Category: Career Development Tips
Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from the author, Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret), Plane crash, burn survivor, motivational speaker, author, writer. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com or contact Captain Burk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many times it’s simple to do the ethical (right) thing on your own. But what about when your boss tells you do something you instinctively and intuitively know is wrong (unethical)?
Simply stated, it’s a question of “Can I be true to myself and my character” said Elizabeth Doty, founder and president of WorkLore, a San Francisco-based consulting firm.
“Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.”
John Madden, football coach
Doty surveyed people about how they handle the tension between their core values and their work persona. Doty calls this, “winning the devil’s bargain.” The tension (conflict) between succeeding at work and doing the right (proper) thing can be difficult. Then again, maybe it doesn’t need to be if you know and follow your core beliefs and always take the right course of action. Whether you agree or not, like it or not, your character and integrity is always being tested. In the final analysis, it’s never about money. It is about character, integrity, self-respect and being able to live with yourself.
“If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.”
Henry Ford, industrialist
“Most people are so uncomfortable in those situations, they just push it out of their awareness,” she said.
When people take the initiative and confront the issue and know it’s the right thing to do, it improves their productivity. “You begin to feel more alive, creative and resourceful when you feel good inside,” Doty said.
“The world is more malleable than you think and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape.”
So, if or when you’re asked to do something you know is unethical or worse, here are a few suggestions:
Don’t play the game. Do what Doty calls “play the bigger game.” Learn to always place your principles first and have the strength of character to say “no” when asked to compromise them. “It’s not lowering your aspirations. It’s daring to be absolutely honest about the current realities,” she said. The goal’s to create conditions where (more of) the truth is part of the decision-making.
“Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live.”
Eckhart Tolle, writer
Turn the tables. One example Doty used is of the woman who once worked for a telephone company. The woman’s boss asked her to fake documents that would show that customers had asked to switch their phone service. The woman told her boss that she knew he really didn’t want this to happen. Hearing that, the boss then knew he had to do the right thing. “You can bring it back to the long term impact rather than the short term gain,” Doty said.
Beware of “good” organizations. These are the companies and organizations that seem to do the right thing but don’t always do it. Doty interviewed one person who joined a financial service firm because it seemed especially ethical. Soon after she was hired, several senior officers were convicted of embezzlement. When this happens, people who work for that kind of organization often become even more disillusioned and their level of trust is lowered significantly.
Remember the big picture. When you compromise your values, it doesn’t just affect you, it also hurts the organization. What may begin as a small indiscretion can soon grow into something larger and have even more effect on your personal and professional character. When that happens, it can destroy an organization.
“If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d all be millionaires.”
Abigail Van Buren, advice columnist
Trust your instincts. It’s impossible to know if every situation is the right one. But your gut, your intuition and instinct can give you a hint. When you have a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach or a question in your mind, that’s a powerful message! Act on it! “When an organization or its employees are running too fast or operating from a culture of fear, that’s when these unethical things happen,” Doty said. Don’t always look to the “external” for answers. Look to your “internals.” Tap into you experiences, instinct and intuition. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked.”
Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder
Who’s in charge of your professional development? Well, according to recent research, 71% of workers believe employers should identify job opportunities and career paths. So, it’s interesting that, according to the same study, 85% of managers believe employees should identify their own job opportunities and career paths.
So who’s in charge of your professional development?
And how can you expect to get anywhere in 2015?
Read this Forbes article by Lisa Quast and find out:
Is not your resources that matter, it’s your resourcefulness. The decisions we make today about using (or not using) the skill of resourcefulness are shaping our destinies.
We’ve written about determining and living your core values so we thought you may be interested in this article along the same theme.
This article was submitted by “Captain George” J. Burk, a Vietnam veteran, plane crash & burn survivor and motivational speaker. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com or let him know what you think at: email@example.com
Humility: Advantage for leaders originates from this unforeseen core value
Humility: “the absence of any feelings of being better than others; freedom from pride and arrogance; lack of false pride.”
It seems we live in a time where authoritarian power is questioned from the classroom to the boardroom and many places in-between, research seems conclusive—humility is a dramatically and more effective way to lead.
A study from the University of Washington Foster School of Business shows that humble people tend to make the most effective leaders(yep, that right, the most) and are more likely to be high performers in both individual and team settings. This is not a revelation to me because of some of the leaders I’ve worked for and was privileged to know. This reinforces my belief that there’s no room in the classroom or boardroom, onboard ship or wherever leadership is present, for the self-absorbed, over-indulgent, narcissist, know-it-all, loud mouth blowhard. Yes, I’ve known a few of them! The study found that employees who rated their leaders as humble said they felt more engaged and were less likely to quit. They also indicated they were more committed to a leader’s vision and trust them more and more receptive to the leaders’ ideas.
