6 Essentials To Adulting After High School

If you are about to leave high school or you’ve already graduated, you need to get these six essential items, as they are critical to ‘adulting’. This is the number one channel for tons of great life skills information and advice. Here you will find life hacks and tips that will get you ahead. If this is your first time, thanks for dropping by.

Craig McNally maybe contact via email @ thetalktank@gmail.com

Feeling Frustrated? How To Stand Up For What You Need At Work

When my client Margaret called me, she was in a state of total frustration.

She was a hard working, positive-minded, let’s-get-it-done kind of employee, and had never had performance issues in her career. But after long-term success in a job she loved, she’d just been assigned a new manager who was unlike any other: He gave her the silent treatment, iced her out of conversations, and, overall, was a bit of a bully.

As a result, Margaret, a positively positive and highly effective employee, had turned into a rattled bunch of nerves. She dreaded every interaction with this manager, fearing that in sheer frustration, she’d eventually blurt out “I quit!” without having any kind of backup plan. She wanted to make it work—it was a great job with a wonderful community of colleagues—but she had no idea how she could.

Perhaps, like Margaret, you’ve thought that if you put your nose to the grindstone, do good work, and have a can-do attitude, your career will be smooth sailing. The problem is, many other factors have an impact on your career, too—including the people around you and your relationships with them. And when those people turn into stonewall managers and abrasive colleagues, you’ll need more than a good work ethic and positive attitude to effectively deal with them.

Read More – Forbes

Stress

This is what goes on inside the body when we are chronically stressed:

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-stress-…

Our hard-wired stress response is designed to gives us the quick burst of heightened alertness and energy needed to perform our best. But stress isn’t all good. When activated too long or too often, stress can damage virtually every part of our body. Sharon Horesh Bergquist gives us a look at what goes on inside our body when we are chronically stressed.

Lesson by Sharon Horesh Bergquist, animation by Adriatic Animation.

How I Manage Going Back to School and Being A Full Time Worker

 | Marketing and Sales Coordinator at Triella Technology Transformations

Despite all of my current responsibilities, I recently made the decision to go back to school. I wanted to strengthen my knowledge of sales and marketing and so I have been attended night classes at Ryerson University in Toronto.  It’s not easy going back to school and having a full time job, here are some tips on how I have managed to have a full time job and attend school.

Time Management Is Key!

I cannot stress this enough.  This is probably the most important tip I can think of.  If you are working and going to school at the same time you must make sure to manage your time.  Unlike the days when you were a full time student with no job or a full time worker no longer in school, juggling both at the same time can be daunting but doable.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have responsibilities to the people at work and at school and that you uphold those responsibilities.

One of the things that I have found the most helpful is create a monthly schedule.  By planning out all of the tasks and activities to be done for work and school, I can se what needs to get done when.  That way I manage to keep up with my responsibilities and be reliable without falling behind.  While sometimes staying on schedule can be difficult, let’s face it, sometimes unexpected things come up, by trying to effectively manage your time you will be able to get a lot more done.

Do Not Take On Too Much

While some might think that trying to go to school and work at the same time means the ship has sailed in terms of taking on too much, well I guess it’s a matter of opinion.  What I mean when I say “Don’t Take On Too Much” is you have to be aware what you can handle and what you cannot.  You do not want the stress of school and work to burn you out where you will be no good at either.  Before deciding to re-enter school- while working a full time job it is important to take a step back and see if you are able to handle all the excess work that will come your way.

When I decided to re-enter school I decided it would be through Continuing Education.  By choosing this route the classes are a bit more accommodating to full time workers and the workload isn’t too bad.  I also decided to take only one course a semester.  Unlike my previous undergraduate experience a few years ago, I knew that school could not take up as much space in my life as it once did. By taking one class a semester it helped balance the workload between my job.

Study A Subject That Interests You

If you are going to make the decision to go back to school, make sure you choose a subject that interests you.  Whether or not it is to update your knowledge of your current job field or to prepare for a transition into a new field, it is important to enroll in classes that interest you.  School does not go down so well if the student dislikes the topics or fields of study.  Being able to balance school and work is a little easier if you enjoy them.

Case in point, I decided to enroll in some marketing and sales courses in order to strengthen my knowledge of the field.  I am hoping that this knowledge will allow me to perform better at my job and obtain a greater understanding of the important of sales and marketing in my company.  So far, I am thoroughly enjoying learning more about sales and marketing as it has been a field that I have enjoyed for quite some time.  Also, while holding a marketing and sales position in the workforce it has allowed me to see the real-world applications of the theories and studies discussed in the classroom much better.

Juggling school and work is a lot.  It takes hard work and dedication in order to succeed at both.  My decision to take on school again was fuelled by my desire to improve and advance myself in my job,  This mutually beneficial relationship allows me to learn more about sales and marketing while also bettering my job performance.  So for those of you thinking about stepping foot in a classroom again while working a full time job, make sure you manage your time, take on what you can handle, and study what you love.

Source (LinkedIn)

I wish you luck!

How (And Why) To Become A Fabulous Listener

Coauthor Emotional Intelligence 2.0 & President at TalentSmart


Listening is a bit like intelligence—most everyone thinks they’re above average, even though that’s impossible.

And listening is a skill you want to be great at. A recent study conducted at George Washington University showed that listening can influence up to 40% of a leader’s job performance.

“The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.” –Alfred Brendel

There’s so much talking happening at work that opportunities to listen well abound. We talk to provide feedback, explain instructions, and communicate deadlines. Beyond the spoken words, there’s invaluable information to be deciphered through tone of voice, body language, and what isn’t said.

In other words, failing to keep your ears (and eyes) open could leave you out of the game.

Most people believe that their listening skills are where they need to be, even though they aren’t. A study at Wright State University surveyed more than 8,000 people from different verticals, and almost all rated themselves as listening as well as or better than their co-workers. We know intuitively that many of them are wrong.

Effective listening is something that can absolutely be learned and mastered. Even if you find attentive listening difficult and, in certain situations, boring or unpleasant, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You just have to know what to work on. The straightforward strategies that follow will get you there.

Focus. The biggest mistake most people make when it comes to listening is they’re so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost. Focusing may seem like a simple suggestion, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Your thoughts can be incredibly distracting.

Put away your phone. It’s impossible to listen well and monitor your phone at the same time. Nothing turns people off like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all your energy on the conversation. You will find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.

Ask good questions. People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows not only that you are listening but that you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking good questions. In addition to verifying what you’ve heard, you should ask questions that seek more information. Examples of probing questions are “What happened next?” and “Why did he say that?” The key is to make certain that your questions really do add to your understanding of the speaker’s words, rather than deflecting the conversation to a different topic.

Practice reflective listening. Psychologist Carl Rogers used the term “reflective listening” to describe the listening strategy of paraphrasing the meaning of what’s being said in order to make certain you’ve interpreted the speaker’s words correctly. By doing this, you give the speaker the opportunity to clarify what she meant to say. When you practice reflective listening, don’t simply repeat the speaker’s words to her. Use your own words to show that you’ve absorbed the information.

Use positive body language. Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic. Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the speaker are all forms of positive body language employed by great listeners. Positive body language can make all the difference in a conversation.

Don’t pass judgment. If you want to be a good listener, you must be open-minded. Being open-minded makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen. Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace, where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require that you believe what they believe or condone their behavior; it simply means that you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what they are saying.

Keep your mouth shut. If you’re not checking for understanding or asking a probing question, you shouldn’t be talking. Not only does thinking about what you’re going to say next take your attention away from the speaker, hijacking the conversation shows that you think you have something more important to say. This means that you shouldn’t jump in with solutions to the speaker’s problems. It’s human nature to want to help people, especially when it’s someone you care about, but what a lot of us don’t realize is that when we jump in with advice or a solution, we’re shutting the other person down. It’s essentially a more socially acceptable way of saying, “Okay, I’ve got it. You can stop now!” The effect is the same.

Bringing It All Together

Life is busy, and it seems to whirl by faster every day. We all try to do a million things at once, and sometimes it works out. But active, effective listening isn’t something you can do on the fly. It requires a conscious effort.

How do you know when someone is really listening to you? How would you rate your listening skills? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

Source (LinkedIn)

Adult coloring books reduce stress, strengthens relationships

Coloring sheets for adults go beyond flowers and ponies. Most involve intricate designs and patterns such as this fabulous feline. Photo courtesy of Chrissy Carr

Kids, prepare to share your crayons because grown-ups like to color, too.

