Is There Really Ageism in the Workplace?

Career & WorkplaceGuest PostsUncategorized

 

If you are a 50+-year-old worker, you have probably experienced some ageism at work. Whether you have been passed over for a promotion, perceived as someone who isn’t current on the latest trends, or not included in the water cooler discussions, negative perceptions about seniors are common.

But how do you know which are true and which are assumptions? If you want to address them, you need to know what people actually think. ResumeLab polled 900+ Americans to find out just how ageist we are. You can look at the complete results on their website, along with the graphic showing the highlights. Here is what they found:

Though about 50% think older workers are resistant to change and are less healthy, independent studies actually show this is FALSE.

People (45%) think older workers aren’t interested in additional training or career development. This actually TRUE.

Younger workers think older workers look down on them, 41%. Not enough evidence to support either way.

About 40% think older workers are more expensive to train or retrain. Primarily TRUE.

With this information, if you are an older worker, it is imperative that your resume dispels these stereotypes. You must communicate your ability to be current, up on the latest trends, a life-long learner, and willing to mentor others.

Older Workers Study

 

ResumeLab is a resume advice site with over 250 detailed guides. See our experts featured in Business News Daily & TechRepublic, Inc.

 

Workplace 2020 – The Year of the “Hybrid” Working Environment

Career & WorkplaceWork/Family Balance

While many Americans started 2020 commuting to their jobs, the onset of a global pandemic quickly showed just as many that their jobs can be done from remote locations. As “stay-at-home” orders shut down state after state, extending a short-term change in the workplace environment from on-site to virtual, a lot of companies have realized that there may be some benefits to not having their employees return to the corporate office full-time. As the new “hybrid” working environment is making itself more popular, it’s very clear that there is an adjustment period for the company, the employees, and their families.

“Working from home” has long been a term associated with parents who want to stay home with their kids and make a little side money.  However, this virtual working concept was already gaining popularity in the past few years as technology applications were created to help companies connect across the global, cutting down on travel, and ultimately costs. While workplaces were starting to see the benefits of having their workers move to a remote environment, most were not prepared to have to do so immediately in 2020-and it has been a rough adjustment for many. Now that states are opening back up, some organizations are starting a “hybrid” workplace concept, meaning they are having their employees work from home, and at the office.

We have talked to some of our colleagues and corporate clients about the ups and downs of switching to a remote/hybrid working environment, and asked them to share their personal insight as to how to navigate the obstacles and challenges, as well as the perks of having a home office for the first time.  Here are some of their tips to help make your new “workplace” as productive and normal as your former office was.

  • Establish your workspace in your home. Try to find a room separate from living, dining, or sleeping spaces so that you truly feel like you are in an office setting. Make sure your modem and router are both up to speed and that your wireless connection is strong enough for your occupational needs in your new office space. If you are lucky enough to have a door to your workspace, make sure your family members or roommates know that when the door is shut, you are not to be disturbed.
  • Know your virtual communication applications. What programs will your company be using for team meetings and communications? Zoom? Webex? Find out what you will be using the most for teleconferencing and give yourself a quick tutorial so you don’t miss out on important information and events.
  • Stay organized. If you are an employee that is having to learn the “hybrid” concept for the first time, organization will be key. Find a way to keep important files and notes electronically in a shared drive or database so that you are not constantly moving piles of papers to and from your work environments. Have everything on your laptop ready to go so that wherever you have to be logistically, you still have access to everything you need for meetings.
  • Create a schedule. There will be times when you are going to be required to be in the office for in-person meetings. Work with your supervisors and colleagues to find common days and times to be in the office, when necessary.  As the whole purpose of social distancing is to limit contact, be sure that you are only including the people who absolutely need to be sitting in the conference room and any others can be brought in from their remote locations.
  • Plan for changes in your salary/benefits. If a car allowance is part of your monthly income, you need to be prepared that the amount you’re currently getting may be reduced or eliminated altogether. I mean, you’re not driving to work full-time anymore, so why should the company be compensating for you to do so? As our economy has taken a huge hit due to the global pandemic, more and more companies will be doing anything they can to cut costs to make up for their financial losses. Headcount and benefits are usually the top costs in many organizations, so these will be the first areas to see cuts.
  • Be prepared for the future. If your company doesn’t need you to come into the office on a full-time, they may also realize that they don’t need you to work full-time anymore. Then, eventually you may not even be needed part-time. Meaning…you just got laid off…permanently. Start planning now for a potential job change..today. Reduce your spending and find ways to stockpile some cash, should you find yourself unemployed. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile so you are ready to hit the ground running if you need to start looking for a new job. Network amongst your peer group, family members, and colleagues to see what is out there in your industry and beyond. While some companies are going under, there are just as many thriving and adding to their workforce.

