Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Study Gives Important Clue About How to Boost Collaboration

When you're a manager trying to get team members to work together better, you would be wise to look at the "status" of each worker before asking them to help one another.

A study by The Ohio University's Fisher College of Business finds that you're going to get the best results from team collaboration by asking those a "moderate" distance in status from one another to collaborate.

Why? Researchers say if Bob, for example, perceives Randall as near him in status, then Bob sees Randall as a threat. Bob worries that Randall could overtake him in status if he does well.

On the other hand, if Jean perceives Kate as someone below her in status, then she may worry that Kate will require a lot of time and effort from her. So, Jean may not want to devote all that time to Kate because it will hurt her own career.

The real key for managers seeking effective collaboration on a team may be putting together workers who don't see one another too close or too far in terms of status.

"You might want to avoid assigning the most recently hired employee to train the newcomer," he said. "If that relative newcomer is worried about his or her status in the organization, they may be less than helpful with this new person who could surpass them," says Robert Lount, a study co-author. "Someone who is moderately successful, but not the top performer on the team, might be the most willing to help."

Monday, June 25, 2018

Channeling Christmas in July is a Boon for Your Career

It's the middle of summer, and no one right now is really thinking about decorating a Christmas tree, the holiday office party or baking cookies for colleagues.

That's why it's a perfect time to do so.

I don't mean that you should drag out the tree and start hanging tinsel, but I do mean that it's a great time to put yourself in the holiday frame of mind. The reason? You'll impress the heck out of your boss, endear yourself to colleagues and score major points with your network. All major accomplishments that will pay off for a long time.

When you channel the holidays in June or July, it means that you buy cards and write a nice note to your boss: "I just wanted to take the time to let you know how much I appreciate the support you've given me this year. I'm looking forward to all the adventures to come!" Or, you give your colleagues each a gift card to their favorite coffee shop with a smile and say, "I just thought you might enjoy this." To your network, you phone or send an email, telling them you appreciate them, catching them up on your latest news and then asking: "What can I do to help you?"

Face it: The end of the year is crazy. Writing thoughtful notes and taking time to reach out to everyone is often just one more thing to cross off your "to-do" list. Instead of those tasks becoming a joyful thing that allows you to reconnect to people, it's become another drag on your time.

This summer, take some time to really give to others. It will not only pay off for you professionally, but personally.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

3 Ways to Get Others to Listen to You When They're Distracted

I think we can all agree that there are a lot of distractions in our lives. But what you may not realize is that those distractions are hurting your career.

The biggest problem is that when others are distracted, they're not listening to you. If they're not listening to you, then it's going to affect your ability to get your job done, to impress the people you need to impress and to ensure they don't drop the ball and get you into trouble.

Here are some ways to make sure others listen to you:
1. Pick the right time. Don't try and talk to someone who is rushing for the elevator, has just had a difficult meeting or is eating lunch and watching cat videos. If you're not sure, just ask.
2. Be specific. "Hi Dan. I need five minutes of your time to discuss why the new deadline for the project won't work, and give you three other options. Can we talk now or is it better in about an hour?" Chances are good he'll pick to talk to you now since he knows you've got some solutions and won't take more than five minutes.
3. Get attention. Yes, it does feel disrespectful when the other person keeps glancing at his or her computer screen or phone when you're trying to talk. So, pause and say "Is this not a good time for you? I just wanted to talk about this because the customer is so upset and I'm concerned it may cause a problem with...." If the other person still isn't listening, say, "OK, I can see this isn't a good time. I'm going to come back in 30 minutes when you're free to talk." You've sent up a warning flare -- but let the person know you're going to keep at this until he listens to you. The odds are in your favor that he's going to give you the attention you need.

