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Self-Sabotage: 3 Ways We Get in Our Own Way

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

There are plenty of things that make your role as leader difficult – troublesome employees, small budgets, technology problems, demanding customers. But, if you’re having problems within your company and you’re having trouble pin-pointing the cause, there might be one other place you should look. Try taking a good look in the mirror, because sometimes the problem is actually you.

Nothing is more damaging, or frustrating, than when you get in your own way. So check out these three forms of self-sabotage and make sure you aren’t behind your workplace woes.

Avoiding Taking Responsibility
Admitting you were wrong, taking responsibility, and apologizing is hard for anyone to do, and it can be especially difficult for leaders because there often people who look to them for guidance. Your reputation is a valuable asset.  Not taking responsibility for your own actions is one of the biggest forms of self-sabotage and could have a significant impact on how you are viewed as a leader. Read More→

The Mentor Checklist: 11 Must-Have Qualities

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Research has shown over and over that people involved with a quality mentor do better in their careers – and personal lives – than those who go it alone, and that applies to everyone from school-age children to top business executives. Bottom line: purposefully seeking out advice and knowledge from others is one of the characteristics of successful people.

The presence or absence of mentoring can also affect the successfulness of a business. A report from the Harvard Business Review recently revealed “that the lack of training opportunities and mentorship schemes in the workplace are the two biggest reasons why young workers leave.” On the flip-side, the report also shows “companies that provide mentoring opportunities are better equipped, and proven to deal more positively with talent acquisition, periods of intense, disruptive high growth, change management, C-suite succession planning, and board director development.” Read More→

Link Past Actions to Future Behavior with 8 Interview Questions

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Hiring new employees isn’t cheap. In fact, a widely-held belief is that it costs six-to-nine months’ worth of salary every time an employer replaces an employee. If you multiply that cost by each time your business has experienced turnover, you could be in for a surprise at how much money your company actually spends to fill positions.

With the high cost of turnover, it’s especially important that you utilize the hiring and interview process to the fullest. Interviews, in particular, can help you make the right hiring decision, but you have to ask the right questions. It’s natural to question someone about what they’ve listed on their resume or what they think they’ll do in the future, but you need to go deeper than that. To hedge your bets on making the right hire, and keeping turnover costs minimal, it’s important to uncover a person’s character, work ethic, skill level, and personality. And, the easiest way to do that is to ask behavioral questions. Read More→

Building a Work Environment that Inspires Creativity

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Sometimes it’s easy to think that only a select few employees or teams need to be creative. But creativity in the workplace should go far beyond the artists and writers in a business. Being creative – thinking of something entirely new or finding a new way of doing things – is important to every department and aspect of a company. That’s why creativity should be fostered by building an environment that inspires it.

Creativity impacts three aspects of business in particular. These aspects – efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability – also happen to be the areas of business that leaders are usually most concerned about. And that gives business leaders three vital reasons to consider bringing more creativity to their workplace. Read More→

4 Ways to Hone Your Presentation Skills

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

The ability to give a great presentation is worth more than gold to business leaders or anyone who wants to progress in their career. In the Inc. article “7 Traits of Highly Effective Leaders,” three of the traits were closely linked with being a good speaker – communication, confidence, and the ability to inspire. Those same three traits were also listed in Forbes “Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader.”

Whether you’re presenting to employees, colleagues, clients, or the general public, you want to be seen as a competent, successful professional. And, giving a presentation that fully communicates what you’re trying to get across, shows your confidence, and inspires others, is indicative of a quality speaker and effective leader. So here are four ways to hone your presentation skills so you’re ready for your next speaking opportunity. Read More→

The Big Reason You Should Encourage Smart Risk-Taking

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

When was the last time you exhorted your staff to “go take some risks today?” How would you react if you heard a supervisor chiding an employee for “playing it too safe?” The truth is that risk-taking has become a bit of a hypocritical subject.

