Author Archive

How To Balance Teamwork And Individuality

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Both employees and employers are trying to find the right balance between teamwork and individuality. When you have too much individuality, teams can’t work together properly and team project goals don’t get reached. When you have too little individuality, individuals lack the creativity or autonomy in order to produce innovative solutions to work problems. There needs to be a happy balance, a medium, in which teamwork and individuality both flourish. Here’s how you can do just that.

Teamwork

Realize That You Can’t Accomplish Your Goals Alone

A big part of being a successful professional is understanding that you can’t get everything done alone. Trying to do everything on your own without delegating or team work will ultimately result in burnout, inefficient work, or both. You have to understand that you have to work within a team framework in order to have success. It is critical that managers hire employees who already know this and are ready to be a part of a team. At the same time, you want those employees to retain some individuality and creativity. Which brings us to our next point.

Each Team Needs To Allow Individuality In Order To Drive Creativity

Even though you want workers to work within the team framework, you still want to provide a certain level of individuality and autonomy to your workers. If you don’t, your employees will lose creativity and won’t be able to solve problems that arise on the fly at work. You want to encourage creativity as long as it is within the team framework, and doesn’t prevent other employees from doing their job.

Finding The Right Balance Depends On The Industry

The right balance of individuality and teamwork is going to depend on the particular industry. For some coders working on development teams, they can have a higher level of individuality because they may be working remotely and only connect with their teams once a week. For marketers working together on a big project at the company headquarters, teamwork may be more important than individuality. Each industry has its own needs and requires its own level of balance.

Employee Working Individually

Knowing when to lean more into individuality or teamwork depends heavily on the industry. But you are always going to need both. That is why managers want to look for individuals who are creative but understand how to work well with others. No matter what industry you are in, you aren’t going to be able to accomplish your goals alone. You are going to need help in order to reach your full potential as an individual. Knowing how to find the right balance will be key to your overall level of success.


How To Have Powerful Conversations

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Looking to have powerful conversations that can inspire others? Want to make more of your conversations memorable? You aren’t alone. Fortunately, improving your ability to speak with purpose and leave a lasting impression can be improved over time. Nobody is going to turn into a sage overnight, but you can work on developing your ability to have these powerful conversations with just a few tips. Let’s take a closer look at what you can be working on when it comes to connecting with others.

Conversations

Speak With A Purpose

When you speak with others, it is important that you speak with a purpose. That means getting to the point and being insightful. Don’t dance around the point that you want to make. Be direct and be detailed. Start your conversations with an idea of where you want to take the discussion, and then make sure to reinforce your points with examples. When you speak with a purpose, listeners are more apt to pay attention and really consider what you have to say. When you aren’t direct or specific, you are much less likely to leave an impression.

Value Your Time

It is important to value both your time and the time of your listeners. Think of the opportunity cost–there are plenty of other things that you can be doing instead of having a conversation! You need to make sure that the discussion is valuable enough that it isn’t a waste of time. That goes back to the first point–be succinct and speak with a purpose. Don’t waste the time of others with useless side stories.

Listen To Your Counterparts

If you want to have strong conversations, you need to make sure that you aren’t doing all of the talking. You need to make sure that you are listening as well. Are you actually hearing what others are saying? Are you making constructive points? Are you answering the questions being asked of you? People can tell when you are listening and when you are phoning it in. Make a real effort to listen to your audience and to answer the questions being asked of you. You want to ensure that your listeners are getting something out of your conversations.

Two Lady Having Powerful Conversations

When you speak with a purpose, value your time and the time of others, and make sure that you listen, you’ll find that you are having more powerful, lasting conversations. These conversations will be much more memorable, and you’ll leave a lasting impression on your friends, family, co-workers, and management. If you’ve ever listened to a politician, professor, or business professional and felt in awe of one of their speeches, this is the phenomenon that you are experiencing. You, too, can learn how to speak with a purpose.


