Find Your Job Series: Identify Your Skills

Find Your Job Series: Identify Your Skills

For your next job, you’ll need to have a good grasp of your skills and strengths so that you can show that value to the hiring leaders for the company that you want to be with. 

Uncover your skills and strengths


First, you need to note what your skills are. Think about your current and former jobs, schooling, hobbies and other activities that could draw out what those skills are.  Some categories to consider are:

  • People skills: coaching others, leading, listening, performance management, hosting, selling, and teaching
  • Data skills: research, compiling info, finance, programming, excel, reports and problem-solving
  • Creativity skills: writing, designing, music, producing, planning, acting, creating, vision casting, 
  • Hands-on skills:  machinery, specialized skills, building, cooking, repairs

Some areas to think about to uncover your strengths.

  • What are you known for?
  • What are you the go-to person for?
  • What do you love doing?
  • What are you successful at?

Resources


There are several places that can help you identify your skills and strengths.

  • I recommend the book Strengthfinder 2.0. It’s not a traditional book in that you read it from cover to cover. You take an online assessment and then use the book to dive into your strengths and then increase your understanding of who you work well with and you wouldn’t work well with. 
  • Assessment.com is a free site where you can find your strengths and skill set. Be prepared. It takes nearly 25 minutes to complete. There are paid options for this site as well. 
  • Mindtools.com is another comprehensive site out there that identifies and maps your skills. 

List out your accomplishments & build your story


Now that you’ve got your skills and strengths figured out, take some time to list out your accomplishments. These could be projects, tasks,  that you are especially proud of. What are you most proud of in your job? Try to get to a list of 10 or more. They don’t all have to be monumental things. They may be simpler things you did that put a smile on your face, made you celebrate or helped someone out. 

Got your list?

Perfect! The next step is to start to create stories around those accomplishments. We’ve talked about the importance of storytelling in the past. (Be the Storyteller: PTB show #124) Reference that resource to understand the story type that you want to convey with each accomplishment. 

There are many acronyms that professionals use to convey a good story structure. Regardless, each story should start with your situation, what action you or your team took and what the end results were. We’ve covered this topic in the past as well. (Ace the Interview: PTB show #113)

Put those two together and you’ve got strong accomplishments that are presented clearly and in an engaging format for hiring leaders to hear. 

You should have a list of 12 or so industry careers interests from our time last week. Combine that with your knowledge about your strengths and skills and you should really be getting close to finding what your job looks like.  Next week we will look at your ideal environment. What does your dream company look like?

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Find Your Job Series: Uncover Your Interests

Find Your Job Series: Uncover Your Interests

As you get older, the stress of finding a new job increases. As a high schooler or college student, there is little risk or consequences, and you typically have many options to choose from. Life gets more complex. You start a family, you buy a house, you are (hopefully) preparing for retirement. It can be easy to fall into temptation and just jump into any job that you can land that pays what you were making before or a little more. 

We want to help you find not just any job, but your job. It’s out there, we just need to figure out what your interests are, what your strengths are, what the environment looks like and develop a plan. We’ll focus on your interests today. 

Know your personality


It’s important that you start with your personality and interests as you look for your job. After all, your job should be about your interests, skills, and desires and not something you have to mold yourself into liking. 

If you do research on personality types, you’ll find anywhere from 4 to 16 personality types listed. They typically fall under these general categories:

  • Introverted/Extroverted: This should be the easiest for you to identify. 
  • Planner/Flexible: Do you love building and following a plan, or do you enjoy meeting the surprises of life? Public service professions strive in flexibility, think of nurses, firefighters, police etc. While they do train and plan, they never know what their day is going to look like. Great planners sit in areas like finance, operations, and management.
  • Big picture/Small details: Are you more of a visionary leader or love being in the details of the work and creation? Loving details is great for those in auditing and technology programming. Big picture and creativity work well in the arts, marketing, and business strategy. 
  • Solo/Team: Do you like depending on yourself or love the team environment? This will help you narrow down what type of job in the industries that you pick out.
  • Logics/Emotions: Do you lean towards logic? These people love numbers, analytics, data and facts in making decisions. Emotional people follow their heart. They typically have a strong sense of their morals and use that to guide them. 
  • Consistency/Variety: Do you like to work on the same things consistency and grow a deep level of knowledge and expertise or do you enjoy mixing it up on different tasks and projects?
  • Driver/Contributor. Some would say this category is leader/follower. We know that you can lead yourself well without having the desire to lead others. This category is still relevant though, and one I surprising struggled with a bit as I was going through the same process. Is leading others important to you? How much? Does it have to be direct leadership or can you have an impact through indirect influence? I found that I love leading people directly, but I didn’t require a number of direct reports as long as I am influencing the whole organization. 

Two of the largest and most known personality profiles are Myer Briggs and DiSC. A number of companies and organizations use these two companies to better understand their people.  You can find those and various free outlets online. I would suggest utilizing one. You will likely found yourself as a bit of both options in the categories above and a test can help clarify that for you. 

Uncover your interests


Now that you’ve got your personality nailed down, you need to identify your interests. This means figuring out what industries you want to work in.  O*NET  is a site by the US Department of Labor that can help you narrow down the industries to find the best fit for you. 

Step one: Find your industry

  1. Eliminate the industries that you are totally out for you. 
  2. Pick ones that really interest you.
  3. Identify ones that have some interest. 

Step two: Find your job areas

  1. Click on each industry that you picked and choose your top 25 areas. This will take some time to complete. 
    • Once you drill into the industry, you can see jobs, projected growth and what the estimated job count increase will be in the coming years. 
  2. Narrow your list of 25 down to 12. 

Uncovering your interests and identifying your personality are two very practical points towards finding your job. You now know what type of job role that you want based on your personality and where you want to work based on your interests. We’ll cover skills, the company profile, and your plan in the coming weeks.

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Can you create charisma?

Can you create charisma?

If you’ve ever met someone that was very likable but you didn’t exactly know why, then you have seen charisma in action. It’s the magic essence of networking, building a following, and being well-liked.  At the end of the day, people are more likely to follow the lead of those they like being around.

Charisma can certainly feel like either A) You have it or you don’t or B) You manufacture it and it’s as fake as can be. You can see examples of this on social media platforms like Instagram and tiktok. 

The good news is that developing charisma is just like any other skill. It can be learned and grown if done so in the right way. 

Show good presence

Perhaps the most important piece of charisma is having a good presence…and unfortunately, it’s harder than ever. The saturation of mobile phones has been a killer distraction to having great presence in the moment. Here is a great video that shows how phones distract you from being in the moment with others. The silver lining is that great presence makes you stand more than ever. 

  • Put away your phone. Keep it in your bag or pocket so that it doesn’t tempt you. Keep it off the table at meals and in meetings. 
  • Show great body language. (PTB Ep 186) Remember the power of your body language. Show others that you are fully engaged with them by your body. Make great eye contact and use your active listening skills to show them that you are with them. 
  • Wear something comfortable. Clothing distractions can be the worst. Make sure that you are comfortable with what you are wearing. You don’t want to be worrying about sweat stains, smells, wondering if your zipper is up, etc while you are engaged in conversation. 
  • Ask clarifying and follow-up questions. This shows that you are genuinely interested in the conversation. The more that the other person has the spotlight in the conversation the better. 