Monday, June 18, 2018

One Thing You Must Do With Any Resume

Fashion experts often advise that any outfit will look much better if you have it tailored – and that advice holds true for resumes as well.
When you build a resume, know that a tailored one is going to be one that “fits” the needs of a particular employer. Tailoring your resume makes you look much more desirable as a job candidate. Also: tailoring a resume to each and every job you apply to is an absolute must. Unsure of how to tailor a resume for a specific job? Look at the specific requirements of the job ad and try to address those points directly. Also—mimic the language used in the job ad when writing your resume. Continue reading for additional must-know info on this topic.
When considering how to tailor a resume for a specific job, toss out the rehash of job duties and responsibilities that might be profiled in your existing resume. Try to think in more detail. For example, if you worked in human resources, did you work on specific software? Did you work with various departments to plot their hiring strategy, and then craft job descriptions? Listing nothing but your duties and responsibilities does nothing for your resume, nor does it do anything for the recruiter or hiring manager who will read it (besides bore them). You must prove that you delivered results in previous or current roles (more on this soon).
Before we go much further, know this — you likely won’t have to write a new resume from scratch for each employer. A lot of your resume will remain the same — most likely, your resume heading (which contains your contact information); your education section; and past employers and dates worked for past employers.
The key to how to tailor a resume for a specific job is starting with a solid, well-written,

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Why Collaborating Can Be a Pain -- and What to Do About It

Many of us are being asked to work more collaboratively. That can mean a variety of things, from working with those in other departments or outside partners to the of "play nice and share your toys" kind of thing within your own department.

But does collaboration have a downside? If you look at your inbox right now, you may say, "YES!" Your inbox may be groaning under the load of emails from collaborating partners. In addition, you're being pulled into more and more meetings as a result of collaborative efforts. It's no wonder that 85% of most knowledge workers and leaders are bogged down in email, meetings and phone calls.

So, when, exactly, are you supposed to get your work done?: Sure, collaboration can be great, but it can also be a giant pain.

How can you collaborate more effectively without writing emails at 3 a.m. or sitting in meetings for seven hours a day? Here's some ideas:

  • Be stingy. Collaboration is all about sharing, but you need to guard your time more carefully. For example, if someone wants to talk to you, appoint a specific block of time -- no more than 30 minutes. If you can't get things resolved in that amount of time, the agenda is too broad or unfocused. 
  • Stop emailing. Make it a rule that if you've exchanged more three emails with someone about a certain subject, you stop emailing and get on the phone with that person. It will be much faster and more efficient if you can talk through questions or concerns, rather than just continually kicking the can down the road with endless emails.
  • Be unhelpful. This may sound bad, but it's really a way to stay more focused. Instead of jumping in to help -- without even being asked -- think about whether you're meeting your own goals and objectives. If you've got extra time, it can be rewarding to volunteer to help others. But stay focused on your primary objectives -- post them on your cubicle wall if necessary.
  • Go to a local bar. No, the alcohol won't help you be more efficient. It's really about taking some time to get to know the people you collaborate with, whether that's at a local pub, coffee shop or diner. The more you get to know your collaborating partners, the more efficient you will be at communicating with them and better understand their goals. Without that knowledge, you waste time and effort in trying to get a handle on the other person.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Why Workaholism Isn't OK -- and What You Should Do About It

With the high profile suicides of chef and world traveler Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade, many people are reassessing their lives and looking around them to gauge whether someone is struggling and needs help.

One area that needs consideration is the person who becomes addicted to work. While we all may at times may laughingly call ourselves a workaholic, it is a real addiction that needs treatment.

Psychologists say part of the problem with getting help for workaholics is that workaholism is often seen as a positive trait in society, even though it can be hurtful to the person suffering from it and those around him or her. You may brush off the concern about a colleague who works a lot, believing that this person just loves his or her job a lot. Or, you may think all those hours of working is just this person's way of climbing the corporate ladder.

However, workaholism is an addiction and needs treatment or it will wreak havoc on that person and those around him or her.

Experts say that there are several signs to spot a workaholic:

  • They go it alone. Workaholics need to control every situation and often are not good communicators. They don't embrace teamwork.
  • They know best. Even if other options seem  viable, it's their way or no way.
  • They're stressed. Workaholics are often irritable, seem resentment and are impatient. This stress is a often a result of the demands the person places on himself or herself. 

