What's your call to courage?

Dare to Lead™ is an inspiring program designed for leaders, or anyone passionate about accelerating their performance, who wants to show up, be brave and create environments where they inspire others around them to do the same. Hosted and facilitated by former founder and CEO of Careerlink People Solutions, a 30 year old human resource consultancy, and co-CEO of Emotous, Angela Giacoumis, FRCSA, and inspired by the research and work of Brené Brown, the program is being offered to RCSA members as a series of online workshops later this year.

The Brief spoke to a past participant of the workshops, Michaella Prow, about her experiences and to Angela Giacoumis about why the course is so important for recruitment and staffing professionals.


Q. To begin, Michaella, as a past participant of Dare to Lead, tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to take the course?


I am a HR Officer, and have had a variety of roles within HR, including Talent Acquisition and Recruitment, Onboarding and Training. As an Internal and Agency Recruiter I have always looked for ways to improve my recruitment process and candidate/client experience.


I completed the two-day Dare to Lead™ course in August 2020 with Emotous. The Leadership Team of the organisation I was working with at that time had all attended, and as the New Employee Recruitment & Experience Partner (Recruitment and Onboarding) they felt it would be beneficial for me to do.


I was very keen to do the course as I had attended EQ events with Emotous previously and had read and watched some of the Brené Brown resources.


Q. What were your key takeaways from the course?


There was a lot of information within the course but, for me, there were several clear takeaways.


‘Clear is Kind’. I have often avoided hard conversations, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings or have an awkward conversation. The course helped me to understand that a difficult conversation is not necessarily a negative thing. By telling someone the truth and being clear and honest, you are in fact helping them, and yourself, to develop and grow. This links in with another key takeaway – ‘Courageous Conversations’ and ‘Choosing Courage over Comfort’.


As part of the BRAVING Inventory, we covered boundaries. I realised that I don’t often set boundaries and just say yes to everything, as I felt that was how I prove my worth and how I would be successful in my role. However, after spending time looking at my actions and reasons for this during one of the activities, I realised that setting boundaries and saying no is often better for both the wider team and myself, and doesn’t mean I can’t do my job to a high standard.


The course also helped me to understand when conversations or someone’s actions impact me, and how this plays out in my actions, both mentally and physically. I can now take a moment to choose my reaction and understand the why and how of that process. This links strongly into another section of the course. ‘The story I have told myself ‘ helped me to understanding that what I have told myself may not be the actual version of events.


Q. Has what you learnt changed the way you engage with others professionally and personally?


The elements of the course, ‘Clear is Kind’ and ‘Courageous Conversations’, have had a huge impact in the way I communicate with managers, candidates, friends and family. Rather than avoiding difficult conversations, I am learning to dive into them feeling confident. This especially resonates when giving a candidate feedback on an unsuccessful interview. When candidates don’t get a role, they want to understand what they could have done better. Often, we are too busy or too uncomfortable to have that conversation and give feedback but focussing on ‘Clear is Kind’ has motivated me and helped me in giving this feedback.


I have often felt that I had to be two people - the work Michaella and the real Michaella, however the focus on being vulnerable and living into your values has really helped me merge these two areas of my life. Along with this, the focus on leadership, and specifically armoured leadership vs daring leadership has helped me to develop an open and real style of leadership, rather than the protection mode I previous operated in.


Often working in high volume and fast paced recruitment environments, the need for teamwork and good communication has been essential. However, when moving quickly this can get lost at times. So, the resource discussed in the course called ‘Paint Done’ has been beneficial in my working environment. In brief this is about how you set a task and work in a team to get it done. Ensuring that everyone has the same understanding of what needs to be done and what ‘done’ looks like as the bigger picture, and everyone’s role in that.

Setting boundaries has been huge for me. I have often not done this and wanted to prove I can do it all and can do whatever is asked of me. This has impacted my effectiveness in the workplace and my wellbeing. Making commitments during the course to help me change these behaviours has been beneficial.


Q. Learners are supported before and after the Dare to Lead™ Program. Did you find the additional exercises and resources helpful in putting what you learnt into practice in your daily life?


