Leadership Lessons from Popular Songs

leadership_lessons_from_popular_songs_webEvery day, the radio plays the hottest songs of the season, and while these songs entertain, they can also teach us a thing or two about leadership.

Leadership lessons from popular songs? Why not? When it comes down to it, everything can be a way to improve leadership skills. Some of these tunes have a deeper underlying theme that can help you find your steps and improve your life.

So, without further adieu, let’s find our leadership lessons in these popular songs.

1. “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift manages to shake off the naysayers and bounce back bigger and better every time. You too can follow this example. You’ll have people trying to cut you down, hold you back, and make you feel less than perfect, but it’s your choice how to react. Everyone makes mistakes. Success comes from how you handle that mistake, and great leaders don’t let others bring them down. Concentrate on doing the best you can, learn from your mistakes, and strive to move on.

2. “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith
This song is about listening to your instincts when something doesn’t feel right. In today’s world, the art of listening to your inner voice is sometimes nonexistent. However, knowing what’s in your heart can lead you on the right path. If something doesn’t feel legitimate or if you can’t trust who you are dealing with, you might want to keep your guard up. If you come across an opportunity, like a job posting, that feels good, explore it further. Research the company and learn about its culture, goals, and history. But, remember the age-old wisdom – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. “Ghost” by Ella Henderson
Sometimes we make mistakes or go through a bad time, and we can’t seem to let that mistake go. We keep “going to the river to pray” because we need something to wash the pain away, but it keeps haunting us. Ella makes a good point. She’s losing sleep, she’s dealing with the devil, and she’s still hurting. Maybe it’s time for you to give up the ghost. What has happened in the past cannot be changed, but dwelling on those destructive feelings can only cause more harm. Maybe you’ve had a bad job experience, or your interviews aren’t always going perfectly. Find a way to make peace with your past and enter the future with a bright, positive outlook.

4. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5
The first line of this popular song is “just shoot for the stars, if it feels right.” The boys from Maroon 5 have the right idea. If you have a dream and it feels right to you, then go for it. Consider what you want to accomplish and start making progress to reach your goals. If you want to start a side gig, switch careers, or go for a big promotion, you have to be the one to make it happen. Having dreams and goals are important, but so is believing in them. Every day, do something that helps you reach your goals.

5. “Superheroes” by the Script
As the lyrics say, “When you’ve been fighting for it all your life, you’ve been struggling to make things right, that’s how a superhero learns to fly, Every day, every hour, turn the pain into power.” This song teaches us to never give up and to always keep fighting for what is important. Challenges, victories, defeats, and experiences give us the tools to become superheroes, especially if you learn to turn pain into power. No matter what happens, you can overcome the difficulties and become a super leader to others. Take all your experiences and become stronger because of it.

Next time your favorite song comes on the radio, listen hard. You may learn a life lesson from simple lyrics.

Do you have a favorite song that inspires you as a leader? Share with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Brand It Blue Day Provided More Than 55,000 Meals

On Saturday, June 14, in communities across North America, Express Employment Professionals offices came together to serve and give back as part of the second annual Brand It Blue Day.

More than 200 Express offices, from California to North Carolina to Canada joined with 1,000 volunteers to provide more than 55,000 meals for those in need. If you were able to be a part of this amazing effort in any way, thank you for your support and hard work.

As we recently shared, volunteering and serving with a local nonprofit or charity can help you find your next job. But giving back to your community doesn’t just impact your job search. Research shows volunteering is connected to an increase in well-being and lowered depression, both of which are often impacted by the loss of a job.

Helping others, whether it’s through serving alongside a group of volunteers on a Saturday morning, or by doing pro-bono work from your home for a nonprofit, has a positive impact on your attitude on life and hopes for your future. The London School of Economics conducted a study that found the more people volunteered, the happier they felt.

