The Daily Recruiter

The Ezine for Executive Managers … brought to you by The SearchLogix Group.

Category: Being a Successful Employee

Can You Keep a Secret?

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By Maya James , of  Thin Difference”

I recently bought an apartment. I mean like still have a couple of boxes to unpack, recently. As most of you know from first-hand experience or can imagine, purchasing property of any size can be daunting. To some extent, it was, but not nearly as bad as it could have been, and I think I know why. For the first time in my adult life, I have consciously done something extremely progressive for me. I have been keeping more secrets. Not bad secrets. The good kind — my joys, projects, dating exploits, large purchases (like my apartment) and travel plans. And it feels so good!

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The 3 “Be’s” of Leadership

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“By Paul Larson, of SmartBrief.com”

During my many years as a corporate leader, and more recently as an executive coach, I have experienced the pain of watching leaders react and succumb to the stress and volatility of today’s global workplace.

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Think Positive and Achieve

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“By Naphtali Hoff, of Smart Blogs on Leadership”

“If you think you are beaten, you are. … If you want to win, but think you can’t, it’s almost a cinch you won’t. … Success begins with a fellow’s will. … The man who wins is the man who thinks he can.” ~ Walter D. Wintle

When Ford CEO Alan Mulally was president at Boeing, it was widely expected that he would be made CEO after a decade of successes at the company, which included shepherding of the aircraft maker through a vibrant recovery following the heavy impact of 9/11.

Understandably, Mulally was devastated when Boeing passed him over for the top job. But he refused to harp on the negative because, as he said, “a bad attitude simply erases everyone else’s memory of the incredible progress achieved.” Why become “the bitter guy” and tarnish his great progress, he thought, when he could remain in everyone’s eyes as a proud, successful leader? He took the high road and was promptly recruited by Ford to re-ignite the automobile manufacturer.

One of the biggest challenges for leaders, particularly newer ones, is to remain positive in the face of inevitable setbacks. So many things happen that can derail us from what we are trying to achieve, such as changing market conditions, weak sales figures, low worker productivity or morale, and more.

Leaders who begin with great optimism and energy could easily lose the wind from their sails and spiral into a downward funk when they start to experience obstacles, setbacks and self-doubt. Compounding matters is that many of us can be overly harsh and unjust to ourselves, in a way that we would never be with others. This can cause stress and despondency, resulting in lower self-confidence.

One way that leaders can help themselves to see beyond the moment is to engage in positive thinking. This means that you believe that the best is going to happen in every situation, rather than the worst. Positive thinking helps you to approach unpleasantness in a more productive way and deal with what must be attended to so that you can move forward as quickly as possible.

Positive thinking is not naivete; nor does it suggest that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. It simply expresses the belief that you will find a way forward in every situation in a manner that is most healthy productive.

This may sound simple enough, but for many of us this can be difficult to implement. Many folks are inclined to see their glasses as half-empty. For them, the optimism and positive press that once accompanied them will not sustain their attitudes and energy levels for long unless they can find a way to adjust their thinking.

How can we remain positive in the face of adversity? Start by identifying and challenging your negative thoughts. Say, for example, you pinpoint the following concerns:

  • Feelings that you are not fully prepared for this position.
  • Worries about how others will react to your processes, decisions and / or change initiatives.
  • A lurking anxiety that things outside your control will undermine your efforts.

 

Now, ask yourself whether each one is reasonable and stands up to a deeper analysis. Let’s practice this using the above list.

  • Preparation. Look yourself in the mirror and ask whether you have trained thoroughly for this position, in your schooling and through your professional experiences. If not, now would be an ideal time to secure a coach or a mentor to help you work through bumps and challenges. Otherwise, you should be just fine.
  • Others’ reactions. People will generally respond favorably if they feel that you are well-prepared, that you listened well to their thoughts and concerns, and that you made your best efforts to succeed. Do the right things and be confident that your people will support you.
  • What about the things that I can’t control? No leader can fully plan for every eventuality. However, if you’ve done contingency planning and considered common risks, you should be well-prepared for what’s to come.

Fears can easily grip us at moments of uncertainty. When you challenge your fears through careful, rational analysis, it becomes much easier to isolate the real issues and determine whether there is any merit to the fear. When available, take appropriate action. Otherwise, rest easy knowing that you’ve done everything you can to be successful.

Here are some other strategies that can help us think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:

  • Embrace a healthier lifestyle. Regular exercise can positively affect mood and reduce stress. Maintain a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body.
  • Become more self-aware. Intermittently throughout the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. Keep notes over a two-week period to see what kind of trends you can identify.
  • Take it slow. If you see that are not as optimistic as you would like to be, start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
  • Laugh it off. Stress can make us tighten up and hunker down. Laughing has the opposite effect. It loosens us and allows us to let go and see things for what they really are. To quote Lord Byron, “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people. Their energy is contagious and their sunny outlook will change the way that you look at things. Negative people feed your anxieties and stress levels. They may also make you doubt your ability to succeed.

This Could Be the Most Powerful Word in Business

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“By Sarah Kauss, a Fortune Contributor”

You should start saying it more.

When asked by friends and colleagues what 2016 will be about for me, my response is straight-forward and simple: it’s the year of ‘no’. I’ve received some interesting reactions when sharing this — especially since many of these folks know me well, and know how much I love to say ‘yes’. I get the feeling they don’t really believe I can do it. What they don’t know is that I’ve already started and, thanks to a little planning and a lot of desire to take back a little of myself for me, I’m going to make ‘no’ a positive word in my day-to-day interactions.

Here’s why: 2015 was extremely successful for S’well and also quite overwhelming. The company experienced 400% growth. We launched major global initiatives with major global partners. We created new products. We made new friends and set the stage for a new year of exciting change. But, in the process, I also found myself on several different continents while wearing about 20 different executive (and not so executive) hats. I committed to be in places that were inspiring but not critical to my personal or professional goals. So while incredibly grateful for the massive amount of opportunity, by year’s end, I found myself exhausted and questioning whether each opportunity was worth my undivided attention and participation. Surviving that feeling along with the holiday sales rush, I’ve experienced the pleasure of perspective and quickly mapped out a few rules to set the stage for my year of ‘no’.  

It starts with new guidelines. I’m making sure 2016’s priorities leave room for me, not just my company. You see, I love my company. But I also love my fiancé, my family, five-plus hours of sleep, mentoring, and my sanity. I’ll be running opportunities through my “just-say-no” filter in order to make time for those other personal things in my life. This means, if something doesn’t help achieve pertinent long- or short-term business goals or fulfill a personal passion (all previously identified), then I will politely decline.

Expanding resources is no longer a question. As a startup, sometimes it’s hard to know when and where to hire talent that feeds the company and provides the right support. And 2015 was one of those years where we needed the support but didn’t have time to find it — this had to change. I’m now partnering with new, smart experienced professionals who help expand the company’s brain power. We’re bringing in new team members to start wearing some of those hats I mentioned. This will be a key factor in allowing me to say ‘no’, but offer someone else who can say ‘yes’.

Investing time differently is part of my year of ‘no’ too. Because of these new resources, I’ll have more time to dive deeper into the parts of the business that I love most — new partnerships, creative endeavors, quality control, team building, and new product development. Hopefully, because of this decision, we can all have more fulfilling daily experiences that will allow us to be more efficient and happy.

Last, but not least, keeping life in perspective. How do I do this? Saying ‘no’ to something if it’s going to keep me from daily journaling. I’m also going to say ‘no’ to conversations that only revolve around business. I’m committing to more conversations — whether this is with family, friends or colleagues — that go beyond our professions. When you’re drowning in work, it can be hard to allow yourself the time and space needed to think about something else in your life, let alone something else in another person’s life. But when you do, it can open you up to new ideas, new relationships, and new ways of being human.

I can’t hide it — this idea scares me. I like to say ‘yes’ and say it often. But in saying ‘yes’ too often, I’m finding that a part of life that I crave is missing. So it’s time to start saying ‘no’ — and I dare anyone to try to stop me.

What Successful People Do in The Last 10 minutes of The Workday

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“by Jacquelyn Smith, http://www.msn.com/”

Perhaps you spend the last 10 minutes of your workday staring at the clock, counting down the seconds until you’re free.

Or, maybe you bury yourself in your work until the very last minute — then you grab your stuff and run for the door without saying goodbye to your colleagues.

If either of the above scenarios sounds familiar, it may be time to reassess your end-of-day routine.

“How you finish the workday is very important,” says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work.” “It can set your mood for the rest of your day; it may impact your personal relationships, overall level of happiness, and how well you sleep that night; and it will set the stage for the next day.”

1. They Update Their to-do Lists

Successful professionals always keep an eye on their ever-changing to-do lists, explains Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.”

“But the last 10 minutes is when they also check their final progress against that day’s objectives,” she says. “They revise their final list accordingly while in the moment, rather than abruptly leave and hoping they’ll remember all the nuances of that day in the morning.”

2. They Organize Their Desk and Desktop

Your projects take much longer to complete when you’re not organized. “Having an orderly desktop and desk will help you think more clearly and prioritize more effectively. It’ll also help you quickly find important documents when you need them,” says Taylor. “File digital and hard copy documents for easier access and greater efficiency when you need them next.”

3. They Review What They Achieved

Taylor says in addition to focusing on what you still need to do, it’s important to look back on what you’ve done.

Kerr agrees. “Taking even one minute to review what you achieved can give you a sense of accomplishment, and on a particularly trying and busy day it can remind you that you got more done than you realized,” he says. “Happiness research tells us that doing a simple routine like this, and taking the time to reflect on what you accomplished, is a key way to boost your overall level of happiness.”

4. They Take A Moment to Reflect on The Day

Successful people not only think about the projects they’ve handled that day; they try to analyze when and why things went right and wrong. “Savvy professionals know that if they’re not learning, they’re not growing,” says Taylor.

5. They Vet ‘Urgent’ Communications

You’re down to the wire on your day, but the communications keep flowing; some urgent and some not — but all at the last minute. “This is when your time management skills are put to the test,” says Taylor. “Successful people are able to decide what requires a response and what can wait.”

You want to defer long conversations that are sensitive until you and your colleague are at your best: in the morning. “Consider a response that suggests the discussion be held at a specific time the next day,” she says. “Otherwise, the matter could last well into the evening when your mutual energy is low and you feel rushed. This deferral also gives you overnight to step back and think through your immediate reaction.”

6. They Stay Focused

“This is a classic time when your mind can drift,” Taylor explains. “Typically, you’re not as sharp at the end of the day.” Try not to allow yourself to get distracted or caught up in non-work related activities at the very end of the day.

7. They Determine Their Primary Goals for Tomorrow

Successful people have a list of items ready for the morning, and they identify their primary objectives for the following day. “You may have two or three of them that are top of mind, but commit them to writing so you have a core foundation to work from the next morning,” says Taylor.

“The more you can get everything down on paper that is swirling through your mind, the more likely it is you’ll be able to focus on the rest of your life with a clear head and be prepared and ready to go the following day,” adds Kerr.

8. They Let Colleagues Know How Accessible They’ll be Between Now and The Morning

The most successful people take a minute to determine how accessible they can and need to be between now and the following day, and then they communicate that to whoever needs to know.

“Are you going ‘completely dark’ with absolutely no contact with your office via text, email, or phone? Or are certain exceptions being made?” Kerr asks. “This will change day to day, and there’s not necessarily one right answer. The most important question to ask yourself is, ‘What mix of contact/accessibility will allow me the greatest peace of mind during my off hours?’”

9. They Review Their Schedule For the Next Morning

There’s no worse way to start your day than arriving at the office and learning you have a big meeting in five minutes.

“Successful people know to review their schedule and plan for the following day — and most importantly, visualize how the day will unfold,” Kerr says. This will allow you to go into the next workday feeling better prepared, more confident, and less stressed.

10. They Don’t Leave People Hanging

How terrible would you feel if you found out a coworker waited around all night for you to send that file you promised, only to eventually realize you’ve already left for the day, and that file probably isn’t coming?

Successful people don’t always accomplish everything they planned to, or respond to every email they said they would — but they do at least let others know that they weren’t able to get to the task, or make the decision, or respond to their email today, and they usually provide a status update, as well.

11. They Say Thank You to Someone

Great workplaces are built on a foundation of gratitude and recognition. “Creating a habit around thanking someone at the end of your workday is an incredibly effective way to boost your own happiness level and allow yourself and others to leave on a high note,” says Kerr.

12. They Say Their Goodbyes

A friendly “goodnight” is highly underestimated and requires very little effort. “It reminds your boss and team that you are a human being, not just a colleague,” Taylor says. It also gives your coworkers a heads up that you’re leaving for the day.

13. They Leave on a Positive Note

Before you head out, give yourself a psychological boost by smiling, Taylor recommends. “It will prepare you to exude a more upbeat vibe as you check out with your coworkers.” Successful leaders leave a good impression at the day’s end, as that’s the demeanor that sticks until the next morning.

14. They actually leave.

Successful people avoid the temptation to linger. They know how important work-life balance is, so they try to leave the office at a decent hour. “Staying around for no good reason will limit your level of energy and success when you need it tomorrow,” Taylor explains.

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