Tag Archives: leader

Is Your Boss a Great Leader?

Difficult to earn and easily lost, trust and respect are two of the most important characteristics of great leadership. Workers look to their leaders for guidance and behavioral cues that influence the way they react to a given situation. So, the trust a workforce has for the people in charge greatly impacts productivity.

In fact, according to the 2017 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, 61% of employees said trust in senior management is very important to their job satisfaction. Even more striking, only 33% said they were “very satisfied” with the level of trust in their organization overall.

So, what does it take to earn trust and respect from employees? Check out these five important qualities, and let us know if your boss (or past boss) has what it takes.

They leave the door open
Free and open communication is essential for building trust and respect. Open door policies take many shapes, but fostering an environment where employees feel safe coming to the boss with workplace concerns, new ideas, or even constructive criticism, show that a leader is receptive to and genuinely interested in understanding the situation on the frontlines of the business.

They believe consistency is key
From how a leader reacts to project challenges to how he or she reprimands individual employees, consistency in words and actions is a major part of building trust. Inconsistent messages and unpredictable behavior will cause employees to feel that they can’t depend on a leader to make fair and honest choices of action in difficult situations.

They get their hands dirty
There are few better ways for a leader to build trust and respect than rolling up their sleeves and jumping down into the trenches with the employees. Showing that they aren’t afraid to step out on the front line and get their hands dirty creates a bond through shared experience and reminds workers that they’ve been there and have personally walked a few miles in their shoes.

Confidence in their decisions
Mental fortitude and resoluteness create confidence among employees. Wishy-washy decision making and uncertainty when the going gets tough causes doubt, and when the team isn’t fully behind their leader, a breakdown in communication and productivity is sure to follow.

They share their wisdom
As iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another—leaders who give willingly of their time and expertise to build up the next generation earn trust and respect from the people they lead. Not only do they set the standard for future leadership, they also leave behind a legacy worth celebrating.

Workforce productivity and success hinges largely on examples set by the people at the top. Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, but the leaders who invest the time to foster a positive working environment based on mutual respect will be rewarded with employees who are more engaged and loyal to their company.

Does your  boss (or past boss) have any of these qualities? If not, how does that affect your productivity ? Let us know in the comments below!

Important Lessons From the Armed Forces

US military soldiersThroughout the history of our country, the Armed Forces have led, fought for, and protected the American way of life and our freedom.

In the military, officers are taught to lead and inspire the men and women who serve, oftentimes in high-stress and even higher-stakes situations.

Those who serve often undergo rigorous physical and mental training. They apply their training in situations where sharp attention, bravery, skill, and teamwork are vital to victory and survival. That training can also transfer to business when they return home.

Memorial Day, held on May 30 this year, honors the deceased veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the Armed Forces. As the holiday approaches, lessons from our military can be applied to the changing workforce and to those seeking new careers.

According to the United States Marines, everyone has the ability and the authority to make important decisions in the midst of chaos. If no specific orders are given, they operate under a philosophy called “Commander’s Intent.”

Basically, if a Marine who is not the leader finds himself in a situation where an immediate decision is needed, he has the authority to make a decision that best supports what he believes is his commander’s desired result.

To put it simply, every Marine is trained to act instinctively and effectively in every situation.

For job seekers or employees, this decisive mindset can be used in business situations that require fast thought, intelligent decision-making, and knowledge of the end result. If every employee at a company is aware of the end goal, they can make instant decisions to bring about that goal.

The key, however, is leadership. Leaders must not only tell every person what that end goal is, but also provide team members with training to reach that goal. Then, they must have faith in their employees to make the right decisions.

From the first moment a soldier joins the Army, he or she learns what the words loyalty, duty, respect, selflessness, service, honor, integrity, and personal courage mean.
Soldiers learn these Seven Core Army Values in detail during Basic Combat Training, and those values become a part of everything they do, on or off the job.

The U.S. Army is a complex machine of missions and responsibilities. One task builds into another, and by fulfilling each responsibility with integrity, success is earned.

Whether you are a soldier, a job-seeker or an employee, duty means more than carrying out your assigned tasks. It means being part of a team and resisting the temptation to take shortcuts that could undermine the final product

Throughout its history, the Navy has successfully met challenges, thanks to the core values of honor, courage, and commitment.

In the Navy, honor means conducting oneself in the highest ethical manner in all relationships. The Navy requires sailors to be honest and truthful in all dealings both in and outside the Navy.

That quality can also benefit you during your job search or at work. For instance, encouraging new ideas and being willing to make honest recommendations—whether they are popular or not—will earn a reputation of honor.

Even an entry-level employee can become a leader by committing to an uncompromising code of integrity and by taking responsibility for their actions and words.

Air Force
No matter where you fit in the mission, every Air Force member receives “The Little Blue Book,” which acts as the guide for the United States Air Force core values: “Integrity first, Service before Self, and Excellence In All We Do.”

Excellence is a tall order, yet airmen constantly strive for improvement in self and service to help the Air Force achieve greater goals.

