Vol. IV No. 6
The WICT team scours the web for the best resources and information that we think will help give your career a boost. Each week we make dozens of links and resources available to you through our Twitter feed. We know you’re busy, so we provide you with this @WICT e-newsletter, which features each month’s top tweets in an easy-to-read digest format.
As a WICT member, you have access to past issues on our website (login required).
As the year draws to a close, we’re taking a look back at 2014’s top articles, brought together for your reference below.
We hope that this advice will help you prepare for a prosperous, happy and healthy 2015!
Here are some of the things women say “I’m sorry” for all the time when they actually don’t need to apologize at all.
Despite advancements in our culture and the workplace, “we don’t seem to be any closer to unraveling (or ending) our sometimes-compulsive urge to apologize.” Some believe that the impulse to say “sorry” stems from some women’s desire not to be seen as difficult, or to try to appear more likeable. Say it too often, however, and you risk being seen as lacking self-confidence. There are numerous situations where you can assert yourself without feeling guilty. For instance, avoid apologizing for promoting yourself in the workplace or for asking questions when you don’t understand something. “Apologizing isn’t inherently bad–it can sometimes be a sign of empathy and caring. It’s
just not always necessary to do it.”
Negativity can spread like wildfire; here are tips to help leaders promote positivity in the workplace.
Almost every team has a colleague whose bad attitude has the potential to derail an entire project. Allowing this behavior to persist “can result in harmful effects, such as reduced productivity, decreased group morale, increased stress, wasted time, hindered creativity and innovation, and higher employee turnover.” As a leader, it’s your job to identify the negative behaviors and work with the individual in question before problems escalate. Set goals for change and schedule regular meetings to check in on his or her progress. “The key is addressing the issue quickly and promoting positivity and happiness throughout the workplace.”
Five workplace time wasters: “You’d be shocked by how much unnecessary work you do each day.”
Work-life integration is at the top of everyone’s minds, and yet chances are you find yourself with very little flexibility at the end of the day. Following a few simple rules will enable you to spend your time on only the most important projects that require your expertise. Consider meeting invitations carefully, and work with the organizer to determine if your presence is really necessary. Develop a “stop doing” list “to find hidden time that could be re-deployed into more productive and relevant activities.” Help your team members develop into decision-makers and empower them to get things done on their own. “It’s one thing to want to be helpful; it’s another to hold your team’s hand
whenever they run into a problem.”
How leaders pick leaders: Three executives reveal how promotions are decided.
During a recent panel discussion, business leaders were asked how they identify candidates for promotions. They stressed the need to ensure that you’re “top of mind” when positions become available. Will senior people know who you are so that at least one person can speak up on your behalf? It’s up to you to demonstrate your willingness to take on new roles and to promote your own abilities. “What is your edge? Do you have a skill, personal quality or expertise that differentiates you?” Ultimately, “the deciding factor is in the strength of your relationships, your ability to work well with others, and your ability to galvanize others to work with you.”
“Really lousy leaders don’t know how lousy they are.” Check yourself against these criteria and make sure you’re on the right track.
Most people tell horror stories about terrible bosses, and when we step back and gather the stories together, trends start to emerge. Bad managers tend to hold their teams accountable, but let themselves off the hook when things go awry. They don’t accept criticism, and in fact they tend to “blow up when their ideas are questioned or challenged.” Perhaps even worse for the team, they “don’t give useful feedback.” On the other hand, good bosses “challenge people to be better while acknowledging their progress.” Rather than creating problems or over-reacting to challenging situations, they work with employees to solve problems together, and “provide support, encouragement, and feedback that
enhances performance” along the way.
Here are statements you will probably never hear successful people make (and the reasons why that’s the case).
Words have an impact beyond communication. Your vocabulary and the phrases you choose can create artificial limits in your mind that stunt your professional growth. Successful people tend to avoid language that limits them or their abilities, including simple things like, “that’s impossible.” There’s almost no problem that doesn’t have a solution. “Sometimes you’ll have to get creative, but there is no such thing as impossible.” High-achievers never say “I don’t care,” because they are passionate and couple their passion with vision. Without both, you will “never be able to overcome challenges and take risks to push the envelope, innovate, and grow.”
“Happy people live their lives differently.” What can you learn from them to improve your own life?
As adult human beings we must accept responsibility for our own happiness. While life does throw us curveballs, “most of the time, we find ourselves in the situations we are in because of actions we took and decisions we made.” Happier people “do what they do because they decided to do it,” versus trying to fit in with others or striving to be liked. Happy people accept others as they are, and while they have friends, they learn to maintain their independence and live their lives according to their own beliefs. “We all live in a reality of our own construction. Some of us just construct our realities better than others.”
Executive presence is your signal to the world that you have what it takes to be a leader.
Beyond metrics and goals, how you present yourself influences what others think of you, especially those responsible for evaluating your performance. In her new book Executive Presence,
economist and author Sylvia Ann Hewlett describes “how gravitas, communication style and appearance are the three things every executive must get right in order to get ahead.” Part of what drove Hewlett to write the book was her previous research in to why the progression of women’s careers tends to lag behind men of similar age and experience. She found that “women who are very forceful are oftentimes seen as difficult to deal with and they get struck off the list.” Moderating the tone of your voice and integrating humor can mitigate this perception significantly.
High performers have found ways to manage their stress levels. Here are five ways that will help you do so as well.
Researchers have found that “short periods of stress keep our brains more alert and help us adapt to new situations,” but chronic stress is detrimental to both our health and our performance. To cope, learn to accept that while you can’t control everything that happens to you, you alone are in charge of your inner thoughts. “People who are able to manage their stress appropriately choose to focus on what is going well regardless of the circumstances they are experiencing.” Find ways to detach from work and re-energize yourself, and guard your private time tenaciously. Develop a strong support network that you can rely on when times are tough, and learn to think about life in
the long-term. “Having goals and passions to work toward helps us look beyond the present and get beyond the stress of current events.”
Having a bad boss can “drive down employee performance for up to five years.” Here are some characters to watch out for.
We laugh at bad bosses on “The Office” or in the Dilbert comic strip, but “what’s funny on TV or in comic strips can be miserable if you’re actually living it.” Watch out for the politically astute but “crooked politician,” who is able to talk his or her way through any situation while concealing backdoor maneuvers that undermine others. They work their way up by exploiting their social skills, while “the people who work for them are fooled by their charisma into thinking that they must be good people.” A micromanager isn’t necessarily out to make you miserable, but “good workers can turn into micromanaging bosses when they rise through the ranks” because they still think they know how to
do everything the “right” way. The BFF boss has no boundaries and “that seemingly friendly relationship can turn into a downward spiral.”
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