Category: Career Advice

The 5 Best Ways to Say ‘No’ to Your Coworkers

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Career Advice, Communication, Office Politics, Psychology

You have to say ‘yes’ to a lot of things throughout your day. You answer emails and questions, get roped into mandatory meetings, and need to pick up projects at the last minute in order to meet company deadlines. In some cases, you won’t have a choice about those new tasks that get added to your already-full plate. And in almost every situation, it feels easier to say yes and pick up another assignment rather than risk upsetting a colleague, boss, or people who depend on you. But saying yes too often — or every time — has negative affects, too.

If you’re constantly shifting your schedule to accommodate a new project, or you’re picking up the slack for another coworker on a frequent basis, your own work will suffer. You might think that it’s showing you can be a team player, or that it’s just a one-time occurrence that won’t happen again. But habits are rooted in repeated events, and you can be sure that if you’re in the habit of saying yes too much, that eventually you’ll wonder where all your time went.

If you want to prevent this, or if you’re already at that point and need to get out of the cycle, there are effective ways to say ‘no’ without damaging your workplace relationships, while also establishing clear boundaries for yourself. In some cases, those boundaries are good to let others know where you stand, but more often than not they’re the most beneficial to helping you see where your priorities lie. It makes you more productive and ensures that when you do say yes to a new project, you won’t be burnt out and will be able to give it your full attention. Here’s a list of five tips you can use as a starting point, and adapt for the situations where you need to turn down a request.

Click here to read the rest on Cheat Sheet >>

How to Be an Excellent Reference

Filed under: Career Advice, Communication, Good Habits, References

The next time an outstanding colleague on your team resigns or your fantastic mentor moves on to another role, think about how you can help them with testimonials. We often think about who will be our references and who can ultimately sing our praises to future employers, but we never think about how beneficial it is to pay it forward.

Many people think of a reference as an afterthought as they’re completing employment applications and need to give three names that can serve as references. But if you take this proactive approach, there are several tactful ways you can be an excellent reference and help former colleagues advance their careers:

1. Offer it up. As you keep in touch with colleagues who no longer work with you, offer to be their references. In turn, they’ll probably offer the same to you, but the key is being proactive and extending a lending hand before they even ask. They may not reach out to capitalize on your kind offer for a while, and that’s OK, too. At least they know your endorsement is available to them.

Click here to read the rest on US News >>

7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Promotion

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Career Advice, Goals, Good Habits, Professional Development

Climbing the corporate ladder is a career priority for many modern professionals. Higher status within an organization means greater influence, greater responsibilities, a greater sense of impact, and of course, a higher pay grade. To the unambitious, promotions are something doled out in time, once a superior realizes how long you’ve been around and how much you’ve learned. To feistier candidates, promotions are a prize to be fought for, the result of tenacious hard work and constant attempts at self-improvement.

Regardless of your approach and your degree of commitment to earning your next promotion, there are several habits that can interfere with your chances of success–and you may not even realize you have them. Be wary of these seven common ways employees sabotage their chances of moving up:

1. Taking Credit for Things You Didn’t Do. This professional sin is easy to avoid in the obvious context–for example, most workers wouldn’t try to steal credit for a co-worker’s report. However, there’s a more subtle way this action can manifest itself. For example, if you’re a part of a team responsible for directing and executing a new marketing campaign and the campaign is a success, it might look bad if you try to make it seem like the result of your effort and work more than that of your team. Be sure to give credit to everyone involved, and never take credit for work you weren’t involved with.

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>

How to Network with Powerful and Influential People

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Career Advice, Communication, Networking, Professional Development

The single worst thing you can do when you meet a powerful and influential person for the first time is ASK for something. Yet I see people do it all the time. It absolutely drives me crazy. It’s one of the reasons I wrote this article. There is a protocol that you should follow when you network with society’s elite. Here I’m going to share some of those unwritten rules with you. Follow them and you won’t make a complete fool of yourself the next time you wine and dine with the rich and famous.

1. Don’t Use Your ‘Networking Organization’ Elevator Speech.

You know the type of networking organizations I’m talking about right? The ones that meet weekly and have a fixed elevator speech: this is who I am, this is what I do and this is my ideal client. Those don’t work with powerful leaders. You need to be more flexible, authentic and organic in how you introduce yourself, not just press play on your internal tape recorder.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

6 Ways to Overcome Your Inner Control Freak and Begin Delegating

Filed under: Career Advice, Communication, Good Habits

Multi-tasking is a great skill but with ever increasing competition, it is all too easy to take on too much. A study published in the Harvard Business Review, found 41 percent of workers spent time on discretionary activities that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handled competently by others. Letting go of that responsibility can be challenging, especially when the task has a significant financial impact on your business.