You too can strive for excellence by improving your skills in business. Find a mentor or volunteer to learn new tasks at your place of work. Constantly seek ways to improve your work. Take courses that will benefit your position. Be dedicated to always putting your best foot forward.

Excellence in all you do is a way to take pride in your job, and also ensures the respect of your leaders and co-workers.

Coast Guard
Honor, respect, and devotion to duty are the core values for the United States Coast Guard. In today’s changing workforce, more than ever, respect is vital.

Just as Guardsmen respect themselves and their shipmates, you too can treat co-workers, subordinates, or supervisors in the way you wish to be treated.

Respect does not mean you should allow anyone to take advantage of you, nor does it mean tolerating behavior that demeans or hurts others in your workplace.

Respect is a vital trait when working as a team. Let it guide you in treating workmates, customers, or the public  with fairness, dignity, and compassion. Guardsmen encourage individual opportunity and growth, and you too can encourage creativity through empowerment in your job as well.

Have you ever served in the U.S. Armed Forces? Share some of your most important lessons with us in the comments section below.

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

Everyday Habits That Make You a Better Leader

habits_better_leader_webBecoming a great leader doesn’t take a lifetime of work. Rather, there are everyday habits you can start right now that will help you learn to successfully lead others. From communicating effectively to being courageous in the face of adversity, these tips can help you mold yourself into the leader you want to be today.

Learn to set clear expectations.
It’s fair to say that no one can read minds. So, it’s especially important to make sure you are setting clear expectations before starting a project or delegating an assignment. If you’re leading people on a project, ensure you’re being precise, both verbally and in writing, about what is expected and when you expect the work to be completed. If you’re being assigned a task, make sure you ask questions that clearly establish the expectations of your job before you start. By clarifying expectations, you decrease the opportunity for problems to arise and make it easier to deal with them when they do.

Focus on people.
If you’re a supervisor or a leader of others, it’s important to visit with your teammates on a frequent basis. Investing time in your co-workers helps grow your team and build trust, accountability, and understanding. And strengthening your relationships with those you lead helps you give important feedback during annual reviews. If you aren’t in a leadership position yet, the same rules apply. Getting to know your co-workers and being someone people trust is a great way to help you move up the ladder and get noticed.

Get involved.
One of the easiest ways to gain experience, network, and build your resume is through volunteering. When you give your time to help with community service or an organization that’s important to you, you’ll gain valuable relationships, enjoy the feeling of giving back, and gain skills you may not have otherwise. You may also learn how to lead others, which can be a valuable tool back at the office.

Be brave.
When faced with difficult decisions, leaders have to be brave. In fact, employees will often look to how a leader behaves during turbulent times before deciding how to react themselves. When you’re faced with adversity in the workplace or at home, take a deep breath and consider your options before moving forward. Remember to assess the outcomes of your decisions to learn from your mistakes and celebrate your accomplishments.

Know yourself.
According to Forbes, 90% of top performing leaders possess an abundance of self-awareness. Having a strong sense of self-awareness means you have a clear image of yourself, which includes your leadership style, strengths, weaknesses, and skills. You know where you can improve, and you know where you shine. Once you develop stronger self-awareness, you can craft a plan for improving areas that need work.

Hold yourself accountable.
When things go wrong, it’s easy to blame someone else. But, great leaders know when they’re at fault. Instead of shifting the blame to someone else, own up to your mistakes and any role you had in the problem. Don’t be afraid of what may happen when you’re honest, and never point the finger at those who are not at fault. Furthermore, be there to back up those who need you when things go wrong.

Love what you do.
When you’re passionate about something, it shows. And often, it’s contagious. Take time to be thankful for your job and gain enthusiasm for what you do so others can pick up on your energy. Strive to share the passion you have for your work with others before boredom and apathy take over your team.

How do you prepare yourself to be a successful leader? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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

Poll – How Do You Prepare for a Future Leadership Role?

MOV_POLL-ICONLeadership is an important part of any company, and the people who fill leadership roles often make or break the success of their business. Does your career path involve leadership of some kind? Do you want to be the manager of a company or own your own business in the future? If your job search goals include leading others, we want to know how you’re preparing for that role. Let us know by voting in our poll!

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

Job Search Advice From Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest leaders in American history. In fact, the impact he had on the civil rights movement was so memorable that a federal holiday is dedicated in his honor. Celebrated on the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day marks the birthday of the famous leader and honors his contributions to American society. He is the only non-president to have a national holiday dedicated to him.

As a powerful voice in the modern American Civil Rights Movement in the 50s and 60s, King stood for nonviolent resistance and inspired people across the world with his hard work and genuine spirit. Although he was assassinated in April of 1968, King’s influence has never died. In fact, job seekers of today can still take advice from this famous activist.

While we celebrate the life of this famous leader, take a few moments to learn from his career and his wisdom. Martin Luther King, Jr. made a difference and enacted positive change, and was able to accomplish his goals because he never gave up. Because of his determination, work ethic, and vision, King always kept his head up and kept fighting for his dream.

If you’ve hit a road block with your job search or career path, remember to keep trying. Pick yourself up and move forward. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a very powerful dream, and you can, too. You just have to keep moving.