How to Inspire Others Through Leadership

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

The ability to inspire others is key to becoming a strong leader. The best leaders have been able to inspire others to dream big and produce their best work. Think of some of the biggest names in technology over the past twenty years. Steve Jobs. Elon Musk. Bill Gates. These are leaders who weren’t only visionaries in their own right, but who also had the ability to inspire their employees to produce their best work. Think about athletes like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and LeBron James. These are great athletes who didn’t only inspire their teammates to perform at the best of their ability, but who also inspired the next generation of athletes to compete at a high level. Here’s how you can be an inspiration to others in your position.

Inspire Others Through Leadership

Don’t Try to Be Someone You’re Not

People can sense when you are not being genuine, and it repels them. You want to avoid this problem, and the good news is that it is easy. You want to be comfortable being yourself. When you are feeling good in your own shoes, you are going to be a better leader than if you are pretending to be someone else.

Always Put Forth Your Best Effort

Just as others can sense authenticity, they can also sense if you are working hard or not. We’ve all had bosses who we worked harder than in the past, and it doesn’t make you feel good. Make sure that you are working harder than anyone else in the building so that you get people who look up to you instead of resenting you.

Work Harder

Take Time to Genuinely Listen To Others And Incorporate Their Ideas

It is important to make sure that your other employees feel valued. That means taking the time and effort to really listen to what they have to say. If you aren’t incorporating some of the ideas of your employees, then they may find another place to work which does. You want to ensure that your employees feel they are part of a time that cares about the work that they do and the ideas that they have. When you can do that, it is inspiring, and it makes these same employees want to work even harder for you.

The biggest part of inspiring others isn’t incredible talent. It is putting forth the effort, taking the time to listen to others, and being a genuine version of yourself. People want to see a leader who is comfortable in their own skin, and who can incorporate the views of other talented individuals. That means that leaders who don’t take the time to listen to others, who are selfish, and who don’t take responsibility for their actions, are much less likely to inspire people. Make sure that you take a positive attitude to work every day and focus on how you can do the best job you can do. You’ll find that you naturally inspire others that way.


Why Establishing A Social Media Presence Is Critical for Today’s Workforce

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

In today’s workforce, having a social media presence is crucial for success. That is because so many businesses today are looking for talented employees who aren’t just skilled at their jobs, but who are also pushing the conversation in their industries as well. Employing someone who is also a thought leader could give you greater influence in your industry–and that’s why more employees than ever are looking to brush up their social media credentials. Let’s take a look at why you should be working on building your social media presence as well.

Social Media Posting

Today’s Employers Are Looking for Engagement

Employers in a number of industries don’t just want to hire skilled workers anymore. They also want these workers to engage with the public. Sometimes this engagement means talking with consumers, but more often it means talking with others working in your industry and having meaningful conversations about where the space is going. Employers want to know that when you tweet or you blog about a new product or service, people are going to respond with interest. That kind of engagement is important in today’s social media era.

Becoming A Thought Leader in The Space Has Benefits

Becoming a thought leader on social media often means getting invited to more conferences. It means being invited to speak at events. And it means that other companies are going to be keeping track of your work, potentially with interest in hiring you at some point. More competitive offers typically mean better pay over the long term.

You Want to Play A Role in Shaping the Conversation in Your Industry

Having a strong social media following means not only being part of the conversation but being able to shape it. When you can convince others that your position on issues of the day are correct, you will have the power to shape conversations that others don’t. This is something that employers are looking for, especially since they have their own products, services, and industry views that they want to convert others into believing. If you can shift the conversation and really change the opinions of others, then you will have a leg up on others in getting those key interviews.

Social Media Insights Check

It is important to understand that you aren’t going to get 10,000 Twitter followers overnight. But working on building a following can have a number of benefits. It makes you more recognizable to the major players in your industry. It also makes it more likely that a potential employer will give you a close look. These are real benefits that can ultimately result in higher pay over the long-term. You can start with something as simple as a blog, and then build it on social media platforms by following similar minded individuals and engaging with their content.


Strong Teamwork Is The Foundation Of Every Great Organization

Monday, January 6th, 2020

It can be tempting to think that you can go it alone when you are in a managing role of an organization. If you were one of the founding members of the organization, then it can be even more tempting to think that you won’t need the help or input of others to get things done. But the truth is that you are going to need the help of a lot of people if you want to your organization to succeed and thrive. Without strong teamwork, organizations can wither and fall apart. Here’s how you can make sure that your organization is ready for long term success.

