Tom Rath

author

Tom Rath is a human behavior researcher. Tom Rath is also the Author of StrengthsFinder 2.0.

Posted in Author | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Marcus Buckingham

authorMarcus Buckingham is a researcher, motivational speaker and business consultant. Marcus Buckingham is also the Author of StandOut 2.0 assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work.

Posted in Author | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work by Marcus Buckingham

In StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work, Marcus Buckingham stresses the fact that everybody has a “genius” — a particular combination of strengths — that is innate but that is difficult to find out, to control and to employ. Our genius comes so naturally to us that it becomes the norm, the standard of behavior for everyone.

Furthermore, it is difficult to acknowledge our abilities and how unique we are. Society will not tell you your strengths but will deter you from being confident or different and will encourage you to fit the mould.

In that event, Gallup Inc’s StrengthsFinder has defined 34 “themes of talents” to help an individual evaluate their strengths and styles. Though there is an infinite amount of strengths and personality traits, Marcus Buckingham noticed recurring patterns within Gallup Inc’s 34 themes of talents. He then combined those 34 themes of talents and hundreds of other measurable themes into 9 powerful “Strength Roles” that will help you distinguish your strengths and take advantage of your edge. Each Strength Role can be assimilated to a “certain “personality,” a way of engaging with the world.”.

Below, are the 9 StandOut Strength Roles identified by Marcus Buckingham:

amplification-1294300__480.png

Advisor. You are a practical, concrete thinker who is at your most powerful when reacting to and solving other people’s problems.


StandOutConnector.jpg

Connector. You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to bring two people together to make something bigger and better than it is now.


StandOutCreator

Creator. You make sense of the world, pulling it apart, seeing a better configuration, and creating it.


StandOut2.0 Equalizer

Equalizer. You are a level-headed person whose power comes from keeping the world in balance, ethically and practically.


bolt-305692__480.png

Influencer. You engage people directly and convince them to act. Your power is your persuasion.


shuttle white

Pioneer. You see the world as a friendly place where, around every corner, good things will happen. Your power comes from your optimism in the face of uncertainty.


StandOut Provider.jpg

Provider. You sense other people’s feelings, and you feel compelled to recognize these feelings, give them a voice, and act on them.


compassrose

Stimulator. You are the host of other people’s emotions. You feel responsible for them, for turning them around, for elevating them.


StandOut Teacher.png

Teacher. You are thrilled by the potential you see in each person. Your power comes from learning how to unleash it.


The StandOut assessment test, taken online and associated to this book, is designed to measure your propensity to a Strength Role, by posing a series of questions and analyzing your impulsive or instinctive responses. The test poses thirty-four questions that are mostly built around hypothetical stressful situations in the workplace, that are clocked and that require top of the mind responses among a set of possible good and defendable responses. Additionally, the questions are embedded with trigger words that will unknowingly stimulate you, captivate you and incite you towards a specific answer.

The analysis of your responses, ranking your 9 strengths roles in order of importance, is delivered in a report. Through the StandOut assessment test, you can discover and study which two top Strength Roles that you are naturally leaning towards.

Knowing your strengths, how to use them, where to use them, how to describe yourself, the impacts of your strengths on your career, your team and your leadership styles, how to look out for your pitfalls, will definitely give you an edge over everyone else in the workplace.

After identifying and understanding your strengths, it is necessary to improve them, to best translate them in order to properly employ them. It is necessary to build them. Marcus Buckingham lays down three lessons to do so:

  1. “Your genius is precise”. Stay in your strength zone and take advantage of it.
  2. “Remember who you are”. Remember your Strength Roles, apply them daily and hold on tight to them when people tell you otherwise or things don’t go your way.
  3. “Always sharpen your edge”. Better yourself within your strength zone.

Review

StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work is a very instructive book. I vehemently suggest it to people who are looking to identify or fortify their strengths, to people who feel like they have taken the wrong career path and to people who are not yet blossoming in the career path they appreciate.

While reading StandOut 2.0, on account of me possessing a career advice blog, I believed that I related the most to the Strength Roles of Advisor and Creator. However, according to the Standout assessment test, I fit the two top Strength Roles of Pioneer and Equalizer. In disbelief, I committed myself to read the entire report, including the piece about the ideal career advice that I should follow.

Below are my strengths roles by order of importance:

screenshot_2017-05-13-09-24-11.jpeg

It turns out that:

  • the StandOut assessment test is surprisingly accurate. The test report perfectly described my major personality traits. Throughout my education, training and career, I’ve been the one to jump on novelty and innovative projects.
  • the StandOut assessment test has provided me with a positive twist on what I thought where personality flaws.
  • the StandOut assessment test suggested career paths that I have already taken and am currently positioned at. It has equally confirmed to me that I am in the right career path but I stayed in the wrong workplace for the longest, which I figured out a few months before taking this test.

In conclusion, the StandOut assessment test will surprise you not only by challenging the ideas you have of your strengths but also by the accuracy of the results.

