13 Leadership Tips For Your First Day On The Job

Congratulations. You have just been hired, after an incessant job search and multiple job interviews. Now, the real work has just started!

Wondering how to build a positive professional image as soon as you arrive on the job and to sustain it throughout your whole career?

13 Leadership Tips for Your First Day on the Job #work #career #careeradvice #job #leadership #success

From your first day on the job, your colleagues will definitely be judging you and your capabilities as a leader, as a team member or as a threat to their current position.

Meanwhile your employer will evaluate your abilities to integrate the organization and to quickly adapt, to learn the job skills.

You have to be ready to handle the pressure and to measure up to the job. And unfortunately, I learnt that there aren’t any do-overs when it comes to making a first impression of your professional image.

On the first day on my first job, I showed up on the first day with a negative attitude: I was anxious, unconsciously rejecting the fact that I had to work corporate and work for someone else.

Therefore, in the long haul, I started involuntarily rebuffing the idea of getting along with people, learning new skills and focusing on my job.

As a result, I integrated an unfavorable perception of my environment and I certainly believe that I left a negative impression of myself in the workplace. 

This stuck to me for a while until I quit the job and was able to start over elsewhere with a better knowledge of both corporate and leadership.

At the same time, to survive, I did what my elders told me: “work hard and keep your head down!”.  But this brought on additional issues. Why? Because, according to Daniel Goleman, in Working With Emotional Intelligence,  the “rules for work are changing. We’re being judged by a new yardstick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other.[…] These rules have little to do with what we were told was important in school; academic abilities are largely irrelevant to this standard.”.

 

In order for you to steer clear from the same issues that I have experienced, to develop a leadership image from the start, follow the tips below:

1. Arrive to work early and leave late on your first day

Arriving early to work demonstrate your motivation, your eagerness to learn and gives you more credit as a professional.

In addition, arriving early will allow you to get a general feel of your new colleagues’ arrival time, schedules, morning procedures.

It will also give you a time to which you will be expected to show up at work.

On your first day, at least, make sure to leave the office after a few coworkers have left the office and not before everyone else does.

2. Dress appropriately and to look your best

Undeniably, your coworkers will make snap decisions about you without getting to know or understanding your core values.

Subsequently, they will judge your book by its cover, no matter how you feel or what you say.

Dressing appropriately, without drawing attention to yourself,  gives the perception that you fit in, that you are the right person for the job, and that you care about yourself and others.

At your job interview, you had the time to consider the company culture and to take notes on the proper attire to fit in. Even on casual Fridays, groom yourself, do your best to look the part, and to dress for  the job you want and not for the one you have.

3. Be confident, positive and prepared for a full-blown interview from your colleagues

After the job interview, take heed of the coworkers interviews.

Most likely, they will ask about your education, your professional experience, your professional competencies for the job, a description of your current position, and the members of your team.

Prepare a short presentation of yourself to introduce yourself confidently.

4. Assume also that some of your coworkers won’t bother to get to know you

So, you will have to take initiative and make the first steps.

Extend a firm handshake, smile and proactively introduce yourself by using the short presentation about yourself and to control the message regarding yourself.

Also, prepare a set of probing questions for your coworkers.

5. Observe your coworkers in return, their behavior towards one another, towards their boss

Don’t be fooled, on your first day, most of your coworkers will be on their best behavior around you and will try their best for you to like them.

Withal, you can discreetly notice the clicks and the areas and subjects that bring tension.

6. Pay attention to company culture

Who gives orders, who is the unofficial leader, who arrives early and who arrives late, who takes coffee breaks and how often, who start the lunch process, where lunch takes place and for how long…does everyone work out? Should you go to the after works? 

Take a moment to understand the rules, on your own, without referring to any coworker just yet.

7. Remember the names of the people you meet

I am not a name person but you should not ask for names that were already given.

Wait a few days and someone will throw a name out there.

8. Cultivate emotional intelligence

Even though your coworkers will be on their best behavior for the first few days, there is ALWAYS someone to come around and test you for fun.

Your reaction to his or her obnoxious behavior will market your capabilities and your personal qualities, for future career success.

9. Communicate effectively, listen more than you speak and observe your body language

Listen actively and with intention of asking probing questions.

Ask for people opinions before you give yours.

10. Show interest in your new tasks

The responsibilities that you are given on your first days are boring and minimal: you will most likely be reading job regulations, technical documents and implementing basic tasks.

Nonetheless, ask pertinent questions, take notes, commit to the task at hand and don’t expect your boss or your coworkers to hold your hand.

