Tag: business (page 1 of 4)

The Importance of Humor in a Leadership Position

When asked to name quintessential leadership qualities, most folks will mention strength, courage, wisdom, and compassion. These are all important attributes, but there’s another key social skill that is often overlooked. Humor, or the ability to make people laugh, is the oft-forgotten quality.

A serious leader who never cracks a smile will have a hard time connecting with employees. They’ll struggle to build the warm, human relationships that strengthen a team. Humor is the balm that loosens up the meeting room and allows true connections to take place. Here are four concrete benefits of using humor to boost leadership.Build Trust

Would you trust a person who never laughs? It’s difficult to acknowledge your shared humanity with someone who’s hopelessly serious all the time. When employees see that you’re a full-fledged person just like them, they’ll find it easier to trust you.

Encourage Open Dialogue

If your meetings are too serious, then it can be hard for people to break the ice. Your employees might have questions, concerns, or ideas that they’re too nervous to express because of an overly tense atmosphere. Just by cracking a joke, you can lighten the mood and invite people to speak their minds.

Improve Employee Morale

A serious workplace is rarely a fun place to be. When employees feel they have to check their sense of humor at the door, they’ll be counting the hours until they can go home and return to their normal selves. By making it clear that laughter is encouraged, you’ll make everyone happier to be in the office.

Boost Performance

When you use humor to your advantage as a leader, you create a better working environment. This, in turn, makes your entire team more productive. Collaboration will increase as people truly enjoy working together in the lighthearted atmosphere you’ve created. People will work harder because they’ll be pleased with their working relationships. All this will improve your team’s overall performance.

Running a business is a serious matter. That’s why you should get serious about injecting some humor into the workplace. Not only will it make you a better leader, but it will also make your job (and everybody else’s job) a lot more fun.

 

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Tips for Conducting Effective Interviews

Interviewing is an activity that most businesses devote a lot of time to. It involves exchanging information between two individuals looking to fill a job opening, promotion, special tasks, or other inquiries. It also provides employers with a chance to delve deeper into the skills and qualifications of candidates.

How to Prepare Effectively for Interviews

Every interviewer’s main aim is to find the best-suited person for a particular task or job. It is therefore important to prepare in advance by following the tips below:

Prepare Relevant Questions

The preparation process of an interview takes up the most significant part of the process. Coming up with a list of interview questions takes up time, but it is a necessary step. The questions need to be aligned with the job requirements and the organization involved. Follow-up questions can also provide more details than some of the canned, rehearsed responses.

Prepare for Candidates’ Interview Sections

Interviews should generally be a two-way street. Candidates should be encouraged to ask questions about the company. Excellent candidates will ask intelligent questions about:

  • Ongoing and future projects
  • Expectations of the company
  • Culture of the company

How to Conduct an Interview

Many interviewees go to an interview filled with fear and anxiety. The interviewer is responsible for guiding the conversation and making the candidate feel encouraged. There are various ways to do this:

  • Support interviewees by nodding while they try to bring out a point or answer a question
  • Repeating phrases or rewording questions to sound more rhetorical
  • Using meaningless expressions such as “Umm…” when seeking an emphasis on a point

An interviewer uses his questions as a tool to develop information. The questions should be in a particular order and a broad pattern. It allows candidates to respond with the information they feel essential.

The information gathered from interviews is analyzed from an objective and subjective view. The content presented is confirmed through questions. Interviewers also try to assess the attitude and feelings of candidates.

Conclusion

Many interviews fail due to simple mistakes, such as failing to document what is discussed. Collecting this valuable information can help come up with follow-up questions. It also helps discover mistakes and errors that may have been previously missed.

Leadership Lessons from the CEO of Waze

If you haven’t heard of the hit app Waze, I’ll quickly break it down for you. Waze is a company and app for your smartphone that makes driving easier. It can tell you about potential traffic delays, give you the most optimal route for getting to where you wanna go, and even allow you to set up carpools. Like any successful business, it took time and hard work to get where they are now. They didn’t always make the right decisions or handle situations perfectly while on their way to the top. Noam Bardin, the CEO of Waze, has learned a lot since Waze first began, and understands that the lessons he’s learned can be used to help other entrepreneurs succeed in their endeavors, especially in a world where we’re living with the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few leadership lessons from Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze.

