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Creating Successful Leaders

decoding hashtags, UXL Blog

 

Last week, I attended an interesting and educational webinar on hashtags. The webinar was put on by members of the Insights® Discovery team. Through this session, I learned some valuable bits of information that I’d like to pass along to you. Here are a few of my key take-aways.

The Basics:

  • Hashtags are your friends! Use them to make your social media posts more search-able and to connect with other people in your industry
  • Do your research: Know which hashtags are currently popular in your field.
  • #Don’tgooverboardwiththelength Hashtags that are too long are often overlooked
  • Do get creative and have fun with hashtags in your social media
  • Do connect with others in your online community who are using the same hashtags (i.e. #coaching #writer #workingmom)
  • Don’t hashtag every word! It seems desperate and amateur.
  • Know what’s trending and take advantage (some hashtags are used frequently like #tbt for “Throwback Thursday,” in which you’re encouraged to post an old photo)

 

Events:

  • Create a specific hashtag for any event you host and actively encourage attendees to use it. Don’t be shy! Project your chosen hashtag on your powerpoint or print the hashtag on pieces of paper that you put at each chair.
  • If you’re attending an event, see if there is a specific hashtag associated with it. (i.e. #AWP15 for the 2015 Assoc. of Writers Program conference)
  • Live tweet (or use whatever your preferred social media platform may be) and use the given hashtag
  • Connect with other people at the event by looking up the designated hashtag and starting an online conversation

My main take-away: Don’t be afraid of hashtags! They aren’t something “the kids are doing these days.” They are a useful way to make connections and network in your field. Do a little research and then dive in!

Happy hashtag-ing and don’t forget to #havefun

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apples oranges

Your workplace is diverse, whether you know it or not. You may all be similar in appearance, but what about your interests? Work styles? Ways of thinking and doing? Diversity goes beyond ethnicity, gender, culture, and age. It also has to do with diversity of thought and behavior.

Such a mix of perspectives can be healthy for an organization, but only if it’s leveraged correctly. If the minority voices are constantly silenced by the majority, then any diversity your organization may have will not be used effectively.

Understanding and accepting differences in others is fundamental to the success of an organization. It’s what leads to great idea-generation, creativity, and an energized workplace. As a leader, your goal should be to encourage all voices to be heard, and all individuals to be valued.

But where to begin? Insights® Discovery (a tool for understanding and developing unique personalities) provides us with a great model to follow to embrace workplace diversity. Here are their five steps:

  • Build Self-Awareness: Every person brings a unique set of knowledge, experience, capabilities and behaviors to the table. Organizations can and should help their people fully understand themselves and recognize their individual capabilities. We can’t really begin to understand and accept others, unless we know ourselves.
  • Gain Understanding: As individuals, we need to understand ourselves, understand others, and be understood by others. This means approaching diversity with an open mind—a willingness to learn about your co-workers and how they think and perceive the world.
  • Adapt and Connect: Organizations should help their people adapt and connect to get the most from their teams. Adapting and connecting helps you achieve better engagement and interaction with others. Yes, connecting with people who think differently than you may stretch your comfort zone, but you’ll probably be surprised by how much common ground you share.
  • Find Value in Diversity: Insights calls this phase “Moving from frustration to fascination.” Instead of being frustrated by others’ differences, learn about them. Appreciate what they bring to the table and how it adds richness to your work experience. Make your work environment an inclusive one in which differences are appreciated and valued.
  • Leverage differences: The best teams are comprised of a diverse group of people who can bring out the best in each other. This can only happen through honest, open dialogue and a work environment that encourages diversity of thought and perspective.

HOW can you make your workplace open and inclusive? Stay tuned for next week’s blog!

Want more information on how Insights® Discovery can help your workplace? Contact me today!

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

There were many little lessons I took away from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, but one of the greatest ones was about women in the workplace. Her talk revolved around female equality and reclaiming the oftentimes negatively-used word “feminism.”

