Quote Of The Week #92

Quote Of The Week #92 To lead people, walk behind them. - Lao Tzu #quote #quotes #leader #leadership #skills #inspiration #work #career

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19 Signs You Are Doing A Great Job As A Leader

Being a leader is hard work.

Matter of fact, the demands of the job can take a toll on your leadership and on your self-perception.

There are plenty of weak leaders who give in to the pressures of the job and become horrible bosses.

If leadership was easy, everybody would aim for the job and everybody would do it.

Sometimes, it is good to remind yourself that you are a good leader.

Wondering what are the signs that you are doing a great job as a leader?

19 Signs You Are Doing A Great Job As A Leader

Sign #1. Leadership wasn’t your main goal

The truth is you didn’t want to be a leader in the first place.

You simply wanted to be competent, enjoy your job and you have always put your best foot forward.

You maintain your work ethic even though you have never aimed for a leadership position.

Sign #2. You don’t abuse your power

Great leaders don’t mistreat their employees because they understand that their business depends on them.

They treat people humanely, empower their employees and make sure to maintain a healthy workplace culture.

Sign #3. You don’t play mind games with your employees

You give your employees the respect they deserve by telling them the truth.

You don’t pit them against each other, gaslight them or scapegoat them.

You don’t play favorites.

You don’t force them to be something that they are not just to please you.

You don’t shift blame or prey on your employees insecurities.

You don’t spasmodically change the expectations, sabotage their efforts with irresponsible deadlines and over the top objectives.

Sign #4. You manage your own insecurities 

You don’t have imposter syndrome but you are secure with yourself.

Even if you may sometimes feel like a fraud, you don’t take out your insecurities on your team and you manage your insecurities in private.

You don’t put people down, ego or power trip in order to sit down your authority or feel better about yourself.

You treat everyone with fairness.

Sign #5. You are not self-centered

You are hyper-aware of your surroundings.

Everything you do is for others and to answer to a higher purpose.

You adopt a servant leadership style and lead with humility.

Often poor leadership is masked by those with the loudest voices and strongest opinions. - Nick Fewings Click To Tweet

Sign #6. You are not defined by your mistakes

You do not punish yourself for your mistakes.

In addition, you do not punish others for their mistakes. Instead, you give them the opportunity to correct their mistakes and to learn from them.

Sign #7. You take care of your employees well being

You make sure that your employees goals align with yours.

You take care of their well being first because you link productivity to your team’s mental health.

If they are sick, you invite them to take days off.

If they are bored, you give them challenges to fulfill them.

If they are under performing, you place them in their areas of strength.

Sign #8. You maintain your calm under pressure

You don’t lash out on your employees when you are under pressure.

Instead, you stay transparent, explain the reason for the bad situation, come up with an appropriate situation and make the hard decisions.

Sign #9. You don’t participate in office politics

It is quite easy to get caught up in office politics.

The best strategy is to stay clear from all drama.

You don’t talk about your employees to your employees.

Sign #10. You don’t drag out conflicts

You believe in forgiveness so conflicts can quickly be resolved.

You want to maintain a healthy workplace where employees are not bullied, are unafraid to express divergent opinions.

Sign #11. You get down in the trenches

You don’t let your employees do the dirty work.

Your employees will trust and respect someone who is competent, who can do what they do without complaining. They will know that your directions are sound.

Sign #12. You keep people accountable

You don’t let bad behavior or poor performance slide.

There are ways to let people know that they are going down the wrong path. You know how to give and receive feedback even if it hurts.

Keeping people accountable will allow more employees to ask questions, to take risks, to make mistakes, to admit to their own mistakes and to tell you when you are making some.

Sign #13. You communicate clearly

Every single one of your objectives is communicated and justified.

Your team can clearly follow your train of thought and can understand what you want.

Sign #14. You adopt a democratic leadership style

You do your research and request your employees opinion before making a tough decision.

You make the ultimate decisions but you believe that it is always good to have a sounding board.

Sign #15. You understand the importance of recognition

You don’t hug the spotlight. Instead, you give credit when credit is due.

You recognize when an employee over-performed or nearly burnt out on a project.

Sign #16. You help those who need it

In the workplace, people don’t forget easily (unfortunately).

They don’t forget who helped them in time of need and wont hesitate to reciprocate afterwards.

Sign #17. You love to try new things

You are open to change.

Besides, you are not complacent with your position or with your knowledge.

You are always open to learn new things, to change, to take risks, to question yourself.

Sign #18. You don’t take yourself too seriously

You have serious objectives and a lot of responsibility.

Leadership is hard enough to not have some fun once in a while.

Sign #19. You care way too much

You want the best from and for your team. You care because:

  • You really want them to succeed.
  • You are invested in their well being.
  • You have an open door policy.
  • You listen to their dreams and aspirations, to what they have to say without judgement.

Last Words Of Advice!

If you answer to these signs, then you are definitely doing a great job as a leader.

Otherwise, be kind to yourself and begin working on these signs.

It’s all about finding the right balance for yourself and for your team.

Keep the respect to get alignment, be likable to create influence, be approachable at the same time.

Keep the respect to get alignment, be likable to create influence, be approachable at the same time. - Vanessa Sylvester 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.

 

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The Importance Of Assertive Leadership | 9 Truths Of Assertive Leaders

Being assertive is difficult to some people.