Carry great confidence


While presence is all about paying good attention to others, confidence is all about yourself. It may require you to step out of your comfort zone a bit so that you can gain a good level of confidence in the future. Be brave and try some of these techniques. 

  • Get your mind right. The biggest battle of confidence is in your brain. Build your self-assurance to build up your confidence. When you are confident in yourself, others will be confident in you as well. 
  • Manage your nerves. You’ll notice that great speakers and people with high levels of charisma aren’t overwhelmed by the scale of their audience or the impact of the situation that they are in. I used to jump around get my blood going before I got on stage as a musician to get the nerves out.  Utilize whatever outlet works best for you. 
  • Become physically fit. I see this the most in my own life. When I’m working out and have trimmed down, I feel great….unstoppable even. On the flip side, when I’ve taken a break and focus more on other items, I feel my confidence take a hit. 
  • Dress up. Dressing nice and avoiding sloppy clothes make you feel more confident and it shows others that you know what you are talking about. (Even if you don’t)
  • Strong body language helps here too.  It can help your presence and confidence in the room. 

Be endearing and warm towards others. 


Your level of endearment and warmth is the final piece of the charisma puzzle. 

  • Practice gratitude and show appreciation towards others. People see when you are being friendly and courteous to them. They appreciate it when you show grace, gratitude, and care in them. 
  • Think of yourself as a host. Even if it’s not your event carry yourself like you are the host. It puts your actions into a very giving and friendly perspective. This mindset will also put other people at ease as you make introductions, anticipate needs etc. 
  • Lean into the power of your voice. (EP 202) Simply smiling while you talk will go along way here. Understand what voice you are using and maximize the effort to come across as friendly. Softer, warmer tones work great. 
  • Nail the handshake. Give a good handshake, look them the eye, smile and give thanks or appreciation as you leave the conversation. 

The best leaders are confident, approachable and friendly. Build your level of charisma to put people at ease, to draw people to you and to create a lasting impression. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

How to create sincere enthusiasm

How to create sincere enthusiasm

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sincere enthusiasm in what you do is both compelling and attractive to others. Your level of enthusiasm is like a magnet, the stronger it is, the more that you will draw in. Elon Musk is a great example of an enthusiastic leader. Jim Cantrell, a founding member of the Space X team, said it was Elon’s level of enthusiasm that got the space company up and going more than Musk’s intelligence and money. 

So how do we show our enthusiasm in a sincere and authentic way? If real enthusiasm attracts then manufactured or fake enthusiasm pushes people away. It’s fairly easy for people to spot whether you are being true or are putting on a face. Keeping it real is all about fueling yourself with the right influencers and perspective.

Enthusiasm Fuel


It’s important to get the right fuel in the tank. Here are some tips to fill up the right way. 

  • Focus on giving out A.R.E. (EP 200).  Lee talked about how appreciation, respect, and encouragement helps your team strive. It also helps you stay in a good mindset and maintain enthusiasm in your role. 
  • Find other enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm is contagious. Put other enthusiastic people in your life to encourage you and inspire you to maintain a high level of energy. 
  • Stay organized. Great time management, a clean desk, and an empty inbox keep you from being distracted and overwhelmed by the day ahead. 
  • Eat well. Healthy and nutritious food is always a good option to keep yourself mentally sharp. 
  • Positivity lists. Making lists of things that you are thankful for or what makes you happy helps keep things in the proper perspective. My family made thankful notes every week in 2019 that we read at the end of the year.  

Let go of the anchors 


Several things in your life can hold back and destroy your enthusiasm. Create room for your enthusiasm to grow by clearing these things out of your life:

  • Drop the pessimism. The total value of pessimism is 0. Why hold on to it?
  • Temper sarcasm. I enjoy a good, witty sarcastic statement like the next person. Too much can lead to pessimism and a lack of energy. 
  • Don’t be a complainer. Focus on positive thoughts and the silver lining. 

Can you have too much?

I don’t think it’s possible to have too much enthusiasm. I do think, however, that it’s important to understand the temperament of the room and not come off as too over the top. Let’s say the energy of a normal circle of friends having a conversation is 5/10. There is small talk and some laughs, but nothing crazy. You come into a group at a 9/10 with super high energy and hype. It’s likely going to be offputting to some, if not all, of the people in the group. 

Have your enthusiasm and harness the power if needed. 

Sincere enthusiasm for life and work can attract powerful and helpful allies to your side. You can inspire others to do the impossible…. like launching your car into space.  Stay positive and enthusiastic as you conquer the day. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

What to do when someone resigns

What to do when someone resigns

The sudden departure of trusted and valued team members can be a shock to a leader and navigating this scenario is one of the most challenging, and often frustrating, parts of being a leader. The loss causes more work for the leader, less efficiency in the team in the interim and it takes time to adjust to a new dynamic afterward.

Sometimes you’ll be fortunate enough to have a good amount of notice to get a plan in place. These scenarios are much easier to navigate. Hopefully, you have put the one-level-up mentality to use in your environment (Training everyone one level above their current position) and you are ready to rock and roll. Today we are going to focus on the ones that leave suddenly with little to no notice.

Focus on your plan and not your emotions


This scenario can catch you off guard and I’ve seen many leaders act out in their emotions as a result. Leaders have displayed anger, disappointment, a sense of being overwhelmed, and even questioning their own leadership during this time.  If you have a good relationship with the person, it’s okay to ask them why or give them an exit interview. Be sure to keep a professional demeanor about you and be willing to be okay with a weak response for the person leaving. They may not be comfortable sharing their why with you.  

Focus on building your plan instead of letting your emotions get the best of you. You’ll have plenty of time in the future to reflect and make changes to your leadership and employee experience. 

Lean on your team


This is where the development of your team truly pays off. Ask key team members to step up and take a temporary larger role. I would often use this opportunity to give people that had the skills and training but were unsure they wanted the next level and chance to try it out.

Reward those that do step up. For an hourly worker, the extra time is appreciated, but everyone loves little rewards like gift cards to their favorite restaurant or a little cash bonus. 

Be more present


If the person was a key player on your team, then they likely had some strong relationships with co-workers. These co-workers will be struggling with the loss of a good friend and may even start doubting their own place on the team. Make sure that you are very accessible to your team so that they can talk or express any concerns that they may have.

Be an encouragement to them and spend one-on-one time with as many as you can to assure them that you value their contribution and that the team will be able to move forward. 

Start hiring but be patient


Even if you are a fantastic leader and have a team full of one-level-up employees, eventually you are going to need to hire someone to take someone else’s place. Vary your search, ask current employees for referrals and don’t forget about your customers; sometimes they make great employees. 

I would suggest involving some of your team in the interview process so that it helps in their development and gives you a different perspective on the candidate. This also gives the team members involved a sense of ownership in the person coming on. They don’t want their stamp of approval on someone who is not going to be a good fit for the team. 

Take your time. Your team can handle the extra load better when they have a sense that you are actively looking for the right fit. 