Strong Team

Organizations That Don’t Work Well Together Fail

There are plenty of examples of organizations that don’t work well together. In your town, you’ve probably seen a small company go out of business because the employees didn’t work well with each other or with customers. You want to avoid this by any means. You’ll need to focus on both the kind of culture you establish as a leader and bringing in talented individuals who fit with your work environment. Let’s talk a little bit more about that.

You Have To Bring In Individuals Who Can Improve Organizational Chemistry

Having the most talented employees won’t matter much if they can’t work well with others. If your most talented employee refuses to help others and is creating a negative environment in the workplace, then are they really providing you with a positive benefit if they are dragging down the work performance of everyone else? These are the considerations you will need to make when thinking of these kinds of decisions.

Culture Starts At The Top

Ultimately, the creation of a positive work culture where employees want to communicate and work together starts with management. You’ll need to create an environment which is conducive to positive communication and teamwork. Everyone knows how bosses can create a toxic environment in the workplace and pit employees against each other. Think about how you can be a boss others want to emulate, who is a positive force in the work experience of his or her employees. That is the kind of person that you want to be.

Team Meeting

When it comes to teamwork, you have to build that foundation. That means you will need to create a culture that is conducive to people working together. Creating that kind of positive work environment starts with management. You’ll also need to bring in talented people who are good at working with others. Remember, organizations that don’t work together often find that things break down relatively fast. That’s because a lack of teamwork often leads to a lack of communication. And things only get worse from there. Avoid this problem by focusing on teamwork and working together early and often.


Learning How To Market Yourself

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

Ready to go find that new job? Trying to get promoted internally? Switching careers? No matter what you are doing, you are going to have to learn how to market yourself. Marketing ability isn’t something that you are born with. Instead, it is a skill that is developed over long periods of time. You might see people who are tremendous marketers or salesmen and think that they didn’t have to work for their abilities. That couldn’t be further from the truth. They put in hours of work behind the scenes practicing their pitches and learning how to sell themselves. Let’s take a closer look at how you can be a better marketer.

Market Yourself

Nobody Is Going To Do The Work For You

It is important to understand that nobody else is going to market you. You have to learn how to market yourself. Once you drop those expectations, you can get fully involved in learning how to improve your own marketing ability. You shouldn’t expect an old boss or a co-worker who you considered a friend to make calls on your behalf. In some cases, you may need reference letters. But those are things you’ll have to work for too–not everyone is going to be willing to help you in this process. Accept that.

Acknowledge Your Strengths

One of the biggest problems that job seekers have is that they don’t understand their strengths. If you don’t know what you are good at, then how are others going to figure it out? Learn what your strengths are, and then highlight them when you pitch others. If you have a website or social media, make sure that viewers easily know what your strengths are. They need to have a reason for considering you for a position at their company.

Lean Into Your Past Successes

Leaning into your past successes is critical for marketing yourself. You need to take those past projects and put them in your portfolio. That will help to make you a more attractive candidate for hiring managers. Others want to see that you’ve had past success in roles similar to the one that they’ll be asking you to take on. By leaning into your past success, you can put yourself in a better position to get that next job or that internal promotion.

Confident Man in Interview

Learning how to market yourself is a process. You aren’t going to become an all-star overnight. However, you can improve bit by bit over time as you learn what your strengths are and how to minimize your weaknesses. Recognize that nobody is going to do the work of marketing you, you need to realize what you are good at and how to highlight those strengths across different mediums such as social media. Leaning into your past successes is a great strategy, especially for in-person interviews. You should be able to leverage your past successful projects with reference letters and additions to your portfolio. This is how you market yourself so that you can take that next big step in your career.


The Power Of Repetition

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

The power of repetition is immensely powerful. How do surgeons become elite? By practicing for thousands of hours in medical school. How do athletes become elite? By training for thousands of hours in the gym. The power of repetition is undeniable, but unfortunately it isn’t something that is highlighted in our society. Too often, we glamorize the idea that the gifted were simply born with their skills. We idealize the concept of being “born with talent,” and neglect to talk about the hard work that is put in. Let’s take a look at the true power of repetition and why you should believe in it.

