Your Career: Does Your Job Fit Your Personality?…The Best Jobs For Every Personality Type

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test, which measures preferences like introversion and extroversion, has been part of business culture for decades. Today about 80% of the Fortune 500 and 89 of Fortune 100 companies use it to analyze the personalities of employees, in an effort to get them in the right roles and help them succeed.

question mark post its 1940x900 35749 Your Career: Does Your Job Fit Your Personality?...The Best Jobs For Every Personality Type

To determine five of the best jobs for every personality, we consulted one of the most popular personality guides, “Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type,” which is now in its fifth edition and has sold over a million copies, according to its publisher, Hachette Book Group. The book is not affiliated with CPP, the company that is the exclusive publisher of the MBTI instrument.

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We also talked to one of its authors, Paul Tieger. As the CEO of SpeedReading People LLC, Tieger has spent 30 years advising companies and people on how personality types can help teams work together.

While the list below is in no way definitive — and personality preferences can be flexible over time — it may serve as a helpful guide for understanding yourself and what sort of personalities gravitate toward certain jobs.

Figure out which type suits you best, and then check out the chart below.

bi graphics personalitytraitjobs 1 Your Career: Does Your Job Fit Your Personality?...The Best Jobs For Every Personality Type

Businessinsider.com | September 4, 2014  |  RICHARD FELONI AND SKYE GOULD

 

Leadership is Hard: Are You A Lazy Leader?…I’ve Noticed a Pattern: The Easy Thing To Do is Almost Never The Best Thing

I continually review new and legacy research on effective leadership. And I’ve noticed a pattern: The easy thing to do is almost never the best thing.  What a drag, right?  Not really. If leadership were easy, any lazy bum could do it.

SheepHerder Leadership is Hard: Are You A Lazy Leader?...I’ve Noticed a Pattern: The Easy Thing To Do is Almost Never The Best Thing

Here are three examples of research-driven “aha’s” that could make us all better leaders, but only if we’re willing to work a little harder:

1. Employee engagement

The single factor that best engages people at work is the feeling that they’re making progress toward a goal. That’s the conclusion drawn from a massive research study reported in a book called The Progress Principle, by Harvard professor Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer.

What an “aha” for a manager! The concept is simple and recommends a series of actions that could have a big impact – set up clear goals, praise incremental progress, and celebrate achievement.

 

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But when Amabile and Kramer presented their findings to a group of executives at a conference, they got a reaction that threw them. Initially, the group acknowledged that happy and engaged employees perform better. So far, so good. But when the authors asked what leaders needed to do to actually make employees happy and engaged, the group gave answers you’d expect from someone who wanted to achieve a great result with minimal effort. Pay people well. Give them bonuses. Create a recognition program (that is, have somebody else create it).

Their instinct was to automate engagement. When the authors suggested that maybe leaders have to actually get actively involved – i.e., expend effort – people looked puzzled. One said, “Of course daily progress in the work is motivating. But if you’ve hired the best people, and structured your organization well, it’s up to them to make progress in their work. You shouldn’t have to worry about ‘facilitating’ it every day.”

Yes, you should. In fact, you’ll fail if you don’t.

And most do fail. The authors said that of the seven companies they studied in their research, only one had top managers who consistently supported people in their progress. Think about that. This was a preselected group that agreed to participate in a time-consuming study. Presumably they were more interested than most in employee engagement, which they saw as correlated to high performance.

But almost none of them did what needed to be done.

Leadership is hard.

2. Getting people to hit deadlines

Strong managers hold people accountable for completing projects on schedule. Wouldn’t it be great if there were an easy way to do that?

The popular behavioral economist Dan Ariely and his colleague Klaus Wertenbroch conducted a study called “Procrastination, Deadlines and Performance” to figure out the best way for managers to get people to hit deadlines. Below are the three options they offered study participants. Which one do you think worked best?

Group 1: The manager sets a single deadline.

Group 2: The manager sets an overall deadline, but empowers participants to set their own interim deadlines.

Group 3: The manager sets an overall deadline, but imposes interim deadlines.
Most people I’ve quizzed on this choose Group 2. I think the reason we want this to be the right answer is that empowered people are more autonomous. Yeah, that’s good for them. But it’s also good for us because they require less effort and oversight.

Group 3, where the manager intervenes and sets the interim deadlines, got 20% better results than the empowered group and 100% better than the single-deadline group.

Now, in all three groups the researchers intentionally didn’t have managers looking over people’s shoulders. So in the experiment, the added effort for managers in Group 3 was small. But in real life, to get the benefit of the “aha” in this study, you’d have to work harder. You’d need to set overall deadlines, dive into the details and set interim deadlines that make sense, communicate those deadlines and, yes, follow up to make sure they’ve been hit.

Building on The Progress Principle findings noted above, you’d also want to celebrate when people meet those interim deadlines. Which takes time, effort and mind share.

Leadership is hard.

3. Developing talent

Great leaders are great talent developers. They achieve the Multiplier Effect, which occurs when leaders replicate in others the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that made them successful.

The easy way to develop talent is to treat learning as a single event. We need sales training, or leadership training, so let’s hire a consultant to come in and conduct the training in a day or two. Then everyone can get back to work.

