February 22nd, 2014

Initiative - The key to effective leadership

by Helen Antholis

Do you initiate?

How would you rate your ability to initiate?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I find ways to change the status quo?

2. Am I impatient to introduce change?

3. Do I think of better ways to do things?

4. Do I assess needs, identify problems, consider alternatives, and produce solutions?

5. Do I encourage others to tell me why something won’t work?

6. Do I stay true to my vision and engage others to support it?

A vital component of one’s leadership mindset is that of demonstrating initiative.

Are you compelled to introduce change?

Without the drive the take charge and make things happen, a manager never gets to rise to the leadership level necessary to create new and better products, services, or methods. 

Without the drive to develop one’s staff, the learning stops and morale suffers. 

Without the drive to notice opportunities to improve, what was once considered acceptable begins to deteriorate.

Whether in the workforce, at home, or in volunteer positions, a key quality for effecting positive change is having the desire to move things to a new level. 

Resume updates

Whether you are working now or seeking work, update your resume with a focus on describing opportunities you have had to initiate change. Be prepared to describe those initiatives on your performance review or in your interview. The candidate for promotion or hire that demonstrates initiative will have the competitive edge.

While you’re at it, does your resume look stagnant? Are you not learning anything new? Are you not taking the initiative to expand your knowledge and skills?

Those actions speak louder than you can imagine.

So, sign up for a computer class. Take on a volunteer project. Find the initiator in your character and control your future.

It will be here before you know it!

March 21st, 2012

Would you hire yourself? Five strategies to Conquer Your Career.

by Helen Antholis

Ernie Antholis

How often do we imagine ourselves in the hiring manager’s seat and seriously assess our desirability as a prospective hire or promotable asset? It’s not too late to consider branding your image to give you the edge in this competitive marketplace. Pretend you’re the hiring manager and evaluate yourself in light of these five strategies:

1. Your Personal Appearance

Okay, when was the last time someone told you that you looked great? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you staying up-to-date with your hair, clothing, and shoes? Are you eating right and staying (getting) in shape? If not, ask Diana for help. She’ll have you feeling better about yourself and looking fantastic.

2. Your Persona

Listen to and look at yourself in action. How do you speak? Uh, um (fillers)…what do you say? Are you distracting with hand and facial gestures (twirling your hair; stroking your beard)? Do you stand erect? Or are you a slump-er. People make judgments and it’s hard to overcome them with a stellar resume. Be the person you want to hire by taking notice and changing/improving what you can.

3. Your Resume

So much has been written about this. One page or two? Font size of 10 or 12? Does it have a summary of accomplishments? If you need help with this, check out www.hirefriday.com. It’s a great resource for job seekers with a twitter chat #HFChat on Fridays at noon (eastern) with recruiters and HR professionals offering free advice.

4. Your Digital Image

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, your website and Blog…there are no secrets anymore. Be sure you are using social media intentionally and to your advantage. Recruiters are using search tools so be sure what they find is complimentary about you.

5. Your Interviewing Skills

So, here you are looking great with a super resume and speaking well with a solid social media presence. It’s now about selling yourself in a balanced way. You’re confident but not boastful; you’re positive without being hyper. Be ready to answer the questions you’re likely to get asked. Do your homework.

After all is said and done…would you hire you?

To learn more, get the Conquer Your Career e-guide. It is the perfect companion for job seekers and career changers. It offers 25 strategies and 100 specific tactics to ensure that you are doing everything you can to be successful.

Tell us…what tips would you share that have helped you gain the competitive edge?

Photo credit: www.antholisart.com

December 6th, 2011

Management mindsets

by Helen Antholis

Management mindsets are critical to getting results in improving productivity and job satisfaction. In our new eBook (yours for free when you subscribe to our VIP newsletter), we adapted our popular 2011 summer series so that, in one place, you can evaluate your management mindset.

The eBook explores management mindsets for eight essential functions: Planning, Organizing, Communicating, Motivating, Hiring, Setting Performance Goals, Training, and Resolving Conflict. How to be a Better Leader - The Essentials calls for your own analysis of how you think.

NOTE to current subscribers: You have already received your download link in a special emailing this past Saturday.

Performance Advantage is a learning & development firm specializing in eLearning products and solutions for:

A. Companies that want to get better results in employee performance, productivity, and job satisfaction through:

  1. eBooks
  2. eCourses in management, training, and sales
  3. customized one-to-one advising sessions; and 
  4. tailored training for clients who need to incorporate social media in their marketing plan.

Click here to learn more about our services.

B. Individuals who want to proactively manage their career growth. The Conquer Your Career e-Guide offers 100 practical strategies in four parts. 

  1. Take the free self-assessment and decide if you want the 4-part, 100 strategy e-Guide or any of its four parts with 25 strategies each.  
  2. Each of the four parts can be purchased separately. 