We hope that Brand It Blue Day gave you an opportunity to serve in your community,  increase your happiness, and possibly, make some new connections that will help you soon find a new job. If you didn’t have a chance to join Express for this year’s event, make sure to check back with your local office for information about Brand It Blue Day 2015 and how you can be involved.

Check out some of the photos from Brand It Blue Day events from across North America!

Olive Brand Express Office
Olive Branch Express Office
Grand Rapids Express Office
Grand Rapids Express Office
El Paso Express Office
El Paso Express Office
Raleigh Express Office
Raleigh Express Office

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Poor Leadership Top Workplace Stress

StressPollResults_May2014_webApril was stress awareness month, so we checked in with our readers on the top workplace stress triggers in our monthly poll. Topping the list with 21% of the results was “lack of/poor leadership,” followed by 15% responding that “long hours/increasing workloads” are the biggest trigger of stress. Tied for the third spot with 10% of the votes were “inadequate pay/benefits” and “poor working environment/company culture.”

Here is how the remaining responses ranked:

  • Concerns about job security: 9%
  • Poor work-life balance: 9%
  • Work is uninteresting/not your chosen career: 7%
  • Poor relationships with co-workers: 7%
  • Inadequate job training: 5%
  • Lack of opportunities for advancement: 4%
  • Other: 3%

Top Causes of Stress for Leaders and Managers
Leadership challenges plague both employees and those charged with leading a company. Express Employment Professionals also asked the same questions about workplace stress to the readers of Refresh Leadership, a blog for managers and leaders, and “lack of/poor leadership” topped their list with 17% of the votes. “Long hours/increasing workloads” came in second place with 15% of the votes, ranking the same spot on the list as top causes of stress for the Movin’ On Up readers.

If you’ve thought being the boss would solve all your stress at work, this may crush your hopes of an easier life when you move up the corporate ladder. However, it can be comforting to know that you’re not alone in facing challenges with leadership. A search for leadership books on Amazon returns over 20,000 results, a testament to the true struggle leading a team and working with others can be. As a point of reference, there were only 10,000 weight-loss books on Amazon, even with the constant diet fads.

Leadership is often about communication, and your manager may be better served in helping you if you find an effective and efficient way to share your challenges and successes. It may not solve all your workplace worry, but it could be the start of less stress.

Ways to Cope
Check out these related blog posts with suggestions on managing workplace stress and improving relationships at work:

What have you found to be the most efficient way to manage workplace stress? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Go For the Gold: Career Coaching

Gold_Feb_2014_webWhen an athlete crosses the finish line and wins a place to compete in the Olympics, their training is far from over. Even after an athlete wins a medal at the Olympics they will likely continue training for their next competition. Their goal is to keep getting better, because if they’re not careful, the next time around, they may not qualify. Though we may not be competing for a gold medal in Sochi, we all have room to improve our careers.

Refine Your Skills
Just like athletes train and stay in shape, we need to keep ourselves in check. If you’ve lost your edge in your industry, you can get help by going to training classes. If you aren’t well versed in the computer software or technology you’re using, dive deeper and learn more about it. Wherever you are in your career, it’s important to keep your skills sharp and grow as an employee or job seeker.

Keep Up with Changes
On a trip to Colorado, I got the chance to watch an Olympic qualifying event. I witnessed some of the best snowboarders from across America contend for a chance to compete at the winter Olympics in Sochi. Just like those incredible athletes performed at a higher level, to qualify for the Olympics, it’s important for people to stay on top of their game in their industry. These athletes use every resource and advancement they can to excel in their trade. In your career, know what tools can help you do your job faster and better, and know how to use them.  Another factor is to keep yourself aware of legislative and technology changes that may impact your industry. Staying up-to-date is vitally important in the workforce and will help you improve in your career and job search.

Make Every Day Count
Falling behind and getting off track in your job can have negative results; that’s why making every day count is so important. What do you think would happen if an athlete took a break and decided to stop training? They would fall behind and fail to reach their medal goal. To rise above mediocrity and get on the right track, have a willingness to take initiative. This will show your employer that you’re a hard worker and have promotion potential. Remember: make every day count.