But the easy way fails because people forget. Back in 1885, the father of memory research, Hermann Ebbinghaus, published a study showing how astonishingly fast we forget what we learned – 50% after a day, almost all after a week. If this is true, training people but providing no follow-up is almost always a complete waste of time and money.

And it is true. Ebbinghaus’ studies on forgetting, and on a technique called “the spacing effect” to improve memory retention, have been replicated repeatedly. The spacing effect says that you can vastly increase knowledge retention if you revisit what you learned at spaced intervals after a learning event.

A paper published in 2006 called Spacing Learning Events Over Time: What the Research Says, explains the “why” of spaced learning: “Every piece of knowledge stored in memory is connected to other pieces of information in a web-like arrangement. The more connections a piece of information has, the more likely it will be retrieved when it is required. Thus, if a piece of information is learned in several different ways or at several different times, it is likely to have more connecting pathways than if it is learned under less diverse conditions.”

This is intuitive. In fact, it’s dead obvious. So why, then, do so many companies treat training as an event, not a process, thus guaranteeing that the training will fail?

Because managers are the only ones who can practically provide follow-up and make learning stick. And that takes time, effort and mind share.

Leadership is hard.

Forbes.com | December 19, 2014  | Stephen J. Myer

 

Leadership: 5 Ways Leaders Strengthen & Prepare Their Teams For Change…Leadership is About Taking The Initiative to Do the Things Others Would Rather Avoid Doing

Was there ever a time that was more uncertain than today? Are leaders prepared to manage change in ways that strengthen the teams around them?

Change Leadership: 5 Ways Leaders Strengthen & Prepare Their Teams For Change...Leadership is About Taking The Initiative to Do the Things Others Would Rather Avoid Doing

Leadership is about taking the initiative to do the things others would rather avoid doing – and about allowing risk to be your best friend. Leaders make those around them better by being wise enough to anticipate the unexpected and by being accountable to take action all the way through to the end. They know how to help their teams tackle change head-on and remove the fear-factor from their minds. They do this by creating environments that embrace clarity around the issues, collaboration to produce new ideas, and strategic focus. They build solid ecosystems where thinking courageously and challenging the old ways of doing things create competitive advantage.

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As many companies enter 2015 in full-blown transformation mode, the value of leadership lies within the outcomes of reinventing the ways teams think, act and innovate. Leaders must become change agents and must teach their teams to do the same to assure circumstances don’t force their hand and to create and sustain the required momentum to win.

Leaders must maximize the performance of their teams, but doing so without disruption during times of uncertainty can be a challenge. Yet, it’s not impossible. Here are five things effective leaders teach their teams to prepare for and manage change:

1. Clarity of the Issues

Teams learn how to embrace change when leaders take the time to clarify the issues at hand. This requires leaders to make sure their teams understand the changes they are faced with – and what they potentially mean to the organization, its supply chain, and its clients.
Clarity is the foundation for understanding the “what-if” scenarios around which the team can plan and take action. Clarity of the issues allows the team to objectively break down the risk factors, anticipate potential outcomes with a clear line of sight, and identify a path towards the real issues they should be really solving for.

Clarity eliminates the guesswork and makes change management less about dealing with potential adversity and more about seeing and seizing the opportunities that are right in front of you. When teams don’t have clarity of the issues, they complicate matters by making false assumptions, and quickly lose sight of the opportunities at hand. Just ask companies like Kodak, Blackberry and Blockbuster, who lost clarity when they didn’t see through the right lens of opportunity.

2. Embrace Diversity of Thought

True collaboration means embracing diversity of thought, and the different ways people think, act and innovate. Collaboration is just an overused word when the intention behind the action is not fully leveraged. Collaboration done rightly means not just working closely with and learning from each other – but cultivating a treasure hunt of ideas and ideals. Great teams know how to collaborate not only amongst themselves, but with other teams as well. Collaboration is about creating a serendipitous environment where the interconnectivity of people creates momentum that drives everyone closer towards the end game.

Collaboration that embraces diversity of thought amplifies the discovery of knowledge – especially when you can align your proficiency in opportunity management with those who may have complementary or compatible skill-sets. For example, are you a seer, sower, grower and/or sharer of opportunity? My organization has studied workplace cultures, team building and the power of collaboration for years. We have identified that when these four skills are brought together as one, they produce an optimal collaborative environment that breeds the most successful teams and a workplace culture that continuously propels innovation and initiative:

Seeing opportunities with broadened observation
Sowing opportunities with extensive innovation
Growing the seeds of opportunity of greatest potential
Sharing the opportunities you create and sustain with others
In fact, a study by my organization revealed that the workplace is not innovative enough because employees are mostly proficient “sowers” (with the propensity of doing what they are told very well). This makes it difficult to maximize the outcomes of diversity of thought, collaborative activities and breed the discovery of new ideals and ideas. The results of this study were based on more than 500,000 people that took the Workplace Serendipity Quiz – which measures one’s proficiency in each of the four opportunity management skills. Our conclusion: the optimal team players that embrace change management the most are those that have a proficiency in all four skills and/or align themselves with others to make-up a combined proficiency in the quartet of skills. Put yourself and your colleagues to the test. Perhaps you will discover why you are not collaborating optimally nor fully leveraging and/or valuing diversity of thought.
3. Strengthen Your Ecosystem

An ecosystem can only be designed and subsequently strengthened when teams have clarity about the change they are solving for and have fully mastered and leveraged the ability to collaborate by embracing diversity of thought. When an ecosystem is built, your team can begin to integrate and multiply its know-how, intel and insights with other teams whose functional competencies can further stretch your team’s thinking and provide inputs that can strengthen its outputs. Ecosystem design can be challenging when teams are not willing to be open-minded enough to accept that there are better ways of doing things. They must be willing to accept and embrace a transformative environment that can be cultivated from within the ecosystem.