Losing a good employee and can be tough. Keep your emotions in check, let your team step up to the occasion and be there for your people.  Know that this time is just temporary and use it as an opportunity to take your team to a new level. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

You are not an imposter – Conquering imposter syndrome

You are not an imposter – Conquering imposter syndrome

Have you ever felt like a phony, fake or inadequate no matter how successful you really are?  It’s often referred to as Imposter Syndrome. You feel like you aren’t truly good enough to be the leader, great parent or friend and once everyone figures it out, it will all be over. 

You are not alone in dealing with Imposter Syndrome. Over 70% of people will deal with it at some point in their lifetime. Several very successful people have come out to discuss their own dealings of feeling like an imposter including Neil Armstrong, Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and Maya Angelou.

Types of Imposter Syndrome


Imposter Syndrome can fall into several categories but often look something like this: 


“It has to be perfect.” This person feels like they are a failure if they don’t complete a project or task perfectly. They may lead a very successful community event and feel like a failure because there was feedback on improving the parking situation. If it’s not 100/100 then it’s not good enough. 

“I trick people.” These people feel like they don’t deserve the promotions, accolades, and recognition that they receive. They feel like they have fooled or deceived others into thinking they are more successful than they are and have high anxiety that they will eventually be “found out” or discovered. They may feel like they come across as more competent than they really are. 

“I’m lucky.” These people attribute their success to luck or others and often downplay success altogether.  They don’t feel like their hard work is successful; instead, they feel like they stumbled into success time and again. 

“I should be a great juggler.” This person feels like they should be able to juggle all aspects of their life perfectly. They are extremely hard on themselves when they let a role in their life slip, (spouse, parent, friend, student, employee). They expect themselves to nail it all, all of the time. 

“I’m only a winner if I win.” If this person doesn’t make the MVP list, win the award, or is recognized for their contribution, they feel like they aren’t good enough. They also see asking for help as a sign of weakness in themselves. 

Your environment plays a heavy part


Imposter Syndrome is not a mental disorder; instead, it’s rooted in how we react to an environment and stimuli. Here are a few of the common environments that help push us into this space. 

  • A new job or work environment: There is added stress in not knowing everyone or everything. You also likely won’t be executing your job at full efficiency for a while. Compound the problem by comparing yourself to your new co-workers. 
  • Online and social settings: Comparing your real self to the best versions of others on social media or during social gatherings. 
  • Academic: Comparing yourself to other students as far as grades, success, ease, and acceptance. 
  • Relationships: Comparing yourself to yours or the other’s expectations in the relationship both friendly and romantic.

Identity and connections fuel the fire


Think of your environment as the wood in a fire pit. It’s just there and nothing will happen if it’s left alone. Your connections and identity are the fuel that starts the fire. Consider these connections and how they play a role in how you react in the environments above:

  • Family expectations
  • Overbearing partner/ overprotective parents
  • Perfectionism
  • Depression, low self-esteem and anxiety
  • Gender, racial identity

How to break the cycle


You can break out of the Imposter Syndrome cycle. The first step is obviously to know that you are dealing with the issue (Self Awareness). Here are some other things you can do to lessen and potentially eliminate feeling like an imposter:

Talk it out with someone. Imposter Syndrome loves to live in isolation inside yourself. Talk out your feelings and thoughts with a trusted friend, advisor or mentor. 

Be kind to yourself. I have seen some of the kindest people beat themselves up for their perceived shortcomings. Give yourself the same forgiveness that you give others and be kind to yourself. Let someone besides yourself be your worst critic. 

Understand that your thoughts and situation are not unique. Remember when you run into a bout of doubt that others are likely going through the same. Know that it’s not just you and that it’s temporary then step up and do well.

Learn from failure. To our Baton Carriers that are perfectionists; It’s okay to fail. You need to fail to keep learning and growing. Use failure as a learning opportunity and move on. Don’t dwell on the failure for failure’s sake. 

Go small. Focus on the smaller tasks and the accomplishments that come along with it instead of focusing on the larger issue. It can help you stay focused in a positive direction. 

You are not an imposter. Understanding what Imposter Syndrome is and how your environment and connections impact your thought process will help you understand where you need to start to recover from this type of thinking. Lean into others to help you break the cycle.

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Facelifts, overhauls, and funerals

Facelifts, overhauls, and funerals

We officially crossed the halfway point in the year. How is the year going for you? Are you on track for the goals that you set out for yourself? Have the goals already been thrown out the window and you are in survival mode?  It’s a great time to take a moment and look at what we need to adjust for the rest of the year.

What needs a tweak or an overhaul and what do you need to have a funeral for in order to have a productive 2nd half? 

What needs just a facelift?

Sometimes we are on track (or just a hair off) of where we would like to be in our personal goals, business models and/or in our relationships. Evaluate important areas of your business and personal life. Is there anything that you’d give yourself a B+ in? Those areas are perfect examples of what could use a little tweak to take it over the top. More than likely, it will just take a little more consistency and accountability to get there. 

Tips to successfully make small adjustments

  • Be intentional in scheduling the activity on your calendar.
  • Ask others to hold you accountable in the area identified. 
  • Set reminders on your phone. 
  • Consider getting up earlier to give you more space in your schedule and routine. 

What needs an overhaul?

In assessing the key parts of your professional and personal life, there may be things that need to be overhauled or rebuilt from the ground up. Don’t be hard on yourself or your team that this needs to take place; instead, learn about what led to this point and use that learning to take a significantly different approach.

Tips to succeed in making overhauls

  • Bring in help to give you a different perspective and expertise on the issue or challenge. 
  • Use the 5 Whys Technique to determine the root cause of the need for change. 
  • Drop the talk and take the action towards behavior change. 
  • Let go of the thought process, “It’s always been done this way.”

Be sure that the identified area that needs to be overhauled actually gets it. In 2013 Yahoo! unveiled its new logo proclaiming at the time, “This represents a significant evolution of the logo. (The purple) is far richer, deeper.”  As you can see, the change was far less of an overhaul and more of a font change and slight color tweak. The design community was not impressed. They are currently on their third design in 10 years. 

Go all-in on your overhaul and don’t stop short by just tweaking the issue. Just as in Yahoo!’s case, you’ll end back up at the drawing board.

What needs a funeral?

I don’t think I’ve met anyone that loves going to funerals. They aren’t fun for the obvious reasons. Some things in your life may need that funeral so that you can finish the year in a healthy way. You may need to cut ties with a “friend” or someone close to you. 

The funeral could be for a habit or other activity in your life that drags you down. Be unapologetic and put it to rest.  More than likely your mind and body have been screaming at you for attention in this area. 

Tips to successful funerals

  • Fully commit to making the drastic changes necessary and then do it. Do not go back. 
  • Establish new activities, routines, and habits to replace the old ones.  Remember it takes 66 reps of activity before it changes your neural links and becomes a habit. 
  • Find a true accountability partner to help you transition well. 
  • Take time to morn if necessary and reward yourself as you take on a new journey.

Make the necessary changes in your life, both big and small, to have a great back half of the year. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Profiles in Leadership: Wilma Mankiller

Profiles in Leadership: Wilma Mankiller

We must trust our own thinking. Trust where we are going and get the job done
-Wilma Mankiller 

Wilma Mankiller was a leader that broke barriers for her people. She was elected as the first female Chief of the Cherokee people and brought Native Americans forward in infrastructure, representation with government officials and funding to a group that desperately needed it. She started in very humble beginnings and later rose to impact generations. 

Finding and following her purpose


Wilma Mankiller and her family moved to San Francisco to escape the heavy drought that was going on in Oklahoma at the time and was looking for a fresh start. On Nov 20, 1969, 98 Native Americans occupied Alcatraz as a form of protest for land rights. Mankiller saw the event play out in her own city and it became clear that her purpose was to also serve Native Americans in improving their rights and healthcare.

Have you found your purpose in what you do? If not, look to others. Sometimes, just like in Mankiller’s story, it starts with someone else. Another encouragement from her story is that she didn’t discover her true purpose until she was married and had children. It’s ok if you are an adult and are still looking for that calling. Be diligent in your search don’t give up. 

Having a vision for others


Wilma Mankiller eventually moved back to Oklahoma where she became an activist for Native American rights and rose in the Cherokee Nation ranks. She became the first female Chief for the Cherokee People and sat her sights on accomplishing her vision for her people. The tribal council grew its revenue to over $25 million and vastly enhanced the infrastructure in retail, healthcare, agriculture, and education. They also reached their goal of self-governance to minimize federal oversight. Much like other civil movements, there is still a significant amount of work to do today, but there is no doubt that Mankiller left a monumental impact on the Cherokee Nation in her lifetime.

It’s almost overwhelming to see all the projects and initiatives that started and completed under Mankiller’s leadership. How did she get it all done? She led her people towards a unified vision with care and purpose. 

There is power in a great vision. It unites people that normally would not be together in a meaningful way. It gives people the why behind what they do. Do you have a vision for your future? Does the company you work for have a vision of where they are going? Make sure you (and others) have a vision to follow. 

Think of purpose as the fuel in your car. Vision is the GPS that tells you where you are going to go. 

You can lead from anywhere


Even though Wilma Mankiller made history during her time as chief, that wasn’t the only time she was a leader. She led others before and long after her terms of service. In fact, Mankiller continued on in teaching and authoring numerous books and working with public officials after her retirement and through bouts of fighting cancer. Her platform as Chief helped her get many things accomplished, but it was her leadership drive and tenacity that made her so influential.

It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mother of two, or a retired school teacher, you can impact others and your community right where you are. Sure a title helps with those that don’t know you, but your actions and beliefs speak so much louder than a name on a business card. Lead yourself and others well no matter your life stage or job title.

A few interesting facts

  • Wilma was known to make jokes about her last name. It’s an old Cherokee term for watchman or soldier.  
  • Mankiller’s grandfather received 160 acres of land in Oklahoma as the US forced the Cherokee nation to relocate to the area. She grew up in a house with no electricity, indoor plumbing or telephone service. 
  • During her time as Chief, Mankiller helped grow the Cherokee nation population from 55,000 to 156,000 in part by re-establishing connections with people groups across the country.

You can learn more about Wilma from autobiography Mankiller and Chief and her People as well the documentary called Mankiller

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Profiles in Leadership: Joan of Arc

Profiles in Leadership: Joan of Arc

You say that you are my judge. I do not know if you are! But I tell you that you must take good care not to judge me wrongly, because you will put yourself in great danger.
-Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc was an illiterate farm girl that grew up in the French countryside during the 100-year war between France and England. Through a divine revelation and bravery, she would go on to lead a nation’s army to its first victories in decades. She became a leader and beacon of hope that French soldiers rallied behind. Even though her time in the military was short she provided us with several examples in leadership for us to follow today.

Have tenacity


Joan was born into the 100-year war. It’s all that she knew. At thirteen, she said that she received a vision from God that told her to drive the English out of France. At sixteen, she asked for an escort to see the royal court and was basically laughed out. Joan later returned again to find two soldiers who would escort her. After correcting predicting a French win, she was allowed to banner with the French Army. Even then people tried to exclude her from war councils and meetings. She just kept showing up.

It would have been easy to turn back and go home after the first no. It would have been even easier to give up after all the nos that followed.  How tenacious are you in your mission and passion? Do you give up and call it a day, or re-focus and try again? It can be a difficult path to stay on especially after it goes on for months or years at a time. Keep at it. France won several major battles because a girl refused to accept no. What victories could be waiting behind your nos?

A different voice and example to follow


The French army had just begun to change its siege tactics as Joan of Arc entered the field. If you’ve lost for years, why keep doing the same thing? She led the armies to victory by taking a non-traditional approach to war strategy and battlefield maneuvers. She was the only leader not to actually fight with their soldiers. Joan carried her unique banner and would ride into battle and offered support, battlefield awareness and aid to her fellow soldiers. She was so successful because she thought different and was inspirational to those around her.

Make sure to include others in your plans and ideas. That different perspective could save the project or the company you are working at. If you are the new voice or the one with a different perspective you also have to be brave enough to voice that thought or no one will ever know until it’s too late. 

Stand by your convictions


Joan of Arc was captured during one of her battles and brought to trial by England. They loaded the affair with biased judges and clerics that set out theological traps to get her to unknowingly confess to any number of the 70 charges initially brought against her.  She never fell into the cleric’s traps. She also never gave up on her convictions that she was in the face of certain death. Joan was finally found guilty of heresy for taking up men’s clothing again. The reason she took on her armor in prison was to protect from harm from guards in the facility. She died a martyr and was burned to death at the age of nineteen.

Hopefully, you aren’t put in a situation where you have to choose between your morals and convictions or your life. You likely have been and will continue to be asked to compromise your convictions in leadership, business, and life. Stand your ground during those times, no matter the consequences.  It may not be easy, but compromise could have an even longer-lasting impact on you and others around you. 

A few interesting facts

  • She technically was neither Joan nor from Arc. She was known as Jeanette and grew up in Domrémy, a village in northeastern France. In those times last names were neither fixed nor widely used and her parents had different last names. 
  • The women’s popular “Bob” haircut originated from Joan of Arc. She cut her hair to match the paperboy style while she wore men’s armor in battle. Later a hair-stylist in Paris began cutting his clients’ hair this way as a tribute to her. This style became popular in the 20’s in the US during the silent film and flapper era. 
  • She was hotheaded. Imagine a peasant girl telling off royalty, yelling at commanders and insulting the people putting her on trial. 

Joan of Arc’s story is certainly tragic in the end but also inspirational. A 17-year-old girl inspired a winless army to reclaim much of their homeland all the while not entering into combat with anyone herself. It doesn’t matter where you start out in life, you too can impact your community and nation in a positive way. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Profiles in Leadership: Winston Churchill

Profiles in Leadership: Winston Churchill

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
-Winston Churchill 

Winston Churchill is perhaps the greatest prime minister that ever lived. He led Britain through World War II and held his people against attacks from Germany. His roaring speeches and refusal to quit were inspiring to his countrymen and leaders all over the world. 

He simply refused to give up. 


Winston Churchill was famously stubborn when it came to giving up and it’s exactly what Britain needed at the start of World War II. A critical moment came Sept 7, 1940. Germany began an 8 month and 5-day long bombing campaign on the country in an effort to get the Britans to surrender or at the very least to prepare the way for an invasion. Churchill refused to give up and instilled that sensibility in his people. Britsh countrymen got to the point that they talked about the level of bombings like the weather, “It’s looking extra Blitzy outside today.” Germany failed to break the country’s spirit and only fueled Britain’s intensity to stand for freedom.