As King said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”


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

Four Training Tips You Can Do Right Now to Advance Your Career

training_tips_for_job_webWhether you are currently seeking a job or looking to move up the ladder in your current position, you can be proactive in building a plan for future success.

If you want to advance your career, start taking steps today to boost your skills, prepare for promotions, or impress interviewers. Here are five career training tips you can do right now to help secure that future success.

1. Develop current and new skills. Be honest with yourself about both your strengths and your weaknesses, and learn to develop both. If you struggle with new programs required for your job, study them or enroll in training. If public speaking is part of your career plan, join organizations like Toastmasters to help improve your speaking ability. Many libraries and community colleges also offer workshops in everything from Excel to business writing. Investing in your skill set is never a waste of time and can only improve your chances for success.

2. Build your network. Networking is a skill you can develop right now, with or without a current job. Attend events where your peers go. Ask advice and offer help when you can, but also watch what successful people do well and learn from them. If you have a job already, build your network within the company. Collaborate and work with others to solve problems, showing that you have a team-building mentality. Attend work functions and join professional networking groups to help expand your future job base.

3. Make a plan. If you are seeking employment, take this time to plot a course for your dream career. Knowing where you are going makes it easier to get there. Research what skills you need to improve, what programs or knowledge you need to learn, and what you must have for upward mobility, and then create a step-by-step plan to meet those skills and needs. Many experts suggest creating a one year, three year, and five year plan – much like you would in a business plan. Once you have a clear goal in place, reaching that goal becomes attainable.

4. Act like the leader you are – or want to be. At the end of the day, leaders are the ones who get promoted or hired. Doers are the workhorses, but leaders are highly sought after. So how do you train yourself now to be a leader? First, have a vision for your career and/or the company’s future. Learn to speak up and offer to take charge on projects. Show respect for all employees, and communicate in a professional manner. Again, taking business communications or public speaking classes can help with this.

If you want to advance your career, these simple training tips are steps you can take now, whether you are currently employed or not. Follow these career training tips, commit to your career, and be open to learning new skills. Proper training is never a waste of time.

What training tips helped you in your career or job search? Share your tips with us here.

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

St. Patrick’s Day: Lucky Breaks in the Workplace

st_patricks_day_lucky_breaks_webDo you ever feel like some people are just lucky, especially when it comes to their professional life? Somehow they get all the attention and wind up getting promoted, all the while you faithfully show up every day, do what’s asked of you, and are still in the same position you started out in. It’s understandable why you may feel unlucky, but the reality is that the professional world doesn’t work that way. An article from the Huffington Post lays it out like this: “While many employees do fine work, exceeding expectations in one’s day-to-day activities is not enough to get ahead. Rather, those who capture promotions are driven internally to strive for more.”

However, when you’re in the trenches, it’s easy to assume that someone else’s promotion was for less admirable reasons. “She managed to land the hot projects and got all the glory.” “He only got his promotion because he’s friends with the boss.” “She was always given the leadership roles.”  But, there may be more to the story than these natural assumptions, and chances are the promotion probably had nothing to do with luck.

Landed the Hot Projects
Maybe she did get handed some of the high-profile projects, but you need to ask yourself “why?” Most likely she acted and worked in a way that caused her manager to trust her with bigger and bigger tasks. So, you need to do that too. A Chicago Tribune article recommends anyone desiring a future promotion to “Show initiative by volunteering for projects, either within your department, on a cross-functional team, or a temporary job detail. Project work will give you an opportunity to gain more experience, showcase your skills to a broader group, expand your network, and gain even greater name recognition.” Sometimes it really is as simple as asking for projects and showing you’re a dependable, solutions-focused, hard worker.

Buddies With The Boss
Having a close relationship with top-level executives and learning from your boss can legitimately play a role in getting promoted. Generally, people recommend people they like, even if it gets labeled as “office politics.” “Much of what is dismissed as ‘politics’ is simply part of the job description – being a good communicator,” Forbes explains. “Being visible. Being helpful. Building relationships. You can’t be a leader without doing those things.”  The Chicago Tribune suggests getting a mentor because that person “can also be instrumental in spreading positive press by championing your skills, talents, and abilities throughout the organization to the right people.”

Always The Team Leader
Once again, she was handed leadership roles in projects and within the team for a reason. Attitude, track record, dependability, passion, and drive all factor into whether or not a manager trusts you enough to give you a chance at leadership. And usually that leadership role will start out small, and then as you prove yourself the roles will grow. As the Forbes article states, “You don’t become a leader by being promoted. You get promoted because you are a leader.” It’s up to you to find a way to prove your leadership ability.

Getting a promotion rarely has anything to do with the luck and everything to do with hard work. “People who are recognized and promoted are those who make an effort and stand out in their organization,” affirms Huffington Post. “They are go-getters who are fearless in taking on a new challenge, and they constantly challenge the status quo.” So your best bet for landing that promotion is to stop wishing on a four-leaf clover and start hustling instead.

How have you worked hard to receive a promotion? Share your stories in the comments section below.

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