Ecosystems are created to help transform organizations, change the status quo and lead new paradigms. Leading the development of organizational ecosystems requires a deep understanding of what each team brings to the table – the value they can contribute, their willingness to learn, the desire to reach a higher level of performance through the sharing of best practices, etc. – all for the betterment of a healthier whole.

Though they may experience some constructive disruption along the way, with proper strategic focus, teams that are stitched together into an ecosystem in the right combinations will be geared for success and are aligned to have the most effective change management results.

Opportunities are everywhere, but few have the eyes to see them. Within the right ecosystem, one can see what others don’t, do what others won’t, and keep pushing when prudence says quit.

4. Create Competitive Advantage

With an environment that embraces clarity around the issues, collaboration to produce new ideas, strategic focus to build solid ecosystems that challenge the old ways of doing things – teams are now ready to create competitive advantage.

Creating competitive advantage means more than teams making the ecosystem that they are assigned to stronger – it means creating distinction for themselves throughout the organization at-large. Leaders must view their department and/or functional areas as “mini-organizations” within the organization – especially after experiencing the role the team played in strengthening the ecosystem.

Every department (“mini-organization”) leader must want for their team to set-forth the example for other departments to follow. For example, one of my clients has a department leader that everyone wants to work for. This leader’s goal is to maximize the performance potential of each team and the employees on the teams. By setting the right tone, this leader allows employees to discover their full potential – and their performance heavily influences their salary increases – not once, but twice a year. But people throughout the larger organization want to work for this leader – not because of the money – but because this leader has made the department much more entrepreneurial and a lot more fun. Job descriptions have been thrown out the door in support of a boundary-less environment which incentivizes both purpose and performance.

Creating competitive advantage is about course correction and being adaptive throughout the journey; finding what your team is best at doing and then keep improving upon it. This requires teams to think critically about what they must keep doing, start doing and stop doing – taking a more mindful and purposeful approach to reach their full potential. These are simple questions that we don’t ask ourselves often enough and that we must hold ourselves accountable to answer.

5. Encourage Critical and Strategic Thinking

We all recognize that we must create a strategy for change. Most teams don’t take enough time to define their strategy, since this is the basis for accountability. Unfortunately, many teams fall into the trap of wanting to be accountable more for what others want them to be, rather than what they seek to be themselves.

Sustaining the outcomes associated with steps 1 – 4 requires a team to think courageously and their leaders to encourage it at all times. Thinking courageously creates and sustains the momentum during change management efforts. It demands that each member of the team challenge each other to think more critically and see through a lens of continuous improvement by:

Seeing opportunity in everything

Anticipating the unexpected

Unleashing their passionate pursuit of excellence

Living with an entrepreneurial spirit

Working with a generous purpose

Leading to leave a legacy together

Success comes most to those teams that are surrounded by other teams that want their success to continue. Thinking courageously as a team and inspiring the other teams within your ecosystem to do the same will bring sustainable success and significance.

Now is a good time for leaders to strengthen and prepare their teams for the changes ahead in the New Year, whatever they may be. The strongest teams are those where different points of view – diversity of thought – converge and are given free expression. Where there is clarity of the issues, a real collaborative spirit, and the leadership to think courageous, you will find sound ecosystems designed to create competitive advantage and prepared for change during the best and worst of times.

Follow me on Twitter @GlennLlopis.

Strategy: 3 Ways Steve Jobs Made Meetings Insanely Productive, & Often Terrifying…Job’s Mentality Was the “Accountability Mindset” Meaning That Processes Were Put In Place so

American businesses lose an estimated $37 billion a year due to meeting mistakes.  Steve Jobs made sure that Apple wasn’t one of those companies.

steve jobs point Strategy: 3 Ways Steve Jobs Made Meetings Insanely Productive, & Often Terrifying...Jobs Mentality Was the Accountability Mindset  Meaning That Processes Were Put In Place so

Here are three ways the iconic CEO made meetings super productive.

1. He kept meetings as small as possible.

In his book “Insanely Simple,” longtime Jobs collaborator Ken Segall detailed what it was like to work with him.

In one story, Jobs was about to start a weekly meeting with Apple’s ad agency.

Then Jobs spotted someone new.

“He stopped cold,” Segall writes. “His eyes locked on to the one thing in the room that didn’t look right. Pointing to Lorrie, he said, ‘Who are you?'”

Calmly, she explained that she was asked to the meeting because she was a part of related marketing projects.

Jobs heard her, and then politely told her to get out.

“I don’t think we need you in this meeting, Lorrie. Thanks,” he said.