Here are six ways to delegate more now.
1. Allow people to choose their tasks.
Handing over tasks can be difficult from a managerial perspective because, to complete a task well, there needs to be a sense of ownership. Everyone likes to control what they are working on, while being handed someone else’s task can cause frustration. One way to avoid this is to offer people a choice between two or three tasks. That way what they are working on is more under their control. You have less on your plate regardless of what they choose.

Click here to read the rest on Entrepreneur >>

How To Manage A Disgruntled Team Member

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Career Advice, Communication

Nobody likes being the bad guy—or gal. The desire to be liked and accepted can be overwhelming for some people, oftentimes clouding one’s judgment about the best course of action to take when uncertainty presents itself.

However, sometimes being the bad guy is necessary to get things done. The second that one places self-interest above that of the team or the mission of the organization is the second that company objectives are placed at risk.

It’s no secret that different folks require different strokes (of leadership). My high school football coach used to say, “some people need a pat on the back; others need a kick in the [you know what].” There are certain instances where a democratic undertaking can prove more beneficial whereas other occurrences may beckon a more authoritative approach.

Click here to read the rest on Forbes >>

10 Tips For Adding Value By Showing Initiative

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Quick Tips, Your Career

In these tough times, it is absolutely critical you continue to demonstrate your value to your employer, clients, and colleagues on a daily basis. Adding value is THE buzzword for “safe-guarding” your career and propelling yourself to the top of your profession.

Showing initiative is a must-do in demonstrating your value at work. Initiative correlates strongly with personal achievement and professional development. It is the act of taking personal responsibility for your growth, and it is a clear sign of your capacity to develop as a leader.

So, what are you waiting for? Take action today; don’t wait to be asked – be proactive. Consider the following ideas for lighting the fire of initiative in your daily work life:

  • Always be alert for ways to make something work better. Make the suggestion.Volunteer to take ownership for getting it done.
  • Take it upon yourself be the first to adopt and implement the newest company policy.

Click here to read the rest on Careerealism >>

8 Habits of Highly Accountable People

Filed under: accountability, Career Advice, Good Habits, Insights

It’s a common story. You end a strategic meeting. There are several initiatives on which everyone agrees are important to complete by the end of the quarter. Everyone at the table says they will contribute to get it all done, but when the end of the quarter arrives very little of the list actually got accomplished. It’s not that these were bad people or that they didn’t work hard. In fact they were likely all highly responsible members of the team. The problem was that no one was actually accountable for making sure the initiatives were complete.

Many struggle with the definition of accountability versus responsibility. The difference is simple. Many people can be responsible for helping out on a task or initiative. But accountability belongs only to one person who will be judged on the completion of the project.

Truly accountable people are very hard to find. Accountability comes from within. It is not something you are given, you have to choose it to own it. Here are 8 of the many habits accountable people choose to make part of their everyday life.

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>

10 Reasons We Fail to Achieve Our Goals

Filed under: Career Advice, Distractions, Goals

Setting goals gives us something to strive towards and boosts our self-confidence each time we achieve them. More often than not, we are guilty of setting goals that we sometimes fail to meet. I have observed the following to be the major reasons we sometimes fail to meet goals we set for ourselves.

1. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses – We all make them! These are often easier to come up with than reasons why we need to do something. They can range from not having enough time to the stars not being correctly aligned. Whatever the case, they paralyze us.

I personally come up with mine when I am feeling fearful, anxious, uncertain or just plain old lazy. Sometimes it seems easier and safer not doing anything at all than tackling what needs to be taken care of.

2. Magnifying our fears more than we do our abilities – Fear of failure has killed so many dreams before they had the chance to take off. We are so accustomed to leaning more towards things not working out than to them working out and often allow this to dissuade us from taking on challenges or setting goals for ourselves.
Fear robs us of our self-confidence and allows us to come up with reasons why we can’t do things or make them happen. Grab your fears by the horns and stop underestimating yourself; you are more capable than you think.

Click here to read the rest on Huffington Post >>

Become an Effective Problem Solver: Learn to Listen Better

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Insights, Quick Tips

The art of being a good listener can make you more likable and effective in the workplace. Too often people think that leadership and confidence are tied to directing conversations and taking command. Research on effective leaders shows the opposite is true. Great leaders are empathetic towards others and display finesse in harnessing others’ strengths. Knowing when to voice your views and when to hold back is an art and it requires the listener to have empathy.

Good Listening is tied to good problem solving

When you allow others to talk, you could begin to appreciate new ways of thinking. Considering different points of view could help you and your team think more broadly and critically about things to come up with better, more innovative solutions. If you want to become more effective in tackling problems at work, it pays to listen with more empathy.

Let go of the need to constantly express yourself

Research shows that active listening combined with empathy or trying to understand the others’ perspective is the most effective form of listening. If you’re always worrying about what you’ll say next in defense or rebuttal or you’re talking to much and forget what the other person said, it may hurt your  ability to interpret issues and create consensus with others. Active listeners don’t just hear words, they seek to understand what the other is saying so they can be helpful.

Click here to read the rest on Personal Branding Blog >>