As we continue to try to live and work during these “uncertain times” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, being prepared for the unknown will be key to surviving. The new “hybrid” work environment concept that has been a direct result of what’s going on in the world will be a win for some and a huge loss for others. Hopefully these tips will help to ensure that you are one of the “winners” in 2020.

 

11 Ways to Improve a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Career & WorkplaceGuest Posts

Are you getting overwhelmed by workplace stress and the pressure of family and friends? A positive work-life balance can help you create more time for your work and other things in your life. The busier you get, the harder it is for you to prioritize between your work and personal life. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential because it improves your overall health and relationships. It also enhances your productivity and attitude toward new work-life challenges.

Despite the pressure to have it all, it is not easy to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Here are 11 ways to make that improvement.

Employee attendance tracking for a healthy work-life balance

It is a good idea to avoid conflict at work. Fortunately, there are tools and effective work-life management strategies that allow you to reduce the effects of stress. Likewise, these tools can be used to strengthen the workforce in your organization, which will boost the productivity of your employees.

One of the benefits of using employee attendance tracking is that it allows the manager to embrace remote working. Attendance tracking apps have a remote clocking feature that allows your employees to be accountable without restrictions. Besides, these attendance tracking tools can help your team become more productive and improve morale. By reducing the time it takes to wait for vacation and time-off approval, employees become productive, and the work environment becomes happier.

By far, one of the most critical benefits of attendance tracking is the ability to identify goals and objectives by reviewing imbalances in hours worked. The big picture in this insight is the identification of payroll savings and better decision-making. Both are important because they allow the manager to identify and act on the activities that are eroding the company’s culture.

How to Improve a Work-Life Balance?

Unfortunately, many people don’t place enough importance on their mental health. The importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance is prevalent at a time when studies show that stress-related illnesses and depression are on the rise. Money can create happiness some times, but spending all your time working pushes you further from happiness. Here are 11 tips to help you improve work-life balance.

  1. Meet the needs of your employees

Employees are the lifeblood of any organization. So if you are not meeting their needs, then you are bound to increase your work-related stress. Here are tips for fostering better mental and physical health of your team:

  • Provide child care perks
  • Ensure your employees take paid leave
  • Survey balance-related factors
  1. Educate your staff

Unfortunately, small business doesn’t spend as much to educate their employees on better work-life balance as large organizations. For a business to succeed, the employees have to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Offer seminars on how work-life balance is important and how to achieve it.

  1. Lookout for employee well-being

If you want to improve work-life balance in your organization, look out for employee well-being through social support. That’s a sound business decision, and companies around the world are acknowledging it. Why? The reason is that employee well-being is linked to engagement and productivity.

  1. Make working hours flexible

Herein, employees have scheduling freedom that allows them to fulfill the obligations of their positions on their own time. Flexibility has countless benefits to organizations, and a lot of companies are taking note. This is an excellent way to encourage work-life balance outside the office environment.

  1. Embrace remote working

Your employees don’t need to dress in company attire and commute through traffic to work to stay productive. There are a lot of benefits of remote working to businesses. Most importantly, the employees are more productive and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

  1. Promote quality over quantity

As a business manager, you should encourage your employees to work efficiently instead of doing more work. Doing more work and working smart are not the same. Besides, doing a lot of work damages the morale of the employees.