“If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him how much you know.” Dr. Kenneth Boa
The report called this “quieter leadership”—listening, being transparent, aware of their limitations and appreciating their staff strengths and contributions, is an effective way to engage and motivate employees. It’s hardly a secret that leaders are hired based in their specific skills and experience, but often fired based on their personality. A leader’s arrogance, narcissism and a belief that by any means necessary and however unscrupulous it may be, is justification to achieve power or success. Our country is replete with business owners, political and military leaders who were lionized by various publications and media as if their apparent over confidence was a good benchmark of paranormal abilities, super intelligence, infallible strategic vision and wonderful speech patterns and oratory skills. Yet, to a person, those leaders were credited as the cause their organizations and careers collapsed. Many tears ago, I learned that if leaders and others, regardless of their position or a status, find the need to continuously tell people they are transparent, aware of their limitations and so on, really aren’t that way at all. They merely parrot those values as a way to convince others and create an artificial perception of who they want others to believe they are. It’s a false narrative.
There are examples that suggests that there’s an inherent power in humility—for various reasons people associate humility with weakness and an inability or unwillingness to stand up for ourselves. However, the same research mentioned above, other studies…and my own observations…shows humility has “zilch” to do with weakness because it requires substantial inner strength i.e. “guts”…an a strong belief in self that not only welcomes feedback and constructive criticism but knows it’s one of the fundamental ways to grow. The ability and will to self-reflect and see our limitations along with our strengths, is essential to reap the benefits of humility.
“He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way.” Psalm 25:9
How to spot humility.
Like it or not, those around us can see our humility, or lack of it, far better than we can see it. Here are a few scenarios to consider when we evaluate our humility or the humility of others.
When they are celebrated. Are they (and us), boastful and take all the credit or conscious of the people and events that created the success? Deflect praise? Accept responsibility when the excrement hits the rotor blades?
“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” Thomas Merton
When they are criticized. Are they (and us) self-confident enough to accept feedback and learn from it while they (and us) honor themselves, or do they resist, defend their positions and rationale and react, often negatively?
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:12
When they are in competition. Respect their opponents, and see the opportunity to interact with them as a valuable teachable moment from which to grow or…are they (still) ruthless, disrespectful, loud and boorish?
When in a momentary or sustained position of increased strength or weakness? Are they respectful to those lower in the hierarchy and to those above them without the belief or attitude that either action somehow takes something from them?
In the above scenarios (and perhaps others) leader(s) will be prompted or even provoked to reveal their true level of humility when asked specific questions in various ways. One observation: how comfortable is the leader and how comfortable are you (us) with power in yourself and with others?
Leaders and people in general grow and mature in relationships with both sides of the humility coin—having it and not having it and are best illustrated in how and when they conduct themselves in response to it. A person’s true humility is best seen by a relaxed emotional attitude in relation to power, while arrogance and self-absorption betray a deep-seated immaturity, lack of self-confidence and self-awareness and awkwardness in the face of it. Humility allows us to objectively self-reflect and clearly see our limitations and our strengths and is vital to reap the benefits of humility. Humility is not a sign of weakness, oh contraire, but is an indicator of emotional strength because it demands an inner strength to accept feedback and criticisms. Humility is one of the most important core values we need so we can continue to grow as leaders and human beings.
John Ruskin said, “I believe that the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility to doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibility merciful.”
I’ve known and know those I consider great leaders. They come in all genders, shapes, sizes, colors and ranks. I observe(d) how they respond(ed) to stress, professional and personal challenges, disappointments and loss and their successes, of which there were many. My conclusions: they live (lived) a strong and humble center of gravity and are (were) seen as more honest, trustworthy and quite capable. They also had a deep sense of their own spirituality. I learned from their thoughts, words and deeds they believed they were not alone in their walk through this life—they always sought to do the right thing(s). How do I know this? On a many occasions, especially after I was burned and injured in the plane crash in 1970, I and my family were the recipients of their humble, gracious, ethical and moral leadership, care and unseen humility. Without it, I believe my life and that of my wife and three young children would have taken a different and darker path. They gave us hope when I had none and all seemed lost!
Humility is a great anti-self focus and it allows leaders (and us) to develop a deeper perspective in their (and our)relationships with others. They’re not surprised or often fooled by the surface and can see behind the veil individuals create. They do not suffer fools wisely.
So, the takeaway from this: humility is inherent, and I believe, a learned treasure and core value that everyone can receive if and only if, they choose to take the journey into the true heart of who they really are.
I’ve often heard a phrase that captures humility: “A pseudo leader always leaves you with a feeling of their greatness, while an authentic and humble leader and person always leaves you with a feeling of your greatness.” My mother, Willa Catherine Burk epitomized that kind of leader and mother. She constantly filled me with positive affirmations; she always made me feel my greatness. I miss her…a lot!
Ever since my plane crash and all that occurred since that day, I’ve often ask myself, “Who are you really?” Where are you going? How will you get there? Who will be on your team?” Perhaps you’ve asked yourself similar questions, too.
“Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.” Lyrics from a Willie Nelson song.
His words, not mine!
What do you think is the root cause of happiness?
