MEMORIES FROM 2016: “Leaders don't make followers, they make more leaders". What a quote! I read this quote recently in Facebook:
It is so ironic that when some people get to the top, they forget one of the most critical responsibilities of the position; which is to identify those under their leadership who show natural leadership potential, and then help to channel those talents so that at some point they can get into leadership positions by themselves.
A genuine leader must have the vision to forecast and anticipate the future needs of the organization, then mentor and teach those with the potential to carry on and fulfill the leadership needs for longevity and success.
Furthermore, a leader must never forget that the "working bees" are the reason behind any organization or company's success and that amongst them there is a supply of candidates ready to take on that challenge.
When molding a leader, a common mistake that some top leaders make is to focus solely on the technical skills of the “working bee” instead of identifying those overall hidden skills that makes a good leader. We see it all the time, organizations promoting employees that have great technical skills for the job, however, they have the weakest and poorest management and people’s skills. The outcome is an unfortunate lack of balance.
The fact is that a leader does not necessarily have to be an expert in the technical aspects of making the “product.” Their job is to “persuade, motivate, guide and lead” others to do their best. Want an example? Take for instance the conductor of a prestigious symphony orchestra. If he/she playing any instrument while conducting? Of course not.
So, my message for current leaders out there is; create a legacy and ensure that when you leave your position of power, you leave behind individuals who are self-assured, competent, skilled, knowledgeable and ready to take on the challenge of “persuading and motivating others” to do and be the best. One last thing, while you do that, make sure that you do not overlook diversity and provide opportunities to all those who qualify for.
Indeed, it is absolutely necessary. Often times employers don’t want to see the need for employees training because for one thing, it affects their budgets and productivity. In this soft economy, when the government, nonprofits and corporations must do more with less, when it comes to decide where to cut, training usually goes first.
Employees have the responsibility to produce more or bring more profit, but managers have the obligation to plan and forecast to ensure longevity of the missions they serve. Regardless of how competent, knowledgeable or efficient an employee is, there is always room for growth, and a need to bring his or her skills to the next level and help them become more productive and effective.
Since not all employees operate or have the same skill level, it is critical that at minimum those who are less skilled or need to improve are given the opportunity to learn new skills, improve or enhance their existing skills and knowledge. This in turn will bring positive and better outcomes. After all, professional development and training should be seen as an investment, which with time will produce higher benefits for the employer, not to mention the positive effect of serving as a genuine morale booster among employees.
Events are very diverse. I am sure that you have attended at least one in the past years. Events can be as simple as a birthday celebration or as elaborated as a national conference. I am fortunate to say that I have been part of planning teams for a good number of events; local conventions, organizational fairs, annual meetings, national conferences, veterans stand downs, and yes, weddings that are just as complex. Furthermore, let’s not forget, family reunions.
Regardless of the type of event, there are some basic principles to follow in order to obtain a successful outcome. Since all events involve a financial piece, you want to spend a significant amount of time planning to avoid last minutes headaches. So let’s just get into the basics of what we should do. Based on my experience, the following are just some (not all) of the tasks involved to get you started:
PART 1: PLANNING YOUR EVENT:
PART 2: MARKETING YOUR EVENT
Who are your customers? If the event is family related, you just need to worry about the invitations. However, otherwise, you must develop a marketing plan to “sell” your event. If people are not aware of it they will not register and therefore, your event will not have a successful outcome. You can also offer on-line registration and perhaps, a reduce fee for early registration. Use mass mailings, emails, phone calls, social media, etc. You primary goal is to have a smooth and fast on-site registration, where people do not have to wait in line for long. Therefore, and as needed, increase your marketing efforts to register a large number of people before the day of the event.
PART 3: THE DAY OF THE EVENT
Your team must be on site hours before the beginning of the event. Since setup is necessary, it should be done the day before or as the venue permit. Do your final walk-through of the plan, detailing how the event is going to flow, reminding everyone who is responsible of what and where to go for trouble shooting. There is no time for error in your logistics plan now.
PART 4: EVALUATING AND FOLLOWING-UP
Develop a final report and indicate what went right and what went wrong. Evaluate the attendance and the role the marketing plan played in bringing people to the event. Evaluate the sponsor’s participation and get their feedback to improve next time. If the event generated revenue, did you end up in the red or black? Send out your thank you notes. Finally, identify stars in your team that can take more significant roles in next years’ planning.
PART 5: NOW WHAT?
Now is time to start planning again for next year. It is never too early for that.
Ok, I believe that some of us in our life time have experienced once or more workplace situations that I can call unpleasant to deal with.
The office is a hodgepodge of people with different personalities, characters, traits and behaviors that can be described as “different” from what most people anticipate, and would not necessarily mimic our own. If you are in management, below are some of the issues and scenarios that you may encounter in a workplace environment.
