The Importance of Leading with Intention During Crisis — Advice from a District President

Sponsored by Robert Half

Billie J. Moliere

Image courtesy of Robert Half.

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Fairygodboss
June 13, 2024 at 4:32PM UTC

When managing a team through times of crisis, it’s imperative to lead with intention, says Billie J. Moliere, a district president at global talent solutions firm Robert Half, who has been at the company 15 years. “Be impactful, authentic, inclusive, constructive, innovative, decisive and trusted,” she continues. For Moliere, leading during the COVID-19 pandemic requires seven key techniques:

  1. Be authentic and transparent: Teams want to know the “why” behind decisions and strategies. It is okay if you don’t have all of the answers from the outset; share that with your team. 

  2. Cultivate trust: Be transparent and deliver what you say you will as a leader.

  3. Provide clarity: Have a clear mission, vision, and end goal, and discuss how to achieve it.

  4. Invest: Provide a career map and trajectory for your team; develop others to lead and grow in their careers and provide constructive feedback to help their success.

  5. Innovate: It is okay to fail; failures improve innovation and builds the capacity within people to try again.

  6. Promote diversity: Be intentional in your efforts to attract, hire, retain and promote diverse talent.

  7. Create an inclusive environment: Invite people into the conversation and encourage differences and competing points of view, while giving everyone a voice.

In this article, Moliere shares more about how to lead during a crisis, her own career journey and how Robert Half supports employees like her:

Tell me a bit about your current role. What are your priorities? 

As a district president for Robert Half, I am responsible for building and leading the legal talent solutions teams in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast territories. 

Robert Half helps candidates find rewarding work and organizations find the right talent to grow their businesses, while adhering to the highest ethical standards. Our effort to build more dynamic and inclusive workforces is rooted in our commitment to supporting universal human rights and embracing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). A companywide priority, and one within my team, is to ensure individuals feel that they belong and are empowered to achieve a meaningful and successful career. 

My team’s mission is to develop meaningful relationships with business leaders, professional associations like the Association of Corporate Counsel, Association of Legal Administrators and Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and candidates within the legal field Our research shows 93% of managers in the legal field said it is challenging for them to find skilled legal professionals, which is where my team steps in. We provide highly skilled legal professionals and talent plans to help our clients adapt to changing workloads, achieve cost savings and improve practice management. For more complex business challenges, we offer legal consulting through our firm, Protiviti. These services can be blended to provide unique, customized solutions for our clients’ needs. 

I also serve as an executive DEI lead with the company’s strategic alliance with the National Urban League. I’m proud of the work our company is doing − and committed to doing − in these spaces. It showcases intentional leadership and allows me to feel comfortable bringing my true, authentic self to work each day. 

How have you had to adjust your leadership style during the pandemic? 

The pandemic invited leaders to learn new leadership skills specific to focusing on remote employee engagement or management of hybrid teams. This requires flexibility, agility and an openness to navigating these fluid times. Without adapting, I would have struggled to pivot and respond effectively to the transition of all virtual communications, within my team, and among our clients and candidates. Our business model formerly relied on in-person connection and communication, so engaging employees and managing virtual hiccups posed challenges that were unavoidable at times.

Embracing a new normal made space for my team to focus on healthy work-life balance, which, for me, means leading with empathy, productivity and accountability. This invites a workplace culture that promotes transparent communication, recognizes work achievement and celebrates successes, whether large or small, to engage all employees. 

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a leader during this time? 

A challenge for me during the pandemic has been learning how to separate work from home. Work-life balance can be tough, particularly as we’ve merged work into home offices over the last couple of years. I embrace my calendar daily, scheduling time to turn on and off. I am working hard to follow this advice so I can unplug in the evenings and separate my work hours from home. A work in progress!

What strategies have you used that have been most effective in promoting connectivity across your team?

Promoting connectivity across my team has been a key component of embracing our new reality with hybrid teams. One aspect the pandemic has opened leaders up to is focusing on the whole person, not just who an individual is within a work setting. Conversations that primarily focused on business discussions and strategic planning now include dialogue on topics like our lives outside of work, families, hobbies and travel plans. For me, this means sharing stories of my family’s evening walk to our neighborhood park or normalizing the stress and mad dash to leave the house in the morning for school drop offs. Our workplaces have become much more multifaceted because of the pandemic, and this new way of work invites vulnerability and sharing more of who we are.

Having an intentional practice of checking in on the full scope of my team’s lives maintains connectivity and helps us navigate, together, the path forward of hybrid work, which seems to be an ever-changing landscape. 

Across industries, reports show that women are experiencing increasing levels of burnout. How do you keep your employees motivated? 

Heightened burnout can matriculate for any number of reasons, but I especially think that, because of our hybrid workforce, intentional connectivity is something that can motivate employees. Cultivating a corporate culture that promotes open and transparent communication, along with support, shows employees that wellbeing is essential to an individual’s and company’s success. 

By promoting time off, encouraging work-life balance, providing benefits and resources related to wellbeing, such as fitness challenges or healthy snack packages, we show that we care collectively as an organization about everyone within our company.

Managing people — especially remotely— is not easy. How has Robert Half helped set you up for success? 

Robert Half’s leadership has provided extensive operational support that has set me up for success in terms of driving my business and helping me lead and manage my teams remotely.  has covered transition processes, management workshops, weekly schedule recommendations, leadership best practices and other operating model adjustments necessary to fit the remote and or hybrid work model.

This guidance allows me to continue to embrace the vision that collaboration and a “one team” approach to this business is essential to being successful. We win together and are better together. This simple philosophy is a great way to approach each interaction and can be the start of a promising career at Robert Half.

Additionally, what resources or support has Robert Half offered employees during the pandemic?  

As a working mother, I am proud of and have greatly benefited from the support Robert Half continues to offer employees during the ongoing pandemic. For example, one of our initiatives provides employees with access to enhanced offerings like backup elder and childcare, online classes and camps, pet sitters and beyond. By addressing mental health and normalizing the inherent stress that pandemic is leaving in its wake, our employees feel safe and supported to leverage these resources and focus on work-life balance. 

In my role as district president, the resources and guides on how to execute our operational models, access administrative support, address technical support needs and effectively meet virtually helped with the initial transition to remote work. In the same vein, our company continues to provide stipends so individuals can invest into home offices, while also offering appreciation bonuses, virtual wellness care packages and additional tools on physical, nutritional, emotional, financial wellness, and care.

How is this kind of support reflective of the overall culture at your company? 

Robert Half has demonstrated we are a company that prioritizes the health, safety, wellness, wellbeing and success of our employees. There is an inherent culture of inclusion and care felt throughout the communities where we live and serve. It is encouraging and inspiring and is what has kept me here for more than 15 years.



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