Emma Valdivia on leadership

Leadership is one of those elusive traits. You know it when you see it, but it is not always easy to describe or enact.

Emma Valdivia
Emma Valdivia

I spoke with Emma Valdivia, co-founder of peoplepath.io, about her leadership style and how it has lead to peoplepath.io’s incredible growth.

“Number one, I trust that I hired competent people who share the company’s vision,” Valdivia said. “Next, I let them do what they do.”

Valdivia knows hiring. For a decade and half or so, she has been hiring top talent for Fortune 500s, VCs, startups, and more in a myriad of markets, including the Americas, LATAM, EMEA, AsiaPac, and emerging markets.

Valdivia also knows that micro-managing undermines employees. “You empower people by trusting them. Take the time at the start to give clear direction, make sure they understand, and let them shine,” she said.

With companies enacting hiring freezes and laying off employees, the labor market feels uncertain; however, Valdivia feels confident that she’s built her company to pivot with the times. Objectives don’t always remain static, so creating a flexible model is the key to leading in uncertain times, she said.

“Look, we launched in a pandemic and grew to 300 workers in one of the most uncertain times in history,” she said. “Every challenge creates new opportunities, and we are poised to weather the challenges and seize the opportunities.”

Making sure your employees have what they need to succeed is another key. “That extends to management support, positive team dynamics, and time for self-enrichment and renewal,” she said. “We offer yoga and meditation as well as wellness support and other opportunities to learn and grow.”

Valdivia favors short, single-topic meetings because everyone leaves knowing exactly what the objectives are, and feeling like their time is valued.

“I favor short, direct meetings,” Valdivia said. “Everyone should come prepared to get down to business and make decisions, then go implement those decisions.”

Many organizations bog employees down with meetings and tasks that don’t add to the ultimate vision or objective. “Removing organizational pitfalls is a great way to keep employees engaged in meaningful work,” she said. “So many companies are doing a high-tech imitation of ‘Office Space.’ It’s a waste of time and energy.”

What’s the point of hiring great people with great ideas if you don’t listen to them?

“Exactly, we actively promote communication throughout the company,” she said. “There’s no hierarchy here. A good idea is a good idea, and we promote communication through multiple channels so they bubble to the surface.”

As the adage goes: Honesty is the best policy. “We want people to bring their whole selves to work, so we encourage frank, authentic communication,” she said. “It fosters a sense of trust and credibility when we have honest, open dialogue.”

Peoplepath.io delivers searches in engineering, product, and people leadership. We are a client-focused recruiting firm, and deliver top candidates quickly.

Need to staff up? We can help.