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  1. Bad Habits Leaders Should Avoid

    May 12, 2015 by Jenna

    When you look up the term ‘leadership’ or ‘leadership roles’, you will find many articles on what to do to become a great leader. It is also important to be aware of bad habits that can hinder progress.

    I know I have been guilty of at least two of the items listed below, but the first step is being aware of these habits so that you can find the ways to improve your leadership performance:

    1. Taking credit for others’ ideas and contributions – We all know the famous term, there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’. It is very exciting when members of your team make a contribution that takes the organisation in a positive direction. However, the biggest failures one can make as a leader is to neglect to recognise and acknowledge individual and team contributions. If you are taking credit for someone else’s work, chances are you will start to notice your team working against you and not for you because they do not feel appreciated or valued.
    2. Using a position of power to control and intimidateothers — This autocratic style of leadership will often leave the team with a low level of autonomy. This can prevent creative ideas being presented as team members feel they do not have the right to contribute.
    3. Blaming others when things go wrong – It is important to recognise with the team when mistakes are made and that they have negative consequences in order to assess better solutions for the future. However, singling people out, pointing fingers, or making others carry the full weight of the failure is not reaction a leader should take. A leader needs to stand by their team no matter what, accept responsibility of when things go wrong, keep track of team members and progression, and have an ‘open door’ for team members to approach if they are experiencing struggles on tasks.
    4. Clinging to traditional methods and old ideas –In order to thrive in society most leaders need to think outside the box, take risks when needed and use innovation to be one step ahead of competitors. While traditional methods may have worked in the past, if you find you are constantly using the same strategy when the rest of the world is changing, you may fall behind. This includes those that refuse to learn new skills and tools to keep up with today’s market. If you are not trying to learn and adapt, you will fall behind.
    5. Failing to keep promises – Leaders who make promises but do not follow through risk loss of personal credibility, trust and the goodwill of others. If you have let down your team more than once, it can often take a long time to earn that trust back.
    6. Actingalone – Leaders who do not consult, collaborate or solicit input from others often fail to make enlightened decisions. Leaders also need to make sure they delegate tasks within the team appropriately so that they can stretch their teams’ abilities.

    Failing to effectively manage issues – Leaders who dismiss the need to address, manage and resolve issues, place themselves and their organisation at risk.

    What are some of the experiences you have learned in a leadership role? What were the learning curves that you have experienced?

  2. The 5 P’s of Your Personal Brand

    August 2, 2013 by Jenna

    So, tell me about yourself?

    The question that puts fear into us all, we stumble across an answer that will reveal what the person wants to hear and what we need to sell.

    It’s hard. Who am I? What defines brand ‘me’?

    Last month I learnt the 5 P’s of your Personal Brand at a NIDA event, ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’. The target audience for the event was entrepreneurs, but attendees came with a common purpose – to help define themselves (their goals) and their brand (what they need to portray about themselves to the world).

    Daniel Priestly identified five steps on how to become a person of influence, and I think these steps apply no matter what stage you are at in your career –

    1. Pitch – Do you answer the question ‘what do you do’ with confidence and clarity? You also need to make sure you know what industry or network that you want to promote your brand to. Similar to what I had covered on resumes, if you are providing a pitch that isn’t specific or tailored to that market that you want to get into, you may lose the person from the beginning. Keep it short, sweet and precise.

    2. Publish – Gain credibility through writing. I am very privileged to be able to write a blog within my organisation. Writing is a great way to communicate ideas, share information and connect. Credibility can also include transcripts, academic achievements, awards – present your brand, don’t be shy about what you have achieved so far, be proud of it without being arrogant about it.

    3. Product – Turning your skills into an asset for the company you work for, the business you are wanting to start, the next challenge that you want to take on in your career. This means not just verbalising what you do, but providing the results, proving that you are capable of putting plan into action when you are sharing your ideas or defining who you are.

    4. Profile – How easily are you found on Google and other social media networks? Now remember this could be a double edged sword, while it is great to keep up to date with technology and ways to socially connect online, be careful of what you are promoting. For example, most employers will take a look on Facebook or LinkedIn before proceeding to the interview. If your profile is open to all public viewing and your profile picture has obscene or rude gestures, chances are you may not be taken that seriously. Make sure you are promoting the best side of yourself to everyone.

    5. Partnership – Are you connecting with others in your industry or other mentors or professionals that can help steer you in the right direction of where you want your career to lead? Connection builds to relationships which can further expand your network and also provides recommendations and support. Do keep in mind this is not often a one way street. You cannot gain what you need for others without making negotiations or going the extra mile for them as well. This takes time, but make the effort and commit to catch-ups to build these relationships and lasting connections.

