Bruce Tulgan

authorBruce Tulgan is the leading expert on young people in the workplace, a business consultant, a management trainer and a keynote speaker. Bruce Tulgan is also the co-Author of Managing Anger In The Workplace.

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Stephen R. Covey

authorStephen M. R. Covey is a cofounder of CoveyLink and the FranklinCovey Global Speed of Trust Practice, and a keynote speaker. Stephen R. Covey is also the Author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

16 Hard Truths About Corporate

deceive-1299043__340When it comes to corporate, people retain certain preconceived ideas about it and corporate fights back setting unwritten rules that are not applicable and indulgent to everyone.

For recent graduates, that are unfamiliar with these rules, transitioning from college to corporate then becomes challenging. At every step of the way, they are being hit by reality and are starting to figure out some hard truths about corporate.

Wondering how to transition to corporate smoothly and how to correct your misconceptions about corporate as soon as possible?

Start reprogramming your mind and integrating these hard truths right now.

Misconception #1: Money is compensatory

Money pays the rent, the car note and the student loan but relying on your pay to cope with the long hours, the office politics and the difficult boss is a mistake.

Money will be compensation enough just for the first few months when you are able to pay the bills. But it will get meaningless where validation, recognition, purpose and fulfillment go a long way.

Developing a healthy work balance, assessing your strengths and weaknesses, and pursuing your purpose are in fact detrimental to career success.

Misconception #2: Your grades are no longer important and your performance in class has nothing to do your performance at work.

What is required of you in corporate, on your first jobs, is not really to understand the different aspects of your job but mostly to understand the task given to you and to execute them.

First of all, your grades will no longer validate you, you will be able to gloat and feel superior anymore. However, you will be having dreaded performance review, once a year, instead of irregular exams. In truth, you will no longer graded on your level of knowledge and your ability to memorize theories but on your ability to work in a team.

Secondly, the company takes all the credit for your work.

Finally, if you missed class back in the days, you could still have caught up with the class and get off with a warning. But if you miss work or are late often, then you become lost in the project and in office politics and you might get fired.

Because you will be judged annually on the collective performance of the team, here are a few tips:

  • Search for the influencers on your team, get along with them and grow your own influence with them.
  • Hold up your end of the bargain in the team and help others pull their weight, without taking credit for it.
  • Keep your personal and ambitious goals in mind for motivation.

Misconception #3: Your diploma will automatically get you a job

In the past, your diploma from an ivy league college will get you a position with status and authority. Nowadays, people are looking for leadership qualities, character, personality, novelty and diversity.

You currently have to go through multiple job interviews, that are now psychological evaluations, competing with someone with the exact same credentials and outperforming yourself, before getting hired by a company.

Misconception #4: Your education will fit the job description

Companies lure low profile, cheap and gullible graduates with polished presentations, attractive job descriptions.

At an entry-level position, your job will be everything and anything the manager wants it to be. Your entry-level position often begins with menial work, beneath you and your education level. And in that case, you will have to put up with it and outdo yourself.

Executing menial work serves the purpose of building trust between you and your team, and of demonstrating your resistance towards hard work.

Misconception #5: You can figure it all on your own

When you arrive in a new company, keep it mind that you cannot figure it all by yourself and you have to be open to learning.

  • Find a mentor to get advice and create a support system.
  • Ask questions to your coworkers to increase your influence and your technical competencies. Learn all the information needed for you to succeed at your job.
  • Takes courses, trainings and keep reading books to develop yourself and your knowledge.

Misconception #6: Your are indispensable to the company

It doesn’t matter which school you graduated from, at entry-level, every employee looks, talks, walks and acts the same. It is highly likeable that you will be treated all the same,  interchanged at some point, moved around from team to team, from projects to projects.

Your status shouldn’t be taken personally. It is a rite of passage.

Misconception #7: Corporate requires common and usual skills

Graduates were required to learn and memorize theories. In corporate, you will be asked to execute soldier-like, be dictated what to write down. Find a way to understand what is asked of you without asking too many dumb questions.

Avoid open debates and correcting your managers like in the classroom.

Misconception #8: The company’s public image and values are legit

hard truth about corporateThe company image and values are not always injected and reflected in the company’s workplace.

Most of the time, hierarchy is not always respected, power is unevenly distributed, roles are attributes unofficially and values are non-existent in the workplace. A toxic and individualistic company can publicly encourage team work and be elected “Best Company to Work in”. It’s all about product marketing.

Misconception #9: Blindly comply to your orders and assignments

Obeying at your bosses beck and call shows your loyalty, your ability to take and follow directions. It is also dangerous because you can take the fall and be thrown under the bus for any failure.

