Tag Archives: development

Be a Leader in Any Role

be_a_leader_in_any_role_webYou don’t need a big corner office or a fancy title to be a leader. You just need the qualities that all leaders possess. Whether you’re a young intern or a top manager, you can hone your leadership skills now and make an impact on your company and your career.

Good leadership is not only vital to a company’s success, but to every individual employee as well. Explaining and understanding what leadership is can be easier said than done, but the good news is that everyone–from the youngest intern to the veteran manager–can learn the essential skills.

How to Develop Your Inner Leader
You don’t have to wait until you’re in the modern workforce to become an effective leader. In fact, the best time to start learning those modern management techniques is before you even go to your first job interview.

Don Betz is president of the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), and its Leadership Central initiative is designed to provide, deliver, and support leadership enterprises on UCO’s campus. The leadership initiative enhances education through communication training, ethics, collaboration, and more. According to Don, there are some major factors that play into a new hire’s ability to sink or swim when it comes to leadership.

“The most important reason that new hires fail is that they do not listen, they don’t communicate, they aren’t ‘coachable,’ they can’t critically analyze, and they don’t ask the important questions,” said Betz. “Those are basic leadership qualities, and that’s what employers look for.”

Start Early
To learn how to lead even if you don’t hold an executive position at work, volunteer for a nonprofit organization or join a club. These groups, like churches and school organizations, are full of opportunities to lead on committees, projects, or events. They are great starting places for future leaders.

“There are hundreds of organizations on school campuses that can help hone those skills,” said Betz. “In an organization, especially if that organization has a large event, you have to learn to communicate, collaborate, and take on leadership roles. You will be absolutely astounded at what you can learn to do.”

Look for Opportunities
Train your brain to identify every opportunity to demonstrate your potential as a leader in both your professional and personal life.

“Lead by example. Be the first person in and last person out, and hustle harder than everyone else,” said Kyle Golding, CEO and chief strategic idealist for The Golding Group, a strategic planning and business development firm.

Remember not to get ahead of yourself. Don’t give up on big ambitions, but also focus on excelling in your current position, giving as much effort to the present as to the future.

Study Other Leaders
Find people in your office that you admire and study them. Ask them how they developed their leadership style, how they reached their current position, and any tips they can share.

If you are too shy to approach your co-workers or leaders, study the way they interact with others. Or, pick up one of the many books about leadership and give it a read.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re employed or not, you can find examples of great leaders,” Golding said. “Study the way they act, the way they think, and start implementing their ideas. It doesn’t matter if they are in your field or not. All leaders have a style that makes others want to follow them.”

Know Your Stuff
As an intern or a new hire, you can make an immediate impact as a leader by supporting your bosses and the company in reaching goals. The simplest way an intern or a new hire can flex the leadership muscle is by knowing as much about the company as possible.

“Never go in unprepared,” Betz said. “Know your skills, but also study the company and their ideals, values, and goals. Be approachable, be warm, ask the good questions, and demonstrate a good work ethic.”

Keep Learning
Leaders also take the initiative to grow and learn. A good leader has a curious and open mind, and so should you. Leaders think outside of the box, are open to new and exciting ideas, and listen to what others suggest.

You can share those qualities no matter what position you are in. If you want to move up, volunteer to learn something out of your current job description.

“Ask questions, but ask solid questions,” Golding said. “This shows you have an understanding of your role – no matter how small – in the big picture of the company.”

Offer to Help
Needless to say, offering your help is the quickest way to be noticed and appreciated. If your company is facing a challenge, ask how you can help. No matter your role in the company, you can make a real difference.

“Companies look for that special enthusiasm and spark that goes well beyond the resume,” Betz said.

Practicing important qualities of a leader like taking initiative, offering to help, or learning from your superiors will add value to your career and your company. So, take the time to learn these skills and you’ll shine when opportunities for advancement arise.

How do you display leadership skills in your life? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

Hired Today, Gone Tomorrow: Recent Grads Don’t Stay in First Jobs Very Long

graduates_first_job_webFor college graduates, the first job after graduation may be just a stepping stone on the way to bigger and better things, and if you’re a company that’s hired that perfect graduate, you may lose him or her quicker than you think.

A recent Express Employment Professionals survey found that most employers – 77 percent – do not expect recent college graduates to stay more than a year in his or her first job. Of the franchises surveyed, only 23 percent believed the average graduate would spend more than a year with the company.

That means all that time you spent recruiting vibrant college grads is for naught, if you can’t keep them.

The Grass May Not Be Greener, but Who Cares
Express released the 2014 edition of the “America Employed” survey of 115 Express franchises across the nation. Respondents to the survey were asked how long the average graduate stayed in their first job following graduation, and the results were pretty clear. Graduates are looking for new or better jobs less than 12 months after being hired.

“These survey results bring to mind a couple of trends that we’ve seen for years now,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

“First, many in the Millennial generation are taking jobs that they are over-qualified for and thus are eager to move on when something better appears. Second, we’ve seen a decrease in employees’ commitment to employers as a higher value is placed on personal advancement.”

So what does this mean for employers? First, companies need to find ways to attract young talent and make the company appealing enough for them to stay.

Keeping Your Talent
Competition for attracting talented college graduates is fierce, and studies show the battle will only get tougher for the high-demand skills that graduates have. One way businesses can keep those talented workers is to offer an opportunity for professional growth.