Substance Abuse Scenarios: The young guy who allegedly drank alcohol the night before, but still smells like a bottle of whiskey when he walks by you. Or, someone who actually drinks in the office and thinks that no one notice it. Worse yet, a worker who is a drug abuser and his drug use is starting to show.
Gossip: It is so overwhelming. People talk about other people, about everything and anything they feel like, just to make conversation. For one thing, it affects productivity. Here are a few not too uncommon scenarios: 1. The man and woman that are a “couple” and fight in the office and co-workers become aware of their private affairs. 2. The administrative assistant that dresses up as though she is going to a nightclub instead of work. 3. The boss who is unfriendly and unkind, and have no idea of how to run the office. 4. Finally, those who are obnoxious and vocal about their specific religious beliefs, political affiliations or sexual orientation, that most in the office do not want to be bother with.
Hygiene: How about a man or woman with poor hygiene that “smells” so bad that co-workers are complaining about it, or the one who shields the “smells” with excessive perfume?
Sexual Harassment: When people hear sexual harassment, the first thing that comes to mind is a male boss abusing a female employee. However, that is no longer the case. Now, sexual harassment is not limited to male-to-female. It can also be from female to male, from male to male or female to female. It does occur in any workplace. It can be case worker (male or female) harassing a client, or from a worker harassing another co-worker, and it can happen in person or through texting or emails. These are only few examples, but I am sure that you get the drift.
All these scenarios are real, but they can’t be ignored as they not only destroy the office culture, but affect productivity and morale. These are “accusations” that managers must acknowledge and address swiftly, effectively and cautiously as they could generate lawsuits.
Think about them, but particularly think about how would you deal or address them if you are confronted with any of these situations as the manager of the entire office.
We all have been impacted by this, unscheduled meetings, urgent or emergency meetings and of course, the regular scheduled meetings. The question is this; is it necessary to hold that meeting and if not, what alternatives do I have?
Before we rush to answer these questions, let’s remember this; what is the purpose of the meeting? We call meetings to discuss strategies, budgets, specific issues or problems, good and bad news and to plan entertainment.
Definitely, the meetings that I am discussing today are not necessarily for entertainment, although in a workplace, a “meeting” may be necessary to organize a team party, or a staff celebration such as welcoming or farewells.
Nevertheless, let’s go back to discuss the regular office meeting. I believe that the technology Era in which we are living provides us with some alternatives; a good percentage of these meetings could be replaced by a group email, a conference call, a webinar or a video conference. I understand that not all workplaces have the capability to use some of these technologies, but at the very minimum, almost everyone has access to email.
I am addressing this topic because these days’ time is of the essence and we can’t afford to waste limited resources. Unnecessary meeting can be costly to companies, organizations and agencies in terms of productivity and/ or services. An unnecessary meeting can push back a direct service to a client or a customer, or could affect the deadline of an important project, just to name a few.
Another issue is the timing of unscheduled meetings. People are more productive in the mornings, but when the staff is called to a meeting at 4:30 or 5:00, when many people are ready to go home after a long and very busy day, it could create a problem. Many folks will be less incline to contribute either because they are tired or are looking forward to the few hours they have left to relax or deal with personal issues. The question that you must ask yourself before holding an unscheduled meeting late in the day is…Will I get the feedback that I want from the participants? The answer is probably not.
Therefore, the next time that you feel the urge to call your staffs for an unscheduled meeting think twice about doing it or calling it late in the day. Instead, take advantage of the technology that is available to you.
In addition of the 6 listed in the pyramid, I always focus on finding those special skills that may or may not come up at an interview or may not be listed in the resume. Read them below and you may agree with my list or start thinking about developing your own list:
1. Ability to make decisions and solve problems: If you are coming to me with a problem, I will expect you to bring what you think would be a possible solution(s) as well.
2. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work: These days government, corporations and non-profit's are struggling to get the job done with less staff, less funding and less general resources. There is no way that everything will get done without considering these steps.
A. If you are the manager, please be realistic; set your priorities ahead; and provide clear directions, deadlines and expectations to your employees.
B. If you are the employee with several critical projects to complete, you must communicate and work with your manager, in order to be clear about what he/she expects, then prioritize and deliver on time.
3. Charismatic with the ability to influence others: An employee could be extremely smart and knowledgeable in the technical aspects of the job. However, that will not necessarily translate to success. I believe that employees also need to be leaders that would promote the organizational mission with passion in order to make others want to be part of it. Most leaders are born with certain degree of leadership, but I also believe that it is a skill that can be learned.
4. Ability to work in a team structure: Unless you are coming to a job that requires zero interactions with internal or external customers, I would expect you to be a team member; and that you would be “unselfish” enough to share new ideas or ways of doing things with your colleagues, without expecting taking the credit for it. After all, we are in this together.