Early Adopters Aren’t Always Helpful

When it comes to releasing a product into the world, such as Noam did with Waze, you’re going to have early adopters who are on board for the concept and those who tend to wait it out and see what those early adopters have to say. Noam believes that while early adopters are great, they’re not always as helpful as you might hope when you’re trying to determine the needs of a wider audience. You’ll likely have to work hard in order to bring early adopters on and it’s important to stay vigilant as making that leap from early adopters to a mainstream audience is where things really begin to escalate in difficulty, especially as something that an early adopter loves about your product may not work for a wider audience.

Be Willing To Let People Go If They’re Not Cutting It

When first starting your business venture, you may bring on a small team of passionate individuals to help you reach your goals and make your dreams a reality. While that small group may be integral to your business now, remember that this might not always be the case. For example, you may have a team member who performed exceptionally well when your company was only made up of 15 or so individuals. Once you become larger, it’s possible they just won’t perform to that same capacity. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses in the business world, so you have to be willing to let a teammate go if they’re just not the right fit for your business any longer.

Take Your Time Discovering Your Passions

When you’re in your 20s and fresh out of college, you’ll likely be thinking about your big business plan that’s going to set you up for life. Noam believes that at that age, you should take the time to find yourself and what you’re passionate about instead of focusing on your career. You may find that what your original business plans are something you don’t care about at all, and instead create a vision of something you’re truly passionate about.

Building an Office Culture That Will Last

Having a positive culture in your company office is one of the most important parts of success in today’s business world. Employees all over the world constantly leave their jobs in order to seek a space where they’ll truly be appreciated and feel like more than just a body. When your office has a strong culture, employees are more motivated which can ultimately lead to better performance and productivity, which can only be good for your business. But how does one go about creating a strong, lasting office culture?

Open Communication

One of the most important features of company culture is open communication between leaders and employees. Leaders need to be transparent. Transparency builds trust, even in the worst situations. While the idea of giving your employees bad news can be stressful, it shows them that you trust them with this information. This, in turn, will make them trust you. When there’s a sense of trust between leaders and employees, everyone will be more motivated to work their hardest and be open and honest with one another about what is or isn’t working for the company.

Get Everyone Involved

Organization involvement is great for building a positive culture within your office. When everyone is involved, they feel like they’re truly part of a team and that their voices matter within the company. This, like having open communication, can make employees more motivated to work their hardest in order to help the company succeed. Give your employee’s leadership positions that give them new responsibilities, such as being a project lead. When trying to make decisions that affect the company overall, get your team involved, and ask what they think. Hearing multiple perspectives is a great way to help a company grow and employees will know that their opinions matter.

Invest In Your Employees

A great way to build a lasting, positive culture within your office is by investing in your employees. This means helping them grow their skillset and pushing them out of their comfort zone in order to help them succeed further. This is a great way to not only motivate your employees but help them grow into a role they may have thought they couldn’t take on. This is great for both them as an individual and for your company, meaning they can take on new responsibilities that can bring your company further.

How to Stay Focused While Working From Home

Working from home can seem great at first, but it may get a bit more difficult as time goes on. Staying focused and making sure you have a productive workday from the comfort of your own home is a lot harder than it sounds. Luckily, there are a few things you can do throughout the day to help boost your productivity and keep you focused.

Take a Walk

One of the simplest ways to improve your focus at work is to just take a break and go for a walk. Take a pause from work and leave your desk for a while. After hours of staring at a laptop and sitting in one place, the body can start to wear down and your mind will easily lose focus. To make sure this doesn’t happen, stand up for a bit or take a walk around the block. It’ll improve your work and your day drastically.

Get Moving in Your Seat

When you’re not on a break or walking around, you can easily do some exercises while you are working. Engage in some seated exercises to get your blood flowing and keep your mind focused. Easy ones to try are neck flexion, upper trapezius stretch, strengthening shoulder shrug, chest bicep stretch, and more. If you’re going to spend all day at your desk, doing these exercises can make it easier and more comfortable for you.

Designate a Working Space

Be sure to pick a spot in your home and make it your designated working area. Even if you don’t have a desk, use the kitchen table, a chair in the living room, or even sitting on your bed. Just make sure to set it up in a way to assign it as your work area. And use it for only that If it feels too much like home, it can make staying focused a lot harder. By having a designated area, you are more likely to stay in the workflow and keep up your focus. 

Set Up a Schedule

As you work from home, keep a detailed schedule for your day and make sure to follow it. Don’t just wake up, roll out of bed, and get to work two n=minutes after your alarm goes off. Set up your morning routine just as you would if you were heading out to work instead of working from home. Schedule in your breaks and write down goals for the day so you know what needs to be done and how much time you have to do it. This will allow you to have a more productive day. 

Helpful Podcasts for Small Business Owners

Being a small business owner has its benefits and challenges. As a leader, it’s important to always brush up on your skills and learn new ways to run your business. By being open to new strategies and influences, you can greatly improve how your small business operates and functions. Podcasts have become a great outlet for small business owners. Take a look at the most helpful ones:

 

Entrepreneur on Fire

This entrepreneurially driven podcast is hosted by John Lee Dumas. Each episode of Entrepreneur on Fire runs about 30 minutes and focuses on subjects such as operating a business and becoming successful. Many of the episodes listeners have the chance to hear Mr. Dumas interview successful small business owners. With everyone from tech start-up founders to solopreneurs, listeners are able to hear about their journey to success. 

 

Online Marketing Made Easy

Marketing is a huge factor when running a small business and an incredibly imperative skill to have. The podcast Online Marketing Made Easy is hosted by Amy Porterfield who discusses the ins and outs of online marketing. The topics of each episode Amy Porterfield give advice for marketing an eCommerce business or blogging for business and brings on guests to joining the discussion to lend their helpful knowledge. 

 

Real Money Talks

A great podcast for empowering entrepreneurs is Real Money Talks. The host Loral Langmeyer uses each informative and entertaining episode to educate and empower entrepreneurs. This podcast’s main focus is to teach how to have important money talks that are straight, to the point. Not only is this great for entrepreneurs, but it can also be applied to everyday life. If your main concern as a small business owner is money, this is the podcast for you.

 

The EntreLeadership Podcast

As a business owner, it’s always important to brush up on your leadership skills. The EntreLeadership Podcast is the perfect resource for lessons on becoming a stronger and more effective leader. This show is hosted by Ken Coleman who uses each episode as an opportunity to provide listeners with new leadership and business strategies to help a business grow and flourish. This podcast also features celebrity business owners as guests to offer their tried and true business advice.

Master Your EQ to Enhance Your Leadership Capabilities

EQ, or emotional intelligence, has become a popular topic among leaders and managers in recent years for good reason. While this skill was largely overlooked throughout the past several decades, it’s getting a much-needed resurgence while propelling effective leaders to new heights and creating unstoppable teams. 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage yourself and your relationships effectively and is closely linked with performance and success. Use the following tips to enhance your skills to more effectively lead your team to success. 

Be Self-Aware

Self-awareness is a crucial skill to have as a leader. You must be aware of your actions, how you come across to your team, and how you express yourself in certain situations. In addition to knowing how you will react to situations, you must be aware of what triggers your emotional responses. These aspects together can give you a clear picture of how to best control these actions to lead your team towards a healthier future instead of regressing. Be open to criticisms and use them as a basis to improve and develop your skills. 

Be Socially Aware

Social awareness involves a sensitivity to another person’s feelings and emotions as well as your own willingness to be respectful. With more knowledge about how other people may react, you can compose a professional response without batting an eye. If your company implements a new policy that may trigger a negative reaction within your team, you can prepare them in a way that is respectful, ensures their concerns are heard, and you can make the proper adjustments to maintain efficiency. 

Facilitate Collaboration

With a higher emotional intelligence, it’s possible to improve day-to-day interactions amongst those on your team. A higher EQ means you can manage larger teams more effectively by helping others work together and to motivate them to work harder in a way that inspires instead of threatens. The happier your team is the more it will show in their work. Once you prove the worth of your EQ to the team as a whole you can teach others to do the same to create a positive and productive workforce that truly values its employees. 

Earning Respect From Your Team

Earning the respect of others can be a challenging task to conquer. Although it may be difficult, it is not impossible. Earning with respect starts with you. You need to treat others with the same respect you desire, in order to receive that same respect back. When someone enters a role of authority they will often believe they are entitled to respect based on their past experince or current role. This could not be further from the truth.

Rather than being a leader who demands respect, implement these few tips to earn respect from everyone on your team.

Be consistent.

If you say you are going to do one thing, but then do something entirely different, your credibility will dramatically decrease. As long as you follow through on your actions and don’t become a hypocrite, you will find that your team will support you along the way.