Hopefully, you will not have to live through anything as harsh as near-daily bombings in your city or nation. People are much more resilient than they give themselves credit for. You can weather more than you think you can. It’s an underlying lesson that all military personnel are taught early on. Don’t give up. Even if your back is against the wall, fight with all that you have. Sometimes the mental and emotional battles can carry a heavier toll than a physical one. Know that those battles can also be won as well. 

He knew how to connect a message


Churchill was also famous for his speeches. “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat” was his first speech as prime minister and it instantly connected with his opposition in politics and the people of the country. He utilized radio and in-person talks to encourage and rally The British so they would keep fighting and not give in to Germany. His speeches are among the most quoted in history. 

Churchill’s speeches were so successful because he knew how to connect with his audience. He had an equal understanding of what his people were going through (empathy) and what the most pressing issues were. He then simply connected those two pieces in his talks. 

Do you find yourself struggling with getting your message across to others? Stop and consider how you are connecting and what your message is.

  • Be sure to connect in a way that the person wants. A great message can be lost because it’s delivered in the wrong medium. Understand your team’s communication preferences (email, video etc)  It often takes delivering the message in several different ways to fully connect with everyone.
  • Gain a good understanding of your team’s position, perspective, struggles and strengths as you craft your message. The vernacular, tone and content should strike a cord with those that receive it. 

He stayed focused on the larger picture


Churchill famously hated communism. He never thought of working with the Soviets, much less aiding them. As soon as Germany invaded Russia, British supplies and tanks began being sent to Russia as aid. Churchill famously said, “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.” He understood the bigger picture and was willing to work across political differences for the larger good. 

It can be easy to write people off because we don’t get along with them. Maybe they are a jerk. maybe they have a different philosophy on leadership. Do what you can to maintain a working relationship with them at a minimum. You don’t know when that person’s talent could be essential in helping you meet a goal or deadline. Also, work to build a bridge with them by helping them as needed. 

A few interesting facts

  • Winston Churchill was an accomplished writer. He authored about 20 books and won a Nobel Prize in Literature.  
  • In addition to writing, Churchill was also a painter. He created around 500 pieces during his lifetime and received kind words about pieces from Pablo Picasso.  He had his first piece displayed in the Royal Academy under the pseudonym David Winter. Churchill also enjoyed landscaping and bricklaying.
  • Churchill gained instant fame from the story of his daring escape from a POW camp in South Africa.

Stay tough and inspire others to do the same during difficult times. You can pull through just about anything that is set before you. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Profiles in Leadership: Martin Luther King Jr.

Profiles in Leadership: Martin Luther King Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King Jr. 

Few people have had an impact on American history like Martin Luthor King Jr. An incredibly smart man, Dr. King stood against racism, poverty and war while leading others in an inspirational and non-violent way. He still inspires leaders and civil movements more than 50 years after his death. 

Answering hate with love


Martin Luther King Jr. became famous for his non-violent protests and responses to hate and prejudice. He was once nearly killed from a stabbing and then forgave the man while he was still in the hospital. He walked, talked and showed protests, but never raised his hand against anyone who opposed him. 

In today’s age of anonymous internet browsing, people spread hate at a very high and loud rate. Groups have been emboldened to cross the line into the world and harass and intimidate others. It’s easy to answer hate with more hate. Dr. King knew this and realized that it would only solidify the other side’s prejudice thoughts on the movement. Follow Dr. King’s example of showing love when others show hate. Sure, it’s desperately needed at the world and national scale, but it’s also needed in your daily interactions with those around you. 

Empathetic towards all


Dr. King was an incredibly empathetic leader. He understood the plight of African Americans living in the U.S. at the time even though he hadn’t lived through each of their hardships. He also showed care and empathy for other groups as well. He was a strong supporter of Native American Rights. He spoke at several Native American events and partnered with tribal leaders to help their own rights movements. Dr. King also used his empathy and thoughtfulness to connect with political leaders in a meaningful way. 

People can be quick to respond with a very strong opinion and often basing their info off of a headline without reading the story, and out-of-context quotes or other misrepresented information. Take time to get to know the other side. Understand their perspective from a personal level. Use that knowledge to help you form a well rounded and empathetic response. You’ll win over more people, have a more central view on the issue and will likely to be listened to as a result. 

Stay humble


Just before his death, Dr. King said that he didn’t want to have mention of any of his awards or honors at his funeral. He wanted to be known as someone who tried to help others. Did he enjoy the awards he received? Sure. We all enjoy being recognized and I’m sure it was an affirmation for him that the movement was heading in the right direction. Dr. King knew that his worth was not in awards and it held no value in who he was as a person. 

The awards and accolades that you receive are a good thing. It shows your impact on others and it’s a way for them to recognize your contribution and say thanks. Take the recognition with grace and avoid letting it become fuel for an ego. Stay grounded in your purpose in your job and larger purpose in life. Dr. King knew that his legacy wouldn’t come from the hardware that he had received, but the impact that he left behind. 

A few interesting facts

  • MLK Jr. was actually born Michael King. His father was Micheal King as well and later his father changed both of their names in honor of Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer. 
  • Martin Luther King Jr. was the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • He was arrested 29 times and assaulted 4 times during the civil rights movement. He was once arrested for going 30 mph in a 25 mph zone.  

To learn more about Dr. King’s journey and the bigger picture of the Civil Rights Movement I would recommend a trip to a few places here in Atlanta. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a fantastic visit and will you an experience that will stay with you long after you leave. King’s final resting place, as well as his church and birth home,  are not far away and they are a worthwhile trip as well. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

How to negotiate the job offer

How to negotiate the job offer

A Glassdoor study shows that nearly 60% of people don’t negotiate their first job offer. That number is also not split evenly across genders. 68% of women did not negotiate while 52% of men did not negotiate. 

It can be a weird and awkward time. You are excited to get an offer and you like the organization and you don’t want to come across as needy, ungrateful and the offer is ok. 

Think of your starting salary as a baseline in investment. Even small changes can impact you if you stay around the company for a while. Let’s say you missed out on just $2,000 in salary. After 5 years that is $10,617.76 in lost income. $5,000 missed equates to $26,544.40 and it only gets worse from there. 

Know what’s important to you before you start


It’s not always about money. Think about things in your life that are a priority and look to see if there are areas in the job offer to enhance those opportunities. Is work-life balance important? Maybe you can try to get more vacation days. Are you trying to further your education? Ask about continuing learning and tuition reimbursement. It can even be something like the flexibility to telecommute some days. 

Be likable


It’s important to stay very positive during the negotiation phase, even if the offer is not where you wanted it to be. Just as in life, if the other party finds you likable, friendly, courteous and humble, they are more likely going to help go to bat for you. Just as we said in Negotiating the Raise (EP 190) keep all of your personal issues out of this talk. 

The first to blink is as a disadvantage


When asked your salary expectations, reply with, “I’m excited about the opportunity and open to reasonable offers.” If the person asks again, Ask them if they have a range for the position that you are interviewing for. Half the time they will tell you a range. Know that it’s not in set in stone, but it gets you an idea of a number that you can give them. Alternatively, if you feel like you have to give them a number first, give them a range instead of a specific number. 

Negotiate together


Some people will say to settle the salary questions first and then move on to other items you want to discuss. My advice to negotiate them all together. Imagine that you go to bat for someone and get them what they want. They thank you and then ask you to go back and do it all again for another item. How many times would you do that before becoming unaccommodating?  

Tell them honestly and openly what you’d like some help in and then let them know what the priorities are for you. If you don’t the person may come back with adjustments on your bottom two things only and think that they have done a good job in helping you. 

Be prepared and willing to settle


Be prepared when you ask for more. Know what the salary and package looks like for similar roles in your industry and geographical area. Lean into what makes you unique and state your value for the organization. 

Be willing to settle on things that are less important to you. Your goal is to take a great package while letting the organization have a feeling that they won both in the package and in securing your talent. 

Be realistic in your negotiations, show your value, stay positive and you’ll likely come to an agreement where both parties see it as a win.  

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

More tips to ace the interview

More tips to ace the interview

A job interview is not a test of your knowledge, but your ability to use it at the right time.

One of our most popular topics has been How to Ace the Interview (EP #113). There is not a user manual out there on how to do great in interviews. That’s in large part because there is not a standardized way that companies do them. Ask 20 companies and you’ll likely get 20 different answers on how they are conducted. No matter the format, if you follow the tips from episode 113 and the ones today, you’ll have a good foundation for success. 

Build your elevator pitch.


An elevator pitch is a short synopsis of what makes you unique and the value you add. It should not be long and should cover these three things. 

  • What you do.
  • Why you do it. 
  • Why it matters to the listener. 

Each section should be about equal in length or you run the potential of losing the focus on the other two parts. Here is an example of mine:

I’m a talent development professional that helps scale talent and business for organizations. I love being a part of a person’s and organization’s success story. I enjoy taking down hurdles to progress and giving people practical and tangible steps to growth. 

It should give the person just enough to understand your mission and leaves it open enough for them to ask more about it. 

Stay on target


It’s easy to get really excited about an opportunity that seems like the perfect fit for you. If you are ambitious you may already be thinking about how you will impact them and projects or initiatives that you can get going on a larger scale. While this is a great quality, you will want to stick to just what the job description entails or what he interviewer is asking. If you spend too much time talking about all the other things that you can bring to the table, you may come off as not wanting the position that you are applying for. 

Get the job first and then blow their minds with all the extra pieces that you can help them with. 

Know the values and culture of the organization


Do some research on the organization to learn its mission, value, and culture. Being able to tie your experience and values to their culture pieces certainly, do help you.

Let’s say one of the values is We Over Me. The interviewer asks you to share an example of how you contributed to a team goal. It’s easiest to plug the value at the beginning or the end.  “You know I love that one of your values is We Over Me and I enjoy working with teams. At my last job we had a situation……” This shows the interviewer that you understand the question, you know their value system and you identify with them. 

Knowing their values and cultures also helps you evaluate them during the interview process. Do they shout culture on their website only to find it far from the truth in the actual office? Perhaps they truly do and can share examples and stories of how they live it out on a daily basis. It can be a great way to affirm your feelings for them one way or the other. 

Know yourself, the organization and be prepared. Don’t forget to be yourself and have fun during the process!

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

How to manage your digital footprint

How to manage your digital footprint

If you are reading this, you have a digital footprint. A digital footprint is the trail of data you leave behind as you venture across the internet and apps. Many companies, employers, clients, and acquaintances use this information to various degrees to get a glimpse of who you are. It’s the reason that you can search for a product on your desktop computer and then see an ad for that product pop up on facebook on your phone 10 minutes later.

There are two kinds of footprints; passive and active. Your passive footprint is where your IP address is logged as you go around sites. It tags your internet provider and your general location.  Your active footprint is one where you providing the information yourself. Emails, online shopping, search engine queries, and all social media count in this area. 

We’ll focus on your active footprint today and how to manage it to your benefit. 

Think about what you put there as forever


Think about what you say or post online in terms of forever, because it likely will live out there long after you are gone. Even if you go back and delete posts, tweets, etc all it takes is someone to take a screenshot of it and repost it to give it new life. This has come back to bite celebrities, brands, and politicians especially. 

Even if I were to burn down my suite of websites today, places like The Wayback Machine will keep an archive on it and it will on. Just click the link to see a great example of zackhudson.com. It has taken 25 snapshots over the years and can see when it was owned by a guy in Oklahoma over 12 years ago. 

Once you release something to the wild it’s hard to get it back. Don’t overshare and consider everything you send in terms of forever. 

Search yourself


I don’t mean to search for yourself a philosophical way. I mean literally search for yourself on google and as a guest on social media platforms. This will give you a good idea of what others will see when they search you out. It may be an affirming exercise or extremely eye-opening depending on what you find. 

Use that awareness to clean up your accounts. Make posts private that you don’t want out there and considering locking down the privacy of your accounts to friends and contacts only during job searches. 

Search and scrub is the first piece of advice I give to someone that grew up fully in the digital age and is on the job hunt.  

Linking and a secondary email


Often times sites give you the option of linking your social media instead of creating an account. Sure it may be faster, but you are giving people access to your information as a result.

Create a secondary email address to use for these types of sites. It keeps your socials protected and it will keep your primary email address clean of clutter and spam from sites that you may not use that often.  This is another tip I often give to people looking for jobs. Using a secondary email on your resume, and job hunting sites puts all the info in one place and will save your primary one long term.  

Be a good internet citizen


Not everything about managing your digital footprint has to do with protecting your privacy. When you are online, make a positive impact. Lift people up and don’t troll people or organizations. Be a good citizen to others when you are online. 

Your digital footprint reflects who you are as a person to others online. Make sure that it is an image that represents you well. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

How to build a great resume

How to build a great resume

Crafting a great resume is one of the most stressful and overwhelming parts of a job search.  Where do you start?  Is it too long? Is it too short? You don’t even like to write!  Rest assured that it is easier than it looks when you take the time to get your bearings first. Here are some of the most common mistakes and actionable tips on how you can avoid them. 

Impact over description. 


You want your resume to be a giant ad for the impact that you make in organizations and with others. Many job seekers lose the impact of their resume and cut themselves short on potential because they focus on what their job description is instead of what they accomplished. 

Shop Mechanic Manager Example:

Description approach
Oversaw employees and scheduling. In charge of $600,000 yearly budget. Made sure shop was clean at end of day and ordered supplies as needed. Counted money and made deposits. Kept financial documents. 

Impact approach-
General manager for $600,000 mechanic shop. Oversaw all financial aspects and human resource functions. 

  • Turned around business from losing 10k a year to profitability in 12 months by focusing on accountability and consistency with the team. 
  • Held highest customer service scores (92.3%) in the chain for two years. 2018-2020
  • Intentional development of the team led to lowering turnover rate from 65% to 25% in 18 months. Developed assistant to lead their own shop in 2019.

Take time to think about what you did during your time there. What was your impact on others? What were you most proud of to have accomplished? Put a short description of your role and then follow-up with accomplishments.