He was similarly ruthless with himself. When Barack Obama asked him to join a small gathering of tech moguls, Jobs declined — the President invited too many people for his taste.

 

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2. He made sure someone was responsible for each item on the agenda.

In a 2011 feature investigating Apple’s culture, Fortune reporter Adam Lashinsky detailed a few of the formal processes that Jobs used, which led Apple to become the world’s most valuable company.

At the core of Job’s mentality was the “accountability mindset” — meaning that processes were put in place so that everybody knew who was responsible for what.

As Lachinsky described:

Internal Applespeak even has a name for it, the “DRI,” or directly responsible individual. Often the DRI’s name will appear on an agenda for a meeting, so everybody knows who is responsible. “Any effective meeting at Apple will have an action list,” says a former employee. “Next to each action item will be the DRI.” A common phrase heard around Apple when someone is trying to learn the right contact on a project: “Who’s the DRI on that?”

The process works. Gloria Lin moved from the iPod team at Apple to leading the product team at Flipboard — and she brought DRIs with her.

They’re hugely helpful in a startup situation.

“In a fast-growing company with tons of activity, important things get left on the table not because people are irresponsible but just because they’re really busy,” she wrote on Quora. “When you feel like something is your baby, then you really, really care about how it’s doing.”

3. He wouldn’t let people hide behind PowerPoint.

Walter Isaacson, author of the “Steve Jobs” biography, said, “Jobs hated formal presentations, but he loved freewheeling face-to-face meetings.”

Every Wednesday afternoon, he had an agenda-less meeting with his marketing and advertising team.

Slideshows were banned because Jobs wanted his team to debate passionately and think critically, all without leaning on technology.

“I hate the way people use slide presentations instead of thinking,” Jobs told Isaacson. “People would confront a problem by creating a presentation. I wanted them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.”

 

Businessinsider.com | December 17, 2014  |  Drake Baer

 http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-meeting-techniques-2014-12#ixzz3MFmw6jto

Strategy: Boost Productivity From Dawn To Dusk By Forming These Habits…You Can Harness the Power of This Subconscious Tendency To Act on These Habits

Resolutions, intentions, visualizations, and plans are all great. But it’s habits that really change our lives. In fact, a recent article from Psychology Today notesthat habits are so powerful that, if we’re in the environment that supports our habit, we’ll carry out the action without even thinking.

3014167 poster p are you passionate or delusional Strategy: Boost Productivity From Dawn To Dusk By Forming These Habits...You Can Harness the Power of This Subconscious Tendency To Act on These Habits

You can harness the power of this subconscious tendency to act on habits by making a concerted effort to replace bad habits with healthy ones. So what should you get started with? Any of the following can make a difference in your productivity and overall well-being:

Morning Habits
How you start your morning sets the tone for how the rest of your day will go. As a result, morning habits are the most important to develop.

 

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Get natural light right away. Natural light helps wake up your body and mind by stimulating serotonin levels, which enhance your mood and focus.

Inhale energy boosting scents. Certain scents, such as basil, lemon, sage, rosemary, and peppermint, are credited with the ability to boost energy and focus. Essential oils shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin, but consider diffusers, candles, or mixing oils with simmering water on the stove.

Get some exercise. Movement will get your blood flowing and will increase the oxygen in your blood, giving you energy for hours. In addition, activity and exercise helps avoid a huge number of health issues – all of which can take a serious toll on your productivity.

Eat breakfast. You’ve heard it a million times before, but it’s true. Eating breakfast stimulates metabolism and makes you less likely to overeat later in the day. The right diet, combined with a regular exercise habit, can also help you lose weight. And trust me, when you look better and feel better about yourself, you’ll find it much easier to tackle your daily to-do list!

Meditate or engage in a spiritual practice. Whatever your beliefs, taking time to get grounded in the morning before your daily tasks is essential. Focus on the present moment, fully feel your body, and clear your awareness. With this calm center established, you’ll find it much easier to focus on your personal and business goals.
Daytime Habits

The habits you have while you’re working will determine the success or failure of your day. The five habits below will help your daytime go much more smoothly, leaving you ridiculously more productive.

Only check email at specific times. Every time you break away from your current task to check your email, you lose the time it takes you to get back to a focused, productive state. So imagine how much time you lose if you check your messages every 10 minutes! Instead, make it a habit to only check email at certain times – say, 8am, 1pm, and 4:30pm. Very few messages require more urgent follow up than this, and the results you experience will be well worth the trade off.

Practice time blocking. With time blocking (also known as pomodoro timing), you work 25 or 30 minutes, then take 5 or 10 minutes as a break, over and over through the day. Not only will you get more done, your mind will get a periodic break, helping you to avoid costly burnout!

Turn tasks into games. We all enjoy games, so why not turn your daily tasks into games? Apps like Epic Win can help make this gamification a reality, and when you get in the habit of seeing work this way, tackling your to-do list won’t be nearly as intimidating.

Get plants. Ok, this one is less of a habit and more of an action, but trust me, it makes a big difference in your productivity. Get some green, living things around you. You’ll have more oxygen and the natural surroundings will help you to relax and focus..