Favorite quote(s)

the StandOut assessment calculates your two leading strength roles, pinpoints what you can do to channel them, and describes your particular power when these top-two roles combine.

We each have specific areas where we consistently stand out, where we can do things, see things, understand things, and learn things better and faster than ten thousand other people can. When we find ourselves in these areas—our strengths “zone,” if you will—we are magnificent. Self-assured and flushed with success, we imagine we can do just about anything that we turn our minds to.

When you take a job that you never should have taken, when your boss doesn’t understand you, when your company downsizes you, or when you start to question whether you have anything of value to offer, the memory of your strengths will hold you in place, reorient you, and show you the way forward.

Ratings 3,5/5

Author

Marcus Buckingham

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

The importance of identifying your strengths and weaknesses to succeed at work

For the last few years, emphasis has no longer been put unto developing leadership knowledge, leadership skills and leadership competencies in the workplace but unto developing your talents, your strengths and purpose in order to pursue leadership positions.

What is the main difference between knowledge, skills, competencies, talents and strengths?

On one hand, knowledge (the fact of knowing something), skills (the ability to perform tasks well at your job or in a given situation) and competencies (the ability to master the skills that you perform well at your job or in a situation) are learnt and developed at school or at work, through training and practise.

On the other hand, your talents are inherent, last a lifetime and make you unique. They cannot be acquired or forgotten throughout life. By means of your talents, you are innately hardwired to think, feel and speak a certain way, to react in a particular manner to a given situation or event.

Finally, strengths are the combination of skills, knowledge and talent. As sure as recognizing the different types of coworkers possible in the workplace remains a knowledge, getting along with coworkers and navigating office politics become skills, communicating effectively and influencing coworkers and clients are talents. Subsequently, possessing the ability to take command, impose your views and take charge on a project emerge as a strength.

Defining your strengths early in life is critical for personal development, self fulfillment and career success. Indeed, assessing your strengths will enable you to:

  • appreciate your self-worth, reinforce your values and your motivations.
  • understand your strength, its nuances, its impact at work and consequences on coworkers. For instance, visionary leaders don’t always know how to properly explain their vision which leaves their team members confused and uncertain of the leadership capabilities of the visionary leader.
  • evaluate your role and contributions at work. This way, you will not be taken advantage of and you will find out early whether or not you are fulfilled by a career path, if you are performant or if you are made for leadership.
  • be more effective, positively influence career decisions and improve your career by actually mastering these strengths. Strenghts assessment becomes suddenly critical when accepting or refusing a promotion.
  • assist, be assisted by coworkers or team members with a complementing set of skills. If you are a team leader, acknowledging your strengths will make you more aware of your team member’s.
  • invest in an environment that fits your thinking pattern and use less energy while sustainably performing a task.
  • gauge your weaknesses and possible blindspots. determining your weaknesses enables a better self-assessment, a way to work around them or simply avoid them. Accept the weaknesses as much as you do the strengths but don’t overwork your weaknesses either: correcting your weaknesses will never be as effective as improving your pre-existent strengths. A common mistake, that I have mostly noticed during performance reviews, lies in the fact that managers stress, more than often, the flaws of an employee and urge them to fix their weaknesses instead of pointing out their strengths and placing them where they would be more productive.
  • Extend the vision of yourself, the limit of who you are and what you can do. Be adventurous and step outside of your comfort zone.
  • express personal truths, steer away from social pressure and conforming to social norms.

Many times, and we have all seen it, people who do not discover their strength or do not use them, tend to be depressed, anxious, bored and unmotivated. They also interact negatively with their coworkers, complain about their job, underperform and are ultimately labeled “difficult”.

Wasting a lifetime in a dead-end job, they feel forced to counter their instincts and to comply to conventional thoughts and rules which is unnatural and counterproductive to them.

It is easier to describe or identify an acquired professional competency than to identify a natural strength.

How to quickly find your strengths?

Due to their innate nature, strengths are easily noticeable to everyone but you. But if you pay close attention to your everyday, you will be able to discover or rediscover them:

  • by renewing your thought pattern. Don’t give up on yourself and your self growth. Make up your mind not to live your life on the side walk. Most people spend time improving their flaws and not their strengths. It is clear that they would have been further if they did otherwise.
  • by reverting back to the memories of your childhood and recalling what you did well and with pleasure. On account of, at that period, the “system” had not affected nor perverted you yet: the main personality traits and what you were gifted with at a younger age remained unchanged.
  • by looking for a common thread in the things that immediately and sustainably attract your attention throughout your life experiences. I usually spend my time reading entrepreneur, management and leadership books and blogs at any hour of the day.
  • by reading books, gaining knowledge, relating to the people in the books and by practicing what you have just learnt on different occasions.
  • by engaging a professional to help identify your strengths and how to employ them.
  • by taking well-known online tests, such as StrenghtsFinder2.0 and StandOut, and cross referencing them.
  • by directly asking the people closest to you, going through your notes and emails or by taking into account your annual performance review. Because of the dark side of human nature, your review as much as people’s advice can be totally biased.  There will certainly be a discrepancy between what people think of me, what I think of myself and who I really am.
  • by surrounding yourself with supporting people. Stay away from yes men, undermining people or groups who hide your strengths, highlights your weaknesses and constantly criticize your work.
  • by simply seeking the truth about yourself and being unafraid of failure or the said truth. Work gradually on yourself and you will be able to build a career more successfully on a strength.

