Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Archive for June, 2013

RESPECT Your Employees

According to a survey conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence and the authors of The Enthusiastic Employee, employees who feel they are not treated with respect by their employers are three times more likely to leave their jobs within two years than those who feel they are treated respectfully.

Why should I?- I’m the boss!

You’ll find that several managers have this mentality when it comes to managing.  This may not be viewed as an incorrect management style, however it is viewed by many as a bullying technique- which creates an unpleasant work environment which turns into a  counterproductive work environment because as touched on above employees in whom you have invested time and money to train will walk out the door after a couple of years.

How to show my employees I respect and appreciate them

  • Be authentic: Be a reflection of your organization’s values and principles while promoting transparency and fairness.
  • Promote ‘ownership’: Make all employees feel like ‘owners’ versus ‘renters’, that their voice matters, and that people in positions of power listen to learn and engage with their employees.
  • Develop potential: Help each employee feel like they are reaching their full potential and achieving their performance goals by investing in personal development.
  • Create an energized culture: Create a positive climate where your followers’ energy is directed towards winning against competitors versus defending against internal detractors from what you’re trying to accomplish.

Treating employees with respect and dignity is critical to retaining good workers, especially in a better job market, and if you’re a smart manager, you’ll find ways to develop respect for all your employees and reward them top to bottom.

What do you say when you talk to yourself?

What do you say-when you talk to yourself

Most people don’t realize it, but as we go about our daily lives we are constantly thinking about and interpreting the situations we find ourselves in. It’s as though we have an internal voice inside our head that determines how we perceive every situation. This is defined as an inner voice ‘self-talk‘, and it includes our conscious thoughts as well as our unconscious assumptions or beliefs.

This may come across as weird as most people associate talking to oneself with some sort of personality disorder, however when under pressure we do talk to ourselves and unfortunately sometimes it’s negative and self-defeating, and when working in an fast paced environment its easy to become stressed out and begin to think negatively of people, possible outcomes, and even ourselves.

Examples of negative self-talk

  • “I’m going to fail for sure”
  • “I didn’t play well”
  • “I’m not going to meet my sales goal”
  • “I’m not going to get this report out on time”

But according to psychologist Ben Martin, we can challenge our self defeating/negative self-talk by challenging the irrational parts and replacing them with more reasonable thoughts.  Here are a few ways to challenge some of our negative thoughts by asking questions.

Reality testing

  • What is my evidence for and against my thinking?
  • Are  my thoughts factual, or are they just my interpretations?
  • Am  I jumping to negative conclusions?
  • How can I find out if my thoughts are actually true?

Look for alternative explanations

  • Are there any other ways that I could look at this situation?
  • What else could this mean?
  • If  I were being positive, how would I perceive this situation?

Putting it in perspective

  • Is   this situation as bad as I am making out to be?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen? How likely is it?
  • What  is the best thing that could happen?
  • What is most likely to happen?
  • Is  there anything good about this situation?
  • Will  this matter in five years time?


Use goal-directed thinking

  • Is  thinking this way helping me to feel good or to achieve my goals?
  • What can I do that will help me solve the problem?
  • Is there something I can learn from this situation, to help me do it better      next time?

So remember when you hear those little gremlins talking- simply challenging yourself with these questions every time you catch yourself thinking something negative to yourself.

How to lead when You’re not the boss

According to the Harvard Business Journal, Opportunities to lead aren’t limited to times when you have formal authority over a particular team or venture. When you step forward and demonstrate leadership, you will contribute value to the project or enterprise–and strengthen your leadership skills

In their book Lateral Leadership: Getting Things Done When You’re Not the Boss (2nd ed., Profile Books, 2004), Harvard negotiation specialist Roger Fisher and coauthor Alan Sharp lay out a useful five-step method for leading when you are not formally in charge. Its steps can be applied to virtually any project you’re involved in or team or meeting you participate in.  I’ve listed an excerpt below- I hope you find these helpful.