Be on time.

Making your team wait on you will drive your respect levels into the ground. Time is valuable, we only have so many hours in a day to accomplish what we need to do. Missing a meeting or showing up 30 minutes late shows that you do not care about the lives of others.

Be there for your team.

In today’s world, there are so many ways to get in touch with someone, from Twitter to Facebook, to Skype, to texting, to Facetiming. With so many channels of communication open, make it clear which one is the best way to get in contact with you. When you have decided which communication method is the best, don’t leave your team hanging. When someone messages you or asks you a question, try responding within 24 hours.

Don’t forget to forgive others and yourself.

Mistakes are completely natural and will happen from time to time. And that’s okay. Be sure to create an environment that encourages your team to experiment and emphasizes that failure isn’t always the worse thing. Be an example of how to bounce back from failure and keep moving forward.

No matter if they are wrong or right, show respect. 

When someone’s plan goes wrong, don’t point out their failure. This can be embarrassing and make your colleague feel unworthy. Instead, comfort your colleague and work together to see where things didn’t go as planned. Likewise, don’t be jealous or mean when someone succeeds. Success should be celebrated, don’t make a team member’s hard work seem insignificant.

 

 

Ways to Foster Belonging at Work

The human sense of connection is incredibly important: it impacts our health and productivity. While it may seem that belonging only matters in our personal lives, research conducted by the leadership development startup BetterUp indicates that workplace belonging is key to employee well-being and organizational functioning. Exclusion can beget both pain and psychological ailments. 

BetterUp found, among other statistics, that employees see a 56% increase in job performance when they feel like they belong. Furthermore, belonging benefits workers’ careers, since those who felt highly connected received twice as many raises and were 18 times more likely to be promoted in a six month period. Cofounder and CEO of BetterUp Alexi Robichaux states that the most important assets to your company are your people. “Belonging should be at the heart of every human capital strategy.” 

If you’re not sure how to do that, here are some strategies that came out of their research.

Create Allies at Work

A powerful solution to prevent feelings of exclusion is to add an ally to the team. Having an ally can counteract the 25% productivity loss seen in those who didn’t have one. This can be as simple as having someone who acknowledges and includes you. Peers make for very effective allies, and fortunately, there is no hierarchy to allyship: anyone can be an ally. 

Encourage Healthy Interactions

Psychologists Jane Dutton and Emily Heaphy coined the term high-quality connections (HQCs) to describe interactions that have a positive impact on our lives and work. In a high-quality connection, each person reciprocates positive regard and care, and as a result, both feel valued. HQCs play an important role in close relationships but also have the power to unlock meaning in less intimate interactions. These interactions can be brief and emotionally neutral, but the key is that they happen regularly and are not negative. 

How to Deal With Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict in the workplace is always tricky. At its worst, it can practically ruin careers, and even minor strife can make going to work every day feel like a serious chore. If you find yourself at odds with a coworker or even a supervisor, here are a few things that might help you work through it.

 

Communicate

Many workplace conflicts arise from poor communication. A co-worker might misunderstand something you did or said, or they might lack a key piece of information that either one of you might need to do your jobs. Situations like this are always easy to clear up, but you need to communicate to make that happen. Speak to the other person to find out if there is any misunderstanding, and go from there. As long as you both act like professionals and agree to work together to clear up any misconceptions, things will be just fine.

 

Don’t Get Emotional

Of course, it’s going to be harder to clear the air with someone if either of you gets too emotional. People tend to say and do rash things when they’re upset, but you cannot let this happen at your workplace. That’s the kind of thing that can cost people their jobs and ruin careers. If you or the other person are too upset to talk, take some time to cool off or talk to someone else who can act as a mediator. Once both of you can remain calm, you can address your conflict rationally.

 

Prevent Conflict Whenever You Can

Conflict can’t always be avoided, but you can address any potential issues before they turn anyone against each other. If you feel that there is a potential conflict between you and another person or between two other coworkers, address it and come up with some solutions before things get ugly.

 

Pick Your Battles

Even though issues will come up whenever people spend any amount of time with each other, you cannot start fights over every minor disagreement. Some things are worth arguing about, but you would be surprised at how much you can just ignore. If you’re going to spend about 40 hours a week with people, you cannot make enemies out of them simply because of your personalities. As long as neither of you isn’t doing anything that creates a hostile work environment, you can learn to accept and get along with just about anybody.