Being from Nigeria, Chimamanda gave some extreme examples of how women are treated as the lesser gender (not being allowed into nightclubs on their own, expected to be submissive to men, etc.), but she also noted that the problem of female equality is still alive and kicking in the U.S. Take the modern workplace, for example. As Chimamanda notes, “The higher up [the ladder] you go, the fewer women you see.” Last year, only 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs were women.

What follows is an exert from Chimamanda’s TED Talk on selecting an outfit to wear for her first day of teaching at a United States University:

“The first time I taught a writing class in graduate school, I was worried. Not about the teaching material, because I was well prepared and I was teaching what I enjoyed. Instead, I was worried about what to wear. I wanted to be taken seriously.”

“I knew that because I was female, I would automatically have to prove my worth. And I was worried that if I looked too feminine, I would not be taken seriously. I really wanted to wear my shiny lip gloss and my girly skirt, but I decided not to. I wore a very serious, very manly, and very ugly suit.”

“The sad truth of the matter is that when it comes to appearance, we start off with men as the standard, as the norm. Many of us think that the less feminine a woman appears, the more likely she is to be taken seriously. A man going to a business meeting doesn’t wonder about being taken seriously based on what he is wearing–but a woman does.”

“I wish I had not worn that ugly suit that day. Had I then the confidence I have now to be myself, my students would have benefited even more from my teaching. Because I would have been more comfortable and more fully and truly myself.”

The lesson rings clear: Be confident, be yourself! Your attitude and outward projection matters much more than the serious cut of your suit. Dress comfortably and walk into your next meeting with your shoulders up and your head high.

For the complete TED Talk, click the video link below:

 

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By Margaret Smith
SPEAKER | CAREER COACH | CERTIFIED INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY PRACTITIONER

Contrary to what you may expect, promoting the talents of others can actually help to showcase your own skills and strengthen your brand. This magical habit is called delegation, and it’s an essential tool to propelling your own career, improving results, developing your personal brand, and keeping your workload under control.

Let’s all start by taking a moment to acknowledge the often-ignored fact: There is only a limited amount you can do, no matter how hard you work. Because we are not super-humans, it’s essential that we learn to let go sometimes.

This having been said, there is a way to get it all done, and done well: delegation. Often, delegation gets overlooked as a viable tool because it is a lot of work upfront. Instead of doing the task yourself, delegation requires you to share your insights, know-how, and expectations with others.

To Delegate, or Not to Delegate: That is the Question

When faced with a new task, don’t just jump into it right away. Instead, ask yourself, “Would this task be a worthy use of my time?” If you continue to accept projects that don’t align to, or properly utilize, your skills, you’re diluting your brand. Perhaps there is someone else who has the skills to do the task better, or who would be eager to develop skills that the task would involve?

Strategically delegating tasks to others allows you to focus on the tasks that reinforce your real skills—those you want to be known for as part of your personal brand. (If you haven’t yet considered what your personal brand is, now is the time to start!)

How to Handle the “Who?”

When considering who to delegate to, take into account the following questions:

  • What are this person’s skills and knowledge?
  • Does this person currently have space in their workload?
  • What is this person’s preferred work style?

Once you have decided on the best candidate, don’t forget to document the process. When practicing delegation, it’s extremely important to keep track of your processes to save time in the future and develop best practices that promote clarity and efficiency. Just as you, say, develop practices that keep your house clean—washing dishes after meals, placing laundry in a hamper, etc.—creating processes for sharing tasks at work will cut down on confusion and clutter, not to mention saving time and preventing mistakes.

Your Challenge:

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload, fight the urge to dive headfirst into your pile of tasks. Instead, assess these projects and consider whether or not some of them can be delegated to another member of your team instead.

Do you have any helpful tips about delegating effectively? Please share!

Interested in navigating the changes in your life, finding success in your job hunt, or making the most of your career? Contact UXL Today!