Look at cute pictures. Yes, this is a real productivity tip! A recent Hiroshima University study showed that participants performed better on focused tasks after viewing pictures of puppies and kittens. So take a break and look at some cute pictures! Your mood and focus will improve.
Evening Habits

How you end your day has a lot to do with how smoothly tomorrow will go. Here are some important evening habits to develop:

Say no if needed. Have you overcommitted yourself to evening activities that interfere with your ability to relax? Are you doing too much running around, even after your day is over? If so, consider reducing your commitments. Being able to rest and recharge in the evening will make you more productive overall.

Prepare for tomorrow. By laying out tomorrow’s clothes, preparing breakfast, lunch and snacks for the next day, and reviewing your schedule so that you know what’s coming in advance, you can dramatically improve your ability to get things done.

No screen time for one hour before bed. Studies show that computers and mobile devices interfere with the production of sleep hormones in the body. To avoid this, turn off those devices at least one hour before bed.

Fix up your sleeping environment. If your room is too hot, too cold, or not dark enough, you won’t be able to sleep well. Optimizing your bedroom environment gives you a good return on investment for your sleep time, so do some testing to find out what works best for you.

Keep regular sleeping hours. Only you know how much sleep you need or what your ideal schedule looks like, but for optimal productivity, try to sleep the same hours each day. That way, your body’s energy flow will be routine and predictable.

It might sound like an exaggeration, but the truth is that these 15 habits can change your life. Start with just one or two at a time until they’re routine, but as you get more and more healthy habits in place, your productivity will skyrocket!

What’s your most productive habit? 

 

Forbes.com | December 17, 2014  |  Sujan Patel

Leadership: How to Avoid The Three Deadliest Career Traps…There are Classic Career Traps That Cause Smart People to Self-Destruct

One minute a business executive has money, power and respect… and the next no one returns his or her calls. When this happens, the executive can be dumbfounded and perplexed. The “sudden” shift seems inexplicable. But to many others, what happened is obvious and perhaps even welcomed.

 Leadership: How to Avoid The Three Deadliest Career Traps...There are Classic Career Traps That Cause Smart People to Self Destruct

Thanks to the consistency of human nature, there are classic career traps that cause smart people to self-destruct. If you avoid these traps, you can protect your career and preserve your ability to be effective.

These principles don’t just apply to CEOs. Many people have power, and these traps surround positions of power. If you are hiring others, you have some degree of power over them. If you purchase goods from other businesses, you have a degree of influence over those vendors.

The more responsibilities you take on, the more these traps need to concern you.

1.The “ego-driven blind spot” trap

Like the rest of us, you are not perfect. One of the biggest challenges to acquiring power is that fewer and fewer people are willing to give you objective feedback.

If you suddenly are praised as a genius, your internal alarms should sound. You’re not smarter than ever, you’re just surrounded by people who dare not point out weak points in your reasoning. Everyone has flaws, and it is crucial that you both understand and monitor your own weaknesses.

Set up systems that enable you to detect potential dangers along the paths you are pursuing:

Encourage employees to submit anonymous feedback.
From time to time, hold meetings at which the sole purpose of all gathered is to play devil’s advocate with regards to your existing strategies.
Foster a culture in which it is a badge of pride to “beat the control,” which means putting forth a strategy that can be proven better than the existing one.
Engage objective and independent observers whose role is to second guess you. Even if 90% of the time they can’t convince you to change course, those occasions on which they prevent you from veering off the road will be invaluable.

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2. The “repeat past successes” trap

Successful people tend to repeat the strategies that made them successful. While this often makes sense for a time, the only constant in our world is change. It is difficult to name a company that has had the same level of success for ten years’ running. Likewise, over a five to ten year period, your access to information and the sophistication of your technology changes radically; you have to adapt as these fundamentals shift.

I’m not suggesting you follow every fad. Hype and overblown promises abound. But never stop testing your own skills and strategies, even in ways that may seem silly to you. For example, I’d encourage even top executives to invest a little time in learning to code. You are not going to become a programmer, but you won’t be able to understand the detail that underlies most businesses unless you understand the details involved in programming.

3. The “use power too personally” trap

It would be futile to count the number of leaders who fell from grace because they crossed a line and used power to have an affair or otherwise feed their own desire for pleasure. This may be the biggest trap of all.

If you want to not only maintain a successful career, but also help lead your company in the right direction, then use power for the benefit of others:
Empower your employees, so that they can delight your customers.
Enrich your investors, by viewing their faith in you as a solemn responsibility.
Enhance the communities in which your organization operates, by understanding that your success is only sustainable if theirs is, too.
Putting things in perspective

The harsh reality is that career traps are just as common as career opportunities. Remain confident but humble, and don’t step into an obvious trap. The smartest people I know get up every day aware that their toughest challenge is doing what they know to be right, instead of what is immediately gratifying.

An earlier version of this article appeared last year on LinkedIn, and one reader commented, “My brother and I could have used this a few years ago when we, separately, lost fantastic jobs because of these faults.”

Take these words to heart, and you’ll never have to write a similar comment.

Bruce Kasanoff is a ghostwriter and speaker.

 

Forbes.com | December 16, 2014 | Bruce Kasanoff

Leadership: 7 Ways Managers Make Their Teams Miserable…What Actually Makes the Difference Between a Stellar Manager & a So-So One?