Taking calculated risks is part of business and part of leadership, yet most employers have indoctrinated their employees with the idea that all risk should be avoided at all costs. As an article from Forbes explains, when interviewed, the strongest and most consistent message from individuals in the business world was that people, at all levels, were “risk-averse” and “felt it more prudent to continue doing what they had always done.” Unfortunately, this is sending mixed messages to employees who are also being asked to do more with less and to step up as leaders in a constantly-changing business world, which is ultimately confusing workers and hurting employers. Read More→

Respect Goes Both Ways: Why Your Employees Have to Like You

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a skills gap happening out there. And, chances are, you have already felt, or soon will feel, its effects. According to education site, the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) defines a skills gap as “a significant gap between an organization’s current capabilities and the skills it needs to achieve its goals.” For employers across the country, that means the majority of available workers just don’t have the skills required for future growth.

Even more troubling than not being able to find skilled workers, though, is the reality that employers are having difficulty keeping the skilled employees they already have. The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch highlighted several prime examples that were revealed by a recent New York Fed survey. Approximately 30% of manufacturers and services firms surveyed report “it’s become harder to retain skilled workers in recent months.” And, roughly 37% of manufacturing firms and over 45% of service providers “expect it to become even more difficult to retain skilled workers over the next year.” Holding on to top talent is now even more of a crisis than finding the talent to begin with. Read More→

Setting Goals Your Employees Can and Want to Achieve in 2014

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

There are two parts to being a successful business leader. One is having the ability to dream, imagine, and think ahead. The other is ensuring those dreams become reality by making a plan, setting goals, and consistently achieving those goals. Unfortunately, the second part seems to be the more difficult of the two. According to, a survey of small business owners by Staples found that more than 80% don’t track their business goals. Not surprisingly, the survey also revealed that 77% of leaders have not achieved their company vision either.

Those two statistics highlight an important, albeit unsurprising, relationship between goals and achievements. To be successful and accomplish something worthwhile, you have to follow a plan. And when you’re referring to workplace and business success, it’s not just about you setting and working towards goals – it’s about your employees doing those things too. That’s why it’s so important to set goals that your employees can and want to achieve. Read More→

The One Thing You Have to Know Before Hiring an Intern

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Adding an intern to your team, whether for the summer or a semester, can be a great experience for both you and the person interning. However, before you make a hiring decision, or even post the opportunity, there is one question you need to ask. Is the intern position paid? The answer to that question will affect much more than just your payroll.

Unpaid internships have been an acceptable norm for many years, with college students seemingly appreciating the opportunity to add professional experience to their resumes, while businesses enjoyed the fresh ideas and extra help. But, what was once simply considered standard practice is facing increased scrutiny. Today, most students want and expect an internship to be paid, and employers who don’t offer compensation may be missing out. In an article from the National Federation of Independent Business, Jeff Allen, co-founder of and, even points out that “by not paying your intern, you will exclude a segment of the talent pool that can’t afford to spend their time in an unpaid internship.” Students aren’t the only ones expecting employers to pay up, though. Read More→

Employee Development Is More Important Than Ever

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Keeping employees happy and engaged is no easy task – just ask an HR professional or business leader. The amount of information on employee retention alone is enough to testify to the complexities of employee satisfaction. Of course, turnover and retention are hot topics right now, and for good reason. According to a Jan. 2013 CareerBuilder survey, 32% of businesses lost top talent in 2012 and 39% believe they’ll lose top performers in 2013. The survey also found that 25% of workers expect to change jobs in 2013 or 2014. That’s one out of four positions that will suffer from the lost productivity and high costs associated with turnover. And all of those stats spell trouble for employers.

The problem, though, isn’t that leaders haven’t found the connection between satisfied employees and low turnover. The issue lies in the complexity of matching what employees want with what employers can, and will, provide. The list of factors involved is daunting, with pay, benefits, culture, scheduling, and promotions, being just a few. Top employers incorporate these factors into their internal strategy, while other businesses usually just address a few. But recent research is drawing attention to one specific element within the engagement equation that’s been largely overlooked, much to the detriment of employers. Read More→