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.

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?

3 Signs That Your Mouth Might Cost You A Job

Career & Workplace

Swearing

Some industries tolerate a lot more colorful language than others. But even in fields known for cursing, having a foul mouth can cost you big time. Pro football’s Rex Ryan, coach of the Jets, was recently “stunned” that the NFL fined him $100,000 for profanity toward an official. He says he didn’t expect what he thought was a private conversation to result in such a big penalty.

The Things You Say Have An Effect

Probably the language Rex Ryan used was to emphasize what he wanted to say. Then again, maybe he talks like that all the time because he hears it all the time. That old saying, “garbage in, garbage out” definitely comes into play when it comes to our words. So how do we discern when the cost of letting it fly is too high?

  • Figure out if you have a tendency to use words like the F-bomb without thinking about it. If you don’t realize what your language is like, you already have a problem because your brain isn’t in gear when your mouth is in motion. While it can be argued that an occasional curse word will emphasize a point, that same word littering your sentences is meaningless pollution.
  • Listen to the way upper level management speaks. If your industry doesn’t condone salty language, your saltiness will keep you from advancing. Swearing around the boss is far more offensive when the boss doesn’t ever swear at work. There might be lots of it tossed around the cubicles, but if management doesn’t do it, then you shouldn’t either.
  • How do you express frustration or anger to a colleague? A raging rant full of expletives might be a venting mechanism, but it isn’t solving any problems. If all you do is curse the darkness, your contribution is negative. But lighting a candle — working on a solution — shows you have something valuable to offer.

The language we use is part of who we are, but it can give the hearer a negative impression of how you will be in a higher-level position. That false impression is why the language of our lifestyle can ruin a career opportunity. It would be a shame to let it happen to you.

What Value Did You Add To Your Career Today?
In order to advance in your career or show improvements on your resume, you need to make sure that you are constantly trying to better yourself and your skills. Employers want to see that you will make their company a more profitable place. Whether by awarding you with a promotion or giving you the job in the first place, you need to show employers the value you offer by doing something to enhance your career on a daily basis. You will be surprised how simple it can be to improve and develop skills, which may in turn lead them to give you the job or the promotion.

  • Practice: This is simple, but if you continue to practice the skills you already have, then you will become more proficient and they will become more impressive to employers.
  • Networking: This is another simple thing, but so very important. You need to make sure that employers know your name so that when promotions come up you are one of the first names that come into their head. Make sure your name is prominent on successful projects, that your initiative to move up the ladder is known, and that you introduce yourself to those attending meetings with you, especially when interacting with the company’s executives.
  • Training: Look for training and professional development opportunities in your industry that would help you develop new skills or enhance yourcurrent skills. Training by professionals can be a great way to learn and become impressive.  If the training is especially applicable to your job, employers may even pay for part or all of the training.

There are so many things  you can do to improve your career and resume. If you feel you are not improving, then take the time to ask yourself what you have been doing lately to add value to your career, as well as create a plan to further your skills and expertise. In today’s competitive job market, it is essential that you show employers the value you add to the company, every single day.

The Importance of Career Goals

Career & Workplace

The Importance of Career Goals
In life, you have to make goals. You want to go to a certain college, get married, have children, etc. These goals help you to stay focused and help you progress and lead you to new and exciting opportunities. While many people will make goals for their lives in general, a lot of people fail to make goals for their career. They get into a rut thinking things like, “I have a job, so I don’t need to try and progress” or “There is no room for me to progress; it is safer to stay where I am.” These thoughts are ridiculous. Of course you should try to progress! You want to progress in life, so you should want to progress in your career. This is why career goals are so important.
Remember: When making goals, you don’t want to make one big goal without having smaller goals to achieve while working your way up the ladder. That would make your job much harder and a lot more disappointing. You need to have an ultimate goal, but you also need some small, short-term goals to get you up to that point. If your ultimate goal is to be an executive, then what do you need to achieve on your way up to that level?
These smaller goals may be simple. They may be things like making a goal to get a $0.50 raise before the year is over, or they may be a little bit bigger, like being in charge of a new project or managing a department. Establishing realistic short-term goals will keep you on the track to where your want to land professionally and will make your work experience much more enjoyable and meaningful.
Career goals help you keep focused, but they also make your job less monotonous and boring, because you are always working towards something. Having specific goals will make your daily work a little more exciting, help you feel like what you’re doing is worthwhile, and will add value to your life.
 

Working Toward An Executive Career

Career & Workplace

executive career
Career advancement is one of the most desirable career goals for most people. Getting a promotion can get you higher pay, better benefits, and more respect in your company. Now every person has a different goal for career advancement. Some people may just want to become a manager or supervisor, others may want to become heads of teams or departments, but there are also people who want to advance to the very top of the corporate food chain and have an executive career in mind. If that is what you want, then you need to prepare. And even if you do not want to go all the way to the top, then these tips can still help you get recognized and get you where you want to be.

  • Be Professional: While it seems obvious to be professional at work, other places may not seem so obvious. The most important place to remain professional is on social networking sites. Managers, supervisors, and higher ups can access your social networking profile at any time if they want. Make sure that what they see on there won’t embarrass you or harm your chances at promotion.
  • Put In The Effort: You will never get anywhere if you don’t put the work in. Your employers are not going to want to promote someone who does not work to help their company succeed. Perform work that helps the company and will impress your employers.
  • Ask About Additional Opportunities: Employers like to see people who go the extra mile. Ask your supervisor if there are any additional projects that need to be organized or extra work that you can head up. This will show them that you are serious about the company and will put you at the front of their minds when considering promotions.
  • Be Positive: People will gravitate towards others who seem positive and are enjoyable to be around. That includes your employers. They would much rather work with someone positive than someone who sucks the life out of everything. Keep a smile on your face and a spring in your step and you will be on your way to the top.

Now, while all these tips will help there is nothing more important than keeping that executive career in mind. Let that executive career fuel everything you do at work and sooner or later it will get you there.

Career Advancement Without Selling Out

Career & Workplace

career advancement
Sometimes it seems that nothing is going your way in your work. You get passed up for a promotion, you don’t get a raise, or a new hire is brought in for a job that you are definitely qualified for. This can be discouraging and can make it hard to know what is needed to advance in your career. Take that plus the stigma that exists that you need to sell out in order to advance and it seems to be nearly impossible to advance without selling out or “playing dirty.” But that is not the case. The competition will be tough, but you can advance without selling out, but you need to be willing to put in the work and think through your advancement plan.
The truth is you need to sell yourself in order to advance. How are your employers going to know that you deserve or even want the position if you don’t let them know? However, you do not want to be annoying, obnoxious, or sound entitled. When you do that you are slipping into selling out instead of selling yourself.
Have good work to back up your claims that you are qualified. That will impress your employers more than spouting fluff or degrading your competition. Take that work you have done and show it to your employers. Show them that you have helped them be successful and you could do it again and again. If you can show them that and are willing to sell yourself to them you will have a much better chance of advancing than in any other way.