    What I liked about this course was that it gave me a ‘refresher’ when it came to promoting my personal brand. We had intervals where we were timed to meet someone else in the audience and had 90 seconds to give our elevator pitch. While initially I wanted to promote the company that I work for and its services, it challenged me to reflect on what I brought to the company personally, especially since I had been used to my pitch from when I was in the events industry, and I had built different skills and expertise to promote.

    It is never easy to approach a stranger and talk about who you are; in fact you can feel quite vulnerable! But the more firmly planted you are in terms of your skills, qualities, what makes you unique as well as how that ties in with your career field of interest, the more confidently you will be able to express that. The remaining four steps will follow.

    My last piece of advice is not to wait too long or turn down opportunities to showcase your brand. The sooner you are able to present yourself, the more confidence you will build in delivering your pitch, and the more brand awareness you gain. Especially when it comes to seeking new roles and opportunities, if you wait to long to seize the moment, chances are someone else will come along and take it for you. So carpe diem!

    What is the best advice that you have ever been given regarding your personal brand? Did it help lead you to where you are today?

  3. Career Development – What next? In your career

    July 9, 2013 by Jenna

    When we achieve that career goal or successfully make a career change, we can start to feel that we have reached our peak, but it is not too long before you start to realise that was not the end, but rather another new beginning. We are constantly seeking news things, constantly in demand, constantly changing.

    So what do you say to someone when asked, ‘What next?’ when it comes to your career?

    I was stumped by this question recently in a discussion with my mentor Anthony Duckworth from PwC. I had successfully changed career areas just over 12 months ago. I am still learning, still growing, and still developing new skills in this new career area. But it had been more than a year ago since I achieved my career change goal, so what next?

    I understand that I am not alone with this uncertainty.

    Being put on the spot, forced me to reflect on what I am enjoying most. ‘Well… I enjoy writing and sharing my experiences with people. I hope that as I progress in my career, I can pass on more of my experience with others and motivate them the way a mentor does. I enjoy working with people, and that’s why I enjoy working in a Recruitment Consultancy. There could be opportunities to further develop my career in marketing or gaining more HR experience working as a Consultant; those could be two great avenues I could venture towards.’

    Now that these new ideas were starting to evolve, what should I do about it? What are the next steps to take?

    Careerealism covered a good article on creating your professional development plan. They established three surprising truths:

    1. It is up to YOU – Your professional development is not the responsibility of anyone but you. You can be influenced or inspired in your current workplace, by your manager or your mentor, but ultimately you cannot rely on them to make the decisions for you. And making those difficult decisions ourselves is often how we grow. Use the opportunities you can to gain skills within an organisation and work with great like-minded professionals, but it is also important to gain that confidence to have your own voice and direction in terms of where you want to go.

    2. It’s Never ‘Final’ – A professional development plan is not written in stone. It can and it should be revised on a regular basis. We need to be adaptable with our plans in the event that changes may occur, after all, we can set direction but we never truly know what the future holds. Starting the plan is your key to overall success because plans can be revised as you go along, whereas starting from scratch every time can be a long and draining process.

    3. It’s Never Done – If you want to continue moving forward in your career, you must continue growing your skills. Learning is a lifelong process and your professional development plan is your career-long tool. As long as you continue to be a professional, your development plan will be a big component of your Career Success Toolkit.

    So where am I going to take my career?

    Most importantly, I am going to continue to search out opportunities to develop my skills. Over the weekend I attended a business seminar called ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’ held at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts). This seminar popped up shortly after I met with my mentor and what appealed to me about this course was that it ran through a five-step process on how to become more highly valued and recognised within my industry. A key part of the presentation involved building credibility through writing and publishing. So it felt like it really spoke to me as an individual. If I had not taken the step to attend, I could have missed out on a chance to learn from great entrepreneurs.

    Listening and meeting with other individuals in the same situation really brought a sense of relief! We all have ideas, we all have a story and regardless of what our backgrounds are we are capable of achieving measurable goals once we start planning out the process.

    I find that I learn most about myself when I take on new opportunities. So keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on around you, and pounce at the opportunities to further develop your skills. It is amazing what learning opportunities so many of us have access to. Whether that is enlisting support of a formal Career Development program and meet with someone to discuss your goals, or attend external business courses, or sign-up for in-house training, or networking to help connect you with others – take the opportunity to develop new skills and learn what you love most.

    And if you are like me and have ‘overlooked’ your career development or have become comfortable in your routine, take some time to review your career goals. You never know what doors could open up by redefining where you want to go.

    As for me, I am excited to newly approach my goals, find out how to further develop my own personal brand and what I can bring in terms of new ideas and development for my organisation.

    Where has your career development taken you so far?