Indeed, women – especially minorities – have the hardest time being assertive in the workplace.

Depending on society’s norms, corporate culture, personal fears, gender or ethnical background, being assertive can be perceived as being aggressive, bossy or disrespectful.

Wondering how to become a more assertive leader?

The Importance Of Assertive Leadership | 9 Truths Of Assertive Leaders

What is assertiveness?

Assertiveness is a useful communication style that helps people create a well balanced life and relate to people easily.

With this communication style, assertive leaders acknowledge the importance of their thoughts and opinions, honestly express their thoughts and opinions, understand that their behavior – and theirs only – is within their control.

The benefits of assertive leadership?

The corporate world talks about confidence in leadership more that we talk about assertiveness.

Assertive leadership is being able to take a position, speak up and speak your mind. Assertive leaders:

  • Have control over their lives.
  • Have clear boundaries.
  • Have great relationships.
  • Listen to the needs of others.
  • Choose to fulfill the need of others.
  • Have respect for themselves and for others.
  • Get respect from their coworkers.
  • Are serene and are unafraid of conflicts.
  • Don’t try to people please or to seek outside validation.
  • Are able to calmly and honestly express their needs and wants.

Being assertive is a skill that takes time to harness.

Assertiveness cannot be obtained overnight. It takes practice, self-awareness, self-love and self-respect.

Assertive leaders stand by several truths, that they apply on a daily basis.

Truth #1. Everybody has an opinion

Assertive leaders understand that everybody has an opinion that they are entitled to.

They know that they are entitled to their own opinions and that their opinions have value.

They don’t have to apologize for their opinion. Instead, they own them.

They don’t let outside opinion define them and they can agree to disagree.

Truth #2. Self-awareness is key

Assertive leaders are self-aware, understand that they matter and their opinion has value.

Assertive leaders believe that their feelings, emotions and opinions are valid and important.

Their thoughts and decisions are their own even when they don’t make sense.

They have disciplined their emotions and can assess every situation that they go through.

Truth #3. Building confidence

Assertive leaders are confident about their abilities and nurture their self-esteem.

It is the belief in our abilities to perform, to get results from our performance, in our worth and in our opinion of ourselves.

In addition, they are attentive to their needs and wants.

They do not seek the approval of others.

They know their strengths, weaknesses and limitations.

Truth #4. Being authentic

Assertive leaders are authentic and are honest with themselves.

Assertive leaders express who they truly are and what they really feel.

Moreover, people are able to freely express themselves around assertive leaders.

Truth #5. Walking with integrity

Assertive leaders act with integrity.

They are walking and talking role models.

When they speak, they mean what they say and say what they mean.

Truth #6. Take back control

Assertive leaders are in control.

They have control over their lives, their emotions and their behavior.

They take risks, take responsibility for their actions and don’t try to solve others people problem for them.

Furthermore, they seek to influence but not to control or manipulate.

Truth #7. Failure is a stepping stone

Assertive leaders are unafraid of failure.

They understand that everybody makes mistakes all the time.

They see failure as a stepping stone to success. Mistakes don’t mean that they are not in control or that the rest of their decisions will be mistakes.

Needless to say, they don’t let their failures define them.

Truth #8. No is an answer

Assertive leaders will politely and respectfully retain the right to say no.

They say no without feeling the need to justify themselves.

They don’t have to accept every opportunity that is brought up to you.

Just remember there are different ways to say no.

Truth #9. Conflict is inevitable

Assertive leaders stand up for themselves and don’t avoid conflict because conflict is inevitable.

Assertive leaders speak up when things go wrong, when a topic has deep meaning to them.

They pick their battles. They don’t have to go around looking for fights, sharing their unwanted opinion and overpowering the opinions of others.

They listen before they speak and don’t minimize divergent opinions.

However, they are unafraid of hurting people’s feelings, of making people uncomfortable or emotional.

Last Words Of Advice!

People are not assertive because they fear judgement, rejection, conflict, challenging the status quo etc…

If you cannot be assertive in a moment, save face by:

  • Requiring some time to think, to reconsider, to schedule a response.
  • Practicing what you have to say in the mirror with the proper voice tone.
  • Trying to write down what you want to say.
  • Making an assertion and not explaining yourself.
  • Communicating clearly, honestly and directly.

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.

10 Reasons Empathy Matters In Leadership

Most people believe that the best leaders have the highest IQ, are emotionless and analytical.

Indeed, empathy is seen as a weakness in the workplace. The less you have, the more you will succeed.

The truth is the best leaders are empathetic, compassionate, highly sensitive and have high level of emotional intelligence.

Wondering why empathetic people make the best leaders?

10 Reasons Empathy Matters In Leadership

Empathy is a strong leadership skill that helps leaders to connect with people.

Empathy builds compassionate leaders which consequently improves the health of workplaces.

Empathetic leaders understand what others need, are feeling emotionally and physically.

They rather listen than speak, they don’t need to communicate verbally because they pick up on verbal and non verbal cues.

#1. Empathetic leaders pick up on the emotions of others

Empathetic leaders are self-aware.

They understand themselves, pay attention to people’s non verbal cues and are able to perceive the emotions of others. As a result, they are able to easily relate to people.

#2. Empathetic leaders are a great judge of character

Empathetic leaders are true to themselves and notice inauthentic people.