Last words of advice!

First of all, improving strengths is nothing without character.

Talent doesn’t have to be impressive and loud but you must find a way to translate it into something. Sometimes, through life, you are using your strength unknowingly until you are prepared to use it: your passions have probably made you invest enough time into a career path to develop the necessary skills and knowledge. However, if your strength does not fit any career, create one for yourself!

Remember not to feel limited to having one talent and make up your mind not to live your life on the side-walk. And leave your dreams and connect with them.

Don’t hesitate to become an expert of you!

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Posted in Journey To Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Make a lasting good impression at your job interview

Well, first of all, congratulations on getting that so wanted job interview! You now have a lot of work ahead of you in order to ace your job interview.

Wondering how to impress at your job interview and land your dream job?
Most interviewers will solely judge you based on your interview performance and not on your competencies for the job.

That is why your interview has to be perfected. Some people are naturally good at interviews and others aren’t. But this can be fixed with a little practise and rehearsing.

Below, you will find tips to make a lasting good impression during the interview that you must avoid during the job interview.

Before the interview,

  1. Learn the job description, take note of the keywords, see if your experiences, competencies and skills match the description and starting writing down questions about the job.
  2. Research the company, its selection process, its values, its recent projects and collaborations, its locations… Going prepared will give you a competitive advantage.
  3. Rehearse the interview at home (in front of the mirror if you have to) in order to adapt your phrases, expressions and to feel more confident on D day.
  4. Be hygienic and dress appropriately but be comfortable in your clothes. Walk in your new shoes weeks before the interview and when in doubt, wear a tailored suit. If you know the company’s dress code, make sure you look like you will definitively fit in.
  5. Get rid of loud physical appearances like tattoos and piercing. Interviewers judge you on your appearance and will instantly evaluate of you will fit in or not.
  6. Be punctual to the interview. Arrive 15 minutes early to the interview so you can take time to make an opinion of the ororganizationganozation and build up your confidence for the open position. If you were late, apologize profusely.

During the interview,

  1. Walk into the room confidently, smile, shake hands firmly while looking in the eye and sit when invited to.
  2. Keep a positive body language and eye contact. Some interviewers think of themselves as expert psychiatrists and will analyze your every gesture to see if you will fit into their corporate culture.
  3. Be polite and respectful to everyone that you cross roads with in the building. You never know who can influence the hiring decision and if you work there in the future, you don’t want to offence anyone from the get go.
  4. Communicate effectively and actively. The interviewer will wonder about your normal reactions, will place you in a hypothetical situation with their clients and will verify if you can hold a conversation.
  5. Be yourself and don’t cheat on your personality. Interviewers have to roughly judge whether you will fit in or not.
  6. Always speak positively about your previous employers. Under no circumstances, you must complain about your previous employees: you will see this as an opportunity to vent and gain some sympathy (am I right?) but your interviewers will view you as canniving, disloyal and a whiner. If you have had bad past experiences, twist them inot positives. For example,
  7. Speak about money only if your interviewers introduce the subject themselves. Don’t complain about your finances.

At the end of the job interview,

  1. Ask questions at the end of the interview to better seize up the project and the company.
  2. Ask what is the next step of this interviewing process.

After the interview,

  1. Send a thank you email. You can add your resume and questions about the offer to show your interest and motivation.
  2. Wait 48 hours before sending an email to get an update on whether you’ve been selected or not.
  3. Keep scores and records of the interview with the results, specifics and impressions of the interview.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Posted in Journey To Leadership | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath aims to help people, in a various number of roles and of environments, identify their talent to build their strength, improve their confidence, their sense of purpose, their health and their relationships.

Furthermore, Tom Rath claims, according to scientific research, that personality traits, skill sets, passions and interests inherited  at a young age are still present in adulthood and need to be jump started and regularly exercised and be improved with knowledge and skills. Without exercise your natural talents, the muscle stays under developed.

In the workplace, for example, when strengths are not identified and not used, workers tend to lose their engagement and the devotion to their work, to suffer from anxiety or depression.

This is why, in StrengthsFinder 2.0, Tom Rath has identified 34 “themes of talents” to categorize the different set of skills discovered in the workforce. Knowing your strengths allows you to distinguish blind spots, to be more conscious of them and to understand the impacts of such strength, to “be aware of your potential and your limitations”.

What about weaknesses?