  4. Quit Being a Girl!

    June 28, 2011 by Jenna

    This week’s blog post is by guest blogger, Tiffany Whitby, from the Challenge Consulting recruitment team … (this is not Tiffany pictured here …)

    One of my passions is enhancing the role of women in business; specifically, examining and promoting strategies to ensure women have the opportunity to attain senior and management positions. As such I have actively joined a number of websites dedicated to this subject including; sphinxx, Ruby Connection and also Business Chicks.

    Of the 3, I recently attended a Business Chicks seminar titled ‘Nice Girls Don’t get the Corner Office’ based on the book by bestselling author Dr Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. The 2 hour workshop was full of tips and helpful ideas to assist women get what they want out of their careers, first of which was her statement ‘quit being a girl’.

    Another one of her tips was don’t use preambles; so I will just get straight to the point with the top 10 tactics every woman needs in her skill set:

    Top 10 Tactics Every Woman Needs in her Skill Set:

    #1. Know your playing field

    – Boundaries, strategies and rules

    – What works in one organisation/industry won’t work in another

    – There are different boundaries for men and women

    Do not put statements into the form of questions, be direct and straight, and if needed add a tagline (which can soften the message)

    – Emulate winning women such as Gail Kelly

    #2. Be crystal clear about what you want

    – Know what you want. Until you have clarity about what this is, you are not going to get it

     #3. Identify your boundaries

    – Know where people can come over and in

    – Define your boundaries

     #4. Be willing to walk away

    We stay in situations to long. If everything has been done to turn around a bad situation and nothing has changed then leave!

     #5. Use headlines and taglines

    The most important thing we want people to know should be the first thing out our mouths (headline). Then use 3 supporting facts/data. Tagline at the end eg. ‘did I answer your question?’

    #6. Manage your emotions

    – If you feel as though you are about to cry in the workplace excuse yourself; crying in the workplace makes people feel uncomfortable

    – Put the tears into words and focus in the problem and solution

     #7. Plan in advance for how you will respond to resistance

    – Let people know you are planning on changing your behaviours and enlist their feedback and support

     #8. Understand (and use) the “Quid Pro Quo”

    – Something in exchange for something else

    – Leverage the relationships you have

    – If you give something, you receive a figurative ‘penny’ to use when you need something – make sure you use them!

    #9. Build your brand

    – Use the WALLET acronym:

    Write it down: write down what you want people to say about you when you leave a room

    Apply actionable behaviours: think about what a camera would be able to see

    Look to the edge: of the playing field

    Let others know about your brand

    Elicit feedback (360o feedback)

    Treat others with abundance (give things away eg. assistance on a project)

     #10. Employ contrast

    – Talk about what you do want and what you don’t want

    Dr Frankel then went on to explain the Top 10 Mistakes Women Make:

    #1. Not ‘getting it’: eg. Don’t wait to be invited for a position, pay rise, something you want. Create tactics and strategies

    #2. Working too hard: within everything organisation there is a baseline to which you should work towards, work up to this and set realistic boundaries with people

    #3. Not setting boundaries: work out what your vision is for what you want and ask yourself: “what is important to me?”

    #4. Striving for perfection: women will often put in 150%, when more often than not a job that is 80% there is good enough

    #5. Ignoring the look and sound of success: Credibility is made up by: 50% of how we look, 40% of how we sound, 10% of what we say. An example is the JFK vs Nixon debate. People say Nixon won for what he said, however JFK won based on how he looked.

    #6. Unclear branding/vision: we trust people who are consistent and likeable. Read the book “Brag! Tooting your own Horn without Blowing It” by Peggy Klaus

    #7. Staying too long in a bad situation: sunken costs (keep putting ‘something’ in thinking a situation is going to get better, when in fact it’s not). We need to understand when it’s time to walk away. Ask yourself the question: “What am I getting out of this?”

    #8. Waiting to be given what you want: Read the book “Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide” by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

    #9. Using too many words: cut communication by 30%. The longer we talk the more the message gets diluted.  Queue answer question and then ask ‘have I answered your question?’ Be careful with body language.

    #10. Trusting your financial security to someone else: know where your finances are and where they are being invested. Stay involved with your money!

    Challenge Consulting’s online poll last week asked the question “What is the #1 mistake women make on their way to the top at work?” The results were:

    #1. Waiting to be “invited” instead of asking for a payrise, promotion, etc – 50%

    #2. An unwillingness to self-promote and “toot their own horn” – 29%

    #3. Staying too long in a bad situation – 14%

    #4. Striving for perfection: putting in 150% when often 80% will do – 7%

    With all of this information I have now taken in it is time to put it into practice. As Dr Frankel said, let people know you are making changes, so, everyone: I am making changes … don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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