The pre-work given wasn’t vast but was enough to give you an insight into what to expect and set the foundations for some of the activities and information in the course.


At the end of the second day, we were split into smaller groups and encouraged to provide our emails so we could check in and support one another and arrange an online catch up.


As well as the initial small group created, there are opportunities to attend online catch ups with other Dare to Lead alumni, a private LinkedIn group and regular emails to help, support and discuss the work facilitated by Emotous.


I have found some of the exercises we learnt during the course useful post-course too - including Tactical Breathing which I not only use before a difficult conversation but also generally to relax.


Dare to Lead is hosted and facilitated by Angela Giacoumis, FRCSA. We asked Angela about her intentions for the program and what RCSA members might expect.


Q. Angela, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background – particularly your experience in Recruitment and HR


I’m a Dare to Lead™ certified facilitator and coach with over 30 years’ Recruitment and HR experience.


My passion has always been about people and helping them reach their full potential. I was the founder and CEO of Careerlink People Solutions, a human resource and recruitment consultancy which I led for 28 years until I sold the business in 2018. I then co-founded Emotous, a consulting company focused on building courageous leadership agility and performance in people and organisation’s through the integration of courageous leadership development, Emotional Intelligence, neuroscience and people analytics.


Q. What is Dare to Lead™ and why is it so important for recruitment and staffing professionals?


Dare to Lead™ is based on the research of Dr Brené Brown. Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and most recently completed a seven-year study on courageous leadership. Brené’s research tells us that courage is a collection of four skills sets that are learnable, teachable and measurable.

Working in the recruitment and HR sector demands strength and courage. The sector is notorious for unexpected outcomes and constant volatility. As a Recruitment/HR professional you need to be the trusted advisor, brave, agile, confident, resilient and you also need to be compassionate and empathetic.

At times, this may feel like an impossible balancing act. Dare to Lead™ will show recruitment / HR professionals how to step into courageous leadership and transform the way they live, work and lead.

Q. What are the key learnings you hope participants take away from the course?

  • How to become true partners with key stakeholders and daring leaders within their business and industry.

  • How to lead, influence and impact others.

  • How to balance coaching others in performance, innovation and courage, whilst being more courageous themselves

  • How to champion safety, diversity, inclusion and equality.

As a result, they will:

  • Identify what’s getting in the way of them reaching your full potential and build the courage skills to reach your personal and professional goals.

  • Understand how fear and armour gets in the way of them showing up, being seen and building trusted, meaningful professional and personal relationships.

  • Develop the skills to have tough and challenging conversations that are clear and kind.

  • Build the resilience and confidence to navigate adversity, to rise from setbacks and to stay motivated when the going gets tough.

  • Influence others through their actions by being more authentic, courageous, trusted and compassionate.

  • Build collaboration, engagement and trust with others and the teams they lead.

  • Learn the skills to handle any situation thrown to them with grounded confidence and in alignment with their values and purpose.

  • Ignite more creativity, innovation and trust within their relationships, team and organisation.


Q. With 30 years’ experience in human resource consulting and people management, what is your perception on the industry and how does leadership development, Emotional Intelligence, neuroscience and people analytics contribute to its growth?


I believe the foundation to success within the industry is trusted relationships, courageous leadership, grounded confidence and resilience; in an environment that is changing extremely fast. Our capacity to have the social skills, to be a trusted partner, leverage networks, have emotional mastery and build long-term, meaningful relationships will be necessary to stay ahead in this evolving industry. I like to call them the leadership super skills of what we need now, and in the future, to really thrive.


Q. How do RCSA members register for the program?

RCSA members can register via this link to receive an exclusive member discount:


Angela Giacoumis is the CEO of Emotous Pty Ltd. in Australia and brings over 30 years’ experience in human resource consulting and people management to the Emotous team. Prior to Emotous, Angela Giacoumis was the founder and CEO of Careerlink a leading human resource consultancy specialising in the people solutions throughout Australia. A successful business leader and entrepreneur, Angela is a sought-after speaker, facilitator and coach operating at the nexus of business and neuroscience.

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