 Click here for more information on the Conquer Your Career e-Guide.

In this educational blog, we share stories and concepts related to creating better workplaces by encouraging the conscious adoption of leadership mindsets.

Join the conversation… 

Click here to receive in your inbox: 2 FREE eBooks, special mailings, and our educational blog.

Photo credit: NYC at Sunrise by www.antholisart.com

November 14th, 2011

Is it them or you?

by Helen Antholis

A new day

Getting to the heart of any matter means:

  • really listening, 
  • determining the real issue, and 
  • considering options that may be different from your current way of thinking

For example, your boss drives you crazy. How? Any number of ways. But in particular, when he/she does_______, it drives you up a wall. You feel like quitting but you can’t (nor should you). You feel like telling him/her but you’re worried you’ll get emotional and either blow up or cry. You feel so frustrated that you wish someone would save you.

First, take a deep breath and…

Ask yourself:

  • How long has this been going on?
  • Did it always bother me?
  • How does it make me feel?
  • Is there any difference between when it first started and now?
  • How do I behave when it happens?

Often, behaviors that were once appealing or flattering now seem to be the reason you hate your job. What can you do?

First, take a deep breath and think about it.

Second, ask yourself the five questions above.

Third, if you don’t have a clue as to what’s going on, ask a friend to help you (not a co-worker!)

What may be happening is that you have changed. Your workload is greater and your stress points are stretched. What once was fine is now making you want to avoid the problem  - or worse, attack it. It’s time to consider that the problem, and therefore the solution, rests with you. After all, we know we can’t change other people. What we do know is that we can temporarily see a change in their behavior if we do something different. Breaking the pattern is the key. 

So let’s go back to what your boss is doing that drives you crazy. What can you change? You can change your reaction, your feelings, your perspective, your behavior. Wow. Pretty powerful, huh? You can do more than you think. But don’t think once will work. It takes time to break a habit (yours as well as your boss’s.)

So take a deep breath and plan a strategy for the next time it happens. You’ll be surprised at how different the interaction will be.

What works for you? Share a tip.

Photo credit “It’s a New Day” by www.antholisart.com taken at Arches National Park, Moab, UT


September 18th, 2011
Reblogged from Enter: Adulthood
September 13th, 2011

"Take us to the World Trade Center"

One World Trade Center

The World Trade Center, August 2011

by Helen Antholis

Last month, we were in NYC and decided to go downtown to see the progress on rebuilding the WTC.  We got into a cab and said “Take us to the World Trade Center.” The driver looked at us and repeated “World Trade Center?” It was as if he hadn’t been asked that before. For 10 years, people have referred to the site at “Ground Zero.” It was time to change that and in our small way, it was a beginning. He knew what we meant.

Thirty years ago, I worked at One World Trade Center, 45th floor. It’s hard to describe the magnitude of the buildings. They were their own city within the city, with their own zip code. The towers and concourse were filled with thousands of people - all going about their business. The elevators were vertical subways, with express and local stops. The views were amazing from every window.

We asked the driver to stop at Broadway so we could walk the last block to the site and take in the longer view. At Church Street, my husband took this photo. I started to cry. It’s 10 years but it seems like yesterday. My heart goes out to all who still suffer with painful memories of that day. My prayer is that they find peace and comfort. Our gratitude goes to all who worked so hard to save and serve others then, and who still work today to rebuild and renew our hope. Our prayers to those in law enforcement and the military who keep us safe and protect our freedoms and to those we’ve lost in the pursuit.

We walked across the street, past the construction workers, to the other side of the site. From there, we could see them working to finish the memorial in time for the 10th anniversary commemoration this past Sunday. A friend of mine who lost her brother-in-law on 9/11 was there Sunday and said “the memorial is magnificent.”

I’ll be visiting again soon and look forward to saying to the cab driver, “Take us to the World Trade Center.” And he will nod in silent agreement.

9-11 Pins

September 7th, 2011

Summer Leadership Series: How did you do?

Eight weeks have passed since we started the Summer Series on How To Be A Better Leader. We covered 8 essential functions for supervising others. For those of you who signed up for the series, let us know what you thought by:

1. Emailing to us your Pre/Post Scores on the Learning Assessment; and

2. Evaluating the Series

For those who did not participate, or are finding about it now for the first time, the Series will be available to you as an ebook. Subscribe for an email notification about when that will be launched.

We’re glad you had the chance to learn the basics of leading. 

Click here to evaluate the series.

Tell us what you’d like to see next~

Regards,

Helen and Diana

worksmarta (at) gmail (dot) com

August 30th, 2011

Resolving Conflicts: How to Be a Better Leader Summer Session #8

by Helen Antholis

Session #8 of 8: Summer Series: How to Be a Better Leader

Resolving conflict is an essential skill for a boss. Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. Even with the best attempts at communicating, there is bound to be some degree of conflict. Keep in mind that each individual in the workplace has a whole stadium of people and experiences behind them. How that person views conflict and responds to it will be shaped by those experiences. As a leader, our role is to prevent conflict and, when it occurs, manage it. 