Follow the unwritten cultural rules


Another common mistake that people make is that they don’t know their cultural norms for a resume before they begin to craft their resume. In the States it’s considered unprofessional to include your picture and personal information on your resume. For our Baton Carriers in the Middle East and parts of Asia, it’s much more common to include your picture in your resume. 

I have seen pictures, the number of children they have and what their hobbies are on resumes. I see it as a large waste of space while other hiring managers may not even consider you for the role once they see your resume. 

Stick to regular paper for your resume. If you want to make it stand out, you can have it printed on heavier paper stock (not card stock) at a printing store. Avoid colored paper or paper with graphics. 

Keep it concise


You want your resume to represent you well while not being a short novel. Keep it to one or two pages, use bullet points and avoid large paragraphs.  This may put you in the inevitable crossroads of having to fight for every inch of space. It may be frustrating, but keep playing with it until you land it. When I’ve written my own or have helped others, I often find myself changing the spacing one point at a time to get it all to fit and look nice. 

Tweak it for each company


Build yourself a solid resume to use as a foundation and then tweak it to match each company. This should truly be small changes such as changing the title in the summary to match the title you are applying for. Also, change or add keywords that show up in the job descriptions that you are applying for. 

Jobscan.co is a great site that scans your resume versus the job description and then shows which keywords you are missing so that you can add them in. 

Look at examples online to help you out, follow these guidelines and you will have a killer resume in no time. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Team coordination

Team coordination

Individual commitment to a group effort – that’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. 
-Vince Lombardi

If you’ve ever been to an airshow, they can be equally jaw-dropping and unnerving at the same time. The teams of pilots practice endlessly for the shows, and often the distance between a perfect maneuver and disaster is a twitch in the wrist. Team coordination is the key to success in having a safe and successful event. Here are some things that we can model after these teams. 

They have a high level of trust with each other. 

Blue Angels pilots must trust each other inexplicably. They willingly put their lives in their team’s hands every day. Trust is an important piece in every team no matter if you are the shift leader of a shoe store or flying a multi-million dollar jet. Trust is one of the leading factors on whether the team/company will be good, great or fail. If people don’t trust their leadership team, trouble is sure to follow. Here are some areas to think on as you build trust. 

  • Clear and consistent communication. 
  • The ability to walk what you talk. 
  • A sense that you authentically understand others. 
  • You have the skill set to perform your role well. 

They have an unwavering commitment to each other.

Military life is certainly different. Each branch of the service finds success by having its members lose a sense of self and focus on the needs of the team and mission above their own. To be an elite pilot chosen to fly with the Blue Angels, each individual must choose others above their own wants and needs. They spend more time studying while others socialize, more time training while others call it a day, and more time together than they are required to. 

An uncommitted team member can quickly drag down the efficiency of the team and cause a number of issues. Your team needs to see and feel as if you are committed to the mission, the set standard and most importantly that you are committed to them on a personal level. You can’t expect your people to be great and perform well if you aren’t committed to being great yourself. 

They communicate often with each other. 

Pilots are great communicators while on the job. They communicate essential information but don’t clutter up the airwaves with needless talk and useless information. This can be a challenging balancing act because we want our people to know what’s going on. Communicate too much; forward emails that they already received just to add your two cents, or make everything a top priority, and lose the credibility of your message. Fail to communicate enough and your people are sure to fall short in some capacity. 

Check with your team on your communication amount, tenor, timing and frequency. I do this a few times a year and adjust as needed. Just because you are good doesn’t mean you stay that way over time. Listen with an open mind and make adjustments as needed. 

Coordinate well with your team and put on a great show for your customers. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Avoiding the application black hole

Avoiding the application black hole

Applying for jobs is both easier and more complicated than it used to be. It’s easier in the fact that you can search for jobs all over the world in whatever industry that you love. The complication comes from the different Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) out there that companies use to take your application. The ATS is the first level of defense between you and the actual recruiter. If the system doesn’t feel you are a good match then your application enters the resume black hole never to be seen by human eyes. 

One resume does not rule them all

Know that even if you pay for someone to build your resume that it is not the end-all and be-all of your career experience. It should be looked at as a template that you will use to adjust for each job you are applying for. 

  • Match keywords. Look at the job description and see what keywords are in there or what words are repeated. Jobscan (jobscan.co) can scan your resume and let you know how well it matches up to the job. The site says it should be 80% but take that number with a grain of salt. Often job descriptions have a wish list of experience and they don’t expect to find a 100% match. 
  • Use the terminology of the industry. If you are trying to change industries concentrate on transferrable skills and explain accomplishments in a way that anyone can understand. If you can explain them in the context of the industry that you are looking to get into, it’s even better. 
  • Highlight areas of expertise in a descriptive way. Avoid being too general in your skills. The recruiter is looking for an expert to hire. Ex. General: Communications.  Specific: Nationwide marketing communications, liaison for all internal executive communications. 

Have a resume for the computer and one for the person

The resume for the ATS should have:

  • The right font and size. Nothing below 10 points. Avoid script fonts and other non-traditional fonts. Your resume may translate into r^~=me once it passes through the ATS. 
  • Bullet points. Bullet points are your friend compared to long paragraphs. 
  • Avoid hiding text. Some people try to hide a section of white text in hopes that the system picks up the words and puts the application through. The problem is that the ATS will likely translate it to black text when a recruiter goes to print it off and you are busted. The person knows your trick, your resume now looks like garbage and they are likely moving on. 

The resume for the hiring team should have:

  • A cleaner format. It should look and feel better than the one for the ATS. The computer doesn’t care how it looks. A recruiter will. 
  • A heavier stock paper. I learned this subtle trick from Dr. Britt Andreatta during one of her presentations. She used a heavier stock paper that had a slight gloss to it for her handouts. It made the documents feel more valuable and important. Check your local copy company when making physical copies of your resume. Heavier than copy paper but not cardstock. 

There is a hidden job market

There are many jobs out there that never make it onto career sites for a number of different reasons. The important thing to know is that there are more opportunities out there than what you see and realize. Lean into your network (and their networks) to help you make a good connection. Try to connect with recruiters and decision-makers of the company that you want to be a part of. 

Applying for jobs can be a stressful and discouraging time. Maximize your efforts by applying for jobs that truly match your experience, catering your resume to the job description and building the right connections for those opportunities that the public does not see. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Become a great long-distance leader

Become a great long-distance leader

We have more long-distance leaders than ever before. Perhaps you were assigned this type of leadership or maybe you found yourself here unexpectedly because of COVID-19. Either way, here you are! 

Your team deserves great leadership regardless of if they are always together or not. You’ll need to make some adjustments in your leadership in order to be impactful from long distances. 

Understand that you will have to lead differently


Before you begin the journey of becoming a great long-distance leader you need to understand that you are going to have to lead differently.  Your communication style should change, your topics of discussion will likely change to some degree and how you connect and build relationships will certainly be different. 

Have the self-awareness to know that there is a transition period and don’t be too hard on yourself during this time. It’s likely that both you and your team are figuring out a new dynamic. As a result, expect a slightly less efficient period as they make adjustments to new working scenarios. 

