific deadlines. Share not just the what, but the how, if it matters. Be clear on priorities.
2. Communication is key. Develop your methods of communication so no one is ever wondering what is being or should be done. Consider channel, frequency, when you are copied, and who else should be in the loop.
3. Build the relationship. Even though the arrangement is virtual, in order to have trust and work well, you need to also work on the relationship. If you can get face to face, do that several times a year. A good alternative is Skype or simply chatting on the phone. Don’t be all business.
MO: What can we expect from your book 11 Laws of Likability?
Michelle: The book is an easy read with a lot of practical information that anyone can use in both their professional and personal relationships. The book is NOT about getting everyone to like you. Rather it is about understanding the drivers of likability so you can incorporate the things that impact and enhance likability into the conversations and connections in your life. It is about building the network that you want to – not the one you think you should.
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