  1. Bring them home to work

Maintaining a healthy balance between your work and personal life is no easy task. That’s why many organizations encourage employees to carry their work home. This approach allows the employee to spend more time with their family, which also makes them happier.

  1. Encourage employees to practice healthy living

It is no secret that employees are the best asset an organization holds. Hence, placing a deeper emphasis on employee wellness can encourage engagement in the workplace and improve productivity. Also, an integral aspect of promoting a healthier work-life balance is healthy living.

  1. Prioritize financial education

Financial stress can have a deep impact on employees’ performance away from home. As such, improving the financial literacy of your employees can have far-reaching implications in your company’s success.

  1. Promote creativity

Encouraging your employees to be more creative can spur innovation within your organization. Therefore, promoting a healthy work-life balance through creativity can lead to an actively engaged workforce.

  1. Lead by example

Even when you tell your employees that you encourage healthier living, that doesn’t mean they’ll follow everything you say. You have to lead by example if you want to connect with your staff. If your employees see that you value healthier foods over other junk options, they will prioritize theirs.

Bottom line

There are a lot of ways to separate your personal and professional lives without having them encroach on each other. Which one are you looking forward to implementing most?

Author’s BIO: Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. She is a content writer who has experience in small editions. Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of business. If you are interested in an entrepreneur or lifestyle, you can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn. She has good experience and knowledge in the field. 

Leadership Tools for Executives Seeking New Opportunities

Career & Workplace

 

Taking on a new leadership opportunity can come with undue stress surrounding the demands and qualifications of the role. Familiarizing yourself with the common tools executives use to operate at their full potential can make a major difference in your confidence entering the new position. Use the strategies listed below to give yourself a head start on your new career step and get you ready to be the best leader you can be!

 Strategic Thinking and Decision-Making

Every individual has a different skill set and expertise that makes them fit-to-hire within given leadership roles. Leadership responsibilities can be some of the most demanding, and can require the right kind of professional characteristics and skills to reap beneficial results. It calls for prompt and accurate decision-making and strategic thinking to devise the right solutions for issues that may arise internally and externally, as well as the ability to be innovative and find creative solutions to complex problems. Supporting innovation amongst employees and team members is also crucial to gain a wide set of perspectives and expertise, and resolve issues that depend on broader or more focused thinking.

Strategic thinking is another attribute that allows for the design of forecasting and prevention methods that combat possible challenges. It can be used by leaders to address internal team changes, concerns, advancement opportunities, and to instill proper conflict management and resolution strategies. Strategic thinking also applies to external factors by helping to monitor competitors entering the market and determining the best course of action internally to address new demands and differentiating factors. This can lead to more forward-thinking production planning to remain relevant and on top of changing trends to be a market leader.

To determine whether or not you are a strategic thinker, review these qualifying characteristics:

  • Strategic leaders do not try to fit the mold. They think outside the box, even if it is unpopular to do so, to take calculated risks.
  • They learn from their experiences to implement tried and true improvements and prevention methods that could yield better results.
  • They push themselves and their teams to accept new challenges. They believe in their team, having full confidence that their efforts will lead them to success.
  • They keep a positive attitude, seek opportunities, and seize them. They do not let fear of failure dictate their actions, but instead, push past comfort zones to seek better results.
  • Strategic thinking leaders are forward-thinking influencers. They influence decision-making and set a purpose-driven example by driving team members to trust the process, and believe in what their leaders are striving toward.

 Management Strategies and Tools

Technology is making waves in modern business, demanding new leaders to familiarize themselves with the right tools that get the job done. The main role of tech-based tools in leadership is to keep projects and strategies organized and easily accessible. They also provide data collection to further streamline leadership decision-making and forecast future trends that could impact the internal operations.

Managing financials is one of the major responsibilities bestowed upon leaders, so having the right organizational tools to manage financial information is key to accurate project planning, payroll, and budgeting. Management tools like ERP systems include modules that cover all major aspects of financial management. Familiarize yourself with these tools taking the business world by storm to bring in a fresh perspective on ways to properly utilize its features to improve operational productivity, better outline future project plans and forecast possible budget constraints.  CRM software can also be used for external operations to ensure that all client relationships stay organized and production meets their demands to remain competitive in your company’s given market.

Managing tools do not always consist of tech-based software, but can focus on team building strategies as well. Research varying ways of engaging employees to learn their individual strengths and weaknesses and adjust your leadership approach accordingly. For example, introverted employees may prefer more authoritative leadership, while more independent team members may prefer the opportunity to engage in knowledge and power-sharing methods. With this knowledge, you can build a more effective team and connect with employees on both personal and professional levels to build trust. Be sure to be genuine, open, well-informed, and accessible to team members, and share your credentials to instill their confidence in your direction. Be goal driven to find purpose in everyday work and influence your team to seek shared goals by acting as a coach. Do not assume you have all the answers, and take employee input and ideas into consideration. Studies show that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave an organization.  Modern leaders are transforming traditional leadership by supporting collaborative, authentic, and creative work environments where professionals can flourish and share their expertise on a fair and even playing field.

 Training and Team Building

Proper leadership training will most likely take place post-hiring, but it is still good practice to review the training materials and process prior to acceptance of the role. Begin by learning core leadership practices and processes, and understand the different leadership styles  to determine which you identify with most. These styles consist of:

  • Autocratic Leaders…create clear strategies and expectations and perform decision-making processes on their own. These leaders are prone to micromanaging, and this style is the least desirable.
  • Delegative Leaders…allow teams to make decisions together with a collaborative style.
  • Participative Leaders…balance between the first two styles of leadership. They provide guidance and set standards for their teams, but take into account ideas, feedback, and input from team members in decision-making processes.

Having a grasp on ways to train prospective team members is important. Recognizing each individual’s specific skills and strengths will help you delegate  tasks accordingly and can result in higher levels of efficiency and productivity. If a team member wants to broaden their skills in order to take on new challenges, determine a comprehensive training program that offers both in-person and online courses that are accessible and can be completed in a timely manner to get your team up and running as promptly as possible. A communication strategy also helps with training initiatives by opening the flow of information from team members to leaders, and supplies transparent feedback and insight into training offerings to implement improvements in problem areas. Clear communication also creates channels to review goals and timelines to ensure the team is up-to-date on current deadlines and processes.

Building motivation amongst team members requires realistic goal setting and recognition of both small and large achievements. By outlining a goal- orientated strategy, team members are able to envision their role in making impactful decisions and innovative thinking to develop calculated action that brings the team closer to its common goal. As a leader, you need to set an example and remain transparent about expectations and team or process changes. Team building activities are a great way to keep all team members informed of these changes, and allows for recognition to be shared regarding milestones and accomplishments. 35% of professionals surveyed in a recent study found that gratitude and recognition boosted their overall productivity. Fostering positive morale and motivation helps keep you and your team members happy, productive, and moving forward toward common goals.

 The Future of Leadership

Keeping a weathered eye on the leadership horizon before applying to a new role is key to understanding where leadership techniques are headed and if your skill set and personal attributes align with future demands. With the adoption of automated tools, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies changing the game, the pace and rate of change is increasing. This can easily become  overwhelming when trying to evolve a strategy and team to meet or surpass these demands. Team skills and expertise will need to reach higher standards and be tech-driven. The need for technology knowledge is key to growth and steady positive performance. Overarching goals and objectives are based on these future trends and market demands, so perform in-depth research on up-and-coming leadership tools that may be seeing a digital transformation in coming years. Boost your own skills to remain competitive amongst other candidates and prepare yourself for being a leader in a tech-driven world.

4 Ways to Help Employees Adapt to New Leadership Roles

Career & Workplace

 

 

Adapting to a new role can be difficult for any professional, but add the pressure of new leadership responsibilities, and things get even more complex. Helping employees adapt to their new leadership roles through career goal management, training, and feedback allows new leaders to transition with ease while moving the company closer to its goals. Below is a deeper dive into how to help employees adjust to new leadership roles within an organization.