In any case, make sure that you:

  • do what is asked of you to a certain extent.
  • observe your boss’ methods, attitude towards you and others. His or her behavior might be part of his or her process.
  • keep your eyes and ears open in case of bullying and of excessive treatment coming from your bosses.

Misconception #10: Everybody knows better

You might think that evolving to corporate means that everyone there has evolved and matured as well. Everyone is educated and trained for their job, but not everyone is self-trained, disciplined, polite and respectful.

You will definitely encounter toxic coworkers that can easily make your life a living hell if you don’t know how to deal with them.

Misconception #11: You can make friends in the workplace

It is strongly advised not to create deep level of friendships in the workplace because your coworkers are not to be trusted with confidential and personal information.

Misconception #12: Office politics are easy to navigate

Office politics are more difficult to navigate than it seems, especially at an entry-level position because you have to try to be liked and to get along with everybody, from the beginning, without showing that you are making that effort.

Outside of work, you were able to get into a fight with whomever you pleased without ripping any consequences. In the workplace, your ability to assimilate, to fit in and to get along with your coworkers will be tested during the first three months on the job.

What to do then?

  • Be an easy-going, a non-partisan, untalkative, reliable coworker that everyone confides to.
  • Don’t take unpopular opinions, even for your “ally” in the workplace.
  • Show respect for other people opinions.
  • Show deference —not submission— for hierarchy. Avoid stepping on toes and going above someone’s head.
  • Develop character, integrity and a proper attitude.
  • Use laughter to defuse bombs.

Misconception #13: Transparency and candor are welcomed with open arms

Don’t openly correct your managers in front of his or her superiors or subordinates or anyone really before being labeled as a “difficult” or “problematic” employee. Keep your thoughts, opinions and concern to yourself.

There are no rewards in pointing out issues, candidly picking bones with bosses and speaking truth to power.  Your credibility and professional judgement can suffer from it.

Misconception #14: Invest yourself in your job

One of the greatest and most common mistake of young graduates is to invest themselves and their time into their jobs. It is essential for you to:

  • put yourself first.
  • not invest too much in projects nor merge your identity with your role in the company. This way, if a project fails, you will not entirely feel the blowback.
  • accomplish your required hours and put in a few hours here and there on special occasions.
  • build a life for yourself outside of corporate that will be a buffer when the workplace becomes toxic.

Misconception #15: Promotion comes from hard work

It is a wildly known fact that promotion does not come from hard work but from the illusion of hard work.

To get promoted, it is necessary to:

  • not outperform your colleagues. You have to slightly perform better than them otherwise you come off as a show off and your coworkers will hate you,
  • not be overly efficient. Otherwise, you will be setting the bar high, be unprepared for unexpected setbacks and you will be setting a negative precedent for yourself,
  • gain the right influence and acquire the right influencers.

Misconception #16: Promotion will get you respect and authority

Yes, a certain amount of authority and influence is acquired through a promotion. Nevertheless, people won’t follow you or perform beyond your orders and your stated authority. You will only be able to control your subordinates through monetary leverage.

According to John C. Maxwell in Developing the Leader Within You, it is only by building solid relationships with your peers that you will gain influence, increase your credibility and your authority.

You must not pursue a promotion just for the status and the title, without being prepared for higher level of leadership. You must develop self-discipline and character first and avoid attracting negative attention on yourself, at all cost.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. MaxwellIn Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell gives advice on improving your leadership skills and a step-by-step guide of the leadership process.

It is a fact that leaders are not born but are made. It takes exposure to another person’s leadership model, training and self-disciplined.

What is Leadership?

Above all, “Leadership is influence”, according to John C. Maxwell in Developing the Leader Within You. Leadership is not defined by an ability to acquire position, rank and status.

Furthermore, leadership distinguishes itself from management. “Management is the process of assuring that the program and objectives of the organization are implemented. Leadership, on the other hand, has to do with casting vision and motivating people.”

Who is a leader?

The leader of any group is discovered when an important issue is to be decided, when everyone follows and listens to his or her opinion.

Everyone can be a leader, is currently leading, has led, is led or is being led. Contrary to popular belief, even an introvert can be a leader.

Everybody has influence to some extent and influence can be developed. To discover your level and your type of influence, John C. Maxwell has separated the leadership process into 5 “levels”.

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. MaxwellWhat are the 5 levels of the leadership process?

The higher you go in the leadership process or the closer you reach to the final and fifth level of the leadership process, the longer it takes to pass a level, the higher the sacrifice and the level of commitment,the more people will want to follow you, the easier it is to lead, and the easier  it is to implement change and encourage growth.

Each level is interdependent and is the basis for the higher one. First find out the level of influence that you have with your coworkers and then, solidify the basis of this level before moving on to the next one.

  1. Position Leadership

At this level, authority and influence are conferred by the job title, which is the “basic entry-level of leadership”. This level is the common understanding of what leadership is.

Aspects and conditions of Position Leadership:

  • The job title has to be appointed to you by someone higher in authority, thanks to your technical training, and your ability to maintain procedures and protocol.
  • The position provides security but does not automatically create followers. People will execute your orders but will not go beyond your stated authority.
  • Millennials don’t respect figures of authority because they are no longer impressed.
  • Position leaders can only control people through monetary leverage.
  • White collars resent position leaders who abuse authority and attempt to intimidate.

Requirements:

  • Start by respecting procedures and protocols, by performing well, by providing results and by being consistent with it.
  • Make sure you fit the corporate culture and share your company values.
  • Come up with innovative ideas.
  1. Permission

This leadership level is based on interrelationship skills. People will work for you, not because they have to but because they want to.

Aspect and conditions of Permission Leadership:

  • Building solid relationships with people allows you to build sustainable leadership.

Requirements:

  • Develop your interrelationship skills.
  • Invest in people and in “win-win” situations.
  • Include people in your group.
  1. Production

This is a period of positive growth in leadership. Your productivity is therefore enhanced, even though you are not yet qualified for the job.

Requirements:

  • Develop a “statement for purpose”, a “responsibility for growth”, an “accountability for results”, an understanding for timing and an appreciation for change.
  1. People Development

Level of leadership where you are able to empower others and instill loyalty into them.

Requirements:

  • “be a model to follow”.
  • Invest time and mentorship in the top 20% of your followers. Identify other influencers that are your subordinates to unify the team around you and to build “collective influence”.
  • Make an effort to stay in touch with everyone even the new comers to the company.
  1. Personhood

Fifth and final level where you entirely benefit from your leadership position.

Aspect and conditions of Personhood Leadership:

  • An emphasis is placed on growing others and watching them grow.
  • You are surrounded by loyal and sacrificial followers.

So what are the keys to leadership success at each level?

Leadership success is obtained by understanding the 20/80 percent principle or Pareto principle to projects, to your job, to the people around you, by prioritizing and by working toward a stated goal.

To do so, on one hand, identify the high importance and the high urgency projects in order to tackle them first. On the other hand, determine your respective responsibilities from what can be delegated to someone else, what tasks give you the greatest returns and which activities give you the most satisfaction on your job.

Finally, analyze the significance of goals before starting projects.

The character to leadership success

In Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell considers 8 components of character that contribute to leadership success.

  1. Integrity

Integrity is the most important component of leadership. Why? Because it instills trust, helps you gain credibility, grow your influence, build a solid reputation, increase your accountability and your sense of responsibility, resolve internal conflicts and foster a spirit of contentment within you. You do what you say you are consistently and are able to lead by example.

Keep in mind that “integrity is not a given factor in everyone’s life. It is a result of self-discipline, inner trust, and a decision to being relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives”.

  1. Innovation

In order to keep leading, keep changing yourself and your organization, keep renovating and innovating, encouraging growth. The leader has to become comfortable with change and has to acquire the right attitude and understand the demands for such change.

  1. Problem solving

On the job, people all have problems and will tend to underperform. Unfortunately, you cannot eliminate problems and responsibilities from your life but you can overcome and work through them by changing your attitude and reactions towards them.

Leaders do not hold on to problems nor make excuses for their failures but instead transform their “stumbling blocks into stepping-stones”. In fact, they live by the following motto:

“If I can’t do something about a problem, it’s not my problem, it’s a fact of life”.

Also, a leader is able to recognize a problem ahead, is constantly looking for indications of problems before they occur, and is able to best solve them by teaching people how to solve their own problems, by listing all the causes and solutions of the problem, by directly attacking the symptoms of the problem and not the cause,

  1. The right attitude

The right attitude must be developed for leadership to give the right model to your followers.

  1. A love for people

Invest in people by:

  • developing people skills on your own,
  • teaching people around you how to be a leader,
  • motivating and encouraging others,
  • making the right assumptions about people,
  • becoming familiar with the right questions to ask people,
  • being comfortable enough to confront or clarify an issue with someone,
  • becoming an active listener,
  • giving the right assistance to people,
  • allowing team member to utilize their greatest strengths instead of their talents.
  1. An ability to have and share a vision

Leaders must have a vision, “a clear picture of what the leader sees his or her group being or doing” in order to find strength from inner convictions, to provide stamina and to continue their journey when setbacks occur.

The vision needs to be supported by the leader and has to be fed by the leader’s credibility, energy, by the commitment and ownership of the leader and followers, and by the timing of its presentation.

  1. An inclination for personal growth and self-discipline

A leader without self-discipline is his or her worst enemy and appears to be out of control. “This leads to uncertainty and insecurity among followers”.

You can start self-discipline by getting organized, by being responsible for yourself, your actions and your followers, accountable to your followers, by cultivating emotional intelligence,  by developing sacrifice and by paying the price of sacrifice.

  1. An enthusiasm for developing people

One of the role of leadership consists in growing people and developing the leader in them. To do so, create an environment for success, boost your team’s self-esteem, care for your team, understand their human needs and their motivations.

Review

Developing the Leader Within You, by John C. Maxwell, is a self-help book to assess your leadership skills, to solidify and improve your level of influence in your organization. Developing the Leader Within You is filled with small tests, examples and anecdotes to help you relate to the useful message.

It is dedicated to those who are unafraid of change, are willing to continually improve themselves and are ambitious enough to keep moving up the corporate ladder.

Developing the Leader Within You is also ideal for beginners who are at an entry-level position. When you freshly graduate, you believe that leadership rhymes with title, rank, position and responsibilities, and that everyone had to do what you say. Regrettably, I discovered that this wasn’t the case and that I had to work hard building a relationship with my coworkers.

This book has first been published in 1993 but the content is very much contemporaneous and should be prompted to anyone who conceives false notions about leadership.

Leadership is not accessible to everyone even though everybody is trying to do it nowadays, starting with millennials: it takes self-discipline and sacrifice which not everyone is willing to do.

Lastly, I enjoyed that John C. Maxwell made it clear that leadership is a long process that cannot be rushed and that there are steps that cannot be skipped.

Favorite quote(s)

Leadership is influence.

Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime!

integrity is not  given factor in everyone’s life. It is a result of self-discipline, inner trust, and a decision to be relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives.

If I can’t do something about a problem, it’s not my problem, it’s a fact of life.

A vision should be greater that the person who has it.

The growth and the development of people is the highest calling of leadership.

Ratings 4/5

Author

John C. Maxwell

Purchase

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

16 Tips to making Phone Interviews Less Awkward

Wondering why phone interviews exist and how to make them less awkward? In this article, find all the tips you need to prepare yourself.

Job interviews over the phone constitute a selection process that most companies use to screen candidates, to prevent candidates from having to travel to their company and to promote their company.

Phone interviews are generally awkward because you are sharing details of your career life with a perfect stranger. In order to avoid all awkwardness, job interviews should be thoroughly prepared.

The interviewer or head hunter will call you a first time to schedule a job interview and will provide you with his or her company’s information.

  1. Write down all the information and schedule given to you and create alarms to remind you of the interview.
  2. Look up the company website and write down the company’s values, sector, number of workers, locations, annual income amount and most important projects. Knowing the company brings you points.
  3. Prepare some general interviewing questions (“tell me about yourself”, “what are your strengths?”, “what are your flaws?”,… ). Write them down on paper.

A few minutes before the interview,

  1. Make sure you are at home and not in public transportations or in a noisy environment.
  2. Wake up twenty minutes before the call literally and figuratively. Nobody likes a slurred speech and a hoarsed morning voice.
  3. Take care of your basic human needs 10 minutes before scheduled interview.
  4. Prepare pen and papers to take notes. If this interview is successful, it will lead to an in person interview at the company and those notes will be useful.
  5. On your computer, open the company’s website page and get ready to discreetly surf for answers. If you cannot find facts about the company, it’s OK. The interviewer will provide them himself. It’s part of his job to introduce you to them.
  6. Last but not least, place your notes with the prepared answers in front you. Interviewer does not need to know that you are reading your answers.

During the interview,

  1. Listen carefully to the interviewer and wait for your time of speech. Being nervous is understandable, but try to control yourself.
  2. Keep your voice energized and upbeat. Smiling is also a great way to show your interest and excitment for the opportunity.
  3. Even though you don’t know the answer for a question right away, stay calm, confident and positive. Politely require a few seconds to collect yourself.
  4. Even though the interviewer is friendly, laugh quietly at his or her jokes but stay professional and composed. You are not talking to your best friend.
  5. If you are nervous or need focus, feel free to pace around your house or sit at a desk.

After the interview,

  1. Send a thank you email. You can add questions about the offer to show your interest and motivation.
  2. Wait 48 hours before sending an email to get an update on whether you’ve been selected or not.



Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.