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self doubt

It’s the voice you hear in your head. The nagging inner-critic that I like to call your “saboteur.” Many of us deal with this voice on a regular basis. Your saboteur may tell you things like:

“You’re not good enough.”

“No one should listen to you.”

“You’re not qualified to do the job.”

“You don’t have any good ideas.”

STOP! That voice is only holding you back and stifling your growth. When we predict the outcome of something before it happens, that’s called scripting, and it usually does us more harm than good. You CAN overcome this self-doubt hanging over your shoulder. Follow these five steps to stop scripting and start being the leader you know you are:

  1. Stop fearing what you can’t control.
  2. Get out of everyone else’s head. People aren’t thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are.
  3. Be present. Put your best foot forward; listen to body language.
  4. Have fun. Put your energy into doing something you love.
  5. Don’t fight your compass. Self-doubt and scripting of others’ thoughts can interfere with your inner compass or guide. Be confident and listen to your intuition.

 

You have the power to step up and make bold, positive strides at work. When you shed your inner saboteur, your self-confident, capable self will shine through and others will take notice.

For more guidance, please feel free to contact me today.

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Incorrect seated posture

You might want to be sitting down for this news…then again, that’s the point! You should NOT spend so much time sitting, according to several new studies that have been released over the past few years. In an article I read last month, Doctor J.A. Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, stated that, “prolonged sitting is associated with 34 chronic diseases and conditions, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, back pain, and depression.”

Wow, that’s a lot of maladies from something that seems harmless! But it all boils down to this: Humans aren’t meant to sit around all day. We aren’t designed to remain stationary for hours upon end. According to the same article I read, after just a few hours in a chair, “changes occur in your cells, slowing your metabolism, stiffening arteries, and increasing insulin resistance.”

And the worst part? Your hour-long workout at the end of the day won’t make up for all the sitting you’ve been doing prior to working out. It’s a cumulative effect and you can’t shake it off with a single bout of exercise.

This all seems like terrible news, right? Fortunately, there are some easy solutions to combat prolonged sitting. Here are a few tips I discovered when I looked into this topic:

  • Take a stroll (This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget to move around if you’re busy with work. Make an effort to get up and about every 90 minutes or so)
  • Sit on an exercise ball (This practice is good for your core and helps your muscles move and tense throughout the day, without you hardly noticing. It may take a little getting used to, though!)
  • Drink lots of water (at least 8 glasses a day. This can prevent muscle fatigue and cramping)
  • Take the stairs
  • Use an activity monitor to help you track your motion throughout the day
  • Walk down the hall to visit your co-workers instead of communicating with them via email
  • Ask for a standing desk (many companies are now purchasing standing desks for their employees. Either they will move up and down electrically, so you can sit and stand as you please, OR they are stationary tall desks that come with a tall drafting chair in case you’re inclined to sit).

It is incredibly important to look out for your personal well-being at work. Human beings are breakable machines and we can only be pushed so far. The trick is to NOT get to that breaking point in the first place. With a little effort every day, you can avoid the problems associated with prolonged sitting. Invest in yourself! You’re worth it.

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Is your team having trouble clicking? Are you struggling with moving forward on projects? Or, are you finding it difficult to come up with new, creative ideas?

One of the solutions for team disparity is the Insights® Discovery model for teams. (If you’re new to Insights, more information can be found HERE.) Insights uses a scientifically-based model to identify individual strengths, “blind spots,” communication styles, etc. The information is put into easy-to-understand, actionable language and is associated with a specific color on the four-color grid. With this information, individuals can see how they fit within their team and begin to understand others methods of communication or ways of thinking, as well as their own.

This program can be used to:

  • Elevate team performance
  • Improve group communication
  • Develop understanding between co-workers
  • Promote team engagement
  • Create an action plan for team development
  • …and more. The possibilities for your team are limitless.

Below, is a short video dedicated to Insights for team effectiveness. You can also learn more about the program HERE or Contact Me for more information on Insights Discovery.
Insights Discovery for Teams

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