11. Be open to correction, advice and guidance

Even though you have some experience under your belt, stay humble instead of showing off your knowledge, listen to what your coworkers have to tell you

Thank people for their help and own up to your mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know. Let me find out and get back to you.”.

12. Accept invitations for coffee, to smoke or to lunch with your coworkers

Mind you, I don’t drink coffee, I don’t smoke and I only take lunch breaks alone during my working hours.

But those breaks are essential to show that you are social and willing to integrate and share their habits.

Use those breaks to your advantage to get to know your coworkers.

13. Don’t indulge in office politics and gossip on your first day or ever

Avoid people who partake in gossip and employ aggressive methods of office politics.

To not be implicated in the rumor mill, don’t expose your personal life.

According to Daniel Goleman, pay attention to “what to say, what not to say, and what to call it” throughout your entire career.

Last Words Of Advice!

Building a strong professional image and leader brand, as soon as you step into your new position, is detrimental to career success.

 

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.

 

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15 Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Job

Though people have to be financially responsible, they give themselves the opportunity to explore and to search for a job that will make them happy.

Needless to say, quitting your job is a big decision, an exciting yet scary endeavor.

On one hand, we remember that we have to survive and pay the bills. On the other hand, we no longer have to put up with bad decisions, poor workmanship and slow processes.

Wondering how to recognize when it’s time to quit your job and how to effectively develop an exit strategy?

15 Signs It's Time To Quit Your Job

People give themselves the opportunity to explore and to search for a job that will make them happy. Click To Tweet

15 Signs It’s Time To Quit

Sometimes, we are in way over our heads, other times we just want to collect that paycheck and nothing else. It becomes hard to notice the signs that it’s time to quit.

You know it’s time to quit when:

#1. You Desperately Look For Reasons To Quit

Your job has become a problem and is weighing heavy on your shoulder. You feel it in your bones and your desire to quit roams your brain all day.

At this point, anything would justify your desire to quit.

If you don’t get your morning coffee, then it’s time to quit.

If your train runs late, then it’s time to quit.

If there is too much traffic today, then it’s definitely time to quit.

#2. You Believe The Grass Is Greener On The Other Side

You are low-key envious of people who quit their job and who start their own business ventures.

#3. You Are Burnt Out

When it’s time to quit, your intuition will usually let you know in advance that something is wrong.

If you don’t pay attention to your intuition, your mind ill start to go in overdrive.

Finally, your body will suffer the repercussion.

You are burnt out if:

  • You are doing your best on the job but your best doesn’t seem to be enough.
  • You don’t have the energy or the time to do your work.
  • Your physical health suffers. working out doesn’t help anymore and you have probably put on weight.
  • You don’t pay attention to your personal grooming.

#4. You Require A Better Work Life Balance

You bring your job home and incessantly complain about it.

You don’t take care of yourself or your family.

You believe that you deserve a better work-life balance.

#5. You Are Depressed Every Sunday Night

Sunday nights are extremely depressing because you remember your past week and  because you dread Monday mornings.

#6. You Are Underperforming

You are underperforming and are making too many mistakes on things that you used to be good at.

You have been unable to reach deadlines, to defend your progress and perspectives.

You constantly look for distraction from your work environment whether you are on or off the job.

Furthermore, you don’t care about your workplace performance, your reputation, your well-being, the opinion of your coworkers, and the respect for our boss is gone.

#7. You Are Undervalued And Underutilized

You feel underappreciated and are bored to death.

You have no voice within the organization.

You don’t feel like your strengths and weaknesses are being adequately used.

#8. You Take Too Many Breaks

You have been absent and keep taking more absence leaves that you used to.

Basically, you cannot wait for the day to end.

You plan your breaks, your lunches and your vacations before you even start your workday. You obsess about your vacations and your mental health depends on them.

You go to the bathroom too often and take too many calls out of your office.

#9. You Just Don’t Fit In

Working gives us the means to survive and is quasi inevitable.

You need more freedom to express yourself and the company culture does not allow your form of expression.

#10. Your Job Does Not Align With Your Life Purpose

You spent time studying for a degree, graduated and your college degree doesn’t match your job description.

In addition, you don’t understand your task, get no satisfaction from doing your job and you start questioning the purpose of your job.

#11. You Cannot Project Yourself In The Future

There are no growth opportunities to evolve, to move towards a new position, to learn new skills.

You cannot project yourself in the future because you have other plans for your future, your leadership vision is not being executed, your life is changing but your salary isn’t, your colleagues are getting better paid than you do or because you have been passed up for promotion too many times.

#12. Your Social Life Is Affected

Your social life is stunted and your relationships are strained.

You don’t want to bring up work with your friends and family.

Conversations about work with people you enjoy depress you, project you in negative thoughts and negative emotions overwhelm you.

You are not a complainer but you start complaining NON STOP about your job. You bring up the subject with whomever even when it doesn’t matter.

#13. The Ethics On Your Job Are Questionable

You work in a toxic environment:

  • Your higher-ups and your organization generally lack ethics.
  • Your core leadership values don’t align with those of your organization.
  • You experience an emotional rollercoaster daily.
  • You are perpetually in fight or flight mode. You are either looking for conflict or hiding from everyone and everything.
  • You are being bullied, your self-esteem is continually being attacked and your ethics are daily challenged.
  • You suddenly cannot stand your colleagues and find faults in everything that they do.

#14. Your Leader Is Out Of Control

Employees don’t leave a job, they leave bad bosses. 

You don’t admire or respect your leaders. You don’t ask them for advice anymore and question their decisions.

#15. Your Organization Is Laying People Off

Your organization is facing serious financial difficulties and you think that you will get laid off.

You have to financially take care of yourself and quit.

There are two options after quitting your job: either you find another one or you create one. Just remember that not all workplaces are the same.

Developing An Exit Strategy

Sometimes, we have reached our limits and it’s time to quit. However, it’s always important to develop an exit strategy.

  1. Examine your mental, physical and emotional health.
  2. Take time off to think about yourself. Identify your core values, your purpose, your strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Evaluate your motivations to stay on the job. Look around for clues that it’s time to quit your job. You can do a pros and cons list.
  4. Think about the consequences of leaving your job.
  5. Plan your future before quitting. It is imperative that you:
    • Analyze your skill sets and check which ones you wish to develop.
    • Find out which field you wish to work in and discuss it with people who are in your field of preference.
    • Proactively look for another job. Keep looking for job and applying online while you are still employed. It is recommended to discreetly find a new job before moving on to the new one.
    • Pick your next profession with care.
    • Build a solid vision.
    • Prepare yourself for the next opportunity and get rid of past baggage.
  6. Be comfortable with change and embrace the unknown.
  7. Speak to your close friends and family about your decision. Ultimately, you know what is best for you.
  8. Be confident in your decision, acknowledge that there is no shame in quitting and understand that there is no perfect time to quit.
  9. Leave on good terms even though you hated your job.

Last Words Of Advice!

Quitting your job doesn’t mean being jobless, giving up on yourself or that you have failed altogether. During the quitting process, it is detrimental to grow internally, to keep yourself busy and stay on purpose.

Furthermore, you can either go after your dreams or help someone else build their own.

If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.” Tony Gaskins Click To Tweet

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.

Goal Setting & The 80/20 Principle — 18 Ways To Apply This Principle And Change Your Life

Strangely, this week, I found myself explaining the 80/20 principle to everyone I know. Though this principle is well-known by leaders, it is rarely applied. Leaders around the globe get flooded with information, sometimes more than they can handle. However, they have to make swift decisions and keep their most important objectives in mind.

To extract value and positivity in every situation, to improve our daily life, our institutions, our efficiency, our processes, our achievements, it is detrimental to understand the 80/20 Principle.

Wondering how to generate goals and focus on the most important ones using the 80/20 Principle?

Goal Setting & The 80/20 Principle

What Is The 80/20 Principle?

The 80/20 Principle is actually known as the Principle of Imbalance, the Principle of Least Effort or the Pareto Law, uncovered in 1897 by Vilfredo Pareto, an italian economist. In the 19th century, in England, Pareto noticed that 80% of the wealth and income was accumulated by only 20% of the population.

Furthermore, Pareto remarked that the wealth was not evenly distributed and that not only wealth was distributed in this manner. The Pareto Principle was consistently reproducible in different countries, in different times and with different sets of data.

The Pareto Principle :

  • has been justified by Professor Zipf who demonstrated that 70% of marriages happened to people living 30% within each other.
  • has been used by Joseph Moses Juran during the industrial revolution, in Japan, in order to improve the quantity, the reliability and the value of customer goods.
  • is illustrated in every cause to effect relationship. For example,
    • 20% of employees or customers are responsible for 80% of the company profits.
    • 20% of criminals commit 80% of the crimes.
    • 20% of your clothes in your closet will be worn 80% of the time.
    • 80% of our achievements happen in 20% of our time.

According to Richard Koch, author of The 80/20 Principle The secret of achieving more with less, the principle either requires 80/20 Analysis or 80/20 Thinking:

  • 80/20 Analysis: Before taking action, Prior analysis of the non linear relationship between cause and effort. This analysis is time-consuming but more detailed.
  • 80/20 Thinking: Before taking action, intuitively identify what is most important, then verify the usefulness of the 80/20 principle in the given situation. This is faster.

Why It Will Change Your Life

Generally, the 80/20 is used to prioritize, to set goals, to achieve more in less time and with less effort. It can be applied in business, in life, in any social grouping and in various cultures. For instance, in business, it helps you identify the areas where you lose time, money and where it is possible to cut your losses.

To exploit its full potential, the 80/20 principle exerts us to:

  • Spot the most important and ignore the massive unimportant.
  • Understand that every action doesn’t lead to the same outcome or even lead to one.
  • Use and work on strengths rather than weaknesses.
  • Seek shortcuts instead of taking long detours.
  • Gain more control over our lives and thoughts, our work and career selection.
  • Relax, work less and “target a limited number of very valuable goals”.
  • Transform your work habits.
  • Target a number of valuable goals.
  • Develop a healthy business strategy.
  • It is always possible to improve your skills.
  • Multiply what is effective.
  • Apply it in business to reduce costs and to generate more revenue.

Putting The Principle Into Practice To Set Tangible Goals

The 80/20 is for those who want more of their life, for the ambitious, for the goal-oriented and for the self-disciplined. Being ambitious is not synonymous to bein overworked, busy, or sacrificing yourself. To harness the 80/20 Principle, to make your dreams more feasible and to grow exponentially in any field:

  1. Discover what you are more enthusiastic about in life.
  2. Avoid investing the same amount of energy in everything that you pursue. Be strategic and identify the best 20% and invest 80% of your effort.
  3. Most people believe that goals are wishes, mere desires that they don’t believe they can achieve. Get clarity and be specific on what you want. There is no unrealistic goals.
  4. Make your goals big. The bigger the goal, the bigger the impact on your life, the higher the motivation and the longer you can maintain the vision.
  5. Make sure that these goals are self-imposed.
  6. Keep your goals simple. Simple is rare but simple is effective. Choose simplicity first. For example, identify the simplest and most standardized product, nurture the simplest 20%, make it high quality and eliminate the rest. In addition, simple businesses are better than complex ones because they deliver better value and perform better.
  7. Find ways to make your goals achievements fun. Avoid spending time on easy tasks and tune out distractions. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said it best: “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least”.
  8. Avoid focusing on the negative and waiting for a positive outcome. It is necessary to let go of the customers, employees, products and processes that don’t bring profits
  9. Know your values and purpose. Then, align your goals with your values in order to feel more fulfilled.
  10. Analyze the reasons and the costs of these goals beforehand. Applying the 80/20 Analysis will indicate whether or not you would pursue them.
  11. Write down your goals for various parts of your life (career, work processes, leadership styles, lifestyle, health) and accomplish the most important goal. These goals must have value. Writing down goals allows you to solidify them subconsciously and to get everything into place.
  12. Write down what you really want and write it down as if you are writing it from the future, having already achieved your goal.
  13. Work on this one goal all the time. 20 Percent of your activities will result in 80 percent of our results. It is  a known fact that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in a basket. Instead, choose the basket to put all your eggs into.
  14. Review these goals on a daily to keep your commitment to yourself.
  15. Divide your goals into smaller steps to make your plan more coherent and easier to achieve.
  16. Identify the obstacles, the knowledge needed, the relationships that you have to build to achieve your goals.
  17. Measure your progress with parameters like money, time, energy, emotional investment. You can even create a deadline. If you miss a deadline, create another one.
  18. Share your goals with those that will implement it.

Last Words Of Advice!

Don’t beat yourself or your team up for not realizing all your goals. Have you used the 80/20 principle and what have you noticed? What is one of the goal that you want to accomplish?

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.

Goal Setting & The 80/20 Principle

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.

The importance of identifying your strengths and weaknesses to succeed at work

For the last few years, emphasis has no longer been put unto developing leadership knowledge, leadership skills and leadership competencies in the workplace but unto developing your talents, your strengths and purpose in order to pursue leadership positions.

What is the main difference between knowledge, skills, competencies, talents and strengths?

On one hand, knowledge (the fact of knowing something), skills (the ability to perform tasks well at your job or in a given situation) and competencies (the ability to master the skills that you perform well at your job or in a situation) are learnt and developed at school or at work, through training and practise.

On the other hand, your talents are inherent, last a lifetime and make you unique. They cannot be acquired or forgotten throughout life. By means of your talents, you are innately hardwired to think, feel and speak a certain way, to react in a particular manner to a given situation or event.

Finally, strengths are the combination of skills, knowledge and talent. As sure as recognizing the different types of coworkers possible in the workplace remains a knowledge, getting along with coworkers and navigating office politics become skills, communicating effectively and influencing coworkers and clients are talents. Subsequently, possessing the ability to take command, impose your views and take charge on a project emerge as a strength.

Defining your strengths early in life is critical for personal development, self fulfillment and career success. Indeed, assessing your strengths will enable you to:

  • appreciate your self-worth, reinforce your values and your motivations.
  • understand your strength, its nuances, its impact at work and consequences on coworkers. For instance, visionary leaders don’t always know how to properly explain their vision which leaves their team members confused and uncertain of the leadership capabilities of the visionary leader.
  • evaluate your role and contributions at work. This way, you will not be taken advantage of and you will find out early whether or not you are fulfilled by a career path, if you are performant or if you are made for leadership.
  • be more effective, positively influence career decisions and improve your career by actually mastering these strengths. Strenghts assessment becomes suddenly critical when accepting or refusing a promotion.
  • assist, be assisted by coworkers or team members with a complementing set of skills. If you are a team leader, acknowledging your strengths will make you more aware of your team member’s.
  • invest in an environment that fits your thinking pattern and use less energy while sustainably performing a task.
  • gauge your weaknesses and possible blindspots. determining your weaknesses enables a better self-assessment, a way to work around them or simply avoid them. Accept the weaknesses as much as you do the strengths but don’t overwork your weaknesses either: correcting your weaknesses will never be as effective as improving your pre-existent strengths. A common mistake, that I have mostly noticed during performance reviews, lies in the fact that managers stress, more than often, the flaws of an employee and urge them to fix their weaknesses instead of pointing out their strengths and placing them where they would be more productive.
  • Extend the vision of yourself, the limit of who you are and what you can do. Be adventurous and step outside of your comfort zone.
  • express personal truths, steer away from social pressure and conforming to social norms.

Many times, and we have all seen it, people who do not discover their strength or do not use them, tend to be depressed, anxious, bored and unmotivated. They also interact negatively with their coworkers, complain about their job, underperform and are ultimately labeled “difficult”.

Wasting a lifetime in a dead-end job, they feel forced to counter their instincts and to comply to conventional thoughts and rules which is unnatural and counterproductive to them.

It is easier to describe or identify an acquired professional competency than to identify a natural strength.

How to quickly find your strengths?

Due to their innate nature, strengths are easily noticeable to everyone but you. But if you pay close attention to your everyday, you will be able to discover or rediscover them:

  • by renewing your thought pattern. Don’t give up on yourself and your self growth. Make up your mind not to live your life on the side walk. Most people spend time improving their flaws and not their strengths. It is clear that they would have been further if they did otherwise.
  • by reverting back to the memories of your childhood and recalling what you did well and with pleasure. On account of, at that period, the “system” had not affected nor perverted you yet: the main personality traits and what you were gifted with at a younger age remained unchanged.
  • by looking for a common thread in the things that immediately and sustainably attract your attention throughout your life experiences. I usually spend my time reading entrepreneur, management and leadership books and blogs at any hour of the day.
  • by reading books, gaining knowledge, relating to the people in the books and by practicing what you have just learnt on different occasions.
  • by engaging a professional to help identify your strengths and how to employ them.
  • by taking well-known online tests, such as StrenghtsFinder2.0 and StandOut, and cross referencing them.
  • by directly asking the people closest to you, going through your notes and emails or by taking into account your annual performance review. Because of the dark side of human nature, your review as much as people’s advice can be totally biased.  There will certainly be a discrepancy between what people think of me, what I think of myself and who I really am.
  • by surrounding yourself with supporting people. Stay away from yes men, undermining people or groups who hide your strengths, highlights your weaknesses and constantly criticize your work.
  • by simply seeking the truth about yourself and being unafraid of failure or the said truth. Work gradually on yourself and you will be able to build a career more successfully on a strength.

Last words of advice!

First of all, improving strengths is nothing without character.

Talent doesn’t have to be impressive and loud but you must find a way to translate it into something. Sometimes, through life, you are using your strength unknowingly until you are prepared to use it: your passions have probably made you invest enough time into a career path to develop the necessary skills and knowledge. However, if your strength does not fit any career, create one for yourself!

Remember not to feel limited to having one talent and make up your mind not to live your life on the side-walk. And leave your dreams and connect with them.

Don’t hesitate to become an expert of you!

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.

Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, http://www.careersolvers.com. Barbara Safani is also the Author of #JOBSEARCHTweets 140 Job Search Nuggets For Landing Your Dream Job.

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.