StrenghtsFinder 2.0 helps identify weaknesses or “areas of lesser talents” in certain occupations. Surely, knowing your weaknesses will enable you to work around them or totally avoid them, to know who yo work with that can complement your skills set.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is associated to an online tests from Gallup Inc. Using its database of interviewees, the test assesses and analyzes the top 5 themes of talent among the 34 themes of talents.

34 themes of talent?

Below, a brief summary of each theme of talent and in which job to apply the given talent.

  1. Achiever

Constant need for achieving something tangible every day in order to define success.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for jobs that allow you to work as hard as you want and gives you autonomy to measure your productivity.
  • Set challenging goals, create deadlines, measure progress.
  • Acknowledge success, personal and professional achievements before moving on to the next challenge.
  • Pursue your education by obtaining certificates, attending classes, conferences, etc…
  • Do not compromise on the quality of your work.
  1. Activator

An impatience to take action and a decisiveness over the steps taken. Ability to learn from every stages crossed, every steps taken and every results obtained.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that allows you to make and implement your own decisions.
  • Ask not to be judged on your process but on the outcomes of the process.
  • Help others transform innovative ideas and concepts into concrete action.
  • Create plans of actions to move blocked situations forward.
  • Expose yourself to challenging situations.
  • Earn your bosses, managers and team members trust first and give the reasons for your desire to take action.
  • Energize plans and people. Motivate them to take action as well.
  1. Adaptability

A high responsiveness and reactivity to current situations as well as a flexibility in challenging situations.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where situations are constantly moving, unpredictable and unstructured.
  • Because you enjoy unpredictability, rolling with the punches, you remain calm, reassuring and collected in stressful circumstances.
  • Foster a reputation of being calm and reassuring during upsetting events.
  • Adjust your responsiveness to unanticipated events. However, on the job, because you are flexible to events, don’t compromise too much and don’t let people take advantage of you.
  1. Analytical

A need to test other people’s theory and to make sure that it is flawless, an enjoyment for analysing data, connecting data and searching for patterns in them.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that lets you theorize, analyze data and find patterns.
  • Rely on trustworthy sources of information
  • Find the proper settings to beneficially communicate your thoughts.
  • Explore ways to apply and implement your theory.
  1. Arranger

A search for the most productive configuration possible and for the best way to do things. An impersonation of effective flexibility, an ease in dynamic situations and an excitement for complex multi-faceted projects.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where assignments are complex and events are concurrent.
  • Use your Arranger talents in team building and group organizing.
  • On your job, track your deadlines to reassure your boss or clients.
  • Avoid routines and static organizations.
  1. Belief

A possession of core values that can be family oriented, altruistic or spiritual, ethics and a value for responsibility in yourself and others.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that aligns with your values and that has both meaning and purpose.
  • Balance work demands and personal life.
  • Motivate others by sharing your values with them and learn to understand different systems of belief.
  1. Command

A willingness to take charge, a comfort in imposing your view to others, in confrontation and directing.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can take the lead, persuade others, face intense and challenging situations and find a cause to defend in the face of resistance.
  • “Practise the words, the tone, and the techniques that will turn your ability to confront into real persuasiveness”.
  • Be candid to your colleagues on sensitive subjects.
  • As you are intimidating, ask for your colleagues’ opinion once in a while.
  1. Communication

An incitement “to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write”.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you have to capture people attention, speak publicly and present a subject.
  • Practise your speeches, study your audience, refine the words you use and improve the message you convey.
  1. Competition

A perpetual desire for competing and for winning.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can “measure your achievements”.
  • Select high achieving people in your organization to compete with.
  • Transform elementary tasks into competitive games.
  • Learn the reasons of your wins as much as the reasons of your loss.
  1. Connectedness

A belief that you belong to something larger and an understanding that everyone is connected.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can “listen and counsel” and benefit from multicultural and multinational experiences.
  • Explain to your colleagues, their respective strengths and contribution to the team.
  1. Consistency

A need for balance and impartially. A belief that everyone should be treated the same and should be held to the same rules, policies, procedures.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can uniformly be fair to all your colleagues, implement conscientious meritocracy and “enforce compliance to a set of standards”.
  • Define and apply the rules that you abide by.
  • Defend your beliefs even in the face of resistance.
  1. Context

A need to look at the past to understand the present and the future, to make better decisions.

Tips for improvement

  • Apply for a job where you have to remember and remind people of what has happened before, where you can study cases from the past and map the future with them.
  • Help your coworkers to study and learn from past projects.
  • As you learn from the past, avoid living in it but seek out mentors to relate their history to you.
  1. Deliberative

A need to assess risks and to weigh all implications before vigilantly going into the world that is a minefield.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can “advise and counsel” and take time to process a decision.
  • Observe your coworkers, help them consider the pros and the cons of their choices and temper their impulsive behavior.
  • Take heed of people pushing you to reveal too much of yourself. Conceal confidential information about yourself and detain your opinion until you get all the facts straight.
  1. Developer