Welcome, class.

This is the last session in the free Summer Leadership Series.

If you are dropping in for the first time, click here for the Introductory Session posted on 7/5.

Subscribe to receive these and future posts in your inbox or RSS feed.

Listen, Engage, Act, Dare to Change

As you know from the Introduction, we have been covering 8 essential functions for a boss to master to work effectively and efficiently (we’ll use “boss” for manager, supervisor, team leader, i.e., anyone who supervises others). With each post, you thought about how you’d be better at Listening, Engaging, Acting, and Daring to change. In other words, be a better LEADer. At the end of this post, enter into your notebook the actions you’ll take to apply these behaviors to the function discussed. At the end of this session, you’ll have the most-personalized performance plan ever developed. Then take the assessment again to discover your learning gain. Ready?

As you think about communication in the workplace, here are ways to think about conflict:

1. Don’t think conflicts are based solely on personality. It’s easy to say “It’s a personality conflict” to dismiss miscommunications. But it’s better to understand the reasons and look for ways to improve. 

2. Don’t think conflicts can’t be resolved. Conflicts not only CAN be resolved, they MUST be resolved to build solid working relationships based on trust and open communications.

3. Don’t think there’s only one way to resolve a conflict. Many times, we form habits of how to resolve conflict. Some of us avoid the situation, some confront, some attack. The key is find productive ways of resolving conflict through mutual respect and collaboration. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s worth exploring different ways of assessing a situation.

4. Don’t think once a conflict is resolved, it will never recur. Ah, wouldn’t that be great. Fix it once and it goes away. Not so easy with people. Each day brings new surprises to the workplace. Expect conflict and you won’t be disappointed when it occurs.

5. Don’t think conflicts are unhealthy. Conflicts, when expressed with respect and calm, can be very healthy ways of getting to a proper resolution. Remember Group Think? Going along to avoid conflict is the surest road to disaster. Express yourself and allow others to do the same. But set ground rules on how to do that politely and with civility.

6. Don’t think resolving conflict is not a learned skill. Many models have been developed on how to manage conflict. One can learn how to do this. Do a search on “Conflict Resolution Strategies” and you’ll find numerous resources.

7. Don’t think others can’t benefit from learning about how to resolve conflict. Talk to your staff and colleagues about the topic. When you learn something, share it. Once you do, you’ll learn even more.

8. Don’t think you’re all alone in this. Chances are good that your manager and colleagues are experiencing the same thing. Talk to them about how they are handling conflict. What has worked for them? What hasn’t?

9. Don’t think that there’s a difference between men and women for resolving conflict. Avoid stereotyping people by gender. If you do, you’ll most likely create the conflict you were hoping to avoid. Treat people as individuals. Train your mind to ignore those generalizations you’ve heard in your past. Control your emotions and assess the situation for what it is, not what you think it is.

10. Don’t think that one’s ethnicity/race/upbringing creates an embedded and stereotypical characteristic for causing and resolving conflict. When you face a conflict, you may find yourself thinking in ways that are counter-productive. Don’t mentally assign someone to a group and think you can extrapolate or predict their thinking and behavior. It is a false assumption and if you act on it, you will find yourself in a very difficult situation. Treat each situation individually, respect people for who they are, and deal with behaviors, not “attitudes.”

HOMEWORK:

  • List in your journal your methods for dealing with conflict and identify new ways of approaching situations. Identity assumptions you make that are not valid. List actions you will take to mitigate conflict.

We have enjoyed bringing you this free 8-week Summer Series on How To Be A Better Leader. Please tell us what you thought of it (worksmarta {at} gmail {dot} com). And let us know how we can further assist you in learning and growing.

As a conflict-resolution manager, you need to:

  • Listen with compassion to yourself and others
  • Engage with empathy the hearts and minds of colleagues, managers, and staff in the process
  • Act with respect as you navigate inevitable challenges, and 
  • Dare to change old habits and mindsets about the process. 

Resolving Conflicts: an essential element of being a better leader.

August 22nd, 2011

Top 10 Training Tips for Managers - How to Be a Better Leader Summer Session #7

by Helen Antholis

Training employees is a vital function of a manager. Without training, employees would not know what to do or how to do it. But more than knowing how to train someone is the essential skill of analyzing performance that does not meet standards. Often, bosses think that training will fix the problem. That is true, only if the problem calls for a training solution. Here are our top 10 training tips for a manager in a presentation that you can download and share.

Welcome, class.

If you are dropping in for the first time, click here for the Introductory Session posted on 7/5.

Subscribe to receive them all in your inbox or RSS feed.

