Can You Perform Under Pressure In The Workplace?

We all have had major presentations in front of our peers that determine whether or not we will be fit for the next promotion, whether we contribute effectively to the team, where we feel the pressure to succeed.

Overloaded, overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, some of us make it through these pressure moments and others fail.

As a matter of fact, leaders and employees are constantly under pressure in corporate:

  • their time is under custody,
  • the customers require quality product in record time,
  • the teams need expertise,
  • teams compete against each other at all levels,
  • teams bully one member of their team,
  • teams, stakeholders and organizations have high expectations,
  • the market is unstable or the company is downsizing,
  • hierarchy formulates unreachable financial demands,
  • there is a constant need for results and numbers,
  • technology has us connected to our work 24/7,
  • each individual applies pressure on themselves to succeed…

Wondering how to handle, minimize the effects of these pressure moments at work and moreover how to control your reactions to them?

Can You Perform Under Pressure In The Workplace?

Pressure is indeed independent from the work class and social status. Pressure affects creativity and productivity.

Pressure is much more visible when starting a new job. We feel obliged to fit in and show our contribution to the team and we tend to overdo ourselves.

We arrive early, we live late, we work harder than the rest, meet expectations, make mistakes which leads to anxiety and stress.

Therefore, the desire to perform better, the need for results are pressing which deepens the stress: we stop trusting our main competencies and like Boxer the horse in George Orwell’s, we just start to work harder.

However, in reality, by working harder, you have great work ethic but you are no longer considered as a team player, a thinker or strategist and therefore become expendable.

The impacts of pressure?

Everyone has a threshold for pressure. There are definitely two types of pressure: the one we impose on ourselves and the one people put on us.
Pressure can have a negative effect on people: aggressiveness, loss of appetite, insomnia, headache, back pain, and stress.
The term stress was first adopted by Hans Selye in 1936 and is defined as a feeling of inability to respond to high stake demands in critical situations.
Stress is a fundamental human reaction, rooted in our self-preservation instincts, that impacts our cognitive health, clouds our decision-making process and our judgement, compromises our perceptions and behavioral skills, and lowers our abilities.
It leaves people cold, uptight, defensive, with the feeling of quitting everything. However, stress is not all bad. 
Stress provides adrenaline for those who are lacking motivation. In addition, poorly managed stress will eventually damage someone’s career, collaboration, trust and can results in absenteeism, and chronic health problems.

How to perform under pressure?

As a leader, your behavior in pressure moments, impacts those around you and can predict their performance.
Leaders and employees tend to under-perform under pressure because:
  • the situation is critical for them and their survival,
  • the situation is critical for others and for the organization,
  • they fear that people will judge, criticize or reject them due to the outcome of their performance,
  • the outcome of their performance is unknown,
  • their environment is hostile and threatening.

Performing under pressure is a skill and can therefore be learnt. Below are 16 tips to improve your performance under pressure:

  1. Analyze the situation and your behavior. Take a step back, seek deeper insights in your thoughts and behaviors to identify stress triggers, weigh out the outcomes of the situation. How important is this situation for you?
  2. Focus on the task and not the results. It is necessary to clearly define your objectives by writing them down on paper beforehand. Objectives must be concrete, measurable and have an expected outcome. As a result, you are apt to stay in the present, not be distracted and most importantly take your time on the task.
  3. Remember your past success and current qualities, before and during critical situations, to understand that your worth is not intrinsic to the situation and to pass through the situation as a whole.
  4. Control the controllable factors (like your reactions to the situation) and release what you cannot control. Worrying about people or events beyond your control is a waste of energy.
  5. Find coping mechanism and back up plans to avoid reproducing the same mistakes.
  6. Anticipate all the potential obstacles before beginning the task to prepare for the worst, make a list of solutions and implement them before debuting the task. For example, when the waters are calm, write down the essential procedures.
  7. Become insensitive to pressure by subjugating yourself to it as often as necessary, until the performance becomes automatic.
  8. Remain positive and visualize the pressure moment as a challenge or fun experience, an opportunity to showcase your talents. Embracing stressful situations builds self-confidence, energize, boosts motivation, allow you to perform at your authentic level.
  9. Believe that there will be many more opportunities coming our way, by seeing the moment as training session for the right opportunity.
  10. Influence your brain to accurately interpret a high pressured situation. We have a tendency to distort situations through our lenses and either make them grander than they are.
  11. Assume strictly positive outcomes of the stressful situation and speak positivity into reality.
  12. Practice a relaxation technique: breathe, look and listen to the noises around you, take full advantage of your breaks. or just listen to music.
  13. Avoid useless and unproductive interactions if you can. If you are unable to avoid negative interactions, isolate the information that you need from the interaction. Write down that information and do not rely on memory or distorted thoughts.
  14. Recognize that the pressure that you are receiving from someone else has nothing to do with you.
  15. Take responsibility for your actions, admit and accept your errors when things don’t go your way.
  16. Make sleep a priority. When feeling tired or fatigued, switch tasks, start with the most complex one in the beginning of the day and make to do lists before the end of each day.

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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Stephen R. Covey

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

The Importance of Great Leadership

The Importance of Great LeadershipWhether it’s originated in our History or Culture, whether it’s from watching television or from frequenting our friends and family, we all have a clear picture in our minds of what great leadership is or should be.

We also have in mind which competencies and qualities are ideally associated to great leadership.

Wondering if that picture you nurture in your mind coincides with reality and what makes leadership so important?

What is great leadership?