Professional development and the possibility of advancement may be the perfect carrots to dangle in front of your new hires, but investing in their future shows you want to keep them. Add on training and promotion, and you’ll make staying on your team more appealing.

“It’s true that the ‘grass isn’t always greener,’ but this generation seems plenty willing to go check out the grass on the other side,” Funk said. “Employers, take note!”

How long did you stay in your first job after college graduation? How long do you expect to stay in your first job? Let us know in the comment section below!

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

Are You Networking Hard or Hardly Netting Work?

NetowrkingHave you ever heard, “It’s all about who you know?” It’s especially true when it comes to job seeking. Many open positions aren’t posted on job boards or classified ads, but are sent throughout the organization to see if anyone knows of a qualified candidate through their network.

According to The Wall Street Journal, 94% of successful job hunters claimed that networking had made all the difference for them.

While it’s still important to have an effective resume, transferable skills, and strong interview experience, you shouldn’t ignore the great value networking can have on your job search. Check out this animated clip that illustrates the value of building a web of relationships for your job search.

Advance Your Career Like a Ninja!

ninja_march2013_webLong ago, in ancient feudal Japan, there was an elite group of mercenaries who specialized in unorthodox combat known as the ninja. These covert agents were used as a strong contrast to the traditional samurai warrior, who observed strict rules about honor and combat.

Unlike a samurai, a ninja would be involved in espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and other underhanded activities. They were the ancient James Bonds of Asia, and were highly regarded and feared because of their effectiveness. To this day, western culture has built the image of the ninja as having supernatural powers like running on water or stopping swords with their bare hands.

The modern workplace can seem like the samurai – there are strict rules, codes of conduct, and cultures to adhere to. With so many expectations and understood behaviors, you may feel like your career is in a rut. You could be looking for the next step, but unsure how to cut through the clutter. Maybe you should consider these traits of a ninja to find unorthodox methods to advance your career.

Know Their Weaknesses
The chief role of a ninja was espionage. They gathered information on enemy terrain, building specifications, and obtaining information. It was very important for a ninja to know everything about their enemy and the area they had to infiltrate. The more they knew, the easier it was to find weaknesses and get the job done.

As an employee ninja, you should learn as much about your industry, and competition as possible, not to exploit or blackmail, but to be aware of their shortcomings so you can find ways of using your talents for innovation in advance of others.

Know Your Own Weaknesses
Nobody tried to fight samurai unless he was a trained warrior. Most martial arts weapons were actually farming equipment repurposed to fight the dangerous soldiers. That’s why the ninja specialized in stealth and disguise, because they knew full frontal combat wouldn’t be as effective.  Ninja weren’t warriors, they were covert.

In business, you need to be aware of how others perceive you and how your personality interacts with them. Narrowing down the commonalities you have when in conflict with others will help you identify your weaknesses so you can be aware of them when doing business with new people or when working with co-workers and managers.

Find the Value in Being Alone
While the ninja did have teamwork techniques, most of their missions were solo. They worked best when disguised as monks or merchants so they could spy in enemy buildings without arousing suspicion. One person could infiltrate and maneuver through a crowded place much easier than a team of people. The fewer people, the fewer chances of getting caught.

It’s difficult to be a solo worker in such a team-minded, extroverted culture in the U.S., but some people have no desire to manage large groups or be a part of a team. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate how you can be a superstar employee on your own right. Work with your managers to look for promotion opportunities on the basis of your solo work and your great results.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
The weapons and tools used by the ninja weren’t large or cumbersome, they were small and easy to conceal. The whole point was to look innocent until there was an opportunity to strike. That’s why monks were a favorite choice among the ninja because the robes could hide a plethora of weapons and tools. The key was having them ready, but not using them until the opportunity was presented.

When interviewing, you may feel the urge to present as much information as possible about your various skills and talents that could benefit the employer. Consider holding a few abilities that aren’t completely relevant to the job description until you’ve been hired. It’s the classic case of “under promising and over delivering.” When you demonstrate that you are more valuable than previously believed, that will place you in a much better position when promotions are being considered.

Hook ‘em
To get close to the target, sometimes a ninja would have to find ways of interacting with them and earn their trust. They would have to formulate “hooks” to get the attention of their enemy. It allowed them to establish a relationship quickly and lead to another meeting where the ninja could finish their mission.

The important factors to making a good hook are to find a reason to meet once, connect, and continue to meet. If you want to meet someone in your industry to look for better opportunities, find a reason for them to want to take the time to meet you. Approach the relationship with what you can do for them before asking for favors.

Now, young grasshopper, is the chance for you to use the ancient skills passed down from generation to generation. You too can become an office ninja master by using these tips to further your career. What ways have you gone beyond conventional methods to succeed at work? Let us know in the comments section below.

Get Employment Health with Career Fitness!

Career Fitness with Skills MastersonAre you at the entry level or are you at the NEXT LEVEL! Be smarter, better, and sharper in your career to help keep your job and get promoted! If you want a skill set that’s ready for anything, you’re going to have to work on not only your talents, but also your knowledge and connections. You’ll need to be a CAREER MASTER!

One of the best ways to master your career goals is to continually improve. How do you do that? Well, working your skills is a lot like working your muscles. Without continual practice, they become weak and flabby. Check out our extreme video where career fitness expert, Skills Masterson, gives you the power to trim your flabby skills into a set of ripped competencies for career success!