Determine Employee & Company Career Goals

Leadership is carried out in all levels of a company, keeping the organization running smoothly and in-line with future goals. With this in mind, employers should survey all levels of a company to find top candidates who fit not only the responsibilities of the position, but who are future-focused and see themselves growing with the organization. Meet one-on-one to gain a stronger perspective on their career goals to determine whose skills best align with the demands of a given leadership opportunity. When sourcing internally and externally, use a human capital management system with extensive talent management capabilities to further search, organize, and streamline decision-making and assist in hiring the best candidates. Keep company core values in mind when selecting leaders to ensure they align with overall company missions to remain future-focused.

Implement Training, Mentorship, and Networking

Due to lack of proper training and mentoring, only 19% of organizations believe they’re effective at developing new leaders. Giving an employee proper guidance throughout their transition to a leadership role is vital. Devise a training strategy for all new leaders that includes routine training sessions to grow their skills as they gain more experience. Allow them time to apply their learning as they progress through the role, improving pain points along the way.

Training, mentoring and networking are sometimes misconceived as being costly, but there are plenty of low-cost initiatives involved in the process. A few examples include shadowing, attending training meetings, insightful readings, training videos, and volunteer networking events. Encourage networking to build new leaders’ relationships with not only fellow leaders and mentors, but with their team members as well. Leaders who connect with those they manage have a better understanding of how to utilize their team’s strengths and weaknesses to create a cohesive, successful team that yields positive results.

Allow Room for Creativity and Growth

When leaders are well-acquainted with their new positions, they should be left to exercise their own creativity within the standard responsibilities. Allowing leaders to weave their perspectives and ideas into the role creates the opportunity for improved strategies or processes. They may have previous knowledge that worked well in a past leadership role or bring ideas from being managed themselves. Leaders not only need to be the source of creativity, but should encourage creativity amongst their teams. Gaining insight from all levels allows a leadership structure to evolve with changing management demands. Leaders need to keep an open mind when collecting viable input from their employees. For instance, micromanaging hinders productivity and employee engagement.

Growth within an organization still applies to leaders. 65% of employees see opportunities for advancement as an essential component of their professional development. Allow leaders to grow their expertise by managing new departments with differing responsibilities or enact a team shift to broaden their network. Growth does not always need to be vertical, as lateral growth provides new opportunities to gain and improve skill-sets. This prevents burnout, monotony, and disengagement, all of which can be detrimental to operational success when they affect someone in a leadership role. Employers should present opportunities to all tiers of an organization and consider lateral growth as a major opportunity to support expertised personnel and ensure an engaged workforce.

Feedback and Routine Check-ins

Taking on a new leadership role can easily become overwhelming, especially for those with little experience. This is where performing routine check-ins becomes important. 43% of highly-engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week. Touch base with new leaders on a weekly basis to ensure they’re handling their new responsibilities. It can also be helpful to check in with the employees they are responsible for. Not all manager-employee relationships are going to mesh well, and this can result in poor productivity. Catching this pain point early is important and relies on open communication between the new leader and higher levels.

Receiving feedback from new leaders is also key to streamlining the training process. Their input can help shape training in a way that is more efficient and digestible, to ensure an easier transition for future leaders. Allow them to offer input on the current organizational structure as well, to determine new ways of operating to increase overall productivity and success.

Developing new leadership skills and expertise within an organization is no small feat, so having a strategy in place to ease new leaders into their roles is a great way to surpass this hurdle. Take the above tips into consideration when introducing new leaders into your organization to ensure they align with company missions and goals, and that they are up for the challenge!

Creating a Safety Net for Job Loss

Career & Workplace
Be a step ahead and learn how to prepare for job loss

Due to its very nature, job loss is something many people try to avoid thinking about. It’s a stressful situation, and many people have an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality for it. But this doesn’t stop it from becoming an ever-present fear in working-class America.

 

Shifts in the job market, economy, and even within one’s own company can lend itself to thoughts of “What if I lose this job?” This is especially difficult at a time when more and more jobs are becoming automated or being outsourced to freelancers and other firms.

 

Fortunately, the fear of job loss can be mitigated by preparing for it well in advance of losing one’s job. There are some great ways to create a safety net early in your career for a time when you might not be working.

 

Build an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is a type of savings fund, usually with a few thousand dollars in it for a car repair or medical expense. While these are all great reasons for having one, an emergency fund has a lot of added value when it is created as a way to prepare for job loss.

 

Depending on your situation, unemployment can last a few months to as long as a year. This means that to be prepared, you should save up enough money to be able to live comfortably for up to a year, while you search for your next job.

 

It sounds like a scary thought but you can determine this by calculating your average monthly expenses, and then multiplying that by the number of months you want to be prepared for. For example, if your average monthly expenses total out to about $2000, you’ll want to have at least $12000 set aside in an emergency fund, enough to get you through about six months of job loss. However, if you’re looking to be prepared for a year-long period, you can also multiply your expenses by twelve, about $24,000 set aside for job loss.

 

While the total amount needed may seem daunting, preparing can be made easy by putting aside a certain percentage of your income from every paycheck into a bank account with no fees, allowing you to hold onto everything you save. Avoid withdrawing any money from this account unless absolutely necessary, as this will act as a fixed income source in the event you lose your job.

 

Have Multiple Sources of Income

Unemployment can become a lot less stressful if you have multiple sources of income, as they offer a great fall back. (They also have the added benefit of making wage negotiations much easier and less stressful.) There are two types of income to take into account when discussing ways to generate money on the side: active and passive income.

 

Active income is any type of secondary job or side hustle you might have. I’m a huge fan of the side gig. If you have been considering starting your own small business or taking on an evening or weekend job like consulting or project management–or even ridesharing, consider it as a safety net for potential job loss. Passive income involves making investments, either real estate or dividend stock investments, that produce income on a monthly or quarterly basis. These require less work but more upfront costs than a side hustle, due to the fact that they require an initial investment cost.

 

Networking and Personal Branding

Finally, you can make the process of finding a job faster by building strong career relationships. Networking gives you the opportunity to have people to rely on when switching careers for references, and may even be the push you need to find your next gig. Remember to spend time socializing in a professional and productive manner on LinkedIn so that you build a great network of people at your job. These relationships can give you a sense of security, and even make it less likely that you’ll lose your current job.

 

Consider building your personal brand on websites like LinkedIn that allow you to put a heavy focus on your career successes. Spend time writing well thought out posts about the industry you work in, and share other people’s content as well. This will be a great fallback to reference when looking for a job, as most employers look at social media profiles before hiring.

 

At the end of the day, job loss is a scary prospect, but the harm that comes from it can be mitigated by spending the time to create a safety net for yourself. This allows you to spend more time focusing on your current career, which in turn makes the risk of job loss far less likely.

How can you improve your leadership skills easily?

Career & WorkplaceExecutive ResumesGuest Posts

 

 

(The following post is a guest post from Alma Causey.)

 

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

Finding actionable ways to motivate yourself and others towards achieving a specific achievement is a powerful thing. With more than merely focusing on coordinating everyone’s efforts, you need to aim at crafting a clear and compelling vision of success.

Leadership is all this and more.

You need to commit to being an exceptional leader. This begins with the desire to inspire. Therefore, you must learn to take the lead in every aspect of your life, whether that is at the office or a family gathering.

You’ll need to back your actions with a combination of features such as courage, confidence, sophistication, and savviness.

Ready to bring everyone on board?

To be an effective leader, you must possess the right skills for the job. Consider looking into the following tips to improve your leadership skills.

  1. Take the initiative to succeed

There are only a few people who are naturally born as leaders. But just about anyone can learn to become a good leader. All you need to do is develop the right mix of leadership skills. And that too, with dedication and sincerity.

And leaders are selected from the crowd. If you wish to stand out as an ideal candidate, volunteer to take on more responsibilities that go beyond your current position. Show to your superiors that are willing to learn and progress up the corporate ladder.