Well, many people think that any or all of the above are root causes of happiness, but research has indicated that those things really don’t provide a long-lasting feeling of contentment. In fact, one of the most important things you can possess to ensure a lifetime of happiness is a character trait that anyone can develop: gratefulness.
Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it’s a good time to think about what we are thankful for and enjoy the bonus of feeling happier.
What, exactly, does an attitude of gratitude do for our well-being that contributes to life-long happiness? So much!
Here are some of the benefits of practicing gratefulness:
- reduced risk of heart disease and cancer;
- a stronger immune system;
- increased productivity;
- improved decision making;
- increased achievements;
- better interpersonal relationships;
- a better self-image;
- more respect from others;
- less stress;
- reduced feelings of jealousy;
- happier memories (research has indicated gratefulness helps us remember the good stuff in life and minimize the negative);
- a feeling of well-being;
- stronger resilience;
- more energy;
- better sleep; and
- a longer life.
Want some ideas on how to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness? The University of California, Berkeley published 10 great tips by Robert Emmons including using visual reminders; watching your language; and thinking outside the box by seeking new things to be grateful for.
Here’s another tip: grateful people mindfully use social media in a positive way. So post an inspirational quote or this article on your social media, and you will not only grow in your practice of gratefulness but encourage others to take this meaningful path as well.
Surveys about fear have revealed that we fear public speaking more than death. That’s why there is a joke that goes something like, “If you are at a funeral, it’s better to be in the coffin than the one delivering the eulogy.”
However, there are many things we can learn about public speaking from the masters. Even better, there are many very simple techniques that will captivate the audience every single time.
Take, for example, the pause:
Pause for two or three seconds and the audience assumes you lost your place. Pause for five seconds and the audience begins to think the pause is intentional… and starts wondering why.
Pause for ten seconds and even the people who were busy tweeting can’t resist glancing up.
These days, if you can get someone to look up from his or her phone during your presentation, you’ve pretty much won at public speaking.
Learn four more ways to be a better speaker from Jeff Haden:
Do you wish you could use your LinkedIn profile to find a new job or network to get more business for your current job? Here are 3 tips that will optimize your personal profile and make these wishes more likely to come true.
1. Add a profile picture (it will make your profile 7 times more likely to get noticed). Don’t just upload any profile picture, choose a clear photo of your face that is appropriate for business networking.
2. Get recommendations. LinkedIn offers tools that make it so easy to request recommendations. Go to your profile and click the dropdown menu next to “Complete your profile.” Choose “Ask to be recommended,” and you will be guided through a series of prompts to complete your first recommendation request. Painless!
3. Customize your profile URL. Customize your URL with your name to help search engines identify you. (Learn how).
Why not take ten minutes to invest in your career development? A few tweaks to your LinkedIn profile will help you become more visible and lend greater credibility to your professional image.
Is your company trying to reduce costs associated with excessive overtime? Circadian® 24/7 Workplace Solutions recently released an infographic with 5 shift work tips on how to manage overtime.
View the infographic here: http://www.circadian.com/blog/item/38-5-shift-work-tips-how-to-manage-overtime.html#.VDQyeCldVQX
In this column, we share a lot of ideas and tips for building and moving forward in your career. But sometimes management can present obstacles to your success, whether it’s a personality difference, micromanagement, stifling a promotion, or undermining your hard work. Don’t simply live with the negative situation, or quit only to find another imperfect job in the future. Try the following tips to improve your relationship with your boss and empower your career.
Acknowledge Your Role
Rather than blame your boss for the obstacle you’re facing, put aside any emotional bias you may have (SHRM). Don’t gossip about your boss, and try to understand the situation more clearly (Tech Republic). Honestly evaluate your own role in the situation. Do you have unrealistic expectations of your boss? Do your professional skills measure up to the requirements of that promotion? Have you failed to earn the trust of your micromanaging boss? Have you really achieved all the goals of your current role? Do your work achievements reflect well on your boss and team? Think of this as your “HR root cause analysis.” Truly evaluate all the facts about your performance and relationships at work, then devise practical methods for improving these.
Communicate with Your Boss
In our “HR root cause analysis,” one of the corrective actions will almost always include talking with your boss. Difficult though it may be, coming to your boss in a professional manner is the right thing to do and will likely make a positive impression on him or her. When you do, come with a positive outlook with ideas for improvement. Don’t simply come with complaints and no attempts at a solution, which may only make your situation worse.
The best approach is to arrange a performance review meeting with your boss. Make it clear during this meeting that you want to grow professionally, and you’d like to find out what it will take to do so. Ask him or her how you’re meeting and not meeting the goals of your position, and brainstorm action steps to reach those goals. As you receive the criticism, take it with grace and not defensiveness.
If there’s something you need from your boss that you’re not receiving, simply ask for it in a logical manner (Chron) (SHRM). Make it an easy request to grant. For example, instead of simply complaining “You micromanage me too much,” ask if it would help your boss if you provided regular status updates to ease his or her mind.
Make it clear at this meeting that you are committed to your boss’ success as well (Chron).
Develop Your Professional Skills
After you’ve met with your boss, take this feedback to heart. If you’ve received concrete ways in which you can improve, make these your goals and stick to them. Exceed your boss’ expectations and you’ll likely gain his or her trust (Chron).
If your conversation does not go well, there are still options. Take your problem to HR, even if all you need is a second opinion on some aspects of the problem. It always helps to bring in a third party ro evaluate the situation.
If you need additional support, start by building your professional network by pursuing a mentoring and/or networking opportunity (Tech Republic). A mentor can provide a second opinion and unbiased advice on your career. This relationship just may provide the support you need to move forward in your career. Continue to build your network through events, LinkedIn, and pursuing one-on-one meetings with colleagues (Diversity MBA).
Prepare for a future job change and safeguard your interests by building a file that includes your updated resume, certifications, accomplishments, successful projects, and any awards you’ve earned (Diversity MBA). As you move forward within the company, or if you decide to seek advancement elsewhere, you’ll be ready to put your best foot forward.
A recent article in the The Washington Post listed some tips for getting caught up and I really liked it because the author pointed out:
“Rather than worrying about whether we have caught up, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, we can try some of the following activities to restore ourselves and feel better about what we are accomplishing.”
Are we ever really caught up? Maybe it’s time to change the mindset to noticing what we are accomplishing instead of focusing on what we haven’t finished yet. It may be more motivating and more productive to think this way.
Feel better about what you are accomplishing and read 10 tips written by Joyce E. A. Russell here:
Rebekah Campbell, CEO of tech start-up Posse, does all her recruiting through LinkedIn, she says in her recent New York Times article. Why? LinkedIn’s new Recruiter service helps her search for the perfect candidates based on any and all aspects of an individual’s profile. This means your next prospective employer is looking for you based on elements like location, previous and current job titles, previous employers, university attended, current job length, and so much more.
With the knowledge that you could receive your next job offer through Linkedin, here are a few tips to make your presence even more dynamic on the platform.
- Write an extensive profile, using strong searchable terms. Ask yourself what you would type in to find someone like you and add those keywords, suggests Ted Prodromou, author of a book on using LinkedIn (NY Times).
- Add a professional-looking photo. This way, recruiters can pin a face to your name and you’ll be 11 times more likely to have your profile seen (Forbes).
- Update your headline, otherwise the default will be your job title. If you have a strong headline full of searchable keywords, your next employer will have an easier time finding you and you’ll stand out from the crowd (Forbes).
- Join interest groups (NY Times) – Search for terms related to your industry, and you can not only connect with like-minded individuals but with potential employers. Don’t know where to start? Join our TapRooT® Group – it’s chock full of fantastic root cause analysis professionals from around the globe. Join our network here.
- Join discussions (NY Times)- When you contribute to online discussions in a meaningful way, you build up others’ view of your expertise. In addition to learning and sharing your knowledge, you may meet an employer who’s impressed by your knowledge and wants to work together. Join our TapRooT® discussion group for conversations regarding current events and other investigation topics. Join a discussion here.
Don’t let your LinkedIn profile become a static online resume. Build it up with these foundational aspects, and make sure you check your account weekly to answer messages, engage in group discussion, and reply to any job opportunities that come your way!
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Imagine for a moment that we actually treated one another with such an unbiased respect and unconditional belief that we were able to elevate each other to be the best we can be. It’s not just a military slogan. It can and does happen. I’ve experienced this kind of respect, belief and positive reinforcement in my own life.
I’ve heard and witnessed many incredible stories of how people, given little chance to live or to walk again, overcame their physical and emotional injuries to lead positive, productive lives. They, in turn chose to “Pass the salt and make a difference in other people’s lives.” One particular story I read about recently, where a man who was barely able to read was given an assignment that required him to not only read, but to speak in public and exhibit leadership skills. (I know from personal experience that man’s greatest fear is NOT standing in front of a crowd and speaking. Man’s greatest fear IS walking (or crawling) through a wall of fire.) The man’s personal transformation was called miraculous. He was told that GOD inspired his assignment, and he took it quite seriously. He became an eloquent speaker and leader and that helped him to prosper in other areas of his life and provided a better life for his family. How can this be done you ask? Glad you did and here are some tips:
Release the prejudice. The first step is we must relieve ourselves of the limitations we place on others. Eradicate (I like the word) negativity about ours and others limitations from our mind and memory; erase the mental models and phrases like, “She’s only” or “He’s always” or “They never,” or “He can’t.” We need to stretch our mind and our imaginations and visualize, “see”, them doing something great or being something great. Change our thought patterns from the negative to think “Just because he (or she) never did that before doesn’t mean that he (or she) can’t. It just means that he (or she) has never tried before because no one really believed he (or she) could.”
“None can be more negative on its impact than the limitation on human resource capacity.” Said Musa
Forget the past. Car windshields are larger than the rear view mirror because it’s far more important to see the ‘highway’ ahead than the ‘road’ travelled. Look where you’re headed, not where you’ve been. Whatever mistakes you and others have made and wherever you and they have failed before, or the horrible way you or they have been treated, leave it go! Those issues are totally irrelevant for today. The past is the past. It’s over! Everyone has a story. Choose to change your mental models. ‘See’ yourself and them as winners, not whiners and treat yourself and others that way. It’s sequential, inside out, not outside in. You and then others. Get your own ‘house’ in order first.
“Life is divided into three terms-that which was, which is and will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future.” William Wordsworth
Remember your roots. We’ve developed and grown into the person we have become because someone, or in my case, many someone’s, believed in us. It was our parents, mentors, teachers, friends, God, all the above and many others. Along the way, there were (and are) people who believed in us and that belief helped us to believe in ourselves. When we stop, pause and reflect on where we began and where we are now and all those who’ve helped us and believed in us and then apply that same belief in others, the results can be (and are) amazing. Like all meaningful change, it has a beginning and middle but no end. It’s continuous.
“Believe in yourself and stop trying to convince others.” James De La Vega
Use words that encourage and inspire. Positive affirmations. A few examples like, “If I can, you can.” “You will succeed.” “You’re potential is endless.” “You’re more than capable.” “You’re smart and articulate.”
Assist them through the setbacks. I’ve discovered that few things in life have a trajectory that’s straight up. On the contrary, there are many issues from our choices that are often straight down. There are times when we ask, “What am I doing? Am I crazy for trying this? “What was I thinking?” “I should have asked for help?” Don’t let the negative thoughts get in the way. Bring them out. Talk about them with people you trust. Share your thoughts and then dismiss them. Vent! It’s healthy. Then continue with your encouragement and prayers. Caution: prayers work! Be careful for that which you pray. You might just receive it.
Encourage others to play it forward. Regardless of when and where I’m greeted by others, my reply is always, “I’m vertical, take nourishment and play it forward when God provides the opportunities.”
After a goal’s achieved, encourage others (and yourself) to establish and seek more goals and continue that pattern. I believe we have an obligation, or errand to help those around us; those who seek our help and are truly committed and enrolled in the process. What we don’t want to I do is become an enabler and weaken them emotionally, spiritually and physically. When we see others as better than they are or were and help them on their journey of self-realization and self-improvement it is one of the noblest things we can do for others. When they achieve success, it’s a win-win. Many, many others have done that for me and for you too, I suspect and often without us even knowing it. So…”Pass the salt and make a difference in all you choose to do. Make a person, place or thing a little better for your having been there.”
“Correction does much but encouragement does more.” Johan Wolfgang von Goethe
Becky Hammon was recently hired as the first female basketball coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) by the San Antonio Spurs. She’s played professionally here in the U S and overseas for 17 years and begins her new position as an assistant coach next year.
In the Tuesday, August 12, 2014 edition of “USA Today Sports” an article written by Nancy Armour shares her exclusive interview with female basketball player Becky Hammon. “Even after all these years, Becky Hammon hears the voices in her ear,” she said. “The assistant coach at Colorado State University was constantly on Hammond telling her she was going to be the school’s first All-American. How she was going to do this. How she was going to do that,” she said. In the interview Becky Hammond said, “but when she started speaking all that, she started planting seeds. ’Yeah, maybe. Maybe I could do that if I worked really hard,’ Hammon said. “You have those people speaking really good things in your life and it grows and produces fruit later on,” she said. “But somebody had to initially plant those good seeds.”
”Hope and encouragement, especially hope, is probably one of the greatest things you can give another person,” Hammond said. “I mean, what a gift to allow that person to be able to dream, to be able to say, ‘Why not me?’ ‘Why couldn’t I be the first?’”
“Hope is the thing that perches in the soul-and sings the tunes without the words-and never stops at all.” Emily Dickinson
Life really IS like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end the faster it goes. When you leave this life, what will be your epitaph? What do you want others to say about you? How do you want to be remembered? When our time’s up, it’s up. No more make-ups or second chances. So…take time to be the person who others hear in their ears. Tell them how they’re going to do this and how they’re going to do that. Make the choice to become a planter of positive seeds then stand back and watch the ‘plant(s)’ grow. I know it works!!
Have you ever wondered what can make your work (and yourself) stand out from the crowd? Ever thought about what got your buddy that promotion, or how you can make the most of the position you’re in? Forbes.com shared 18 traits of exceptional employees on their blog this week, and we think these are great ways to amp up your professional game. Enjoy the first four traits below:
“1. They rewrite their internal monologues. A strong will to win knows how to push out the negative voices bantering back and forth inside one’s head and instead create a voice that challenges such negativity. In so doing, they answer their newly formed questions and turn the self-limiting “Why can’t I do [task]?” question into the exploratory “How can I do [task]?”
2. They have a healthy disregard for authority. Employees with a strong will to win consider the rulebook as more of a guide while still working within the confines of what’s “right.” In other words, exceptional employees know how to solve problems creatively while not breaking the rules.
3. They don’t wallow in regret. Exceptional employees feel good about their performance because they know they gave it their all. If a big fat “L” (for “Loser”) is the takeaway for the day, they will learn, adapt and move on.
4. They display grit. In my BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training) class we started with 174 students who wanted to be Navy SEALs, but only 32 of us truly desired it. Why? Because the latter group chose to enact the defining quality that bridges the gap between want and wish, purpose and passion. What I’m talking about is grit.”
Click here to read the rest of the article:
Non-verbal communication (body language) is significant because it reveals how we feel (sometimes in spite of what we say), and it also reveals how other people feel about us. Most of us are not formally trained in non-verbal behaviors but living in the world has taught us many non-verbal cues informally.
For example, have you ever met someone and felt like you didn’t like them but couldn’t pinpoint why? They may have thrown off negative non-verbal cues that you picked up subconsciously, and that is why you stepped away from the experience feeling like you didn’t like the person. You probably know more than you think you do about non-verbal communication from both positive and negative life experiences, and putting the pieces together will help you become a better communicator.
At the Global TapRooT® Summit we’ve shared best practices for decoding non-verbal behavior which is particularly helpful in incident investigation interviews.
When interviewing others after an accident or incident, it’s very important to gain the interviewee’s confidence and trust to put them at ease and help them remember important details. Today I’d like to share three quick tips on how to improve non-verbal communication that will improve your interviews.
1. Lower your eyebrows. When we relax tension in our faces, the rest of the body follows in relaxation. Close your eyes right now and release the tension in the forehead and brows. Notice how the rest of your body becomes more relaxed. Practice this before your interviewee arrives and your relaxed body language will help your interviewee relax as well.
2. Palms up. When we talk we often gesture with our hands. Palms up sends a message that we have nothing to hide in our agenda, and also conveys that we are open to receiving what the interviewee says. Palms down indicates that we have closed our thinking – it may send a message of conviction – that your mind has been made up about what caused the accident.
3. Don’t overdo it on eye contact. Many people think that constant eye contact is important to communicate effectively, but it can be very intimidating for an interviewee. Make good eye contact but don’t stare. Make eye contact for shorter periods of time releasing your gaze occasionally.
If you want to learn more about effective non-verbal communication, mark your calendar to attend our new 2-day Interviewing and Basic Investigation course, June 1-2, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada right before the 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit.
Ever wondered what gets potential employers to do a double-take when they see your resume or CV? What gets them to set yours aside & call you for an interview? UK author and career coach Jeremy I’Anson shares his top 10 tips for getting your CV short-listed.
“Tip 1: Don’t be dull
Supercharge some of the statements on your CV by using the “So what?” test. Imagine you have an employer sitting next to you as you write your CV who asks “So what?” after every statement.
Look at these rather dull statements from actual CVs.
• Led a team of 20 sales staff
• Devised an incentive scheme
• Managed an office relocation project
Now transform those statements on your CV by adding a result to make those dull statements more interesting.
• Led a team of 20 sales staff… who exceeded all performance targets.
• Devised an incentive scheme… that reduced staff turnover by 20pc.
• Managed an office relocation project… with minimal disruption to the business…”
Chris Gaborit, Managing Director at The Learning Factor, created this video to inspire us to discover our passion and purpose and to achieve our greatest performance. Invest five minutes of your life to become inspired!
Lost respect at work? A few tips on how to regain it.
Many of us have experienced it. First, it’s the extended lunches. Then, you notice the late arrivals and unexcused tardiness. Next, are the assignments that aren’t finished, not completed to specifications or seem to take longer than usual to complete. When you confront the employee(s) all you hear are the excuses: “I can’t” or “That’s not my job.” That’s your first outward example of a “Wake-Up Call” that you’re a leader who’s losing credibility and respect … and you figure out you need to make some changes … and quick.
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Benjamin Franklin
In every situation of which I’m familiar, regardless of the type of organization, when employees respect and trust their leaders and feel that respect and trust in return, you have a highly motivated employee(s) who are more creative and energized people who actually look forward to come to work every day. Every employee I’ve known, myself included, places a high value on a leader they can trust and respect and from who they can learn. That respect and trust is an important, intangible asset. You can’t touch it or taste it but you CAN feel it and you know when it’s there and when it isn’t in the workplace and in the relationship.
“Leadership is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” John Maxwell
If you need to re-establish yourself as a true leader who your employees and your leadership trust and hold in high esteem, here a few tips to help you reestablish that trust:
Appearances matter. Sometimes dress codes are taken to the extreme. It does seems odd to wear business attire when the company’s culture is T-shirts and jeans. Upgrade you attire to gain respect at work. Develop an approachable presence and internally and externally polished image. Look good … feel good. Don’t over spray with cologne or perfume to mask ‘stuff.’ You know what I’m talkin’ about.
“Appearances rule the world.” Fredrich Schiller
Establish regular feedback sessions with your staff. Leaders who don’t communicate regularly and openly with their staffs miss the opportunity to discover what people really think. Regular feedback sessions not only demonstrate how much you value their opinions, but you’ll also receive an objective, real-time assessment of their strengths and those areas that may need to improve.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” John C. Crosby
Trust demonstrated is trust earned. Empower your staff to own it. Encourage calculated risks and make sure they know you’ll have their back if things don’t turn out as expected. Trust them. Walk-The-Talk.
Watch your “pie hole.” Words and actions have consequences! If you believe from your intuition and subtle feedback from your staff that you do receive less respect at work, it may because your actions don’t mirror your words and vice versa. Words we use must always be respectful and clean, most discreet when it comes to personal issues and never openly criticize your staff. Praise in public and provide constructive feedback in private … with the door ajar … and with another person in the room with you … it is what it is … lesson learned.
“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.” Plato
Know when to be quiet. Emotional tirades earn fear but no respect. Unless you’re one of those (all too many ‘leaders’) who ‘lead’ by fear, tirades may make you feel better but they do little to change the culture at work, except to make it even more toxic. Egg shells are designed to be broken at home, not walked on at work. Address sensitive work issues at a private, one-on-one level not letting your ego show and proudly exclaiming them at meetings and embarrassing the employee(s). The opposite philosophy is always true. When you praise and thank people for a job they’ve done well, always do that in public. Be generous and genuine.
“Nothing strengthens authority more than silence.” Leonardo da Vinci
Share your knowledge. As a leader, you have a great opportunity to be a teacher and mentor. The examples include work directly with a staff member to improve their written and/or oral communications or indirectly, when you lead by example. When you share your information and mentor others, you train and educate the organization’s future leaders.
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” Khalil Gibran
Suspend assumptions. Place any preconceived ideas you may have aside and really listen to an employee’s proposal with an unbiased perspective. If a conflict does arise, remain objective, stay fair, don’t show favoritism and provide the opportunity for everyone to succeed.
Remain involved. Said another way, get out from behind your desk and walk around the organization. Make the time and take the time to ask questions and then listen. Chat informally at company functions like an office party or get-togethers after work. Get to know your staff and encourage them get to know you. Leave your rank at work.
Be transparent. We’ve heard this many times of late. Change comes in many forms and many ways; some when not expected. When change is on the horizon, remain engaged with your employees and keep them in the loop as much as you can.
“One man’s transparency is another man’s humiliation.” Gerry Adams
Establish the limits (Boundaries). If after your efforts to change the dynamics and your team or staff remain disrespectful, or if one or two apples still spoil the barrel and rather increase their disdain, it’s time for more drastic action. Tell them their behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Explain the importance to maintain a civil level or respect and trust in the workplace. Then … document, document, document. This should be done as a routine practice, anyway. Then, at quarterly, semi-annual and annul performance reviews the behavior was documented and at your disposal.
“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has limits.” Albert Einstein
It’s never easy to regain trust and respect at work and with your friends and your family once those values have been lost. A good start is to have a high regard and respect for you … to love yourself but not be in love with yourself. Have that same regard and trust for your team and employees. Want to gain or re-gain trust and respect? Be trustworthy and respectful first. It’s inside out, not outside in … radiate and project what you want and expect outwards. This will most often encourage them to reciprocate.
“Men are respectable only as they are respected.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You should bring something into the world that wasn’t in the world before.
It doesn’t matter what that is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a table or a film or gardening – everyone should create.
You should do something, then sit back and say, I did that. ~ Ricky Gervais
This video is a hilarious because it highlights everything that can (and often does) go wrong on a conference call. Are conference calls productive? What do you think?
We all know that stress is bad for us both physically (increasing our risk for disease), and mentally (that overwhelming feeling). But in spite of our knowledge, did you know that we can actually become addicted to stress?
Who is at risk?
Type A personalities – those who operate at a maximum speed and aspire to achieve large goals. (Learn more.)
Type D personalities – those who struggle with negativity, depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and loneliness. (Learn more.)
So, how do you know if you’re addicted to stress?
Research tells us that moderate amounts of stress are fine, even desirable, because it boosts our focus and energy. So don’t automatically label yourself. If you are effectively managing your life and thriving under stress, it does not qualify as an addiction. The problem is when we wake up an internal craving for it, just as an alcoholic or drug addict would crave a high. If your life feels out-of-control, and in spite of your best efforts, you are not getting things done, you may be addicted to stress.
Whether you’re addicted or carrying a healthy load of stress, don’t forget to balance your days with stress reducing activities.
And enjoy a happier, more productive lifestyle.
I have a habit of buying a bouquet of flowers for my office whenever I go grocery shopping – a guilty pleasure. Today, I read research that makes me feel a little less guilty. Did you know that exposure to flowers can:
- reduce anxiety, negativity and depression
- promote creativity (a University of Exeter study noted a 45% increase!)