A need to jump-start a growth and learning process in promising individuals in order for them to experience success. An inner drive for mentorship.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that allows you to further one’s advancement and to push one to success.
  • Avoid loosing causes and extreme cases where the individual “is consistently struggling in his or her role”.
  • Remind yourself of your own development. “Find a mentor or coach who can invest in you”.
  1. Discipline

An urge for order, exactitude, perfectionism and predictability. A need for plans, timelines and deadlines.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that demands structure and routine, with situations that need to be perfected, more effective and more time-saving.
  • “Accept that mistakes might depress you” and that “others may not be as disciplined as you are”.
  • Create well-organized spaces and deadlines in order to conveniently accomplish your task at hand.
  1. Empathy

An ability to understand people’s emotions and acknowledge their point of view and perspectives.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you serve others.
  • Help your colleagues understand their emotions, their reactions towards themselves and others, and help them prevent misconduct.
  • Recognize and support great achievements in the workplace.

images (8)

  1. Focus

A need for setting goals, priorities daily and an ability to filter out unwanted and unfitted information that doesn’t efficiently lead you toward your destination.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you are autonomous, able to select projects that align with your mission.
  • Measure your progress toward your goal, set deadlines and follow through on schedule.
  • Help your team members set and recall goals.
  1. Futuristic

A fascination for the future. A detailed, hopeful and inspiring vision of the future.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can share your futuristic ideas, your vision for an organization, for your career or someone else’s.
  • Spend time thinking about the future, find ways to concretely implement your ideas, to articulate them to a specific audience and to support them.
  • “Gain knowledge that will fuel your imagination”.
  1. Harmony

A will to minimize conflicts, confrontations. A continual search for consensus, common ground. An ability to keep your peace in conflict, your opinion to yourself and to adjust your goals to a situation.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that requires networking skills, dealing with different perspectives and coming up with an agreement in a non competitive and non confrontational workplace.
  1. Ideation

A fascination for ideas and a constant search for the connections between them.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that accredits your ideas.
  • Stimulate yourself constantly to avoid boredom by making small changes in the routine.
  • “Finish your thoughts and ideas before communicating them”. In addition, “learn to edit your own ideas”.
  • Identify the places, the people, the context that produce the most ideas.
  1. Includer

A resolve to include, accept, involve everyone in a group, and make them feel included and equally important.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job “in which you can take responsibility for representing voices that are not usually heard”, in which you can interact with people and “bring together people of divers cultures and backgrounds”.
  • Excluders and elitists are distasteful and irking to you but learn to include them as well.
  1. Individualization

An acute ability to observe, consider and appreciate the unique qualities, styles, motivation, thinking pattern of an individual.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that requires noticing people unique qualities, understand and working with diversity, and that helps people realize and capitalize on their strengths.
  1. Input

A desire to collect and store interesting information and objects in the hopes that some day they will serve a purpose.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job “in which you are charged with acquiring new information each day” and are able to become an expert.
  • Implement a database to efficiently store the acquired information.
  • Identify occasions to share you knowledge. Find ways to articulate and output the acquired information.
  1. Intellection

An enthusiasm for introspection, for the thinking process, mostly done in solitude.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job in which you can pursue studies, engage in intellectual debates, challenge and evaluate people’s thinking, in which “you get involved in the front end of projects and initiatives, rather than jumping in at the execution stage”.
  • Take time to think and “follow an intellectual trail”.
  1. Learner

An enticement for the learning process without seeking to become an expert or acquiring academic schedules.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job as a consultant, that requires “some form of technical competence” in a “field with constantly changing technologies or regulations”.
  • Understand and improve your learning process, and celebrate every milestone.
  • Regularly schedule and subscribe to learning programs at work or in your community.
  1. Maximizer

A thrill for cultivating an existing strength into excellence.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job to help people succeed by focusing on their strengths.
  • Identify your own talents, cultivate them and find out how theory can lead to success by rubbing shoulders with successful people.
  • Come up with ways to measure your performances and those of other people.
  • Find ways to make your weaknesses irrelevant.
  1. Positivity

An ability to see the best in every situation and inject drama in every situation. A contagious enthusiasm, optimism, energy and an excitement for life.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you are able to “highlight the positive” and encourage people.
  • Steer clear from cynics, negative people. “Spend time in highly positive environment that will invigorate and feed your optimism”.
  • Acknowledge challenges and use your positivity to get through them.
  1. Relator

A comfort in intimacy, in building relationships. A willingness to trust and share feelings, goals, dreams, fears in order to deepen an existing relationship.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job in an informal organization.
  • Schedule social events with your colleagues to forge genuine bonds with them.
  1. Responsibility

A duty to take “psychological ownership” for performing or completing a task, to be accountable for the success or failure of projects.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job in which determination and autonomy are needed, where .
  • Volunteer for more responsibility at work, asess your talents before handling a particular project and review your performance at the end of the project.
  • Learn to refuse opportunities before committing to them, by selecting the areas of opportunities that come your way.
  1. Restorative

An enticement for solving complex problems, finding solutions, analyzing challenges and restoring a situation back to normal.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job in which you “solve problems or in which your success depends on your ability to restore and resolve” and your ability to turn failing situations around.
  • Communicate to your team members that you enjoy solving problems but learn how to let them solve their own problems.
  • Learn how to “anticipate and prevent problems before they occur”, how to identify and prevent existing patterns and reoccurring causes of a problem.

Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

13 Leadership Tips for Your First Day on the Job

images-9-1-1.jpg.jpeg

Congratulations. You have just been hired, after an incessant job search and multiple job interviews. Now, the real work has just started!

Wondering how to build a positive professional image as soon as you arrive on the job and to sustain it throughout your whole career?

From your first day on the job, your colleagues will definitely be judging you and your capabilities as a leader, as a team member or as a threat to their current position.

Meanwhile your employer will evaluate your abilities to integrate the organization and to quickly adapt, to learn the job skills. You have to be ready to handle the pressure and to measure up to the job. And unfortunately, I learnt that there aren’t any do-overs when it comes to making a first impression of your professional image.

On the first day on my first job, I showed up on the first day with a negative attitude: I was anxious, unconsciously rejecting the fact that I had to work corporate and work for someone else. Therefore, in the long haul, I started involuntarily rebuffing the idea of getting along with people, learning new skills and focusing on my job. As a result, I integrated an unfavorable perception of my environment and I certainly believe that I left a negative impression of myself in the workplace.  This stuck to me for a while until I quit the job and was able to start over elsewhere with a better knowledge of both corporate and leadership.

At the same time, to survive, I did what my elders told me: “work hard and keep your head down!”.  But this brought on additional issues. Why? Because, according to Daniel Goleman, in Working With Emotional Intelligence,  the “rules for work are changing. We’re being judged by a new yardstick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other.[…] These rules have little to do with what we were told was important in school; academic abilities are largely irrelevant to this standard.”.

In order for you to steer clear from the same issues that I have experienced, to develop a leadership image from the start, follow the tips below:

  1. Arrive to work early and leave late on your first day.

    Arriving early to work demonstrate your motivation, your eagerness to learn and gives you more credit as a professional. In addition, arriving early will allow you to get a general feel of your new colleagues’ arrival time, schedules, morning procedures. It will also give you a time to which you will be expected to show up at work.

    On your first day, at least, make sure to leave the office after a few coworkers have left the office and not before everyone else does.

  2. Dress appropriately and to look your best.

    Undeniably, your coworkers will make snap decisions about you without getting to know or understanding your core values. Subsequently, they will judge your book by its cover, no matter how you feel or what you say.

    Dressing appropriately, without drawing attention to yourself,  gives the perception that you fit in, that you are the right person for the job, and that you care about yourself and others. At your job interview, you had the time to consider the company culture and to take notes on the proper attire to fit in. Even on casual Fridays, groom yourself, do your best to look the part, and to dress for  the job you want and not for the one you have.

  3. Be confident, positive and prepared for a full-blown interview from your colleagues.

    After the job interview, take heed of the coworkers interviews. Most likely, they will ask about your education, your professional experience, your professional competencies for the job, a description of your current position, and the members of your team. Prepare a short presentation of yourself to introduce yourself confidently.

  4. Assume also that some of your coworkers won’t bother to get to know you.

    So, you will have to take initiative and make the first steps. Extend a firm handshake, smile and proactively introduce yourself by using the short presentation about yourself and to control the message regarding yourself. Also, prepare a set of probing questions for your coworkers.

  5. Observe your coworkers in return, their behavior towards one another, towards their boss.

    Don’t be fooled, on your first day, most of your coworkers will be on their best behavior around you and will try their best for you to like them. Withal, you can discreetly notice the clicks and the areas and subjects that bring tension.

  6. Pay attention to company culture.

    Who gives orders, who is the unofficial leader, who arrives early and who arrives late, who takes coffee breaks and how often, who start the lunch process, where lunch takes place and for how long…does everyone work out? Should you go to the after works?  Take a moment to understand the rules, on your own, without referring to any coworker just yet.

  7. Remember the names of the people you meet.

    I am not a name person but you should not ask for names that were already given. Wait a few days and someone will throw a name out there.

  8. Cultivate emotional intelligence.

    Even though your coworkers will be on their best behavior for the first few days, there is ALWAYS someone to come around and test you for fun. Your reaction to his or her obnoxious behavior will market your capabilities and your personal qualities, for future career success.

  9. Communicate effectively, listen more than you speak and observe your body language.

    Listen actively and with intention of asking probing questions. Ask for people opinions before you give yours.

  10. Show interest in your new tasks.

    The responsibilities that you are given on your first days are boring and minimal: you will most likely be reading job regulations, technical documents and implementing basic tasks. Nonetheless, ask pertinent questions, take notes, commit to the task at hand and don’t expect your boss or your coworkers to hold your hand.