  1. Consider taking a course

Learning is a lifelong process. And with every aspect of our lives changing at a rapid pace, it is essential to acquire new skills and challenge yourself.

Enrolling in courses focused on building your leadership skills can help accelerate your career. Moreover, you will transform into a more confident person and an even better leader.

Make the most of this opportunity to push ahead in the crowd. Consider taking courses designed to develop self-awareness and leadership skills. In fact, joining a university to complete an MBA program could be a more suitable option.

But always register in a recognized institution that provides a comprehensive learning experience and a diverse curriculum. For example, a UT MBA is one of the most established and most exclusive ones in Florida. But also opt for ones that offer flexible timings so that classes do not coincide with your office hours.

  1. Build exceptional communication skills

Communication is an essential quality of a great leader. Therefore you will need to develop excellent oral and written skills. This can make you an outstanding employee and an even better leader.

When speaking to a team, don’t beat around the bush. List clearly what needs to be accomplished and how possibly repeating essential points a couple of times. But often, written notes and memos become easy reference guides when there are a lot of things that need to be done.

Set up regular meetings and check in on projects from time to time. This gives instant feedback to team members and offers them the opportunity to ask questions or clarify a particular matter.

  1. Listen effectively

Being a leader doesn’t mean you get to boss your colleagues around and coerce them into agreement all the time. Great leaders are even better listeners. They pay attention to what others have to say and reflect on it.

This creates a sense of comradeship and builds trust. Team members will know that they are being represented by people who care about them and their opinions.

To become an active listener, maintain eye contact and avoid getting distracted. Remember that your body language and gestures are equally as important.

It’s a good idea to summarize what you’ve heard and ask questions to see whether you’ve understood everything correctly. And when you respond effectively, this encourages positive feedback.

  1. Prepare a mindset that allows you to think critically

Good leaders are critical thinkers. That means they have the ability to foresee potential problems before they actually happen and develop ways to prevent them from occurring.

More importantly, leaders are aware of potential opportunities when they arise. They know how to bank on them for the benefit of the organization and the team. And remember it’s not about the facts at hand but rather the ability to utilize and evaluate them that matters.

To train your mind to reach these conclusions intellectually, you can try to employ the following techniques and become a better critical thinker:

  • Evaluate everything you hear and read.
  • Break the information down into simple aspects.
  • Ask relevant questions.
  • Consider reversing the information to get another perspective to the same situation.
  • Don’t be overconfident and assume that you are always right.
  • Become aware of biases and personal prejudices. Don’t let them influence your decisions or solutions.

Just remember not to think all the time critically. Utilize this tool to make crucial decisions, solve challenging problems, or lead effectively in pressure environments.

  1. Learn to delegate tasks

According to Theodore Roosevelt, the best leader is one who can pick out good men to do what needs to be done and enough self-restraint to let them do their job. Allowing others to work freely, not only empowers them but also makes people feel more involved.

Moreover, distributing tasks allows you to focus on other responsibilities. However, you must still oversee the entire project to ensure all goals are achieved on time and to the utmost potential.

  1. Become an inspiration to others

As a leader, you need to encourage and motivate team members to drive the company forward. But this can only happen if you plan to interact with employees on a personal level and understand them for who they are.

By possessing adequate leadership skills, you need to become a role model for them. Aim to influence people positively. And if ever a conflict does arise, learn to handle the situation diplomatically.

  1. Be ready to evolve

Highlight your strengths and weaknesses. With time and effort, you can significantly improve your shortcomings and expand on your innate abilities. Stay informed about everything.

Moreover, understand that there is more than one way to do the same thing. So you need to be open to new ideas.

Above all, admit that you are not perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes. More importantly, discuss them with your team, learn from them, and move on. In fact, have the courage to make fresh ones. It’s all part of the learning process!

  1. Learn to enjoy life

It’s one thing to be focused on the prize, but it’s entirely another to be obsessed about it. As an efficient leader, you should know how to live a life outside the workplace. Give the mind a break from time to time. This can help to refresh your objective and allow you to look at things from another angle.