Work Harder

The 10,000 Hour Theory

Author Malcolm Gladwell developed a theory based on the power of repetition, called the 10,000 hour theory. The 10,000 hour theory essentially states that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any skill. This 10,000 hours can come in any time frame, but it has to be completed in order to become elite at something. You may not need to put in 10,000 hours of work, but it is important to understand the amount of time that you’ll need to commit to in order to reach your goals.

You Can’t Become An Expert Overnight

You can’t avoid the need for repetition. You can’t skip the line and become elite at a skill in a day or even a week. It takes months and sometimes years of practice to truly master a skill and to reach your full potential. Thinking that you can become an expert overnight is only going to set yourself up for failure and frustration. Avoid this and instead focus on how and where you can get in your practice repetitions. If you need to work on being a better speaker, maybe you could take classes on public speaking. If you need to learn how to code in Python, you can take online workshops. But you need to focus on the idea of repetition, instead of dreaming of overnight success.

Man Climbing Mountain

Embrace The Process

To reach your full potential, you’ll have to embrace the process of getting reps. That means staying locked in on your reps, even before you are thinking about the outcomes of your work. Think of it like a basketball player. If you are thinking about how many jump shots are going in before you get your form right, then you are going to get frustrated. But if you put the process of getting the form right first, then it doesn’t matter how many shots you miss at the beginning. You know that eventually, you will get the form right and the shots will go in. It is the same way with other things that you have to practice in life. It is important to realize the power of repetition. Nobody is born successful. Talent isn’t innate. People put in thousands of hours of work to become elite at their craft. If you want to master a skill, then you need to be willing to put in that same amount of time.


How To Build And Reinforce A Positive Culture

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

All managers want their employees to maximize their abilities. However, many managers aren’t putting their employees in a position to be successful. Managers need to understand the importance of building a positive culture and learn how to create and reinforce it. A positive culture can go a long way towards maximizing company efficiency by reducing turnover and increasing productivity. Let’s take a closer look at how managers can establish a positive culture in their companies.

People Working Together

You Want Team Members Who Want To Maximize Their Abilities

One of the things that successful companies all share is employees who are driven self-starters. You don’t want to have too many employees who don’t want to actually develop and gain new skills. Negativity and apathy can spread like wildfire, which is why you don’t want many of these traits in the first place. Make sure that when you are looking to fill new positions, you are looking for team members who are enthusiastic and motivated to reach their potential and maximize their abilities.

Reward Success

Managers need to reward success to keep up team morale. Rewards can be something as small as a trophy or a free lunch. They can be as big as a paid vacation or a promotion. But you need to reward success. If you don’t, resentment will build up on your teams and make it much harder for you to maximize company efficiency. You may begin to have problems with employee turnover too.

Root Out Toxic Behaviors

Toxicity can kill a company. You need to root it out whenever you find it. Make sure that you have policies and procedures established for your company early on so that your employees know exactly what kinds of behaviors are unacceptable. You need to make sure that repeat offenders are disciplined or let go. You want a positive culture where employees are motivated and excited to go to work, not one where toxic behaviors make employees work in fear.

Team Chilling Out

Creating a positive culture won’t happen overnight. It is something that your team will have to work towards over time. But developing such a culture can increase productivity and reduce turnover. It can help your employees develop new skills and maximize their abilities. Managers are like coaches–they play a critical role in helping all the individual pieces come together to form the whole. And that means that they have a responsibility to create a strong, positive culture where employees can thrive.

Take some time to think about what you can do as a leader to foster a positive culture. After all, creating a positive environment starts with management. Can you improve lines of communication between employees and leadership? How can you make sure your employees feel heard? Are you focusing on hiring motivated employees who want to maximize their ability? How are you dealing with toxic behaviors? The answers to these questions will determine if you can create a positive culture in your workplace.