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but in many offices the Ebeneezer Scrooge approach to management is alive and well. The worst managers lead to decreased performance, a slump in engagement and even increased employee turnover: far and away the most common reason individuals give for quitting their job is their line manager. The flip side of this is that the very best managers bring about a 25% uplift in performance.

Man on Float Leadership: 7 Ways Managers Make Their Teams Miserable...What Actually Makes the Difference Between a Stellar Manager & a So So One?

But what actually makes the difference between a stellar manager and a so-so one? It comes down to the relationships they build with their direct reports, through hundreds of everyday interactions. Here are the top seven management mistakes that make team members miserable.

Trying to be the buddy
As Chandler Bing discovered to his peril in the sitcom Friends, it’s nigh-on impossible to be both a buddy and a good boss. To succeed at the latter managers must let go of their natural need to be liked. Strong interpersonal relationships are important to managers only because they help to get the job done. The best managers take an interest in their direct reports’ lives, while maintaining the appropriate distance that allows them to gain respect.

 

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Micro-managing
A bugbear that’s as old as management itself; all managers have triggers that set them into micromanagement mode. The challenge is realizing that although it may seem easier to dictate every last detail (or even step in and do the job yourself), in the long-run this will only lead to demotivated team members whose skills are flat-lining. In fact, research shows that when people believe they are being closely monitored on a task their performance drops. Particularly odious to their team is the ‘seagull’ micro-manager: the boss who takes a big picture view and is uninterested in the detail, before swooping in at the last minute and changing everything.

Being emotionally unstable

When a bad boss is in a bad mood, everybody knows about it. The quality of their feedback and the outcomes of performance appraisals depend on the day he or she is having, so good luck to the team member whose one-to-one comes after a tough meeting with the board. What’s more, these managers allow themselves to get drawn into mind games, falling into the familiar parent-child relationship trap. At best, their team members avoid contact because they’re never quite sure where they stand. At worst, they get locked into conflict which erodes performance and undermines the whole team’s morale.

Asking endless questions
Over 80% of organizations use coaching, but only a small proportion of those get it right. One of the most frustrating experiences for a team member is a coaching session in which their manager asks endless questions of increasingly little relevance: “what would you say if you did know the answer?” Long-winded and with little payoff, there comes a point when a manager must step in and offer some answers based on their own invaluable experience.
Stifling innovation
Rejecting ideas outright without explanation; focusing on why things can’t be done; championing the status quo – there are myriad ways in which poor managers stifle innovation. The result? Stagnant team members who are bored yet afraid to experiment, and who long to be poached by more innovative competitors, where managers nourish creativity by saying “why not?” rather than “why?”
Withholding the facts
In turbulent times lousy managers either sugar-coat their messages or, worse, don’t communicate at all. People can spot spin a mile off and failing to address issues head on only gives the grapevine precedent. People who have trust in their organization are happier at work and more likely to stay there. That trust doesn’t come from senior leadership or an employee handbook; it stems from first-line managers. Bosses who give inconsistent messages, lack credibility and act as a ‘post-box’ from the top (“I’m just the messenger…”) rank alongside used car salesmen in the inauthenticity leagues.

Never taking their foot off the gas
Unless you work in a monastery, you’ll be familiar with the frenetic pace of business life. Managers are increasingly expected to deliver more with less so it’s no wonder “go-go-go” is the norm. But where lousy managers differ from their decent counterparts is that they fail to stop, breathe and celebrate successes before moving onto the next. As a result their team members feel overworked, underappreciated and a thousand times less motivated to get stuck in. According to a study of 12,000 employee diary entries, making meaningful progress has the biggest impact on a positive ‘inner work life’, so good managers take the time to reflect on how far they’ve come.

Of course while some people are predisposed to be more emotionally stable or sociable than others, exceptional bosses are by no means born that way. They’re simply lucky enough to work for organizations that prioritize investing in management, confident in the knowledge that doing so will see the greatest return.

Follow @DrSebBailey on twitter or on Forbes at the top of this post.

My new book, Mind Gym: Achieve More by Thinking Differently is now available in bookstores nationwide.

Forbes.com |  December 15, 2014 | Sebastian Bailey

Strategy: 5 Steps to Shorter & Better Meetings…Don’t Like it When Meetings Turn into Something Other Than…WORK!

While meetings are a necessary part of business life, there’s no reason to suffer through pointless and poorly run meetings within your organization.

getty 104821312 970647970450061 46113 Strategy: 5 Steps to Shorter & Better Meetings...Dont Like it When Meetings Turn into Something Other Than...WORK!

Here are some of my “meeting ground rules” for my team at Blinds.com:

1. Begin with a bang–Just as a good movie starts by getting you hooked from the first second, there should be some drama at the beginning of an important meeting. I’m not talking about Jerry Springer-style drama; rather, I love starting meetings with something that provides context and insight into the bigger picture. Why does this meeting matter? What impact do the decisions made here have on the project or business?

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It’s refreshing when your meetings not only have actionable objectives but also an emotional charge to really make the work that you do real. I personally do this through storytelling, while I know others utilize videos or music. This is quite the opposite of LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner’s “quiet time” meeting-start strategy–but it’s up to you to decide what works best within your own organization.

