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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 noGRE.com, 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 Inc.com, 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 AboutJobs.com and InternJobs.com, 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→

Getting the Most Out of Your Professional Organization

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

The life of a leader is usually packed full of meetings, deadlines, and responsibilities – and those are just in your professional life. It’s easy to stay chained to your desk or be hyper-focused on internal matters. But, it’s important to your company, and yourself, that you get out of the office every once in a while and mingle with other professionals. And your local professional organization is a great place to do just that.

No matter your industry or area of expertise, it’s likely that there’s a professional organization dedicated to its support and growth. According to the American Society of Association Executives, which supports trade and professional associations across the country, there were a minimum of 90,908 trade and professional associations in 2009. It’s estimated that today there are over 100,000. Whether you’re involved in one or 10, you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of your involvement. Read More→

Beyond Disengaged: The Employees You Should Be Worried About

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Since the Great Recession, employee engagement has become a hot topic in the business world. Over the last five years, research has shown that everyone is struggling with their engagement levels, and even top executives aren’t immune. A Fortune 500 executive told a Forbes reporter, “I am burned out and tired of the nonsense… I am not inspired to put in the extra hours – as I don’t have any real incentive. I just do my job well, play the political game, smile, and get my check.”

That type of disengagement isn’t good for anyone, whether an executive, administrative assistant, employer, or employee, but it shouldn’t be your biggest worry. There is another level of engagement – known as actively disengaged – that goes beyond the usual lack of passion found in unmotivated workers. This mindset is toxic and, if left unchecked, could spread and destroy your entire business. Read More→

As a business leader, you already know that employee retention and turnover are hot topics. Every week, it seems like there’s a new survey out highlighting how many employees are planning on leaving their jobs this year. And leaders across the country are growing more and more concerned. Deloitte’s Talent Edge 2020 survey revealed that 71% of business leaders are highly concerned about retaining critical talent in 2012.

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5 Tips To Keep Your Resignation Classy

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Handing in your resignation is rarely an easy task. But, whether it’s just time to move on or you’re fed up with your employer – it’s never helpful to depart on bad terms. So in the interest of keeping it classy, try following these five tips to ensure you resign with grace!

Give At Least Two Weeks’ Notice
Nothing makes a worse impression than leaving your former employer in a lurch, so offering to work at least the usual two weeks is critical. If you’re in a high-level position, you may even need to stay longer. However, if your new employer needs you immediately, make sure to explain the situation to your former employer to minimize the damage.
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