After starting as a recruiter on the desk fresh out of college, Joyce Russell impressively climbed the ranks over her 30-year staffing career to become the most senior ranking woman in the U.S. staffing industry. Currently President of Adecco Staffing, Joyce has been with the organization now for more than 26 years, and held roles throughout all levels of the organization. On this episode of TheEdge, Joyce joins ClearEdge CEO Leslie Vickrey to discuss her celebrated career, the leadership qualities she values, and the professional and personal lessons she’s learned along the way.
Top Leadership Traits
A well-respected and revered leader herself, Joyce’s favorite leadership traits are courage, generosity, and grit, with personal courage being at the top of her list. “It’s huge for me – you have to have the guts to stand up for what you believe in.”
On generosity, Joyce explains it as “being generous with your time and your resources,” and adds that it’s also having an “attitude of latitude” and being able to identify “the best in every person and every situation.” Reflecting back on her own ascent, Joyce values kindness, giving and granting opportunity, and having an “abundance mentality” – or, believing there are enough resources and successes to share with others, and acting accordingly.
Last, but certainly not least, Joyce values and embodies grit, and shares why she thinks it’s one of the most important leadership traits to have, especially given the current labor market. Staffing is not easy when talent is this hard to come by; it’s a ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ kind of labor market, and it’s testing the abilities of leadership to react strategically – and creatively.
Your People Are Your DNA
Beyond her management, strategy, and operational responsibilities, Joyce stresses that one of her most important roles at Adecco is to grow and develop her people. She is a firm believer in this regardless of company size, industry, or bottom line.
She thinks of employment branding and hiring as “a big rock,” because being able to attract and retain the very best people is the single largest contributor to success. And, as Joyce puts it, “it doesn’t matter what kind of strategy you have, if you don’t get the people piece right, nothing else will work.”
Joyce has groomed and mentored several of the staffing industry’s most well-known leaders. Her biggest pieces of advice for women looking to advance in the industry are to work hard and to deliver the results. She implores her fellow female leaders and executive-types, as well as those just starting out and in the middle of their careers, to confidently think outside of the box.
Joyce prides herself as being “in” on everything that’s going on, which requires a strong command of communication and management, but also giving people the autonomy to run on their own, providing a safety net when and if they need it.
Joyce shares that one of the best parts of her job is celebrating the successes of those around her by recognizing team and individual accomplishments. She believes in always telling people “thank you,” and letting them know their hard work is appreciated and that they are valued. “Always, always reward the doers!” This is one of Joyce’s leadership hallmarks.
Confidence is Key
Joyce stresses that, “confidence can be felt,” and before anything else, “you have to believe in yourself.” Joyce shares the sentiments of well-known social psychologist and TEDTalks speaker, Amy Cuddy, and that sometimes you have to “fake it until you make it,” but that it’s really important to make sure you’re believable by believing in yourself first.
As a lifelong learner, Joyce is always striving to improve herself by reading and asking questions; knowledge is power and it builds confidence. Leaders, no matter what their position, should always be learning.
Passion also plays a big part in this. Joyce believes that when someone is passionate, their curiosity will continuously be piqued, and as new things are learned confidence will build. It’s cyclical, and it’s also a good way to ‘gut-check’ and make sure you’re in the right place, doing what you’re meant to be doing.
Embracing the 10-10-10 Philosophy
Among other accomplishments, businesswoman and speaker Suzy Welch is famous for her 10-10-10 approach to work-life integration – and Joyce has embraced this philosophy as an executive and a mom of two boys. In short, when making decisions, the 10-10-10 philosophy will have you think about how that decision may affect you in 10 minutes, in 10 months, and in 10 years. Joyce shares a story about her son’s lacrosse game and a client meeting, and explains how the 10-10-10 philosophy has helped her manage priorities.
Don’t miss this great conversation with one of the industry’s best.