2. It’s a meeting, not a PowerPoint showdown–I’m a big fan of getting work done and don’t like it when meetings turn into something other than…WORK!

I insist on using meeting time to highlight important project points, solve issues, and engage in spirited debate. Meetings are no reason to waste numerous valuable work hours beforehand creating meeting-specific content. That’s where automated reporting (to pull the numbers you need for a data-focused discussion) and simply prepared presentations (if any) come into play.

If there’s a PowerPoint deck involved in the meeting, it must be sent out 24 hours in advance and reviewed by all attendees before the meeting. The meeting owner may review some highlights found in the deck onscreen, but should rely on structured conversation to keep the meeting moving forward, not presenting (and PLEASE don’t read!) a PowerPoint deck.

3. Keep the guest list exclusive--Be your own bouncer and don’t feel the social pressure to invite every team member and their favorite lunch buddy to your meeting. I like Andy Grove’s selective approach in High Output Management to building a meeting invite list. Pick a small group of attendees that serve very particular functions and let the rest of your folks stay productive elsewhere. I usually invite attendees to my meetings who 1) will help solve challenges with important information or unique perspectives, 2) have the ability to make decisions, or 3) are there to learn.

But know which of the three reasons applies to each person, and be sure they know the reason they’re there.

4. Set the right expectations–Of course the meeting basics (starting on time, taking notes, sticking to a pre-set agenda) are the core elements to a meeting’s success. But I find that it’s also important to culturally set expectations of what a good meeting should look like to ensure you get the most out of each session.

Every employee should understand what is expected of them at a meeting–an appropriate contribution may not be about talking at all, it could be learning the thought processes behind a project they’ll be working on soon or gathering information for a related initiative. There’s no need to start talking just because you want your boss to think you are engaged. Speak when there’s something to say.

5. Start with the end in mindAnd what about post-meeting actions and follow-ups? Starting your meetings with the end in mind is one of the best ways to keep the moments you spend in a meeting among the more productive of your day. Do this by making simple statements like, “By the end of this meeting, we will have decided ______,” or, “We will know more about ______, so that we can _______.” Specific is good.

Sometimes it can be just as important to define what will NOT be discussed or achieved in a particular meeting as what will, to keep your dialogue on track. I know I’ve personally weathered many meetings that quickly digressed into bizarre logistical discussions that would be best kept offline. If an important topic does come up, write it down to address later–probably outside the current meeting. Stick to the good, relevant content stuff instead to keep things moving and non-nap inducing.

What do you as a leader strive for as you schedule and participate in your own meetings?

 

Inc.com |  December 16, 2014  |  Jay Steinfeld, CEO, Blinds.com 

 

Leadership: How To Stay Immune To Your Boss’ Bad Moods…There Are Bosses Whose Bad Moods Come Out of Nowhere

Bosses can be volatile. One minute, they’re bragging about their team’s accomplishments to the executive team; the next, they’re fuming that a project hasn’t been completed. To some extent, that’s expectedmanagers do have pressure-filled jobs, after all.

The Office Leadership: How To Stay Immune To Your Boss Bad Moods...There Are Bosses Whose Bad Moods Come Out of Nowhere

Have you ever seen the movie Office Space? Don’t be that guy.

But there are also bosses whose bad moods come out of nowherewhen on any day, in any instant, and with no warning, his or her mood can turn from pleasant to unbearably foul. And of course, your manager takes it out on everyone around him or her. Including you.

No matter your boss’ mood, your work has to continue—ideally without ruining your entire workday. So how can you remain unaffected by your manager’s bad moods?

I’ve been there, and I’ll tell you it’s not easy—but it can be done. Here’s how.

Don’t Feed Off of It

When your boss is making his or her rounds of the floor, announcing how nothing’s going right, deadlines are being missed, goals won’t be met, and no one’s on track to deliver an important project on time, it’s likely that the rest of the team will take that cue to start thinking the same way. We’ve all seen it: When the boss is happy, the team’s happy—and when the boss is down, the team is down.

But it’s vital to remind yourself that just because your boss is in a bad mood, you don’t have to follow suit.
How do you resist? Start by keeping things in perspective. Is your boss in a terrible mood because a project is off track? If you’re not involved in that particular assignment, you don’t need to let yourself be affected. If you are part of that project, make sure your manager knows you’re on top of your portion.

Often, your projects and priorities aren’t the same as those of your manager—so don’t assume that what’s causing the bad mood for your boss should influence your day, too.

RELATED: 10 Brilliant Tips for Dealing With a Difficult Boss

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Do Look for Triggers

Pay close attention to your boss’ thunderous moods, and see if you can detect a pattern. For example, is your boss more likely to get extra agitated the morning before his weekly executive report is due? Or after lunch on Thursday, when she’s cramming to get her work done before she has to leave right at 5 PM for her kid’s ballet class? Or maybe it’s a daily routine that starts first thing in the morning and lasts until he hits his third cup of coffee.

Whatever it is, if you can pinpoint the times and triggers that makes your boss more likely to take out his or her emotions on the team, you can either address them if possible (think: “Hey John, I thought I’d turn in my portion of the weekly report early so you can get a head start on it”), or if out of your control, keep your distance until it passes.

