Why being open to lifelong learning is the key to success

In the latest of RCSA and LinkedIn’s The New Face of Recruitment: Female Leaders Paving the Way series, Lezly Dlimi, Regional Director (WA/SA/NT) with Building Careers, talks to LinkedIn's Hannah Kissel and Clara McCarthy about what being a female leader in recruitment means, the importance of cultivating the right company culture and why it’s so important to simply thank your team for their work.

Q. Before starting in recruitment nine years ago, you worked in real estate. What skills did you find were transferable between the two and were they what you most needed to be successful in recruitment?

A. Starting in recruitment changed the trajectory of my life because I found a career that I excelled in and has led me to be able to fulfil my passion, where I can now help build teams and develop people in my organisation. I think the skillset you need is really about doing the cold calls and picking up the phone and getting things moving but that isn’t the true skills of a recruiter; I actually think problem-solving is our biggest skillset. The ability to be able to solve our clients’ problems and the ability to be able to look at a situation and go “this is how we are going to fix this problem”, whether that be a permanent placement, a temporary placement, outsourcing of a recruitment drive or skills testing. The ability to be able to solve problems and do it quickly and effectively has seen me through many situations in the career in I am in now.

Q. What has contributed the most to your success personally?

There are a number of factors but I would say the most important have been believing in myself, investing in my development and then doing the work to change as well as a commitment to lifelong learning. I have always asked questions all the time and encourage that in my team. That means creating a safe place where people know they can ask questions. I also cannot stress how important it is to invest in yourself. It surprises me that people will spend money on fancy diets or go out drinking at the weekend but won’t spend money on what I call “food for their brain”. It's no secret that the world’s most successful people attest to reading a book a month. If you can’t do that, it can be as simple as committing to spending some time each month which you dedicate to helping yourself learn and grow. Learning is the single most underrated tool for change.

Q. What has been of more value to you: having strong leaders who have encouraged you or the knowledge you have sought out for yourself?

It’s definitely a combination of both. I am where I am because I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and audiobooks because I am passionate about learning. I consumed as much content as I could to equip me with the knowledge I needed. That meant educating myself about how people are successful and what that looks like. But I have also been lucky to have some great mentors and leaders through the years who have pushed me to better myself and that has been pivotal for me in changing my life. For anyone who can’t find someone who believes in you, you need to believe in yourself and put in the work that needs to be done to get to where you want to be.

Q. How have these experiences informed the way you lead and manage your team?

Importantly, I work to cultivate curiosity in my staff. That means creating a safe place where there are no dumb questions, where they can make mistakes and not be judged for that. If we remove the stigma that everyone is supposed to know everything, it allows staff to feel safe and supported. I don’t want to hire robots. I want a culture where people can disagree with me if they believe I am wrong. Authentic leadership allows people to be themselves and learn and grow. That means also stepping away from the ego of things and realising it is not just about the leader and the results - if you don’t work collaboratively with your team, it won’t work. If we can pay people well, make sure they are happy at work and home, and make them feel appreciated, I promise you a team will move heaven and Earth for you. And why wouldn’t they if that is how you make the feel when they come to work?

Q. What needs to be done to help women into leadership roles in the recruitment sector?

I don’t believe there is a gender gap in the number of women working in recruitment, and that it is a fairly level play field. But the data does show that there is a gender gap in the number of women in leadership roles in our sector. So I don’t believe the problem lies with them having a lack of hard skills. I believe there needs to be more mentoring and coaching programs which support women and allows them to see that there have been others before them who have made the journey and succeeded. We need to give people the tools they can add to their arsenal to believe in themselves more; and that goes as much for men as it does women.

Thank you Lezly. Keep posted for our monthly series and if you have someone you think should be profiled, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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