Have a Support Network
Many Olympic hopefuls have trainers because they too need support, motivation, and continual encouragement. So surround yourself with people who are professional, positive, motivating, and encouraging. Being around positive people can lift your spirits and help you be more productive. To help you develop your career, look for a mentor who has expertise in your industry. Just like a trainer, a mentor can provide help, encouragement, and advice.

What do you do build a gold medal career? Share with us in the comments section below!

Reading and Your Career

reading_Sept2013_WebWhether you consider yourself a bookworm or prefer to stick to comic strips and movies, your ability to read is a privilege – a privilege that more than 780 million adults across the globe lack. Nearly two-thirds of those illiterate adults are women, and an additional 94 to 115 million children won’t receive an education at all. In light of this worldwide need, International Literacy Day will be held on Sunday, Sept. 8, to help draw attention to the literacy needs of people everywhere.  The power to read can unlock doors and change lives. Check out this video.

For 2013, the theme of the day is “Invent Your Future.” The specific goal of this slogan is to “shine a light on the crucial literacy skills that prime students for success in school, work, and life,” as stated by the International Reading Association.  Beyond simply being a required skill for most jobs, reading has some major benefits for your career path, especially if you read the right stuff.

The Benefits
Ultimately, you are in control of your future. Where you end up professionally is largely based on your abilities to learn, grow, adapt, and communicate, all of which can be gained through reading. There are many benefits that come from reading, but there are a few that directly correlate to your career growth.

Reading can:

  • Expand your knowledge and understanding.
  • Provide good conversation starters.
  • Make you look intelligent.
  • Increase your vocabulary.
  • Improve your written and verbal communication skills.

And the list goes on.

Finding the Best Reading Materials
Depending on your industry and career goals, what you read will probably vary from what your friends and even your co-workers read. But, there are some books and resources that can help just about anyone in their career. Here are some great resources to help you know where to start:

  • Forbes Best Books to Boost Your Career in 2013
  • 15 Books That Will Help You Prosper and Be Happy in Your Career from BrazenCareerist
  • CareerBuilder 5 Books That Will Help Your Career
  • The Top 75 Websites for Your Career from Forbes

Even if you don’t consider yourself a great reader, why not make it a goal to read at least one career- focused book in September? Do it in observance of Literacy Day. Do it in honor of all those who can’t. Do it to take control and advance your career. You’ll be a better employee, and person, because of it.
What are some specific books or blogs that you’ve found to be helpful to your career? Are there other benefits of reading that you’ve discovered in your professional life? Please share below!

Congratulations Employee of the Year Winners!

EOYLogo150x150Every year, Express Employment Professionals searches North America for the best of the best associates. Across the U.S. and Canada, stories submitted by Express offices and their clients are judged and selected through three rounds of committees. Awarding Express associates at a state, regional, and national level, these employees exude many characteristics that earned them this prestigious award. This year, 43 winners were named and on Wednesday, Sept. 4, their stories will be shared with the world.

Our 2013 winners were judged on multiple factors, including skills development, reliability, honesty, and many more traits that define a “Character of Excellence.” Their stories are just a small insight into what it means to be an exemplary Express associate. Visit ExpressPros.com/EOY to read the bios of Express 2013 Employees of the Year.

Poll: How Do You Think Millennial employees Want to be Managed?

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollA Google search on “Millennials in the workplace” returns more than 2.4 million results, reinforcing the impact this generation is having in the business world. Millennials have proven their ability to contribute in the workplace and mingle with the other generations, but it’s still a hot topic of conversation.

Born between 1980 and the late-1990s, the 80 million members of the Millennial generation are a force to be reckoned with, outnumbering even the Baby Boomers. But when it comes to their desired management style, we want to hear what you think. Vote in our poll to tell us how you think Millennials want to be managed.