- enhance innovative thinking
- increase productivity
One study indicated that people feel happier and had more energy after looking at flowers first thing in the morning. Flowers may even have a positive impact on memory. If you have a green thumb, research suggests that growing your own plants increases the benefits, improving health, well-being, and life satisfaction.
These benefits were noted in women and men, the young and the elderly.
Today’s job fair leans more toward virtual than the meet & greet at the Convention Center that was popular before social media.
Here is an infographic from by MBAOnline.com that breaks down how may people have found jobs on the social network:
Is it time to clean up your social media presence?
It may be where you find your next big career opportunity. Sometimes we forget just how many people can see what we are putting online and this can work for or against us.
Here are 3 tips for cleaning up your digital footprint.
1. Search yourself. Put your name, in quotations, into three search engines and see what comes up. Is there anything you want to take off the internet? You may find old social profiles you no longer use (Myspace anyone?) that you are ready to delete.
2. Review the privacy settings. One thing to be sure of about the big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) is that their policies will change. You may have set privacy setting years ago and never revisited. Take some time to do so and ensure that the right people are seeing your posts.
3. Always use a flattering profile picture. You may have your Facebook privacy set so that only your close friends and family can see you, but if your profile is searchable, potential employers can look you up online and still see your profile photo, so choose wisely.
What do you think? Have you ever received a career opportunity on social media?
I really enjoy reading the “Career Curveballs” channel on LinkedIn. I think learning from another person’s mistakes and hard times are as valuable as hearing from the experts. I recently read “The Most Important Mistake of My Life and How You Can Make Yours” by Judd Marcello which was posted on his website and then featured in the LinkedIn Career Curveballs channel.
This part of the article really stood out:
“People often talk about and write about purpose as if was a thing, e.g. tradesman, artist, developer. I have come to realize that for me it is not a thing, but my context. It is what I am here to do. It is within this context that I make career and life decisions, let alone my day-to-day micro decisions. When I make my next career move the decision criteria will be based primarily on whether or not I will be in the best possible position to apply my strengths in order to make a positive lasting impact on the business and the people involved. That is what I am here to do.”
You can read the article in its entirety here: The Most Important Mistake of My Life and How You Can Make Yours
What do you think? Have you ever made a mistake that helped to change the course of your career in a positive way?
As part of the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964), I find it interesting how we’ve changed our attitudes about vacations over the last couple of decades. When we were building our careers, most of us didn’t take many vacations at all — vacations were for wimps! Too much work to be done! Unused vacation days were a source of pride.
But the culture has changed over the years (and, well, we’re not getting any younger and realizing there are a few things we missed). And as usual, Baby Boomers who make up about 26% of the population, continue to influence the travel industry who caters to what we want because we control a lion’s share of the money that will be spent on travel.
Since the retirement age is getting older, part of what we want are exciting vacations that don’t eat up all of our vacation days at once so we can take several. So now we are seeing shorter international tours (7-10 days as opposed to 21 days) and shorter cruise itineraries. We are explorers so we are seeing more adventures like safari and backpacking tours (but don’t forget the amenities – boomers like to explore but we don’t like roughing it). So, younger generations, you can thank us for all of these shorter, more affordable options.
Finally, we are leading the workplace in vacation plans this summer. We’ve figured it out — vacations are important!
But in case you’re thinking of not taking one this year due to all the work to be done, here is an interesting fact sheet from the Boston College Center for Work & Family that lists 20 reasons why it’s important to take a work-free vacation:
What are your vacation plans this summer? Have your attitudes about taking a vacation changed over the span of your career?
I admit, this is one of my pet peeves. Probably because the work I do is done in chunks of time, and any interruption, (especially email), is a kiss of death to my productivity. Nothing annoys me faster than to have someone send me an email and then call me or come into my office and say with a wee bit of an edge in the voice, “Did you see that email I sent? I sent it an hour ago.” Well, I don’t check my email every hour. Sometimes I don’t check it all day if I’m really tied up on something.
Just how often should we be checking our emails anyway?
Minda Zetlin would disagree with my habit. In her Inc. article, “3 Reasons the Experts are Wrong About Email,” she asserts that reading your email frequently makes you and your team more productive, not less. She wrote that a lot of her work happens in email and her team members need more frequent feedback to do their jobs. She also feels she would miss critical information if she didn’t check it frequently.
Others are more in line with my way of thinking. Craig Jarrow, Author of Time Management Ninja, thinks you’ll get more done if you only check your email twice each day – once in the morning and once at the end of the day. He wrote that unless you are a customer service rep “email is not your job.”
Steve Plavlina even did an experiment and only checked his email and social media accounts three times a week to find out what would happen. He wrote a long list of key benefits including ease of maintaining focus on goals; enjoying the most productive weeks he’s had in years; and greater sense of time. In fact, he could only think of one negative: missing a disc golf game. (Read about his experiment here.)
After reading all of these articles, I surmised that there is really no right or wrong answer. I suppose it all boils down to whether or not email is one of the main tools you use in your job to get the work accomplished you were hired to do.
What do you think? How many times a day do you check your email and why?