  11. Be open to correction, advice and guidance.

    Even though you have some experience under your belt, stay humble instead of showing off your knowledge, listen to what your coworkers have to tell you. Thank people for their help and own up to your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know. Let me find out and get back to you.”.

  12. Accept invitations for coffee, to smoke or to lunch with your coworkers.

    Mind you, I don’t drink coffee, I don’t smoke and I only take lunch breaks alone during my working hours. But those breaks are essential to show that you are social and willing to integrate and share their habits. Use those breaks to your advantage to get to know your coworkers.

  13. Don’t indulge in office politics and gossip on your first day or ever.

    Avoid people who partake in gossip and employ aggressive methods of office politics. To not be implicated in the rumor mill, don’t expose your personal life. According to Daniel Goleman, pay attention to “what to say, what not to say, and what to call it” throughout your entire career.

Building a strong professional image and leader brand, as soon as you step into your new position, is detrimental to career success.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Posted in Journey To Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (part 3)

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor is a collection of three essays written by BennisGolemanO’Toole and Biederman.

The new transparency by Warren Bennis

The new transparency, by Warren Bennis, is the third and last essay of Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor. This essay defines digital transparency, focuses on the effects of the “digital revolution” and how it has made transparency quasi inevitable in modern day organizations.

What is the upside of the new transparency?

Transparency notoriously drives success, effectiveness and trust between members of an organization.

The emergence of internet has been able to fill the cultural need for transparency, to break down old rules and traditions, to erase borders and social status barriers.

In particular, the rise of blogs:

  • has transformed the mainstream media. Blogs shape the public opinion. Moreover, mainstream media now rely upon them to exchange and to create loyalty amongst their viewers.
  • has transformed politics (for the better?). Indeed, blogs have increased transparency over the years: in many countries, the government and politicians can no longer hold secrets, maintain exclusive power and absolute control over citizens. Blogs have become a political and diplomatic tool to fight corruption and power abuse.
  • has exposed insiders “secrets to outsiders” in corporations: most bloggers whistleblow freely, safely and anonymously.
  • has changed the societal game. Protests happen in the streets as well in the cyberspace.
  • has evenly distributed information and knowledge. Seeing that knowledge is power, blogs have created a new power that have made leaders “lose their monopoly on leadership”. Blogs have given a digital platform for people from  different nationalities, social categories and spheres of influence to express their opinions.

What is the downside of the new transparency?

First of all, the digital transparency incites a lack of privacy. Most individuals’ confidential information (credit card number, personal records,…) transits openly on internet, which makes them vulnerable to hacking and allows misuse of information and illegal tracking of their information.

Also, the “digital realm is wild and minimally policed”. Some users take advantage of the anonymity of internet to dishonestly compete, to openly attack an institution, organization or another individual under false pretenses.

Digital transparency has devalued, through the mainstream media, “authentic expertise by treating ordinary viewers and readers as the equals of those with genuine insight and experience” to enhance their viewers’ loyalty. Unfortunately, it also impedes their viewers from comprehending or appropriately analysing complex facts and events.

Warren Bennis denotes that blogs, acquiring greater influence and outreach than news paper, will substitute the latter if the content “commit to high standards of accuracy, fairness, and conduct”.

On the internet, where there are no secrets, where information persists for several lifetimes and where truth is relative, users are able to decide the perimeters of transparency,  to fabricate the truth and to create the persona they want. However, users are unable to vet and verify the actual truth.

To read the review on the first essay Creating a culture of candor by Warren BennisDaniel Goleman, and Patricia Ward Biedermanclick here.

To read the review on the second essay Speaking truth to power by James O’Tooleclick here.

Review

SearchTransparency.jpg.jpegThe new transparency by Warren Bennis is a proper conclusion to the book Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor that delivers impartial views on the internet and the blogosphere.

While reading his book, several contemporaneous examples came to mind such as the Black Lives Matter Movement that started in summer 2013, in the United States and has since then spread itself to different countries, to different nationalities and cultures. Social Media and blogs have definitely given the Movement the tools that it needed to speak up about police brutality on African-Americans, to show proof of police misconduct, to syndicate and organize itself and finally, to resist oppression.

One example of the misuse of the internet platform is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is the bullying of an individual over the internet, through blogs or social media. Many victims of cyberbullying have spoken publicly over this issue but due to the anonymity and the lack of regulation of the internet, the government has not yet found a way to penalize the abusers.

Favorite quote(s)

Transparency would not be a problem in a world in which everyone is decent and fair-minded.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Warren Bennis

Purchase

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 63 Comments

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (Part 2)

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor is a collection of three essays written by BennisGolemanO’Toole and Biederman. To read the review on the first essay Creating a culture of candor by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, and Patricia Ward Biederman, click here.

Speaking truth to power by James O’Toole

Speaking truth to power, by James O’Toole, is the second essay from Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor.
Speaking truth to power has been a long-standing issue throughout History. It is a very common and complex matter that has direct repercussions on an individual’s life, career and health. In this essay, in order to illustrate the concerns raised by a lack of transparency, many examples have been extracted from literature, from 2500 years of History and from James O’Toole‘s personal experience during his research in corporations.