"Workaholics are out of balance," says Bryan E. Robinson, author of Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them. "They don't have many friends. They don't take care of themselves. They don't have any hobbies outside of the office. A hard worker will be at his desk, thinking about the ski slopes. A workaholic will be on the ski slopes thinking about his desk."

While we all may be saddened to learn that famous people have suffered from addiction problems or depression, let's not forget that it's the person in the cubicle next to us who also needs our concern. Check our Workaholics Anonymous for more information.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How to Write an Executive Resume

As an executive, you may believe that your experience and reputation precede you when throwing your hat into the ring for a potential new job. While that’s true to some extent, you still cannot avoid putting together an executive resume – and that resume is a key element in your successful quest for the position.
Of course, an executive resume is often different than one where someone is applying for an entry-level job or a mid-level position. Executives, for example, have reached a level in their careers where they are able to show their distinct value to a company or industry, and potential employers want to know more about it.
In addition, companies expect those at the executive level to provide some concrete ideas about how they will use their talents to make the company more successful or competitive – or even solve some specific problems.
“Hiring managers have short attention spans and do not want to be overwhelmed with everything a candidate can do. As a recruiter or hiring manager reads your resume, they want to know, ‘Can you do what I need done?'” writes Lisa Rangel of Chameleon Resume.
With that in mind, here are some ways to make sure your executive resume stands out:

1. Use numbers

If you increased sales by 35 percent in the first two years of leading a division, say so. An executive resume is going to be read by other executives – they’re going to be looking for someone who can state (read more here)

Monday, June 4, 2018

6 Ways Leaders Can Let Go of Stress and Be More Resilient

I recently was speaking with a successful executive who was nearing retirement, and looking forward to traveling and some consulting work. I asked him a common question: "What would you tell your younger self about your career if you could?'

He immediately answered: "To not worry about everything. It doesn't change anything, and just makes you -- and everyone around you -- miserable."

I thought about that comment as I read "Work Without Stress: Building a Resilient Mindset for Lasting Success" by Derek Roger and Nick Petrie.

Roger, a psychologist, and Petrie, a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership, say that there are ways that leaders can learn to keep things in perspective and let go of those negative emotions that turn a drive for success into a drive into stress.

They suggest leaders need to know how to:

1. Set high standards without a fear of failure. This is called having a "high intent and low attachment." With this method, you "acknowledge that there are many factors that impinge on your work that you can't control, which will enable you to pursue your intent without being held hostage by your attachment to the end result," they write.

2.  Find the humor. It's not a crisis when the PowerPoint is out of order, or you forget to deliver feedback one day. When you or your team starts to lose perspective about the work, find ways to laugh or see the humor in the situation.

3. Keep it in perspective. When you or a member of your team is having a difficult time, think about the bigger picture. Does an unhappy customer yelling at you really compare with the time your Dad was really ill and you didn't know if he would make it? The point is not to dwell on life's most difficult moments, but to remember that for most of us, we aren't dealing in life and death situations every day at work.

4. Ask questions. Instead of getting stuck in the negative emotions that go along with questions such as "Why me?" or "Why can't I be more successful?" try thinking about what's funny about it or what's great about it. Or, what opportunity does it present? For example, if you get through the challenge, you will be only stronger. Or, there may be new adventures if you just seize the day and act on something.

5. Realize it's not always your problem. This can also be known as "borrowing trouble," which means that someone's problem isn't always yours to solve, but you take it on anyway. The best leaders "listen with full attention, enabling the person to express fully how upset he or she feels," the authors write. "Then they ask smart questions to help guide the best actions to follow, but when the person leaves the room, any emotions they are still holding leave as well."

6.  Deal with emotions efficiently. Using the"situation, behavior and impact" (SBI) method, you describe the specifics of a situation, say what the person said or did and then say how you felt as a result. "This method works well because it avoids trying to second-guess what the other person's intentions were and coming to conclusions that may be informed more by emotional attachment that rational problem solving (such as thinking it was an attempt to undermine you)," Roger and Petrie say.