Handling Conflict Resolution Within Teams

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

Dealing with conflict is part of life. Even the best organizations deal with internal conflict on a regular basis. Conflict isn’t a black and white issue. There are different degrees and levels of conflict. Conflict at a low intensity may just be a simple disagreement. But high intensity conflict can result in teams that have low levels of trust or even organizations that completely fall apart because of internal pressures. Conflict is inevitable. It is how you and your team handles that conflict that matters. Let’s take a look at how you can improve your conflict resolution strategies.

Work Place Conflict

Even The Best Teams Deal With Internal Conflict

It is important to understand that it is impossible to eliminate conflict. If you come into this process thinking that you can completely eliminate all conflict within your team, you are going to micromanage your employees and probably make things worse. You aren’t going to stop your team members from having disagreements or approaching a problem from a different way of

thinking. You want your team members to remain creative and bring their unique talents to the table so that they can perform in their role. Sometimes that causes friction, but that is why it is important to have a process for how you handle conflict.

Create An Official Process For How You Deal With Team Conflict

A great way to minimize conflict and help to resolve internal problems is through structure. Teams that do not have a structure can sometimes fall into chaos. You want to have an official process for how you deal with conflict and how you handle these types of issues between team members. Perhaps you’ll have each team member meet with you individually to assess the extent of the problem. Maybe you’ll interview other team members as well, to get their point of view. If you are a bigger organization, perhaps your Human Resources Department may get involved. Either way, you want to have an official process that you can use in all conflict related situations. This way, the process is transparent and everyone knows what to expect. This increases trust in your leadership and in the conflict resolution process.

Happy Team

Remember That Each Team Member Is Unique

When you go too far in trying to eliminate conflict within teams, you can squash internal creativity. You don’t want all of your team members to think or act in exactly the same way. You want them to work together and maximize their abilities. Make sure that your conflict resolution process doesn’t come at the expense of individual creativity.

Conflict resolution is important for every team. Too much conflict can impede a team’s ability to perform. Make sure that your conflict resolution process is transparent and that everyone knows what to expect. You want to be fair with your team members so that this process builds trust instead of reducing it. A good conflict resolution strategy will improve your team’s effectiveness over time.


Authentic Communication Is Key To Building A Strong Team

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Most team members want the same thing from their leader: authentic communication. Have you ever been working on a project and been blinded by an omission made by management? Or perhaps you’ve dealt with a sudden change in instructions or expectations. Maybe you’ve had to work on a project where the expectations were not clear and you weren’t even totally sure what you needed to be doing. If you want your team to perform to the best of their ability, you need to prioritize communication from a leadership standpoint. You need to be as open, honest, and authentic as possible to build trust and generate buy-in.

Authentic Team Communication

Everyone Wants An Honest Boss

At the end of the day, nobody wants a boss that they don’t know if they can trust. Sometimes, what causes a lack of trust isn’t a lie, but an omission. If you aren’t being fully honest with your team about what you expect from them or if you are leaving out certain project details, you could harm the trust that your team has in you. Which brings us to the next point:

When Communication Breaks Down, Trust Is Lost

When your team isn’t communicating, internally or with leadership, that causes a lack of trust. If you aren’t getting regular updates from the team, that could lead to a lack of trust in your team members. And if your team members can’t get a line of communication with you, they are going to have a difficult time finishing projects successfully. Make sure that you have multiple lines of communication open and that you don’t neglect to meet with your team on a regular basis.

Making Sure Your Team Communicates Effectively

Making sure that your team members can communicate with leadership is key. But you also want to focus on internal communication. Your team members need to be able to communicate with each other. This is more important than ever, since more organizations are making the shift to working with remote employees who may be halfway across the globe. Make sure that your team communicates through multiple channels (such as via email and by a work communication app like Slack) and has regular meetings, preferably at least twice per month. Regular communication ensures that your team members know exactly what to expect from their co-workers.

Strong Team

If you prioritize being an authentic communicator, your tenure as a leader is much more likely to see success. When your team members feel that they can’t communicate with you, or that you aren’t being honest, they are much more likely to be distrustful of management. And when there is a lack of trust in leadership, team members tend not to work as hard, and teams can fall into dysfunction. Promoting strong communication within teams and with leadership starts at the top. You have to make sure that all of your team members are comfortable communicating with you, knowing that you will address any of their concerns.