Whether it’s for artists-at-heart, those looking to relieve stress or simply individuals who enjoy creating, the adult coloring craze is, well, getting colorful.

Coloring books are flying out of publishing houses, landing at the top of best-sellers’ lists and inspiring classes, workshops, parties and even book club-like groups to form, designed for those who want to stay both inside and outside the lines.

“I love to color. I find it extremely meditative and relaxing. Sometimes I start my day with a cup of coffee and a coloring book, and sometimes I end my day with a glass of wine and a coloring book,” said Erika Lopez, with a chuckle.

And now her 95-year-old mother wants to give it a try.

Lopez and her daughter Anna Lopez have included the fun into their business as well. They host twice monthly painting and wine classes at their Boulevard 34 gift shop/creative space in Glendale. Lynette Rozine Prock, author of the book “Mandala Meditation,” which is used for drawing and painting, is the instructor.

One of the hottest coloring titles this year has been Los Angeles-based Souris Hong’s New York Times best-seller “Outside The Lines,” which actually hit shelves in 2013 and was published under the name Souris Hong-Porretta. Hong has since followed it up with the recent debut of “Outside The Lines, Too.” She curated both Penguin Random House works that feature work from 100 animators, cartoonists, musicians and street artists.

“I’m an advocate of anyone who likes thinking outside the box, who likes to do things differently and think differently,” said Hong, who plans to have an Oct. 3 book signing at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles.

As part of the fun, Hong hopes to have materials set up encouraging visitors to go wild. When Hong did a similar event for the first book, more than 1,000 people showed up.

“Museums used to always be don’t-touch places. For this event, yes, you can color on the walls,” she said.

A portion of Hong’s coloring book sales will be donated to the museum’s education fund.

“Most of us grew up coloring, but this last generation has grown up with computer screens in front of them. It’s a nice reprieve from all the iPads and tablets. You actually hold something in your hands and create,” Hong said. “I enjoy the creativity, the colors that reflect your mood and are an expression of ourselves. There is no right or wrong.”

And you’re never too old to color, said Ileene Parker, executive director of the Sherman Oaks East Valley Adult Center.

”Some of us closet colorers have been doing this all our lives,” Parker said.

Volunteer Ardeth Hurvitz gets the credit for urging Parker to start weekly coloring sessions at the center every Wednesday, and they’re a huge hit.

“We’re always trying to come up with activities to engage seniors in hobbies. This is perfect. It’s low cost — at our sessions we provide everything — and you can do it anywhere,” Parker said.

Research shows coloring is relaxing, can lower a person’s blood pressure and is a great way to keep your mind stimulated.

“People who come share and talk. Even though we provide coloring sheets, you still have to be a bit of an artist. You create. You decide what colors to use, where to shade. It’s a great brain activity for any age,” Parker said.

Fern Decena of Santa Monica, who recently created a coloring book club, agrees.

“Coloring helps me focus, stimulates my creativity, and I find it enjoyable,” Decena said. “Plus, it’s a way to gather my girlfriends and spend some quality time with them all.”

Coloring can also strengthen intergenerational relationships. For instance, Parker and her 44-year-old daughter enjoy coloring together.

“It’s fun and brings back memories of when she was a little girl,” she said.

Source: (Daily News)

Survive job rejection

YOU have been praying for that big break and you finally get the call for an interview. Two days after what you consider was a great interview, you get the call, but not the answer you were anticipating. A job rejection is something that nobody wishes to experience, but it happens. The sooner you get over the disappoinment, the sooner you’ll be on the way to finding the best post for you.

1. Be confident and open-minded

You are brilliant, and you graduated top of your class, and while confidence is important, always leave room for the possibility that things don’t always work out the way we want them to. If you decide to claim a job that was never given to you, it becomes more likely that you will become depressed when you are rejected.

2. Don’t beat yourself up

A rejection can impact your confidence severely, but it’s not healthy to torture yourself. Instead, think of yourself at point zero and use this opportunity to assess yourself by revisiting and building on core values. Consider your tone, language, dress and all the other factors while creating the positive energy you need to prepare for your other interviews.

3. Take away something positive

Despite the outcome, you must have learned something from the interview. If you executed it well, it may very well be that the recruiters were hoping for something different, and it may not have necessarily been that you failed at the interview. Use the interview experience as a tool to build a wall of resilience.

4. Ask for feedback

While some employers provide feedback along with rejection letters, not all of them do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking politely about the reason for your rejection. Never assume that you didn’t make the cut because you were not competent enough.

5. Identify your weaknesses

One of the most common factors for an interview rejection is lack of technical knowledge. But there are a number of reasons that could have factored in your rejection. Use the feedback to address your weaknesses. It is best when this is done immediately, so that you will be more prepared for your next interview.

6. Initiate your plan ‘B’

It is never a wise decision to apply for one job. Apply for several jobs for which you meet the criteria, even when you don’t want to. Pursuing multiple decisions may work in your favour, since one job rejection may help you to master the weaknesses and prepare yourself as necessary for the upcoming ones.

7. Leave the past in the past

Consider what went wrong, assess the interview, and make the corrections to your errors. But, don’t dwell on it. Don’t try to discuss it with everyone who is willing to listen, and more importantly, don’t allow it to become a nightmare. Instead, focus on your achievements, and your dreams. This should be a source of inspiration and motivation for you.

8. Remind yourself you are not alone

Hundreds, nay thousands of people get turned down every year. It is important that you know you shouldn’t use interviews as professional validation. It does not mean that you are not professional or lack the ability to do the job. All it means is that you were not what they were looking for at that particular time.

9. Erase that frown

The best way to face your fear, which is rejection in this case, is to keep a smile on your face. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it will be okay. Your dream job is waiting for you. All it requires is for you to search a little harder, and sometimes a little wider, but it’s already there.

Cheer up!

Source (The Jamaica Observer)

9 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit

Travis Bradberry
Contributor
Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and President at TalentSmart

Want your business to appear in Entrepreneur magazine? Tell us how you’re empowering employees, and you could be selected for a full-page promotion provided by Colonial Life.

It’s pretty incredible how often you hear managers complaining about their best employees leaving, and they really do have something to complain about—few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door.

Managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun, while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.

The sad thing is that this can easily be avoided. All that’s required is a new perspective and some extra effort on the manager’s part.

First, we need to understand the nine worst things that managers do that send good people packing.

1. They overwork people.

Nothing burns good employees out quite like overworking them. It’s so tempting to work your best people hard that managers frequently fall into this trap. Overworking good employees is perplexing; it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for great performance. Overworking employees is also counterproductive. New research from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that you don’t get anything out of working more.

If you must increase how much work your talented employees are doing, you’d better increase their status as well. Talented employees will take on a bigger workload, but they won’t stay if their job suffocates them in the process. Raises, promotions, and title-changes are all acceptable ways to increase workload. If you simply increase workload because people are talented, without changing a thing, they will seek another job that gives them what they deserve.

2. They don’t recognize contributions and reward good work.

It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all. Managers need to communicate with their people to find out what makes them feel good (for some, it’s a raise; for others, it’s public recognition) and then to reward them for a job well done. With top performers, this will happen often if you’re doing it right.

3. They don’t care about their employees.

More than half of people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Smart companies make certain their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. These are the bosses who celebrate an employee’s success, empathize with those going through hard times, and challenge people, even when it hurts. Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates. It’s impossible to work for someone eight-plus hours a day when they aren’t personally involved and don’t care about anything other than your production yield.

4. They don’t honor their commitments.

Making promises to people places you on the fine line that lies between making them very happy and watching them walk out the door. When you uphold a commitment, you grow in the eyes of your employees because you prove yourself to be trustworthy and honorable (two very important qualities in a boss). But when you disregard your commitment, you come across as slimy, uncaring, and disrespectful. After all, if the boss doesn’t honor his or her commitments, why should everyone else?

5. They hire and promote the wrong people.

Good, hard-working employees want to work with like-minded professionals. When managers don’t do the hard work of hiring good people, it’s a major demotivator for those stuck working alongside them. Promoting the wrong people is even worse. When you work your tail off only to get passed over for a promotion that’s given to someone who glad-handed their way to the top, it’s a massive insult. No wonder it makes good people leave.

6. They don’t let people pursue their passions.

Talented employees are passionate. Providing opportunities for them to pursue their passions improves their productivity and job satisfaction. But many managers want people to work within a little box. These managers fear that productivity will decline if they let people expand their focus and pursue their passions. This fear is unfounded. Studies show that people who are able to pursue their passions at work experience flow, a euphoric state of mind that is five times more productive than the norm.

7. They fail to develop people’s skills.

When managers are asked about their inattention to employees, they try to excuse themselves, using words such as “trust,” “autonomy,” and “empowerment.” This is complete nonsense. Good managers manage, no matter how talented the employee. They pay attention and are constantly listening and giving feedback.

Management may have a beginning, but it certainly has no end. When you have a talented employee, it’s up to you to keep finding areas in which they can improve to expand their skill set. The most talented employees want feedback—more so than the less talented ones—and it’s your job to keep it coming. If you don’t, your best people will grow bored and complacent.

8. They fail to engage their creativity.

The most talented employees seek to improve everything they touch. If you take away their ability to change and improve things because you’re only comfortable with the status quo, this makes them hate their jobs. Caging up this innate desire to create not only limits them, it limits you.

9. They fail to challenge people intellectually.

Great bosses challenge their employees to accomplish things that seem inconceivable at first. Instead of setting mundane, incremental goals, they set lofty goals that push people out of their comfort zones. Then, good managers do everything in their power to help them succeed. When talented and intelligent people find themselves doing things that are too easy or boring, they seek other jobs that will challenge their intellects.

Bringing it all together

If you want your best people to stay, you need to think carefully about how you treat them. While good employees are as tough as nails, their talent gives them an abundance of options. You need to make them want to work for you.

version of this article first appeared at TalentSmart.com.

Source: (Entrepreneur)

The 9 Worst Mistakes You Can Ever Make at Work

Travis Bradberry
Contributor
Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and President at TalentSmart

We’ve all heard of (or seen firsthand) people doing some pretty crazy things at work.

Truth is, you don’t have to throw a chair through a window or quit in the middle of a presentation to cause irreparable damage to your career.

No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, there are certain behaviors that instantly change the way people see you and forever cast you in a negative light.

The following list contains nine of the most notorious behaviors that you should avoid at all costs.

  1. Backstabbing

The name says it all. Stabbing your colleagues in the back, intentionally or otherwise, is a huge source of strife in the workplace. One of the most frequent forms of backstabbing is going over someone’s head to solve a problem. People typically do this in an attempt to avoid conflict, but they end up creating even more conflict as soon as the victim feels the blade. Anytime you make someone look bad in the eyes of their colleagues, it feels like a stab in the back, regardless of your intentions.

  1. Gossiping

People make themselves look terrible when they get carried away with gossiping about other people. Wallowing in talk of other people’s misdeeds or misfortunes may end up hurting their feelings if the gossip finds its way to them, but gossiping will make you look negative and spiteful every time, guaranteed.

  1. Taking Credit for Someone Else’s Work

We’ve all experienced that stomach-dropping feeling that happens when you discover that someone has stolen your idea. Taking credit for someone else’s work—no matter how small—creates the impression that you haven’t accomplished anything significant on your own. Stealing credit also shows that you have zero regard for your team and your working relationships.

  1. Having an Emotional Hijacking

My company provides 360° feedback and executive coaching, and we come across far too many instances of people throwing things, screaming, making people cry, and other telltale signs of an emotional hijacking.

An emotional hijacking demonstrates low emotional intelligence, and it’s an easy way to get fired. As soon as you show that level of instability, people will question whether or not you’re trustworthy and capable of keeping it together when it counts.

Exploding at anyone, regardless of how much they might “deserve it,” turns a huge amount of negative attention your way. You’ll be labeled as unstable, unapproachable, and intimidating. Controlling your emotions keeps you in the driver’s seat. When you are able to control your emotions around someone who wrongs you, they end up looking bad instead of you.

  1. Announcing That You Hate Your Job

The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.

  1. Bragging

When someone hits a home run and starts gloating as they run the bases, it’s safe to assume that they haven’t hit very many home runs. On the other hand, if they hit a home run and simply run the bases, it conveys a business-as-usual mentality, which is far more intimidating to the other team.

Accomplishing great things without bragging about them demonstrates the same strong mentality—it shows people that succeeding isn’t unusual to you.

  1. Telling Lies

So many lies begin with good intentions—people want to protect themselves or someone else—but lies have a tendency to grow and spread until they’re discovered, and once everyone knows that you’ve lied, there’s no taking it back.

Getting caught up in a lie, no matter how small, is exhausting and hard on your self-esteem. You have to be authentic if you want to be happy with who you are.

  1. Eating Smelly Food

Unless you happen to work on a ship, your colleagues are going to mind if you make the entire place smell like day-old fish. The general rule of thumb when it comes to food at work is, anything with an odor that might waft beyond the kitchen door should be left at home.

It might seem like a minor thing, but smelly food is inconsiderate and distracting—and so easily avoidable. When something that creates discomfort for other people is so easily avoided, it tends to build resentment quickly. Your pungent lunch tells everyone that you just don’t care about them, even when you do.

  1. Burning Bridges

So much of work revolves around the people you meet and the connections you make. Dropping an atomic bomb on any professional relationship is a major mistake.

One of TalentSmart’s clients is a large chain of coffee shops. They have a relatively high turnover, so when a barista quits, it isn’t usually taken personally. One barista, however, managed to burn every single bridge she had in a single day. The surprising thing is that she didn’t yell or do anything extreme; all she did was leave.

Without warning, she showed up to her Monday shift, told the store manager she was quitting (she had found a better-paying job somewhere else), and walked out. The result, of course, was that every shift that she was scheduled to work for the next two weeks had to be done with one less person, as she provided no time to find a replacement.

She most likely saw her actions as being offensive only to the manager (whom she didn’t like), but in reality, she created two miserable weeks for everyone who worked at the shop. She ruined her otherwise positive connections, with every single one of her colleagues.

Bringing It All Together

These behaviors sound extreme and highly inconsiderate, but they have a tendency to sneak up on you. A gentle reminder is a great way to avoid them completely.

A version of this article first appeared on TalentSmart.com.

Source: (Entrepreneur)

7 Steps To A Truly Effective Leadership Style

By Rebecca Hourston

If you’ve ever been led by a Mushroom (everyone’s in the dark), a Seagull (swoops in, squawks and dumps), or a Kipper (two-faced and gutless), you’ll be all too aware of the leadership style you don’t want to be known for.

Fortunately, the simple fact that you are reading this article instantly places you in an elite minority that is actually thinking about what you do want your leadership style to be known for. The vast majority just go to work and get on with it, in whatever style comes to them by default.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (there will always be certain strengths to your default style), failing to actively develop your leadership style will deny you full range and maximum effectiveness. And it means that certain situations will be a lot harder to handle.

Style and Substance

The substance of what you do—the result you deliver—is pretty fundamental in today’s economy. But working on the way that you do it is what will launch you into a different sphere of success altogether—even if you already count yourself as pretty successful.

The leadership style you choose to use (and yes, to a great extent, it is an active choice you can make) has a direct impact on the result you achieve. It is what makes you memorable to others and fulfilled within yourself.

Redefining What’s “Best”

So what can you do to develop your own leadership style into one that will be highly prized? Here are seven steps to selecting the best leadership style, with tips for putting those steps into action.

1. Be Bold

Boldness is an essential for leading upwards. To grab the attention of your bosses, you need to swallow a bold pill and confidently make your point with as little padding as possible.

Few would describe industrialist Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airways among others, as a great communicator. But a great visionary—absolutely. His boldness can be breathtaking. And most of it stems from not giving a damn about what others might think of him.

“Have a bit of personality,” advises Karen Bosher, Head of Stores for the Mothercare Group’s Southern UK region. “Courage fueled by a high degree of integrity and a dose of good judgment should give you the confidence to stand out.”

“Be proud to apologize—I’ve found that shift in mindset really frees me up to challenge, take risks, and dare to make mistakes,” she adds.

  • Review where you’ve been holding back in your leadership. What elements of your personality could you allow to shine through more? Where could you be bolder?
  • For one week, at the end of each day, make a list of 3 to 5 things that worked well about your style of leadership. Actively use them more the following week.

2. Be Strengths-Savvy

Daniel Goleman, the pioneer of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), conducted in-depth research on leadership style across the top two percent of leaders in 500 global firms and identified several broad styles of leadership (visionary, affiliative, coaching, democratic, directive and pace-setting).

Get to know your signature leadership style inside-out. Heighten your awareness of what you’re good at, and consciously play to your natural strengths as much as possible.

  • Ask five colleagues what they consider to be the strengths of your leadership style.
  • Buy a copy of Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, and take the online StrengthsFinder test it contains to identify your signature leadership themes.

3. Stretch Your Leadership Style

Alongside playing to your strengths, actively work to stretch into the leadership style(s) you find harder.

Goleman’s EQ research findings in a nutshell: the most successful leaders can consciously draw on and seamlessly integrate all leadership styles, dependent on the situation. One size definitely does not fit all.

Masculine working environments tend to spawn quite a directive and pace-setting style. If this is not your natural approach, but is required within your job, find ways to blend your natural style with your “stretch style” so you’re not putting on an act.

Dr. Samantha Collins, Aspire CEO and Founder, recently trained to be part of the Save The Children emergency relief team, and found that her natural coaching/affiliative style was not enough in moments of crisis.

“I needed to be incredibly directive and punchy—forceful, even,” she reflects. “But what worked best for me was to give clear directions in as human and humorous a way as I could, so that the job got done more effectively but I didn’t feel I was selling out on myself.”

Blend with your team’s leadership strengths to best advantage. “The best leaders are not well rounded…[but] the best teams are,” says Tom Rath of Gallup, which has surveyed over 3 million people on the topic of leadership style and strengths.

  • Identify your leadership style stretch areas, and find ways to authentically blend them with your natural style.
  • Review the blend of strengths in your team or organization. Who on your team has strengths that particularly complement your own leadership style, and how could you use these better?

4. Be “Going Somewhere”

Call it being visionary, call it setting direction, call it having a compelling point—creating hope for the future and helping people see the way forward is one of the top four basic needs of followers, according to Gallup’s latest research.

Recent studies by the Hay Group concur that to be a great leader, alongside being trustworthy, you simply must be able to communicate a vision of where you and others need to go. Not only will this inspire confidence downwards, among your team, it will also increase your impact upwards, among your bosses.

  • Build your external network and read widely. You need a solid grasp of what’s happening outside your organization or department in order to create a bigger-picture vision.
  • Draft and communicate. It doesn’t have to be perfectly worded from the start. You won’t be considered visionary unless you get the word out.

5. Be Follower-Focused

The best leaders are human and socially conscious. Recognizing the contribution of others and giving the team room to innovate is the best way to lead into a more resilient future.

  • Consider “Why should my team be led by me?” Notice what you already bring them, and what they need more of from you to bring out their best.
  • Ask yourself, “What can I give my team today?”

6. Be Balanced

Strive for sustainable thought and action. The “do it and be damned with the consequences” approach may still be going on around you, but great leaders know that it won’t wash long term.

  • Ask yourself, “What might the unintended impact of my/our action be?”
  • Balance yourself. Prioritize the things outside work that keep you sane by creating “golden time” in your calendar that can’t be touched.

7. Be True to You

Google  lists 8.5 million web pages that all claim to have “the best” chocolate cake recipe. Presumably each is somebody’s favorite!

Like chocolate cake, there’s no such thing as “the best” leadership style in isolation. What there is, however, is the best leadership style for you, for a given situation. So give up trying to be something that you are not.

If you’re not being authentic, people will see straight through you. Genuine passion and pride create a fast-track to building connection and trust. Integrity, authenticity and walking your talk are the cornerstones to building great internal and external relationships.

The most valuable thing you have to offer is yourself. Whatever your leadership style is, it is uniquely yours. Own it, have confidence in it, trust that it’s not about becoming something completely different. None of the previous six steps will work without this …

  • If it doesn’t feel right — it’s probably not. Find your own way and stick to it, with confidence!

Rebecca Hourston, MA, CPCC, is Director of Programs at Aspire, an internationally recognized, award-winning leader in research, executive coaching, leadership development and consultancy related to women as leaders. An inspiring, warm and grounded coach, speaker, writer and facilitator, Rebecca specializes in working with women leaders who want to increase their presence, profile and impact and have a more balanced life. Visit Aspire.

(Source: Forbes)