They can easily distinguish a lie from the truth, which makes them highly ethical.

#3. Empathetic leaders are people persons

They put people first and use servant leadership style.

For the main part, they direct their attention on people and not on results.

They understand people and the motivations behind their behaviors. This also gives them an ability to build good relationships and avoid bad ones.

#4. Empathetic leaders are present

Empathetic leaders live in the present.

When someone is talking to them, they give them their full attention in order to sense their feelings and to access their emotions.

#5. Empathetic leaders are peace makers

Empathetic leaders enjoy their peace of mind. They want to get rid of conflicts or negative situation at all costs.

They cannot stand chaos or conflicts. So whenever a negative situation arises or whenever they sense negative emotions, they take it upon yourself to restore peace.

#6. Empathetic leaders create a healthy workplace

Being an empathetic leader is critical to the workplace.

Empathetic leaders have a tendency to calm people down and to build trust.

They set up their environment so that everyone can succeed.

Their behavior induces greater collaboration, increase performance and creates a healthier workplace.

#7. You are ethical

They have strong core values.

They follow ethics and work for the greater good.

#8. Empathetic leaders give good advice

Because empathetic leaders understand the origin of problems so well, because they know how to listen, people come to them for advice.

They usually are wise, solution-oriented, and possess the answer to most problems.

#9. Empathetic leaders lead with their intuition

Empathetic leaders lead with intuition to make important decisions. You sense where to go and what to do.

They have strong gut feelings and their gut is always right.

#10. Empathetic leaders know how to influence and how to motivate

They are attuned to what your team secretly needs and wants to succeed.

They know how to persuade and motivate people.

As much as they can step in other people’s shoes, they can change your point of view and influence you towards the same goals.

Last Words Of Advice!

Some empathetic leaders have roles that require their full attention and that challenge their empathy.

For that reason, most empathetic leaders evolve towards liberal and helping professions.

It is important for them to learn how to navigate people and negative situations.

  1. Spend time a few hours a day alone.
  2. Discipline your emotions.
  3. Observe the company culture and see how you can employ your empathetic leadership style.

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.

Are You Feeling Like An Outsider At Work? — 17 Simple Tips To Turn Your Situation Around

On my last 9 to 5 job, I remember my manager complaining to me that I would no longer be part of the team because I am too different, I asked too many questions and I don’t act like them or watch the same TV shows that they do.

Now at the time, I thought I wasn’t getting it and that I was failing at adulting.

Clearly, if I wanted to be successful in life and in my career, I either had to fake it and drain myself, or I needed to find another path and distance myself from “them”.

The point is that most organizations want their employees to be different and have original skills.

However, the reality is that most workplaces adhere to group-thinking, and create outsiders by forcing them to suppress their individuality for conformity.

Wondering what are the benefits of being an outsider and how you can overcome that feeling?

Are You Feeling Like An Outsider At Work? — 17 Simple Tips To Turn Your Situation Around

What is an outsider?

An outsider is a person who doesn’t feel like they belong. At work, that feeling translates itself into:

  • Feeling unsuccessful. According to society, being a successful adult at work means being great at your job, understanding and applying social norms.
  • Being unable to join a group or to find someone who matches your values and principles to some extent.
  • Being unable to express yourself freely in meetings and around a group of people.
  • Being excluded out of meetings or out of group conversations. If you are perpetually being excluded and are subject to other workplace harassment, your workplace is toxic and you must consider your mental health first.

Why are you feeling the way you do?

We are social creatures. We crave that feeling of belonging to a group that will take care of us and that will cooperate for better chances of survival.

Therefore, to get things done, we feel like we must fit in, preserve our well-being and be liked. Furthermore, feeling like an outsider can stem from:

  • A lack of cultural sensitivity. It is easy to feel excluded when we don’t understand a culture or when we don’t feel understood because of the cultural barrier.
  • A lack of social skills, a lack of confidence, a shy, introverted or lone wolf personality. Basically, feeling like an outsider is a social conditioning.
  • Your negative thoughts. If you believe certain things about yourself then they will most likely come through.
  • Differences in core values. For example, if most of your workplace like to gossip and you don’t, then you will start to feel excluded.
  • Gender gap. 
  • Generational gap. Each generation perceives the world differently and challenges the previous one. In one generation, people are shaped by social trends, are programmed with thoughts, values, moral ethics, models, examples of success and the guidelines to succeed.

What are the benefits of being an outsider?

I was brought up with the conviction that different is good. I believe that there are several ways of doing one thing.

So, I would never be thrown off if someone would go about life in an unconventional way. If you’re feeling like an outsider, chances are you:

  • Possess untapped talents and unused skills. Your feeling of being an outsider disappears when you find a place where you can exercise your gifts.
  • Are aware that you are not maximizing your potential and you are not walking in your purpose.
  • Are creative, innovative, are a trailblazer and a leader. Indeed, most leaders are outsiders. They have unique gifts and a unique perception of the world.
  • Can monetize what makes you different.

How to handle being an outsider?

Feeling included at work leads to better health, stronger work performance and brides a positive work environment. However, if you feel like an outsider, you are not alone.

Indeed, the feeling of being an outsider is very common and is not something to be ashamed of. Some people hide it, others don’t front. What is the best approach?

To claim your difference and get the best out of work:

  1. Accept yourself and take pride in your difference.
  2. Be compassionate with yourself. Not because you don’t fit in that there is something wrong with you.
  3. Strengthen your own identity and find out more about your core values.
  4. Identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can better apply them.
  5. Figure out your goals, build a vision board and remain focus on your goals.
  6. Understand that you don’t need to fit in to be successful and don’t need to be one-dimensional to exist.
  7. Acknowledge that feeling like an outsider is not a permanent nor unique situation. You can be the most wonderful person on this planet and still feel like an outsider.
  8. Stop trying hard to fit in. The more you try, the more you feel drained, the more you will end up with the wrong crowd. You just have to be prepared for when the right opportunities and people come your way.
  9. Assess your behavior and your thoughts towards your situation. Then, document your situation. Are you new to the company? Are people enjoying your company? Are people including you? Are you reserved or standoffish? Do you like, respect or understand the people you work with?
  10. Give yourself the time and space to explore what works for you, what you like and what you don’t like. There is no right place for you. You have to create your own space and not settle for less.
  11. Express who you truly are from time to time and observe what happens next. You will either create or shut off opportunities.
  12. Fill your days with activities that you enjoy.
  13. Build a strong support system with people who accept you for who you are.
  14. Support people who think and act outside the box. People who think outside the box are usually creative and innovative.
  15. Don’t pay attention to what people say about you. Don’t let external circumstances define you.
  16. Stop people pleasing and seeking outside validation. Avoid adjusting your personality and your core values to please people. Instead, observe the social norms at work, see if you want to acquire these norms, and then adjust your communication style, your work style accordingly.
  17. Otherwise, prepare an exit strategy.

Last words of Advice!

Sometimes, we have acquired all the diploma, all the skills for a job and still feel like an outsider.

Remember that there are benefits in not fitting in, that you are not failing, that you can be a leader and create your own path, that if you are not liked or included then you can be respected.

I have found that becoming an expert in your field will help you feel like you belong and will help you gain in credibility.

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.

30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Being a great leader depends on how well they know themselves. Leaders must make sure that they are self-aware, clearly communicate their goals and expectations, reach their goals, set high standards, expect quality work and meet deadlines, demonstrate that all their team members matter, show gratitude, don’t settle and spend time with their team.

Needless to say, a little introspection is required from time to time.

Wondering how do you become the best version of yourself? 

30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Sometimes, we end up in or go after leadership positions but don’t understand why or how we got there.

It is always important to assess our goals, values and purpose every step of the way.

1) What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership encapsulates different concepts and key competencies.

For most, leadership is the ability to wheel power, to influence people positively in order to be successful, to bring like-minded individuals together towards a common goal or vision and to translate that vision into reality.

In order to be effective you must figure out what leadership means to you.

2) Why do you want to be a leader? What is your purpose in life?

Most people want to lead because they see themselves in power, in control, with status and doing whatever they want.

However, leaders are always held accountable for their actions, have to serve as models and have to exhibit exemplary behavior.

Without an ethical purpose in mind, they will not be able to sustain their role very long.

If you weren’t a leader, what would you do? What career would you pursue?

3) What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

Do you have sufficient resources to achieve your goals and yourself?

Leaders must find at least one field in which they excel. This will develop their credibility, their confidence and will help you be of assistance to people in need.

4) What are your core values? 

If your leadership roles don’t correspond to your values, it is time to rethink your career.

5) How do you center yourself? 

Learning to center yourself, to choose peace of mind requires that you acquire new healthy habits and that you question your thoughts that most often are an illusion or distorted memories.

Figure out how to preserve your time and energy, how to ensure your growth, how to continually improve as a person, and how to boost your leadership self-esteem?

6) Can you grow within your role and responsibilities?

Some people get into positions to please their families, impress their friends or flatter their own egos.

A job or a role in which you feel boxed in is frustrating, leaves little space for you to develop your skills or maximize your strengths.

7) How do you wish to impact the world and the people around you?

As a leader, you must project yourself in the future and visualize the legacy that you want to leave.

8) Do you walk the talk? 

Integrity is currently a rare character trait and most sought after leadership attribute that can help you succeed in the workplace as much as in life.

It actually goes a long way and projects more authority and credibility than a title or a position would.

Furthermore, the team you lead, the environment that you work in is a direct reflection of you. If you want a trusting workplace, be trustworthy.

9) Are you open to learn?

Being open to learn and to explore is detrimental to success.

To start the learning process, you can read books, take trainings and classes, and talk to people who are in positions that you aspire to.

Furthermore, you must understand that if you seek knowledge, you will never fully be an expert.

10) Are you developing a healthy work life balance?

Creating work-life balance is not giving equal attention to both work and life.

But, it means that you are satisfied with your contributions to your life and work, that you are able to create a sustainable synergy between both so that you are fueled by them on a daily basis.

To do so, you must focus on the vital few and not let your career affect your personal life and vice versa.

11) Are you self-interested or committed to the collective good?

We choose a certain career because our ever-changing needs and desires align with that particular career but not necessarily with the collective good.

In the leadership position, there is a huge discrepancy between hiring the right person with the right competencies for the job, between hiring someone with lesser competencies to feel unthreatened, between hiring someone to serve you and caress your ego.

There is also a difference between wanting the organization to succeed, wanting the team and the project to shine, and taking all the credit for someone else’s work.

12) What is your favorite leadership style

Leadership style refers to the way that the leader interacts with his or her employees, influences their behavior, motivates them, make decisions for them and for the organization.

A specific leadership style can deeply influence the quality of work, the levels of commitment, the work satisfaction of both leader and employees.

13) Are you emotionally intelligent?

We cannot control everything in our life.

However, we can control how we react to different situations, how we see ourselves and who we aspire to be.

14) Are you able to solve conflicts effectively?

Leaders must be able to anticipate problems and implement solutions for the future. What strategies do you apply? How do you handle bad news? How do you set boundaries? Do you encourage dissension?

15) Do you have interpersonal skills?

There are several components to leadership. One of them is building and maintaining healthy relationships.

Leaders are responsible for the people they hire and the people that they lead. How do you build your team?

16) Are you culturally sensitive? 

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is different.

It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.

17) When have you failed, how have you recovered yourself and what have you learned about yourself then? 

Failures don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when your mistakes come to light rather than going unnoticed.

18) What are your greatest achievements as a leader and as a follower?

It is important to recall the time you have succeeded and demonstrated great leadership.

The memory of past success will serve you right when you face challenges. If you did it once, then you can do it again.

19) Are you able to direct someone else towards success? 

Mentorship is usually the realization of leadership.

It is similar to tutorship, to parenthood, to partnership, or to an alliance.

20) Are you able to delegate?

Delegating increases employee empowerment and talent engagement, leads to higher levels of commitment, innovationmotivation, and better relationships..

21) Are you able to perform under pressure?

As a leader, your behavior in pressure moments impacts those around you and can predict their performance.

22) How do you solve problems and make sound decisions?

The ability to anticipate, to solve problems, to make quick and sound decisions will determine the success of a leader.

23) How do you motivate others? Can you communicate your visions successfully?

Effective communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level.

Your communication skills will also drive change and increase team motivation.

Using those skills, leaders should be pushing a vision for their life, for their family or their organization and it shouldn’t matter whether they have the right relationships, enough money, enough favors, or have hired people with the desired skill set.

24) Are you organized and can you meet deadlines?

Leaders don’t have the luxury to procrastinate because it is similar to self-sabotage. However, they are all subject to it to some extent.

Being organized, methodical, pragmatic will help you gain a sense of satisfaction and will increase your chances of success.

25) Who do you look up to?

It is critical to have a role model who will help you improve, achieve your goals and will show you your life purpose.

Your role model is authentic, relatable and can be a family member, a friend in your entourage or someone you barely know.

26) Can you handle change?

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

Leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise.

27) What do you hate the most and will not stand for?

You can’t always find out what you like but life has a funny way of putting you in front of the things that you hate the most.

28) Can you accept criticism from others?

Accepting criticism implies that you are able to listen, accept people point of view and give feedback as well.

29) Are you becoming too complacent?

30) What do you want to improve on?

 

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.

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

There are laws and principles that govern the workplace. We can either ignore them, acknowledge them or abide by them.

These laws and principles are the most visible when someone has been promoted, is moving forward or a new boss is in town. Some appear to be jealous, some try to quickly affiliate with the winner, to show their allegiance. Others are quick to sabotage and to compete.

I am not one to willingly participate in office politics. However, in my opinion, because knowledge is power, the best way to avoid politics is to know the rules. I like to know what is happening, how to read a room, to always be aware of my behavior, and to prepare myself for what is coming.

This advice is also valuable for minorities who encounters western group think in the office, who need to be realistic about their situations and want to understand how to advance themselves, how to protect themselves.

Wondering how to navigate office politics and whether or not you should be interested in it?

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

What is office politics?

Office politics is a human concept and is inevitable. It is also very necessary and will go on whether your participate in it or not.

In office politics people seek power, leadership, influence and/or control of other people, more responsibility on their job.

Office politics is a particular hard skill because it requires that you control your primitive, impulsive responses to different situations and that you stay in high alert at all times.

The Perks Of Office Politics

Political animals in the office usually get what they want, to evade conflicts and sometimes create them between different individuals. Political animals:

  • Have influence. They build healthy relationships, even with toxic individuals.
  • Recognize the agendas and powers at play in any relationships.
  • Get the best projects, get promoted, get pay raise and other rewards.
  • Are trusted for their opinions.
  • Get credit for their hard work.
  • Get their career on a positive track.
  • Have the ability and the tools to deal with opposition and usually wins in a conflict.
  • Conserve their energy and focus it on worthwhile issues.
  • Avoid being blindsided or facing unpleasant outcomes.

What We Hate About Office Politics

Office politics is often badly perceived because it can be cruel, be viewed as being calculated and manipulative.

Sometimes, office politics is a dangerous and corrosive game but it is a game. It is part of human nature, a social activity, a marathon and not a sprint.

It is often used to sabotage, to manipulate, to deflect or to create a conflict between people.

Therefore, it is not for the faint of heart. Before starting, you must make sure that you are robust, are not dependent on people or other external factors, that you are emotionally detached from your work and that you can clearly separate your identity from your job.

Furthermore, keep in mind that abusing power on the long run does not lead to success.

Principle #1: Defining your purpose

Having greater goals in life will help you sustain and overcome opposition, avoid being pushed around by people or events. Your ultimate goals can be:

  • staying at a company and getting your pay check to ensure your lifestyle and to guarantee financial stability.
  • staying at a company, evolving, building healthy relationships
  • Living the company and finding better

Either way, set realistic goals, expectations for yourself. Next, stay focus on your goals, use your goals to guide your decisions and your behavior.

Principle #2: Know your strengths, weaknesses and limits

Politics and power will challenge your weaknesses.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you assess your worth, appreciate your contributions at work and determine whether or not you can run with horses. This will also help you identify them in others, understand them, maximize their potential and forgive their weaknesses.

To be effective at office politics, don’t directly demonstrate or enunciate your strengths or weaknesses. It is best to wait for the right moment to do so.

In addition, you must seek to enhance your performance, your productivity, to develop competencies that are hard to acquire or hard to replace. and to deliver great results. Then, discreetly promote your results.

Principle #3: Maintaining your leadership capabilities

It is important to learn to keep your peace and your composure at all times by seriously controlling your emotions. This demands a lot of discipline and will help you grow as a person.

Furthermore, lead by example and take care or yourself first. Great leaders have power but stay humble and don’t abuse it.

Seek understanding

To help you manage people, conflicts, to adopt the right behavior, to estimate your position and status:

  • Understand the company culture, values and principles.
  • Understand the people who you work with, estimate their boundaries and assess their attitudes.
  • Believe that hierarchy exist and is gladly enforced in the workplace. This means that you must, at some point, show deference to your “superiors”.This doesn’t mean that your “superiors” have greater character, greater skill sets or greater vision. However, no matter who you are, you won’t be able to freely speak your mind, to make your own decisions, to control your assignments.

Discipline your words and your thoughts

  • Stay away from gossip and rumors.
  • Watch what you say and how you say it.
  • Give substance to your speech.
  • Monitor your behavior at all times.

Discipline your emotions

  • Get rid of your ego and nurture your sense of humor. If you don’t know something, say so and don’t fake knowledge.
  • Don’t waste your time and energy on useless matters.
  • Keep your wits about you.
  • When someone slights you, don’t give them an emotional reaction.

Principle #4: Behave ethically

  • Remain true to your core values.
  • Don’t expect to be treated fairly.
  • Upgrade your character in order to be unimpeachable from the start. People with low or no ethics are unsuccessful in the long run.

Poor character leads to abusive, aggressive, masochistic, sadist behavior and office politics.

When I was working for a long corporation, one person in the office was being bullied. I was asked, as a team member, to participate in the bullying and to force the person to quit.

Most of my team members, for fun or for fear of retribution, would engage in toxic behavior towards this one person, put down false complaints and manufacture false rumors as well.

Without doing the same, I realized that sadistically beating down on someone, engaging in toxic behavior were not aligning with my core values and wouldn’t allow me to sleep properly at night.

To solve the solution, I simply listened to the request, spoke positively about the person, suggested to them that they had to find a better position and found a better place to work myself.

What was your ethically questionable experience?

Principle #5: Building your network and gaining influence

Networking is an important process, especially if your are shy and introverted. Who you know will determine how far you will get.

Here are some tips below that will help you be unbothered, to gain influence and build positive relationships:

  • Protect your reputation at all cost. For instance, if you make promises, live up to them.
  • Have a positive attitude. Avoid being mean or offending people for sport.
  • Act or be confident. It is important to fake it until you make it, to dress confidently and dress for success.
  • Give your best on your job and put your best foot forward. You can even become an expert in your field.
  • Empathetic ally listen to your coworkers. This way, you will get invaluable information about the environment, be solution oriented and build strong relationships.
  • Look to be respected and not to be liked.
  • Seek to integrate the group before you seek to lead it.
  • Target people who can help you achieve your goals and let them know what you bring to the table.
  • Don’t worry what people say about you, don’t gossip or spread false rumors.
  • Avoid too much flattery. You will appear weak to  your peers, will erode their respect and the respect of the higher-ups.
  • Involve people in your decision-making process.

Principle #6: Friend or Foe?

It is detrimental to discern your friends from your enemies, your confidant from your comrade, your constituents from your compatriots.

Keep in mind that:

  • Not everybody is your friend and don’t expect your “friends” to have your back.
  • It is better to have allies than to have enemies.
  • Your enemies won’t stop at anything to block you from achieving your purpose.

In conflicts or challenging situations:

  • Always seek to diffuse tension.
  • Avoid taking sides, power struggles but don’t give in to enemies or attempt to please them.
  • Mind your business and don’t take anything personally.
  • Identify the toxic behavior and the solution for it.
  • Don’t stoop to the level of the perpetrator or please the naysayers.
  • Don’t play the victim or suffer unfair treatment.
  • Ask questions rather than giving answers or have a private chat with an enemy and try to bring them to your side.
  • If you are not in position of power or are not favored at your job, accept it and move on, especially if you don’t know how to maneuver the situation.
  • If excluded from a group, don’t attempt to fit in, just join a new one or leave the place.
  • If you are being openly criticized or insulted, don’t let that affect your self-worth or your work. Agree with the perpetrator without demonstrating emotion.

Principle #7: Change

To handle office politics, one must learn to appreciate change and adapt to it.

  • Stay present, stay resilient and robust to conflicts and change, to your own emotions, to the emotions of others.
  • Learn to deal with change and quickly recover from your blows.

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.

Empowering Your Team & Retaining Talent

Keeping a job for a lifetime at the same company is no longer a concern for employees. Nowadays, most employees are looking to explore, to evolve professionally, to grow personally and do not depend on one company to do so. 

With the amount of layoffs in the last generation, employees have learnt to mistrust leaders and corporations. They no longer feel empowered, committed, engaged, aligned with their organization or no longer think that leaders have their best interest at heart.

However, good employees are needed to reach company goals. Leaders should be concerned when several good employees leave in a matter of weeks, when employees start performing poorly, act disengaged, take too many sick leaves, skip meetings, arrive late, are unmotivated, are overworked, unproductive or underpaid.

Wondering what are the strategies and tactics to empower your team, to maintain a trust climate, increase employee alignment and retain talent?

Empowering Your Team & Retaining Talent

What is employee empowerment?

Employee empowerment is a loosely used term.

It mostly designates the way people feel about themselves at work, the ease with which they are able to use their strengths, to freely demonstrate their talents, to achieve their purpose, to find meaning and satisfaction in their jobs.

It also stems from their ability to feel productive, confident and in control in the workplace.

Furthermore, employee empowerment is a leadership style. Leaders must feel empowered in order to empower. Indeed, they must be able to maintain self-confidence, to manage their time, to gain influence, to effectively communicate, to listen, to reach their goals and to be open to learn.

In addition, an empowered employee doesn’t need permission to do his or her work, to create an appropriate process, to control the outcomes of his or her work, to develop a personal scope.

On the other hand, employees who are disempowered don’t openly critique the organization, don’t make open suggestions, don’t challenge the status quo, don’t know what is expected of them, and are often blindsided. When employees don’t feel empowered, they tend to leave.

What are the challenges of employee empowerment?

Deciding to quit is a long process that can be triggered by various traumatic, memorable and emotional events:

  • Lack of empowerment, of recognition, validation or compensation.
  • Lack of career opportunities and possibilities of growth.
  • Lack of challenge. This creates boredom, a need for a career change and a need for more responsibility.
  • Lack of purpose. In this case, employees feel like they are not operating at their maximum potential, that their strengths are not properly used, that their jobs don’t have meaning and don’t bring them satisfactionWork constitutes an important part of your life. Therefore, making it meaningful and empowering is necessary.
  • Career disillusionment. Employees feel like their career path is not as they believed it to be.
  • Workplace toxicity and leader’s unethical behavior. Workplace toxicity comes from the fact that core values and trust have not been instilled. This can result in being influenced, in spreading toxic behavior, in feelings of being marginalized or harassed.
  • Aggressive office politics.
  • Poor communication with higher-ups.
  • Work-life imbalance and lack of flexible hours.
  • Change in personal situation (health, family, …).
  • New sudden career opportunities.

Should you hold back employees who want to leave?

Retaining young employees is the most difficult because they need more care, more validation and more training.

To increase employee engagement and to compete for talents, most organizations resort to quick fixes that provide short them results. It is essential to:

  • Accept that employees are going to leave no matter what.
  • Accept that employees who are leaving are sure about their decision.
  • Accept that the decision to leave is potentially connected to your behavior, to the company’s policy and culture.
  • Hire appropriate employees for the job in the first place by directly asking them about their needs.
  • Conduct an employee exit interview and ask your employees why they want to leave. Doing so will help you fix recurring problems within the organization and reduce employee turnover.

How to empower employees and prevent them from leaving?

To decrease employee turnover, leaders must change their mindset and rethink the company culture. Empowerment can lead to higher levels of commitment, innovation, motivation, more productivity and better relationships.

  • Determine your core values. Have enough integrity to share and demonstrate your values.
  • Be an example, demonstrate the benefits of empowerment, act ethically and a teacher to your team.
  • Assess and improve your communication style.
  • Be fair at all times and don’t pick favorites.
  • Learn to cope with change. Don’t expect immediate change and the change you envisioned.
  • Build an environment that promotes inclusiveness and unity. For example, remove the traditional organizational structures to improve communication among workers.
  • Value your employees and their expertise.
  • Listen to your employees. Ask them for advice, let them speak freely and truly consider their responses.
  • Share your vision and your story with your team in order to motivate them towards a unique goal and to check if they align with it.
  • Set high but achievable expectations for your team. Let them know about it.
  • Clearly define everyone’s activities so they don’t step on other people’s toes.
  • Help your employees identify their purpose, even if their calling is not in the organization. It would be more rewarding for them and more effective for you to remove them from the team and give them some indication of an ideal career path.
  • Increase your employees awareness. Share information about organizational policies, processes, structures, standards, decisions.
  • Involve your employees in the decision-making process
  • Learn to delegate. There is nothing more frustrating than a leader who micromanages, who needs to approve every stage of the process, who doesn’t think that their team can have the workload without them.
  • Encourage people to take initiative and to solve their own problems.
  • Give your employees autonomy and more ownership of their work. Give them the freedom to reach the company’s objectives.
  • Allow people to take risks and to make mistakes.
  • Increase accountability and avoid the blame game at all cost, especially when something goes wrong.
  • Recognize, reward your employees and show appreciation for the work that your team puts in. Help them understand that their contributions at work have a real impact.
  • Request and provide feedback often. Give credit when it is due, provide coaching and training.
  • Have an open door policy, if possible.
  • Help your employees grow professionally and personally. Allow them to succeed and be the best. Make them look good and they will reward you with good work
  • Increase benefits, avoid overwork, allow flexible hours and leaves of absence.

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 Public Speaking In Leadership

Public speaking is one of my favorite activities at work, whether it is selling a product or negotiating a contract. It allows me to gather information, to win over an audience and increase my leadership influence. It is the ability to be eloquent and to persuade which gives me an edge over the competition.

Public speaking skills are useful on a daily basis. They can be learnt, they are required in different social situations, from professionals to students.

However, public speaking requires a certain level of confidence, preparation, technique, voice control, clear ideas, arguments, objectives, good knowledge of the audience.

It also generates severe anxiety in most people. And, keeping your composure in stressful situations will demonstrate your leadership skills.

Wondering how to deliver your best speech and overcome fear of public speaking?

Public Speaking In Leadership

The importance of public speaking

Avoiding public speaking can be detrimental to your career, to your relationships and to your personal growth. This skill is called upon for celebratory events, meetings.

Public speaking enables you to transform people, influence some people, persuade others, help people work toward a personal or common goal, inspire emotions and provide value, convey a vision, drive change and positive actions, introduce new information, innovative ideas to a crowd.

It allows you to gain trust, to solidify your credibility, to become more confident, to find your voice, to address difficult conversations and find solutions.

Coping with the fear of public speaking

Public speaking can make some people anxious because the speaker is at the complete mercy of the audience. The good news is that fears are learnt behavior and can be unlearned. To get rid of your debilitating fear:

  • Keep in mind that the audience is generally supportive, even though they can make or break you.
  • Change your perspective and think of your speech as a conversation. To help you do so, practice in front of family and friends.
  • Start your speech with questions to get your audience more engaged.
  • Stay present, stop over-analyzing the situations and stop trying to be perfect.
  • Visualize a positive outcome.
  • Avoid trying to completely remove your anxiety. Instead, channel it otherwise, distract yourself from these emotions by exercising or listening to music.

Honing your public speaking skills

When speaking publicly you want to be understood, to guide them to your ideas. Public speaking doesn’t need to be your full-time job to be useful. To hone your public speaking skills:

  • Understand your audience. Your audience comes from different backgrounds, have diverse interests and needs. To forejudge their responses to your speech, analyze your audience, their culture, their current situation. Then, identify the points that you need to emphasize and those you need to remove.
  • Decide and format your content. It is important to know what you will be talking about. Furthermore, the format of your content will depend on the event.
    • Detail your speech, arrange your arguments in order of importance and organize your content to increase retention.
    • Employ different tools for your presentation like PowerPoint.
    • Give your audience practical advice.
    • Keep it simple, use short sentences, get to the point.
    • Introduction and conclusion are key and have to be most prepared.
  • Ensure that you passionate about the topic beforehand. Your passion will motivate the audience.
  • Determine your objective. Understand the need you have to impact your audience, the need to speak at this event and the decision to explore this specific topic.
  • Determine your communication style and rhetoric. It is important to mind your verbal and nonverbal delivery, to pay attention to your delivery, your tone and your voice more than you do to the content of your speech.
    • Captivate the audience and interact with them within the 10 first seconds.
    • Use action verbs, personal pronouns, present tense, tangible language, proper grammar, appropriate logic and conventional language. Adapt your message and language to your audience.
    • Use your own words to convey your personality and keep the audience engaged.
    • Learn to tell stories, to use relatable examples, your personal experiences and interests. This is why it is important to know your audience.
    • Ask provocative questions, embody the story and act out the anecdotes.
  • Before you start speaking, take a moment, breathe, master your fear, control yourself and your thoughts.
  • Keep your energy up from beginning to end.
  • Stand up straight, shoulders backward and arms open. Look at people in the eye and smile to put people at ease.
  • Walk around on stage before the speech to get an idea of the space available. This will allow you to feel at home on stage or in public and to move your body at will.
  • Act natural. There is nothing more off-putting and distracting than someone acting theatrical.
  • Look the part but don’t let your clothes distract your audience from the message.
  • Keep in mind that your audience wants to see you win. Stay focused: don’t be distracted by the audience, by naysayers and hecklers.
  • Treat your speech like an opportunity to have a conversation with friends.
  • Incorporate humor in your set if you are brave enough. Humor is risky but self-deprecating humor is always the best option.
  • Observe your competition, listen to other speakers and take notes. 
  • Rehearse your speech relentlessly and don’t let it show. Rehearsing will help you deliver your speech with confidence, avoid searching for words, avoid skipping important points. Practice will also make you a leader in your field and increase your credibility.
  • Solidify your credibility. There is nothing
    • Become an expert on the subject, create your own content and connect the dots properly.
    • Be transparent, trustworthy, fair and respectful. Conduct yourself morally.
    • Care for your audience and share valid information that will progress them
    • Agree to disagree with your audience, respect their values, avoid attacking them and don’t make them feel stupid.
    • Stay away from hate speech, offensive, untruthful, distorted and slanderish speech
  • Keep sharpening your public speaking skills and take some classes.

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.