Our Experts | Erin McGinty
I am a recruiter – not a manager or executive, but a recruiter in the company of many other recruiters. As is the case in most companies, there are few managers and many workers – but this doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t have leadership roles.
I was born as the oldest child in the family, so I have grown up taking charge. I love the feeling of mentoring, being given more responsibility and owning projects, so I have found ways outside of my “official” job to garner leadership positions.
Where to Get Involved
In our company, we have a “Fun Committee” that is responsible for hosting events for employees, such as birthday parties, happy hours and more. I’ve taken a leadership role as the head of one of our subcommittees, Baby Showers and Weddings, which has given me a great opportunity to step up and be more creative than I usually get to be as a recruiter.
Outside of work for the past two years, I am also a Staffing Management Association committee member for the Cleveland Society of Human Resource Management. This is a volunteer group that is dedicated to providing professional development of HR practitioners who are in charge of recruitment and staffing responsibilities and onboarding within their organization. We plan and host four programs and one conference a year. From these experiences, I’ve learned a lot about leadership.
How to Get Started
Before you even begin looking for a leadership role, you have to portray yourself as a leader. It’s hard when you are the youngest person in the room trying to lead a group, but you just need to exude confidence and self-assurance, and act like a leader – volunteer for projects, take on more responsibility and be an active learner. People will begin to recognize those qualities and be able to envision you as a leader.
If you want to get a feel for leadership roles, work with people in your own industry from other companies. Working with Cleveland SHRM has introduced me to many great individuals, and I’ve taken away something from each of them by being an active learner.
Best Practices for Leading a Team
When I was ready to get involved in extra activities, I found opportunities in areas that I care about – making others feel special and recognized. To become a leader, you must lead something in which you are really passionate about. If it’s just about a title change or salary increase, it’s not a passion.
Once you have your own team, you should always be empathetic and show them that you care. Listen to what they have to say and take opportunities to learn from them. Leading takes great communication skills, and working well together. You must be able to delegate work and give everyone a fair share of the job.
Aside from verbal delegations, lead by example and show your team members how you’d like them to act by displaying the correct behavior yourself on a consistent basis. I always try to think of when I started in a group or tried something new – what would’ve been helpful for me to know? What would I have appreciated someone else showing me? Then I try to give others those things so they feel more comfortable.
In my role as a recruiter I don’t have the official title of a leader, but I am developing my leadership skills now so that somewhere down the road I can step into a higher position and already have a great foundation. Don’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone and taking ownership of something new. It seems intimidating at first, but you will learn so much and there will be people along the way to help you in your new leadership role.