1. Establish goals
People accomplish the most when they have a clear set of objectives. It follows that any group’s first order of business is to write down exactly what it hopes to achieve. The person who asks the question “Can we start by clarifying our goals here?”–and who then assumes the lead in discussing and drafting those goals–is automatically taking a leadership role, whatever his or her position.

2. Think systematically
Observe your next meeting: people typically plunge right into the topic at hand and start arguing over what to do. Effective leaders, by contrast, learn to think systematically–that is, they gather and lay out the necessary data, analyze the causes of the situation, and propose actions based on this analysis. In a group, leaders help keep participants focused by asking appropriate questions. Do we have the information we need to analyze this situation? Can we focus on figuring out the causes of the problem we’re trying to solve?

3. Learn from experience–while it’s happening
Teams often plow ahead on a project, then conduct a review at the end to
figure out what they learned. But it’s more effective for teams (or individuals) to learn as they go along.

Anyone who prompts the group to engage in regular minireviews and learn from them is playing a de facto leadership role. Why is this ongoing process more effective than an after-action review? The events are fresh in everyone’s mind. And the team can use what they learn from each minireview to make needed adjustments to their work processes or their goals.

4. Engage others
A high-performing team engages the efforts of every member, and effective team leaders seek out the best fit possible between members’ interests and the tasks that need doing. Suggest writing down a list of chores and matching them up with individuals or subgroups. If no one wants a particular task, brainstorm ways to make that task more interesting or challenging. Help draw out the group’s quieter members so that everyone feels a part of the overall project.

5. Provide feedback
If you’re not the boss, what kind of feedback can you provide? One thing that’s always valued is simple appreciation–“I thought you did a great job in there.” Sometimes, too, you’ll be in a position to help people improve their performance through coaching. Effective coaches ask a lot of questions: “How did you feel you did on this part of the project?” They recognize that people may try hard and fail anyway: “What made it hard to accomplish your part of the task?” They offer thoughtful suggestions for improvement, being careful to explain the observation and reasoning that lie behind them.

Being S.M.A.R.T. about Goal Setting

How do I set goals if I’ve never done that be before?

Fact: Setting goals in the workplace boosts employees forward by providing a focal point for efforts- and you set the tone for the type of goals and the level of difficulty of reaching those goals.

A balance between pushing your employees to achieve above-average results without making the goals impossible helps your business improve, however we’ve all been told that we should set goals, and we assume that we can – but most of us have never been taught how to set goals effectively so they are realistic and achievable.

 Here are some keys for setting realistic goals- S.M.A.R.T Goals

1.      Specific

Goals must call for specific actions, behaviors or events to be successfully met. Individuals must define their desired results within each goal statement using a proactive voice. For example, “I will increase my savings deposits by $50 per week in order to fund my summer trip to Europe.” Goals should contain not more than two sentences and should establish what, where and why.

2.      Measurable

Goals must be measurable to assure success. When setting goals, it is important to describe how each result will be measured. Set clear steps and timelines. Our action step involves increasing deposits by an established amount. Set measurable tracking points by establishing a weekly timeline. If goals are not measurable, individuals cannot track their progress. Goals set successfully always answer the question “How can I measure my success?”

3.      Achievable

Goals must be achievable. A person cannot become a doctor if he has not been graduated from medical school, nor can a business increase its sales if it does not have an advertising budget. A person must ask himself whether the goal is achievable with his current resources. When creating a goal, ask yourself whether you have the skills, tools and resources needed to achieve the goal.

4.      Realistic

Taking a realistic approach is perhaps one of the most important characteristics of successful goal setting. Goals challenge us to achieve or attain what is important to us. For us to maintain motivation levels and avoid frustration, goals must also be realistic. Realistic goals are honest goals. Goals established thoughtfully can challenge us, but are not set beyond our natural abilities. Setting realistic goals involves asking “Is this possible?”

5.      Timely

Successful goal setting must set forth measurable points for starting, ending, review and assessment. A successful goal has deadlines and endings. Open-ended goals often fail because individuals have not have set dates to review, measure and revise.

So remember if you just think about a goal it’s not physically real.  Write your goals down and look at them periodically to keep them visually at the front of your mind.

You’re one step closer….