Why speak truth to power?

Speaking truth to power creates a healthy and successful company culture in any given organization.

What makes speaking truth to power so convoluted?

images-1-jpg.jpeg

Speaking truth to power can be perceived as disloyalty, dissidence, insubordination or non-conformism because it challenges old assumptions, systems that are already in place, defies group-thinking and questions the authority, decisions and ego of the person in power. Speaking the truth also implies having to make the person in power admit their mistake.

James O’Toole blames this impugning perception on the stubbornness, the stupidity and the hubris (arrogance of power) of leaders who reject good advice and are incapable of hearing the truth.

That is why, leaders must openly listen to their employees, understand their working conditions, rethink old assumptions and avoid group-thinking at all cost.

Speaking truth to power does not go without risks: most employees are not willing to report any misconduct or unethical behavior by fear of retaliation, by fear of being reprimanded, by belief that no action will be taken by management or by Human Resources (HR).

How to create transparency and trust within an organization?

According to James O’Toole, corporations should hire at leisure a “corporate fool”, term quoted by Verne Morland, an executive at NCR in the 1980s. A “corporate fool” is a modern day jester that is capable and licensed to speak truth to power and create controversy. The role of the “corporate fool” can be associated to the role of women in modern day organizations. Indeed, women are unafraid to challenge the system and to speak truth to power in corporations as they have only recently been evolving in the male-dominating corporations and as a result have not learnt any ethical misbehavior. Not to mention, women have throughout History stood up courageously to authority at the peril of their lives.

Below are the characteristics that a leader must abide by to enforce transparency within their organization:

  • Leaders must consistently tell the truth to their followers.
  • Leaders must be comfortable with the truth.
  • Leaders must practise integrity.
  • Leaders must demonstrate appropriate respect towards their followers by sharing relevant information and actually including them in the flow of information.
  • Leaders must gather the necessary information before making any type of decision.
  • Leaders must value openness, empower those who tell the truth and must not reward those who do otherwise.
  • Leaders at the top should not reward other leaders for their ability to compete nor congratulate leader’s misconduct.

Moreover, followers must be willing to put themselves on the line to be able to correct their bosses. “In sum, before speaking truth to power can be considered virtuous, the act must meet several criteria:

  • It must be truthful.
  • It must do no harm to innocents.
  • It must not be self-interested (the benefits must go to others, or to the organization).
  • It must be the product of moral reflection.
  • It must come from a messenger who is willing to pay the price.
  • It must have at least a chance of bringing about positive change (there is no virtue in tilting at windmills).
  • It must not be done out of spite or anger.”

Throughout History, organizations have punished those that speak truth to power, have challenged their loyalty, have put their sanity to the test, have labelled them as crazy or angry people.

So why blow the whistle?

Whistleblowers are loyal to their organization and not assumably to their leaders. When the leaders betray the values and the integrity of the organization, whistleblowers come forth and are ready to denounce publicly any signs of foul-play.

Is there an appropriate time for whistleblowing or for speaking truth to power?

The time is right when one is mature enough to objectively analyze the situation at hand and is virtuous enough to be able to temper his or her anger.

To read the review on the first essay Creating a culture of candor by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, and Patricia Ward Biederman, click here.

Review

images-31.jpg.jpeg

Speaking truth to power is perfect for leaders who are looking to understand what transparency is all about and are starting to implement it in their organization.

In Speaking truth to power, James O’Toole makes us realize how far this issue goes back, how much human nature is to blame for a lack of transparency and why a step has not been taken to generally encourage transparency, even though success, effectiveness and trust should be incentives for corporations.

In reality, speaking from personal experience, most candid, virtuous and conscientious people do not climb the career ladder in corporations and sojourn at the bottom until they learn to moderate their opinion. Otherwise, they are perceived by team members and leaders as being weak, insubordinate, insolent and disloyal.

I’ve seen many straightforward people being exemplarily managed out of corporations while leaders kept asking their employees to be transparent and while those who did the leader’s dirty deed were promoted. As a result, it created a toxic and unsafe environment where no one would speak up (not even HR) to the wrongdoings of management.

If candid people are not able to sugarcoat their opinion, they end up whistleblowing or leaving the organization. And so, I did.

Favorite quote(s)

In a recent scientific survey of a cross-section of American workers, over two-thirds report having personally witnessed unethical behavior on the job, but only about a third of those say they reported what they observed to their supervisors. The reasons given for their reticence range from fear of retaliation to the belief that management would not act on the information appropriately.

In essence, trust is hard to earn, easy to lose, and, once lost, nearly impossible to regain.

Ratings 4/5

Author

James O’Toole

Purchase

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Warren Bennis

Warren Bennis is a Professor of Management at the University of Southern California and Chairman of the Board of Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership. Warren Bennis is also the co-Author of Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor.

Posted in Author | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments