A while back I decided to unplug with some random surfing on the TV and came across a gem of a programme. It was Bear Grylls on his running wild TV series where he takes celebrities into the wild to experience ‘living’ with literally the bare necessities.

The guest this time was Barack Obama, admittedly with a full entourage of security personnel that you didn’t see, hanging round in the background.




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It was still a candid interview where President Obama demonstrated his values and shared his advice on what truly makes a great leader.

Worth listening to? I would say yes. I wouldn’t class myself as political at all yet I am more than happy to learn any leadership lessons I can from extraordinary people in the world, of which Obama certainly ticks the box.

The first Black US president to be elected in 2008 while refusing federal matched funds for his campaign and then re-elected in 2012 on the back of winning Time Magazines outstanding person of the year twice.

He shared a number of gems:

  • Be healthy
  • Take time for your family
  • Be Kind
  • Cultivate and develop resilience


Heath and exercise is a key focus for him. He said that it keeps him alert and is the best stress reliever; he commented that he would love to exercise outside as he was with Bear that day only as President of the US it isn’t really possible.

Unless he is out of the country he always makes time to have dinner with his family; he might go back to work later and it is an important ritual for him. He also amusingly commentated that the only thing he ever got frightened about was his wife Michelle’s reaction to certain ‘things’ in their relationship.

He shared his view on being ‘kind’, a recognised trait of all exceptional leaders.

Being a kind leader doesn’t mean that you don’t dismiss consultants and managers in your team who aren’t performing, or that you don’t make challenging decisions that will make your recruitment organisation more profitable. It does mean you build a strong billing team that is confident through kindness.

Then he talked about resilience and how important being a resilient leader is to the growth of leaders themselves, the team around them and the organisation as a whole.




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What lessons can recruitment leaders take from this?

Let’s get real here, it’s rare that all your goals, ideas and strategies will go to plan first time.

Weak leaders give up at the first real challenge resilient leaders keep going. I suspect Barak Obama has had more than a few setbacks as have many of us who now lead successful companies.

In case you need a reminder about what resilience is really all about here is a definition.




  1. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity, flexibility
  2. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.


Who hasn’t suddenly had a client put on hold their recruitment campaign that would have delivered at least £150 k in fees for your agency over the next few months, on the same day that your ‘star’ biller hands in their resignation. It happens and resilient leaders have strategies to deal with it.

Here are my top solutions that work when it comes to developing your resilience muscle.


1. Focus on communication and build relationships.

Recruitment is a market built on relationships and communication. That is why I write so much about how to communicate with your team, influencing strategies and how to build productive relationships. How does building solid relationships help you be a resilient leader who can then develop and build a solid recruitment organisation?

Remember, we can all have tough days and weeks where things can seem they are going from bad to worse. It can be easy to take things personally and get things out of perspective. Having strong sold relationships means you can talk things through with colleagues and peers. This gives fresh perspective and provides support in terms of finding solutions and moving through challenges.

It’s a lonely place for a leader when you have no one to turn to for support and becomes even harder to be resilient when you most need to be.


2. Think positive and get some perspective

The point is lousy things, especially at work, are rarely life threatening. It’s one event.

So you lose a recruitment contract or a great biller. Top tip: Don’t let it pull you off track in the bigger scheme of things it is minor. Focus on what you want not what you don’t want.




3. Focus on what you can control

There are many things in life you can’t control. For instance if Acme Engineering put on hold their recruitment campaign because of a change in government funding; you couldn’t predict that and you certainly can’t control it .

So what can you do? Focus on your system, KPIs and process that you know will deliver results. On the various programmes we teach here at Centredexcellence we cover in detail YOUR numbers and KPIs so you can identify what works for your recruitment company when it comes to delivering consistent results.

In summary if some simple strategies like this can work for the US president they can certainly work for you and me.


Warm regards




High performing consultants are the lifeblood of any successful recruitment organisation. The challenge starts when your recruiters underperform. There is a solution and I cover it in-depth in my latest ebook; How to Convert Your under Performers to Consistent Billers in 14 Days or less. You can download it here.