Which brings us to:

Do Avoid When Possible

Especially when you know your boss’ triggers—but even if you don’t—it’s fully OK to avoid your boss when necessary (and possible).

And, sure, it’s certainly not always possible. You may have an unavoidable meeting scheduled or an urgent question that needs to be answered face-to-face.

But if you don’t, know that it’s OK to email a question instead of braving your manager’s office, hold a minor update until the mood has passed, or put your headphones in to block out some of the negativity.

It may not be a foolproof solution (bosses do seem to pull Office Space-style cubicle drive-bys quite often), but it’s a small step you can take to avoid the fallout.

Don’t Assume it Has Anything to Do With You

When you find yourself in your boss’ line of fire, it’s easy to assume that something you did must be fueling that terrible temper.

Just remember: Bosses have shortcomings, too. Your boss may not have the best time management skills. He may put big projects off until the last possible second, making it nearly impossible for him to produce the needed assignment on time. Or maybe she has personal problems going on in her home life, and she’s letting them impact her performance (and mood) at the office.

Whatever the situation, unless you’ve knowingly done something that could be the source of your boss’ foul mood, it’s OK to assume that it hasn’t stemmed from anything you’ve done. It’s tough, but try not to take it personally.
RELATED: 4 Surefire Ways to Lose Your Boss’ Trust

Do (if You’re Desperate) Address it Calmly

If your boss’ moods are impacting you significantly and you’re ready to confront your boss about a specific situation, do it with a calm and neutral attitude.

For example, if your boss is fuming about a big project that isn’t going as planned, ask, “I can see you’re frustrated. Is there anything I can do to help?” Or if he rolls his eyes and gives a sarcastic chuckle at a suggestion you present, say, “That suggestion seemed to annoy you. What do you think would be the best way to approach it?”

Your boss may not realize that’s how he’s coming across—but by pointing it out in a gentle, composed way (without an emotional charge), you may make him realize he’s not communicating effectively.

RELATED: What to Do When Your Boss Lies

You can’t control your boss’ moods—but you can control the way you react to them. My advice? Steel yourself, keep things in perspective, and carry on.

This article was originally published on The Daily Muse.

Avery Augustine is a full-time manager at a tech company, and is constantly finding (and writing about!) new ways to encourage and lead her team.

 

Forbes.com | December 15, 2014 |  The Muse

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2014/12/15/how-to-stay-immune-to-your-boss-bad-moods/

Strategy: 8 Things Super-Productive People Do Every Morning…Good Productivity is a Sign of Smart Thinking

The people who achieve the most during the day typically have the smartest approach to their tasks, they have the right attitude, and they employ the best tricks.

productivity 5 Strategy: 8 Things Super Productive People Do Every Morning...Good Productivity is a Sign of Smart Thinking

Get organized and make the most of your morning.

Here are a few ideas on how to jump start your day and get more work done by lunch.

1. Finish one task right away.

Super-productive people complete one task right away in the morning to set the tone and demeanor for the day. It’s a level set on attitude that says this is how your day will play out. It’s a springboard, and orients your thinking. Even if it’s a small task, bang it out.

2. Reward yourself for completing a task by lunch.

I’m a big fan of personal rewards. Tell yourself you will head down to Caribou and get that triple espresso as a reward for working hard. Having that motivation dangling in front of you is a good way to knock out extra tasks. Just be sure to take the time to actually get the reward.

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3. Kill the bad attitude early.

The most productive people in the office have an attitude of productivity. If you go into your day thinking you’ll be overloaded, stressed out, and bogged down, you will be. Change your attitude about work and start with the mindset that you will accomplish everything on your plate.

4. Eat a healthy breakfast.

You might think breakfast is optional. After all, isn’t it better to just dive right into work? Super-productive people eat breakfast. I always eat an egg and some fruit to get a protein and natural sugar boost. Being hungry at your desk can be a distraction. Avoid donuts and unhealthy snacks, though — they can kill productivity.

woman making phone call 1 Strategy: 8 Things Super Productive People Do Every Morning...Good Productivity is a Sign of Smart ThinkingFlickr / Drew LeavyThe most productive people schedule all their phone calls for a set time.

5. Schedule every phone call in advance.

To some, a productive day means one spent making phone calls. And that’s OK, but it needs to be predetermined. Schedule your calls, even if it means locking in a schedule in 30-minute increments. When you have a plan, you can achieve the plan. Don’t rely on randomness.

6. Then, turn off your phone.

That shiny little smartphone is a major distraction for really productive people. Use it only when you actually need to make a call or use an app. Otherwise, power that sucker down, or at least disable the ringer and vibration. For serious work sessions, leave it in the car.

7. Never read a news site more than once.

I’m shooting my own foot with this one, since I write about the news quite often. The problem with investing a ton of time reading the news all morning is that you create a habit of distraction. It’s OK to read the news once in the morning, then focus on work only.

8. Avoid the downers.

Those who are super-productive tend to avoid the procrastinators in the office, the curmudgeons who don’t finish anything, the complainers who act like the world is out to make them feel miserable. Nod at them in the hallway; avoid them everywhere else.

Inc.com | December 15, 2014 | John Brandon 

 http://www.inc.com/john-brandon/8-smart-things-super-productive-people-do-each-morning.html#ixzz3LytuVkww