Listen, Engage, Act, Dare to Change

As you know from the Introduction, we are covering 8 essential functions for a boss to master to work effectively and efficiently (we’ll use “boss” for manager, supervisor, team leader, i.e., anyone who supervises others). As you read each post, think of how you’ll be better at Listening, Engaging, Acting, and Daring to change. In other words, be a better LEADer. At the end of this post, enter into your notebook the actions you’ll take to apply these behaviors to the function discussed. At the end of the 8 sessions, you’ll have the most-personalized performance plan ever developed. Then you’ll take the assessment again to discover your learning gain.

As a trainer, you need to:

  • Listen with compassion to yourself and others
  • Engage with empathy the hearts and minds of colleagues, managers, and staff in the process
  • Act with respect as you navigate inevitable challenges, and 
  • Dare to change old habits and mindsets about the process. 
Training: an essential element of being a better leader.

Haven’t filled out the survey yet?  Click here to help us help you!

August 16th, 2011

Setting Performance Goals - How to Be a Better Leader Summer Session #6

by Helen Antholis

Session #6 of 8: Summer Series: How to Be a Better Leader

Setting Performance Goals is as important as having rules for baseball. Without everyone knowing what’s expected of them, how to perform, and how to keep score, there would be chaos on the field.

In the workplace, whether developing goals with a new employee or an existing one, setting performance goals means taking the time to describe them in ways that ensure they are: a) understood; b) attainable; and c) measurable.

Welcome, class.

If you are dropping in for the first time, click here for the Introductory Session posted on 7/5.

Subscribe to receive them all in your inbox or RSS feed.

Listen, Engage, Act, Dare to Change

As you know from the Introduction, we are covering 8 essential functions for a boss to master to work effectively and efficiently (we’ll use “boss” for manager, supervisor, team leader, i.e., anyone who supervises others). As you read each post, think of how you’ll be better at Listening, Engaging, Acting, and Daring to change. In other words, be a better LEADer. At the end of this post, enter into your notebook the actions you’ll take to apply these behaviors to the function discussed. At the end of the 8 sessions, you’ll have the most-personalized performance plan ever developed. Then you’ll take the assessment again to discover your learning gain. Ready?

SET PERFORMANCE GOALS THAT ARE UNDERSTOOD

The first step in achieving performance is to ensure that your employee understands what is expected. That means, you and your manager must agree on overall goals and ensure that they are aligned with the organization.  

  • The performance appraisal form and the job description are tools for discussing and documenting desired performance. 

You’ve spent much time in hiring the right people. It’s essential that you do your best to give them every opportunity to succeed.

SET PERFORMANCE GOALS THAT ARE ATTAINABLE

Once you’ve described desired performance, you need to be sure that it is attainable.

  • Are you providing the necessary resources, training, tools, support for success? 
  • Do your employees feel that the goals are specific?
  • Do your employees think that the goals are realistic?
  • Are your systems, technology, and procedures efficient and effective?
  • Are company policies reasonable and implementable?

SET PERFORMANCE GOALS THAT ARE MEASURABLE

Imagine being in a baseball game and:

  • Not knowing what the rules are?
  • Not knowing how you’re doing along the way?
  • Not knowing what it takes to score a run or win the game? 
  • Not knowing how to tell when the game is over?

It’s not that much different at work. People need to know the objective of the work and how it will be measured. They need to know, in observable and behavioral terms, how to perform, how performance will be monitored, and how their performance will be measured. 

As the manager, it’s your role to help your staff: a) understand their role; b) believe they can be successful; and c) know that you’ll give them honest, constructive feedback along the way. This will build trust and confidence in you and themselves.

Tell us what you think about this topic. Have you ever worked in a place that did not clearly describe your goals or tell you how they would be measured?

HOMEWORK: Review your staff’s files to ensure that you have well-written performance objectives. 

  • Are they written? 
  • Are they agreed to? 
  • Are they attainable? 
  • Are they measurable? 
  • Have they changed? 
  • Do they need to be adjusted? 

Make a notation in your journal of what you need to do in order to improve upon the skill of setting performance objectives.

Have you taken our mid-session survey yet?  Help us help you by clicking here to fill it out.  

COHORT NEWS: Participants in this series self-identify by commenting on these posts. You are in a special learning community. Our hope is that you interact with one another. On Twitter, follow @worksmarta and use the #worksmarta hashtag to follow the conversation about this Summer Series.

Good luck! Comment below or email any questions: worksmarta {at} gmail {dot} com. 

See you next week!

As a goal setter, you need to:

  • Listen with compassion to yourself and others
  • Engage with empathy the hearts and minds of colleagues, managers, and staff in the process
  • Act with respect as you navigate inevitable challenges, and 
  • Dare to change old habits and mindsets about the process. 

Setting Performance Goals: an essential element of being a better leader.

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