You have to learn to live alongside work. So go to your family at the end of the day. Consider going on vacation regularly.

Wrapping up

It’s time you honed in on your capabilities as an effective leader. Developing these skills can influence various aspects of your life, especially your career. Take steps to discover your true potential.

Gain the hidden benefits of leadership skills, such as enhancing productivity and building your level of confidence. But above all, becoming a successful leader brings an insurmountable amount of personal satisfaction.

And remember that the key to transforming into a great leader is recognizing the importance of influencing others. Instead of becoming an authoritative figure, lead others towards a united force for success.

Ready to be an exemplary leader?

Gift Giving at Work: Don’t Stress It!

Career & Workplace

While the holiday season is supposed to be full of “good tidings and cheer”, we all know that this is not something that comes easily to many of us. Between long lines in stores, wallets that grow empty as the season goes on, and angst over what to get the person who isn’t happy with anything, the “cheer” part of the holiday season sometimes goes by the wayside, especially in the workplace.  However, there are things you can do to make the holiday season less stressful and more enjoyable, even during the workday.

 

Know your staff and their holidays:

  • If you are a department head, you should have an awareness of what customs/traditions your employees follow during the holidays. Saying “Merry Christmas” to the Account Manager who celebrates Hanukkah can be offensive, even if you don’t mean for it to be. If you take your staff to lunch as a holiday gift, try to organize the luncheon on a day when they are all present. Some staff may take days to celebrate holidays in their own cultures/religions, rather than the customary Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dates that most companies observe.

 

Gifts for coworkers:

  • Many of us already have too many people on our shopping list during the holiday season, and adding coworkers to that list sometimes puts us over the financial edge. Don’t sweat it and don’t spend money that you don’t have just because somebody asked you to. If you have a group of co-workers you feel you need to buy a little something for, suggest drawing names and doing a gift exchange. Set a strict price limit, and encourage the co-workers to give gift ideas (within the price range) to help the buyer find something appropriate for that person. If you decide to buy for someone outside of the gift exchange, make sure you set up a special time away from the workplace to exchange gifts. Or, forgo the gift-giving completely and instead do a cookie exchange or potluck with your coworkers to keep the mood festive. Both options cost less and still give you the holiday social time to enjoy with your coworkers.
  • Doing a Secret Santa gift exchange? While this isn’t always a favorite and can be very awkward, consider suggesting a theme to keep gifts from getting weird. A “coffee” theme, or “Star Wars” theme or whatever your office is into keeps the mood light. Be clear on whether the gifts are supposed to be “nice” or “gag”. Set a dollar amount so everyone’s gift is the same value. If one person gets a whole full basket of goodies but another person gets a pair of Dollar Store socks, resentment may replace the tone of the festivities.

 

Gifts for the boss:

  • This is a tough one. If you are the person who has been assigned the task of organizing the gift for the boss, there are a few things to remember. First, salaries are not the same. Find a gift where everybody can chip in and not have their wallets cleaned out. Set a limit (maybe $10/person) and if people want to give more they can. Have a card at your desk ready to go so when your coworkers bring you their donation, they can sign the card before they leave. Be prepared for those who may not want to donate and don’t badger them. Finally, when you are ready to present the gift to your boss, gather everyone together and give the gift to your boss as a group.

 

Gifts for Clients:

  • Before you even think of giving a gift to a client, make sure you are very clear on the gift-giving/receiving policies for your company, as well as your client’s company. Many companies have established strict guidelines regarding what types of “gifts” can be exchanged between clients/customers and suppliers, buyers and sales associates, etc. While some companies have a zero-tolerance policy on receiving any type of gift, they are not opposed to business luncheons. If this is the case, take your client out for a nice lunch and express your gratitude in words instead of a gift that could get you, or them, fired.

 

By following some of these simple guidelines, you will make your holiday celebrations in the workplace light on the stress and heavy on the cheer! Happy Holidays!