5. Creativity: I look for signs of the person being creative and able to improvise as necessary to get the job done. This is self-explanatory.
Trying to get settle during your first month on the job can be compared to any other stressful situation in life, not necessarily job related. For instance, a girl meets a good looking boy and want him to like her; a couple meets in-laws for the first time and want to make a great impression; or you move to a new neighborhood and would like the neighbors to welcome you and make you part of their neighborhood. It is all human nature; we all want to fit in, smoothly.
So, what are you supposed to do when you go to work during those first few weeks? You want to fit in smoothly.
First, you must understand that any new job is not only about experience, competency and proficiency. It also requires good people skills. You are the new kid on the block, and all eyes are on you. In order to be successful, you must be pleasant to everyone, including those who are not in high positions. In other words, be humble. You must show people who you really are with your actions. You must earn their trust, and moreover, be approachable and pleasant. This is not to be misinterpreted as having to become your co-workers buddy. However, you will have to find a balance between being a “professional” co-worker and a friend.
However, if instead you are their supervisor/manager, other etiquette is expected from you, in order to be accepted and be able to manage effectively. Remember, that you are now the leader who will be providing directives and guidance that must be followed and executed. Only you, based on your particular situation, can develop that relationship at work with your staff or with your co-workers. Make sure that whichever your situation is, you set the parameters of the relationship from the get-go, and demonstrate with your interactions with them that you are honest, pleasant, friendly, unpretentious and approachable. These tips will help you to survive not only during that first month, but for many years thereafter.
You worked so hard and now employers really want you. However, you did not get one but several job offers and you like something from each of these offers. There is no right formula to tell you which one to select, as this is your own decision. The reality is that you will have to select the offer that makes you happy. Unfortunately, sometimes that selection may not necessarily be the one that pays the most.
You are looking to be in a place where you can develop all your talents, a place where you would like to wake up every morning to go to and feel the excitement of what you are going to create, produce, deliver, or whatever your trade is. However, you may not have the answer right now on top of your head, unless you go through “soul vs. facts” assessment.
This time, I am going to go back to a prior chart information that I gave you in one of my posts. It is a chart that will help you to make that decision. Remember that you do not accept a job offer for a couple of weeks, it is for quite a longer time, therefore, you can use every piece of help to make it right for you. So, here is the chart again. Put your heart into it and if it’s money what you need, or something to make you happy, well, you will make that call. Good luck to you!
Develop a 7 column chart with this information: Employer, Salary, Commute, Benefits, Perks, Job Makes me Happy and Score. Make sure you give a Score to each offer from 1-10, (10 will be your best score)
CONGRATULATIONS! You just received a call or a letter for a job interview. You were selected because you have got what the employer requires as competencies and experience, based on what you wrote in your resume. Well, guess what, now is the time to demonstrate in person what the employer saw in paper. In spite of the fact that as you escalate the job search stages it becomes harder and harder to obtain that job, it will be easier if you feel 100% confident in your skills and furthermore, in how effective and convincing you will be communicating them.
These are my 15 rules to follow to ace a job interview.
Writing a cover letter is not rocket science, however, it requires time and dedication. This is not just a letter; it is your resume cover letter. A well written cover letter can increase your chances of getting a job interview.
Let’s start by reviewing the elements of your cover letter:
1. Is your cover letter addressed to an individual instead of To Whom It May Concern?
2. Do you have a strong opening paragraph, where you can pinpoint your key strengths, based on what “that” specific employer is looking for in a candidate?
3. In the body of the letter, are you focusing on the employer requirements or are you going on-and-on, on the me, myself and I syndrome, totally unrelated to the needs of the prospective employer? It really doesn’t matter if you wrote 50 proposals, if the employer is not looking for a writer but rather indicated that he needs a public relations director. You can still build that information in your resume, but do not waste precious space in your cover letter. Focus more on your skills as they pertain to public relations.
4. Are you indicating clearly and with examples, how you would benefit the employer, if you were hired?
5. In your closing paragraph, assuming that you Google the employer, did you indicate how important will be to be a team member in such outstanding organization, and ask respectfully for the opportunity of a job interview?
6. Finally, did you give your cover letter to another person to proofread, to ensure that it’s free of spelling and grammar errors?
These are some of the elements that we all need to be concerned while preparing a cover letter. Let’s not forget that you want to write a great letter that is substantial and SHORT. If you are not successful in getting the employers’ attention within the first few sentences, your cover letter and resume will go to the other batch, yes, the batch of those who will not be called for interviews!
ABOUT THE Author
I am a blogger, a photographer, a jewelry designer, a gourmet cook, and a recipe book writer. I am also a flea market flipper, an avid gardener, an interior/ outdoors designer, an avid golfer and traveler.