Career Advice

What “A Walk in the Woods” taught me about setting goals

My sister and I recently went to see the comedy adventure A Walk in the Woods starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. It’s about two old friends, Bill (played by Redford) and Katz (played by Nolte) who reconnect and decide to hike the Appalachian trail despite the fact they are both in their 60s, haven’t spoken in decades and aren’t in the best physical shape.

Thanks to the many traveling mistakes made along the way by Bill and Katz, I left with a few new laugh lines and valuable goal setting reminders I can use in the workplace.

Continue reading “What “A Walk in the Woods” taught me about setting goals”

Career Advice

3 awesome networking tips to help you reach your goals

Last week, I opened my tea bag and read the inspirational quote attached to it as I always do—only this time instead of feeling inspired, I felt aggravated. The quote read, “Don’t ask and everything will come.”

I felt, and still feel, this is lousy advice and cringe at the idea of people believing it. If you want to succeed, especially in the workplace, you have to advocate for yourself, get support from others and ask for help.

Rather than sitting around and waiting for things to happen (as my tea bag brilliantly suggests), these networking tips will actually help you make things happen. Continue reading “3 awesome networking tips to help you reach your goals”

Management

3 simple ways managers can foster a positive work environment

When trying to improve employee job satisfaction, many managers focus on training, communication, and recognition. While these tactics can be helpful, they won’t make much of an impact if employees don’t feel respected.

A Society for Human Resource Management study found 72 percent of employees feel being respected at work is the most important aspect of their job satisfaction. Yet, only 33 percent of employees report being “very satisfied” with respectful treatment of employees at all levels.

As a manager, you can help infuse more respect in the workplace by being clear, holding people accountable and leading by example.

Here are practical steps that can help you accomplish all three and create a positive work environment for both you and your employees. Continue reading “3 simple ways managers can foster a positive work environment”

Human Resources

No experience? 5 steps to help you transition to a career in human resources

After 11 years in customer service and call center management, I decided I wanted a switch and HR was calling my name. I was missing the direct HR experience but had transferable skills and my self-awareness, research and networking helped me secure a job in human resources management in less than six months.

These are the steps I took to achieve my goal of becoming an HR professional (and hopefully they can help you too)

Engage a career coach

If you aren’t sure whether you should change careers or are uncertain about how to get started, working with a career coach may be a great first step for you.

When I first considered a transition to HR, I did a Google search and reached out to a career coach for direction and advice. I received valuable insight about my knowledge gaps and the potential challenges I may face trying to move into HR. My coach then helped me to put together an action plan to ensure I met my goals.

Continue reading “No experience? 5 steps to help you transition to a career in human resources”

Management

How ‘Fred’ can help your team find their passion

About a year ago, a good friend of mine and fellow manager introduced me to Mark Sanborn’s book The Fred Factor, his answer to rekindling employee engagement and motivation.

He raved about the book’s lessons, but I didn’t take his advice right away, and instead, I put the novel  on my need-to-read back burner book list. Now a year later, I am proud to report I finally read The Fred Factor―I just wish I read it sooner.

Who is Fred?

The star of the book, Fred, is a real-life mail carrier who turns the simple act of delivering mail into meaningful interactions that make a big difference in the lives of his customers. He goes the extra mile for the people he serves, not because he has to or because he is looking for recognition, but because he genuinely cares about people and is passionate about his work and his life’s purpose―a message managers and leaders should take with them.

Continue reading “How ‘Fred’ can help your team find their passion”

Management

Want to be a better leader? It’s time to get out of your comfort zone

I was once guilty of thinking I was a leader because I held a management title. I directed people, had control and managed day-to-day activities, and therefore, thought I knew what it meant to be an effective leader.

My leadership strengths were my systems, procedures and subject matter expertise. I took pride in always knowing the answer and being able to help others.

After working at the same company for 10 years and managing the same group for seven, I decided I was ready for a change.

While I was proud of myself for taking a professional and personal risk, I was also extremely worried I wouldn’t be as effective of a leader because I didn’t understand my new team’s systems, jargon, policies and procedures.

Continue reading “Want to be a better leader? It’s time to get out of your comfort zone”

Career Advice

4 meeting etiquette mistakes you don’t even realize you’re making

Your behavior before, during and after a meeting can have a big impact on your professional image. More often than not meetings are reoccurring giving co-workers the opportunity to notice your behavioral trends and associate you as either a positive contributor or a detractor. To ensure you’re not being associated as the latter, it’s critical to demonstrate good meeting etiquette.

While some meeting etiquette rules are obvious (i.e. don’t be on your phone, be on time, demonstrate good listening skills) some are less obvious. From my experience, there are four common types of meeting actions that damage people’s reputation without that person even realizing it. Continue reading “4 meeting etiquette mistakes you don’t even realize you’re making”

Career Advice

Become an email hero using these etiquette tips

Love it or hate it (I’m guessing the latter) we spend a large part of our workday reading and responding to emails. In a recent study, McKinsey Global Institute found 28 percent of the workweek is spent reading and responding to email. Because email is such a big part of our job most of us have created email goals in hopes of keeping us productive (and if you haven’t you should do this immediately).

However, chances are these goals aren’t lofty enough resulting in you never quite getting ahead of your email challenges. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tweak your email goals and behaviors and see instant long-term benefits? Well, you can! Continue reading “Become an email hero using these etiquette tips”

Career Advice

3 ways your desk setup can help you succeed at work

Yes, you read the title right. Your desk really can help contribute to your success in the workplace (and no, this is not a Feng Shui article). Here’s how your desk can help you.

Stay focused

Meeting goals and deadlines are critical to success but accomplishing everything you need to can be challenging if you are distracted. To avoid interferences from impacting your productivity, be prepared for them. Write a list of common distractors and then see what you can keep at your desk to help mitigate them.

  • Do you oftentimes get heartburn after lunch? Then make sure you keep antacids on hand.
  • Does the heat impact your ability to concentrate? If so make sure you have a portable fan at your desk.
  • Do your cubical neighbors get noisy in the afternoon? Keep earbuds in your drawer.

Continue reading “3 ways your desk setup can help you succeed at work”

Career Advice

Why it pays to recognize your colleagues

We all work with talented colleagues who regularly impress, help, and support us. Without these individuals, our day-to-day activities would be challenging and at times impossible.

These people are instrumental to our success, yet, we often forget to acknowledge them. Not only do our co-workers deserve the praise but recognizing a colleague also comes with many benefits.

The next time a teammate deserves recognition be sure to show your appreciation and reap some of these added rewards.

It feels good

We all need more “feel good” moments in the workplace.

Recognizing someone is a fast and easy way to accomplish this. The next time you find yourself feeling down and out consider writing a deserving colleague a “Thank You” note or calling a co-worker to give some positive feedback.

Continue reading “Why it pays to recognize your colleagues”