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.

Influence allows leaders to gain consistent support for their views and opinions while building relationships with other individuals, groups or organization on a daily basis. It also helps leaders improve teamwork, and gain more credibility, and respect.

Furthermore, influence is used to win others over, to persuade and convince  without having to subject anyone to manipulation, force, command or control. It consists in a core competency in today’s workplace.

Why is leadership important?

Not everyone is a leader. Not everyone is given an opportunity to lead or not everyone has made the conscious decision to lead. Not everyone wants to be a leader because leadership requires time, knowledge, skills and emotional intelligence.

Some people are actually leaders but not in all aspects of their lives. At last, others leaders emerge later in life.

Moreover, the importance for leadership and the motivation for leadership go hand in hand.

Everybody is motivated differently by leadership: you can be motivated by a search for prestige, status, respect, deference, money, power, an increase in power of decision, a will to make the world a better place by servicing others, a strong desire to embody a vision and to bring that vision into reality.

In addition, without great leadership, chaos flares up.

The key competencies for great leadership

Leadership competenciesI believe that the nine competencies below are the foundation of great contemporaneous leadership:

  1. Demonstrating integrity and instilling trust in employees. Leaders must be capable of being responsible and accountable, of becoming an exemplar of wanted behaviors and values, treating others with respect, of doing the right thing, of walking the walk and walking the talk. According to Warren Bennis, “there is no difference between becoming an effective leader and becoming a fully integrated human being”.
  2. Learning continuously to be able to deal with personal and organizational complexities, to grow and become more effective, and finally to challenge the status quo.
  3. Share vision to inspire has purpose. A vision is what you want to create, to embody and achieve as a leader. The leader’s vision has everything to do with his or her purpose and is often reflected in his or her behavior.
  4. Thinking and acting innovation. Remarkable leaders know how to champion, plan and implement change successfully. .
  5. Possessing good decision-making skills. Leaders are able to identify problems and find solutions, and measure the outcome of those solutions.
  6. Maintaining strong communication skills. Leaders must be good speakers as well as good and active listeners. Communication skills increase the leader’s influence in the workplace. The best way to showcase your communication skills is to:
    • delay your speech, analyze your audience by getting to know their background, situation, history, values, enhance your rhetoric and work on the delivery of your speech.
    • describe the situation you want to change, its impacts and its solutions.
    • ask for other people input by professional courtesy and be open for discussion.
  7. Developing emotional intelligence. Exceptional leaders get to know themselves before getting to know others, lead themselves before leading others, use their emotions at work but don’t let their emotions use them.
  8. Building healthy relationships and connecting with your followers. Indeed, outstanding leaders hold your employees to a higher standard, with higher expectations with the belief that their employees can meet them. They also provide feedback, invest in their employees personal strengths, value collaboration and team work in order to connect to your workforce.
  9. Developing others by mentoring and coaching them in order to sustain high performance employees, to train them for leadership positions and to strengthen employees weaknesses and to help “difficult” employees to fit into the corporate culture. A great leader is a catalyst, facilitator that allow each member of the team to shine. By then, employees commitment and productivity will be increased. Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (2009) said it right in Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow: “Perhaps the ultimate test of a leader is not what you are able to do in the here and now – but instead what continues to grow long after you’re gone.”.

The skills of leaders are transferable to every aspect or role of their lives: they are applicable to their community, neighborhood.

Acquiring all those skills all at once are not realistic: a leader must assess his or her strengths and weaknesses to know which competencies he or she already possess and which competencies to develop first.

Are you currently viewed as a potential leader?

You are viewed as a potential leader if:

  • people regularly come to you for advice, for brainstorming or problem solving,
  • you are progressively given more responsibility on a project by your boss,
  • your boss asks for your opinion on a subject matter before an “above your pay grade” meeting
  • or you are included in your coworkers social activities.

If you are not being perceived as a leader, start with these small steps:

  • Respect the company’s culture, work protocols and procedures and perform well.
  • Offer your help when there is extra work to do in the office. This will show that you are ready to roll up your sleeves for the success of the project, to apply yourself effectively without complaining.
  • Volunteer outside of work. This will allow you to test your leadership skills, to inquire whether leadership is made for you or not, to learn new skills and mostly to make mistakes with less consequence to your career.
  • Read or write articles about leadership development and take courses to increase your knowledge about leadership.
  • Cultivate your strengths and be aware of your weaknesses.

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.

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.

John C. Maxwell

authorJohn C. Maxwell is a worldly recognized leadership expert, speaker. John C. Maxwell is also the Author of Developing the Leader Within You.

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

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

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

What is Leadership?

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

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

Who is a leader?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Position Leadership

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

Aspects and conditions of Position Leadership:

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

Requirements:

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

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

Aspect and conditions of Permission Leadership:

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

Requirements:

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

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

Requirements:

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

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

Requirements:

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

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

Aspect and conditions of Personhood Leadership:

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

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

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

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

Finally, analyze the significance of goals before starting projects.

The character to leadership success

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

  1. Integrity

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

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

  1. Innovation

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

  1. Problem solving

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

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

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

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

  1. The right attitude

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

  1. A love for people

Invest in people by:

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

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

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

  1. An inclination for personal growth and self-discipline

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

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

  1. An enthusiasm for developing people

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite quote(s)

Leadership is influence.

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

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

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

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

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

Ratings 4/5

Author

John C. Maxwell

Purchase

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

13 Leadership Tips for Your First Day on the Job

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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?

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.

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!

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