Support your team as they make the transition as well. They may not have the same access as you or perhaps they aren’t as familiar with technology as you are. Cut them a little bit of slack and give them the resources needed with care and compassion. 

Who you are as a leader does not change, but how you lead definitely will if you want to be a successful long-distance leader. 

Learn and match the person’s communication style


I talk a lot about adjusting your communication style to your audience, and this is especially important for leading remote teams. Understand that each person has their own preference in how they want to be communicated with. Some may prefer an email, others texts, some love calls, and others want to use messaging apps. 

Adapt to your team instead of expecting them to adapt to you. Let’s say both Scott and Mary are co-workers on the same project. You may text Scott to check-in and his status and you may have a 15-minute call with Mary about the same subject. 

Leverage technology instead of using it as a barrier


Technology can become a great tool or a big excuse for a leader when leading remotely. You may feel like you can’t meet as often with others because you don’t see them anymore and no longer have that natural impromptu time together. Lean into text or instant messages for quick check-ins and keep your schedule with one-on-ones and team meetings. I would recommend a video option above a call-in feature if available. Some good video options include:

  • Google Hangouts & Classrooms
  • Microsoft Skype & Teams
  • Zoom
  • Webex
  • GoToMeeting
  • Signal

Is a video the same as an in-person option? No, but it can be very close and a solid video option can help you and others that need of connection that we all crave. 

Balance your workload and establish boundaries


When you and your team are working across a virtual environment it can be both tempting and easy to work into the late hours of the night and end up working even more than you did when you were in an office. Is that needed at times? Absolutely. Should it become a habit? Absolutely not. 

Establish your boundaries and keep them for both yourself and for others on your team. If you are sending emails all through the night, your team may feel like they aren’t doing enough if they aren’t immediately responding back. It may not be your intention to pull that person back on to the clock, but if they are constantly getting notifications in their email and texts, then you aren’t allowing them to enjoy their time off. 

If you are a night owl, let your team know that they don’t need to respond to your messages until the next day. An even better strategy would be to write your emails and schedule them to go out the next morning. 

Be sure that your team is taking its normal breaks and meal times just like they were in the office. Keeping a normal routine is essential to great productivity. 

Change your leadership tactics and communication styles while holding true to your boundaries and leveraging technology to its fullest potential. You can be a highly effective and admired long-distance leader. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Take the praise and gifts you receive

Take the praise and gifts you receive

Many of us find it difficult to accept the praise, compliments, gifts, and service that is given to us by others. We can get embarrassed, timid or flat our deny those gifts. Some of our responses sound like this when someone offers us a gift or even a compliment:

“I wanted to give you this gift card as a thank you for your help the other day.”  -Person A
“Aww, you shouldn’t have…. I can’t accept this”  -Person B
“Sure you can, I know you love Starbucks.” – Person A
“It really wasn’t a big deal.” – Person B

We may deflect the compliment by giving out information instead of actually accepting the compliment.

“I like your new shoes!”, -Person A
“I picked them up last week on sale at the running store. They were a great deal.” -Person B

What happens when we deny other people’s praise. 


A compliment and gift is just as much about the giver as it is the receiver. When you battle, deflect or fail to acknowledge the praise, you are denying the joy that the giver receives by giving you the gift. It’s also denying their thankfulness which can be off-putting.  If someone realizes how much of a hassle it is to give you praise for a gift they are likely going to do it less in the future. 

We all want to be validated in what we do by those around us right? Be aware that when you push away the gifts and praise that it could have a lasting impact. A person should not have to argue or play a cat and mouse game with you to give you praise. 

What happens when you accept the praise.  


Accepting praise is not an ego thing unless you make it that way.  It’s also not about humility and modesty.  When you accept praise the right way you are strengthening the bond of the relationship. You are also showing the person that you are comfortable and confident in who you are as a person and leader. 

Tips to take praise well.

Say thanks. Acknowledge the compliment without the back and forth that we talked about earlier. Use what verbiage is most comfortable for you but be aware that some generations accept thankful responses differently. Many younger leaders say, “no problem” meaning that it was not a burden for them to help (even if it was). Older generations prefer “you’re welcome” because they may see the help as a task they completed. I rotate no problem, and you’re welcome depending on my audience. 

Remember the power of body language. Refer back to show #186 The Power of Body Langauge for tips on making sure you are communicating your non-verbals in the proper way.

Avoid sarcastic and dry-humor responses. I appreciate dry humor and sarcasm, but it has no place here.  I often hear this mistake in the running community.  You tell someone that their race time was great and they respond with something along the lines of, ” Well you don’t know many runners then.”  Avoid self-depreciation and subtlety burning your compliment giver in the process. 

Share the praise If you get compliments or praise on a project or service that was a group effort, say thanks and let the person know that you will pass the kind words on to the others involved. This makes the giver feel great and your team obviously will love to hear the positive feedback on their hard work. 

Accept praise and gifts.  You earned them! Both parties benefit when you are able to navigate those moments with acknowledgment and gratitude. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH

Bad leadership quotes

Bad leadership quotes

The further you go, the farther you can see.

Happy April Fools day!  We are going to have fun with bad leadership quotes today. Don’t be fooled by these commonly shared quotes. 

“My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.” – Steve Jobs

This could be said another way. “Have no empathy with others. Push people hard.”  As much as Steve did to build, and later rebuild a great organization, this quote lacks one of the key philosophies in making a great leader.

Empathy. 

We’ve talked about empathy at length over the years. Empathy doesn’t equate to weakness. Having great empathy means that you fully understand the position of the other person and you take that into account in your decision making. You greatly increase someone’s potential by understanding whether they are coming from and what motivates them in order to give them the practical steps to success. 

“Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.” – Warren Bennis

The classic, ____X_____ is this and ______Y________ is the the opposite. It’s a favorite on Linkedin and quite easy to use the formula to crank out generic quotes. 

Managers are about themselves. Leaders are about others. 
Managers think about today. Leaders think about tomorrow. 
Managers talk. Leaders take action. 
Managers know it all. Leaders are constant learners. 

As good as they look on the surface, these quotes are often not totally true. A great leader does the right thing and does things right in the first place. It’s not always as easy this or that with leadership. 

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” – George S. Patton

I can tell you people live by this quote! It’s also the root issue that brings me the most consulting business.

This basically says, instruct someone on what to do without giving them direction or the tools to be successful and stand in wonder at the results that you were not expecting.  The go-to version of this in my realm is this:

“You need to develop _(Insert underperforming person here.)__”

Six weeks later the boss is upset because nothing has changed and you are frustrated and bewildered because you didn’t know how to change the person’s behavior.  Make sure you give your team clear expectations on what the goal is and the resources to get there. Once those are established give them the freedom to create and then be surprised by the results. 

“A man’s gotta make at least one bet a day, else he could be walking around lucky and never know It.” -Jim Jones

So this one seems fairly inspirational until you realize that Jim Jones was the cult leader that force-feed poisoned Kool-Aid to his followers and led over 900 in an infamous mass suicide event in the late ’70s.

Do your best to fall into the trap of groupthink where no one is brave enough to voice their opinion or perspective. 

Don’t be fooled by bad leadership quotes and don’t drink the Kool-Aid. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH