4 Ways to Leverage Social Media to Enhance Your Career

This is a guest post by LGL Community member Scott Huntington.

Although many companies caution workers about using social media, utilizing sites like Twitter and LinkedIn can go a long way in positioning you within your own company and as a leader in your industry.  Obviously you need to be smart about how you use social media. Never lambast your company or post anything inappropriate.

1. Share Expertise

A good example of using LinkedIn to develop online leadership is the profile of Keith Springer, president and founder of Springer Financial Advisors. Springer publishes tips on stocks, what is currently going on in the market and his personal reasons for the ways he invests. This not only keeps his co-workers up to date, but also offers advice for others in his niche.

 2. Establish Authority

Another important aspect of utilizing the online world to establish authority is lending credibility to your posts or blog writing. While you may have multiple degrees in your field and years of experience, it’s still important to cite reliable studies from trusted sources, such as universities and well-known research firms. Make sure you add a bit more information to any topic you cover so that people understand you aren’t just regurgitating information, but you truly understand the topic.

If you are really ambitious, write a short book on the subject you know best. You’ll earn quite a lot of respect from your employees and your peers.

3. Get Off the Computer and Into the Real World

Although you can make connections online, you should also be attending events in your industry. As you meet people at conferences, speeches you give or even social gatherings, share what you do and ask them to connect with you online. These in-person connections are much more likely to read, share and promote your content than those who’ve never actually met you.

4. Utilize the Right Platforms

While online leadership is about utilizing online social media platforms, which platforms you choose can be just as important as how many followers you have. If your business focuses on technology, you can connect with like-minded people on Google+ and LinkedIn, but Pinterest probably isn’t going to bring you a lot of traffic. Study who is using each type of platform, analyze which social sites your competitors are on and start adding your voice to the mix to gain the online leadership skills necessary in today’s global marketplace.

If you liked this, you may also enjoy Scott’s previous LGL post. How to Be a Manager When Your Employees Are Older Than You.

How Leadership Development is Hurting Your Career

“What’s the best way for John to improve?” I asked, one of those coachy-interviewing questions people like me say to bosses and peers of folks we’re working to support.

“Honestly, I wish he would just stop trying so hard to improve, and just lead. We’ve all given him plenty of advice. He’s taken a gazillion courses. He’s hired a great coach. But around every corner he’s asking for constant feedback. It’s exhausting. Besides, he can’t possibly do everything we’re suggesting all at once, so he’s creating expectations he can’t live up to.”

My advice: listen, breathe, and do. Stop looking outside for feedback.

Even the best intentions taken to extreme cause harm.

Don’t over-think your leadership. People are watching. You need feedback, and most people ask too little. And as it turns out, some people ask too much.

Signs You’re Asking Too Little

  • You have no idea where you really stand.
  • You’re blind-sided in performance reviews.
  • You keep getting passed over for promotions and don’t know why.
  • You don’t really know what your peers think about you.
  • You have no idea where you stand with your bosses’ boss.
  • Your team never shares constructive feedback.

It might be time for a do-it-yourself 360.

Signs You’re Asking Too Much

  • You keep hearing the same advice over and over.
  • You haven’t had time to really improve.
  • You’re ignoring the advice and asking again, hoping the advice will change.
  • You’re addicted to the conversation.
  • You talk more about you than about your team.
  • You’re more focused on your own improvement than on improving business results.

It’s a tragedy when leaders stop learning. Equally devastating is when leaders become more focused on their own improvement than on leading well.

Informational Interviews: Not Just For Rookies

A common misconception is that informational interviews are only for folks starting out in their career. Sure informational interviews are a great idea for the new college grad, but they can be game-changing later in your career as well. Two of the best executive roles I’ve had came from such informational interviews, and eventually the real interviews once a job was available.

I used this technique to move to a completely new side of the business, from Verizon to Verizon Wireless and establish an entirely new network (pun intended).

Of course I didn’t call them that. If you’re more established in your career, I’d avoid the term informational interview, but a rose by any other name…

In my case I just reached out via email with a short summary and my resume attached. I shared a bit of my background (with enough of an elevator speech to get them to open attached resume.). I indicated I would be in “the neighborhood (e.g. the same state)” and asked if I could swing by to introduce myself. It was important to say that I was perfectly happy in my current role (which was close enough to the truth to still go to church on Sunday), but just looking for career guidance and future possibilities.

Each of these introductions inevitably led me to ask the question: who else should I talk with?  That question led to more such informational interviews, a ride along, and an invitation to attend a local charity even dinner with the VP (which felt like a 4 hour interview). It takes time, so you can’t be in a rush. One job surfaced 9 months later, another took two years to bake, but involved a promotion. Both were worth the effort.

Tips For Conducting a Great Informational Interview

  1. Remember this is your dime, be prepared to lead the conversation
  2. Have intelligent questions prepared
  3. Listen more than you talk
  4. Be actively interested and take notes
  5. Have a strong elevator speech ready
  6. Don’t over-sell or ask for a job
  7. Share enough of yourself to leave them intrigued and remembering you

A Few Good Questions

  • What’s the best part of working in this areaof the business?
  • Who is the best at this role? What makes them exceptional? (those names are great people to follow-up with)
  • Who else would you recommend I talk with to gain additional perspective?
  • When you look at my current background, what’s missing to best prepare me for a job here? What additional experience would be helpful?
  • If a job were open in your department, what reservations would you have about considering me
  • Is there someone I could shadow to get to know more about this role?

What Experts are Saying About Career Advice: May Frontline Festival

For May’s Frontline Festival, I asked experts around the world to share their best career advice. It’s amazing how consistent the ideas are across cultures and contexts. Thanks to all the contributors. This great graphic below is from Joy and Tom Gurthrie, Vizwerx Group. Follow Joy @VizwerxGroup

careers rarely just about the job copy

Holding Career Conversations

Jennifer V. Miller of The People Equation brings us Career Conversations: Leaders, Are You Getting It Right. Jennifer encourages leaders to give some thought to career conversations they have with their team. Too little thought and planning can lead to not only an unproductive meeting, but potential loss of a star performer. Follow Jennifer @JenniferVMiller.

James Ryan of Soft Skills For Hard Jobs brings us The Simplest Way To Advance Your Career – Talk Conversations about career advancement between employers and the employees don’t happen as often as they should. It’s not that difficult, just talk. Follow Ryan @jryan48.

Critical Career Skills

early career successDan McCarthy of Great Leadership brings us a timeless list of great advice in his post 15 Timeless Work Habits For Career Success. Let’s say one of your kids just graduated college and they are about to start their first real job. If they ask you how to be successful at work – what would you tell them? Or, you’re asked to be a mentor to a high potential up and comer. They ask you for your best advice on how to get ahead. Follow Dan @greatleadership.

Steve Broe of My Career Impact brings us Five Ways To Get Your Boss To Call You A Leader. Act like a leader in these five ways and your boss will come to value your largest potential contribution to the enterprise. Follow Steve @DrSteveBroe.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ at Smart SenseAbilities offers Career Success: Are You Rocking With These 13 People Skills. People skills make your occupational expertise understandable and valuable to others. Think yours are good enough to lead, collaborate, and bring you career success? Try these 13 tips from The People Skills Coach™ to take you even further. Follow Kate @KateNasser.

Frank Sonnenberg of Frank Sonnenberg Online, offers What Do Tough Times Say About You?. It’s one thing to have a bad day, yet another to fall on tough times. These are the times that show what you’re made of. What do tough times say about you? Follow Frank @FSonnenberg

Willy Steiner of the Coach’s Corner shares Managing Change For Your Number One Client – You. Take an in depth look at how change impacts us, and how to use these perspectives to assist us in working through the inevitable changes that will impact our jobs and lives. Follow Willy @coachforexecs.

Ali Anani, one of the most frequent commenters in our LGL community, shares his Slideshare model, Phenomena: Race Strategy. This is a four blocks-based strategy, the acronym of which is RACE. Great concepts to build improve the performance of your team or your career. Follow Ali @Alinanani15.

Jeff Essenhaus of The Faithful Pacesetters offers Finding The Diamonds. This blog post looks back to Samuel (Prophet and Judge) to learn how current day leaders can find and develop future leaders. Samuel’s key warning as he appointed King’s was to find leaders that are able to hold themselves accountable to the people. Follow Jeff @JeffJayMiller.

Bill Benoist of Leadership Heart Coaching brings us Interviewing Tip: Like My Music. Great practical advice on how to nail your next interview. Follow Bill @leadershipheart.

Career Advancement

David Dye of Trailblaze offers 7 Warning Signs You Should Not Lead. Are you up for a promotion? David shares seven reasons you should consider NOT taking the job…or else do some serious reflection before you do. And if you’re already there, see if any of these warning signs apply to you – #5 gets all of us. Follow David @davidmdye.

Lisa Kohn of the Thoughtful Leaders Blog writes on a similar theme in her post Should You Be A Manager. She shares necessary traits and talents that great managers possess. The good news – these talents and traits can be developed if companies invest in their would-be managers with coaching and developmental plans. Follow Lisa @ThoughtfulLdrs.

Mark Miller of Great Leaders Serve shares Is Your Leadership Career Stalled. This blog takes a look at why careers stall and a few questions you can ask yourself to get your career back in gear and moving forward again. Follow Mark @LeadersServe.

Working on Yourself

warmatnight.jpgJulie Winkle Giulioni of juliewinklegiulioni.com offers Growth: It’s No Longer Optional. In today’s hyper-competitive environment, growth is no longer optional; it’s non-negotiable.Follow Julie @juliewg.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership shares The Examined Life. Socrates said that “the un-examined life is not worth living.” Here are some resources to help with your examination. Follow Wally @wallybock.

Chantal Bechervaise of Take It Personel-ly shares Seek Criticism In Order To Improve Yourself. If you are not seeking criticism then you are not stretching yourself and are not looking for ways to improve. Criticism can help you develop skills that are lacking or improve upon your strong points. Follow Chantal @CBechervaise.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire-CS   shares Feeling The Pain & Doing It Anyway. It takes courage to work on you. But the best leaders will feel the pain and move forward to become great leaders. Follow Mary Jo @mjasmus.

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding offers Growth Doesn’t Just Happen and 5 Tips For Changing That On A Budget. Yes it is possible to be heavily invested in growing yourself and those you serve – even if the training budget has dried up and blown away. Botom Line: Growing or not is a choice. Follow Chery @GianaConsulting.

Julie Pierce of Empowered By Pierce asks us How Will You Invest in Your Leadership This Year? Follow Julie @julie_pierce.

New to the festival, Steve Borek of End Game Business, shares How Did You Get Into Coaching. Steve shares his personal journey and advice for people who feel like they’ve hit a dead-end and are ready for a new challenge. Follow Steve @SteveBorek.

Michelle Pallas of Blog & Fireside Chat reminds us to Seek Advice, Listen & Reflect – But Do What’s Right For You. Allow time and energy to explore. Play helps us craft a vision and realize dreams. Visualize your future, otherwise you may get caught up in someone else’s vision. That may be ok, but choose deliberately. Follow Michelle @MichellePallas.

Matt McWilliams of MattMcWilliams.com brings us the challenging post I Can’t Afford To Lose This Job. Have you ever worked in an environment so toxic, you just knew you had to get out, but couldn’t because you have no network? This post shows You what to do. Follow Matt @MattMcWilliams2.

 June’s Frontline Festival is all about change and transformation. If you want to be a part, submit your post by clicking here.

5 Reasons Your Great Boss Is Hurting Your Career

Like other good things in life, a great boss relationship, taken to extremes, can wreak havoc with your career. I’ve seen otherwise smart and talented people lose credibility by over-aligning with a great boss. Be sure to diversify your relationship investments. Perhaps you’ll recognize these career-derailing characters. Avoid these common traps.

Great Boss Traps

The Coat Tail Rider

On the surface it feels like the perfect symbiotic relationship. You’re her right hand guy. You work hard and always achieve results. She gets promoted to a new department, and she brings you over. It’s comforting for her to have a someone familiar she can rely on, and you get a promotion, or a new assignment. Win-win, right? Then it happens again, and again. Sweet deal?

Although it’s comfortable and feels like the fast track, beware of riding coat tails, particularly into more than one assignment. Your identity will become enveloped within your more powerful, great boss. People will begin to see you as a package deal. If her career derails, so will yours.

Also, the best leadership growth comes from working with a variety of leaders. Although the devil you know feels easy, you’re both limiting the growth you would get from working with a wider variety of leaders. Better to let your relationship morph into a mentoring relationship, or friendship, while you each continue to pursue the next steps of your career.

The Mini Me

Your great boss is successful, so you work to emulate his every move. You begin dressing more like him and picking up mannerisms. After all, it works for him, why not you? In fact, you may not even notice you’re doing it. Trust me, others do.

No matter how great a leader your great boss is, resist the urge to lead like him. Your best leadership will come when you lead from a place of deep authenticity.   No one wants to follow a copy-cat.

The Tag Along

Your great boss is looking to develop you, and has your best interest at heart, so he brings you along a lot: to the big meetings, to the charity fundraiser… to happy hour. When there’s a company function, there you are right by his side. You always find your way to his table at dinner.

After all, powerful people hang out with other powerful people, right? Be careful. Some such exposure is healthy but over-exposure will burn. Give your peers a chance for the face time. Be deliberate in getting to know other people at those functions. It’s harder, sure, but the widened network will be invaluable.

The Name Dropper

When you’re trying to get stuff done, it’s tempting to just throw around your bosses name. “Karin said this MUST be done by tomorrow at 5.” Weak leaders hide behind the power of other leaders. Even if your boss is the one asking for something to be done, resist the urge to use that muscle. In the long run you’ll have much more credibility when you own your asks.

The Good Soldier

Your great boss says jump, you say how high… every time. You trust him. Now of course, there’s a time and a place for good soldiering, but real leaders know when to question and put on the brakes. Sure your boss may reward you for your consistent execution of her directives, but she’ll be amazed when you challenge her with innovation and suggest creative, and better alternatives.

Work to build a fantastic relationship with your great boss, but beware of such co-dependencies. What feels easy and comfortable, could damage your career in the long run.

Effective Networking: 6 Secrets Your Kids Know

We’d spent the last 5 days reconnecting as a family, completely dark from any semblance of social networking. Alright, I’ll be honest… all networking…each night my husband and I requested a table for 4 on this 5 night cruise to Mexico. It’s cool to meet other travelers… but not this time, we needed family and rest.

The final evening’s entertainment was a magic show.

My son, Sebastian, was lucky enough to be selected as the “assistant.” I wasn’t shocked by his hammy performance (he comes by that naturally). What happened next intrigued me.

As we exited the auditorium, people approached my son and began waving and congratulating him from across the room. He had stories about everyone. “Oh those are the women who taught me Mexican dominos at the pool, they live in Bri-ain,” trying to work his Liverpudlian accent, “but are really from Daaaalllas,” adding a draw. “You remember Abe, he calls himself the sausage king, he’s half deaf but likes to play the drums.”

The pattern continued as we hopped on the elevator…. “She’s the mommy of the girl I played ping-pong with on Tuesday.” And then on the way to dinner… and then again in the customs line the next day… This kid had connections.

The truth is most kids make friends more easily than grown-ups. We start being open to new connections and grow ourselves out of it.

What Kids Can Teach Us About Networking

Kids can teach us a lot about networking. Try working a few of these approaches into your networking.

  1. No agenda – Kids connect with no agenda. They don’t think, “gee, if I meet this girl, maybe she’ll introduce me to her brother with the Pokemon shirt…he may have a card in his collection I need…” Nope, they just join in and see what happens. They build relationships for the sake of relationships.
  2. Are open to new relationships – If someone introduces themselves, they don’t question motive.  Kids don’t wonder, “what’s this guy really want?”  They get past the small talk sooner. “Yeah, my math teacher’s really mean too… but maybe it’s me, I hate math.”
  3. They play – You’re going to meet a lot more people playing in the pool than on the deck. Kids get in the pool. Play leads to natural interaction and builds relationships.
  4. They share toys – Kids are taught to share their toys, and doing so leads to friendships. Grown-ups lose this instinct. I’m always amazed in my fitness class how grown-ups fight over weights (that don’t even belong to them). You can only use one set at a time, but everyone likes to have choices in front of them, just in case. Asking the person one mat over to “borrow” their weights typically leads to a dirty look. No one proactively offers. Most grown-ups don’t follow the same rules they teach their kids.
  5. They follow-up – When they meet someone they like, they attach more quickly. “That was fun, are you going to the kid’s club after dinner? Wanna meet at the pool again tomorrow?” They don’t call it networking. They have no system, they just ask.
  6. They bounce back. – No one likes to feel rejected. But most kids seem to accept casual slights for what they are. They don’t over-analyze. “What happened to John?” “Oh, he didn’t want to play any more.” They move on.

Do They Hear What You Hear?

He wants to be promoted, but something’s missing. You feel it, your boss feels it, but it’s hard to put your finger on it. He’s completed all the action plans, and has done everything you’ve asked. Look more deeply, does he hear what you hear?

“Happy is the hearing man; unhappy the speaking man.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The leap to the next level requires a keen sense of hearing. It’s an acquired skill, hard to explain in your development program. HR knows it too, but it’s unlikely they’d let you include it in the job description.

What They Must Hear

The Look in Their Eyes – Strong leaders commit to the moment. They can’t be searching for words or remembering the talk track. And they REALLY can’t get stuck on the script. Teach your growing leaders to watch the room and the look in their eyes. If the crew’s not tracking, it’s time to regroup. Teach them to search deeper. Help them change their approach ( not their values). Look for alternative doors to open similar possibilities.

Political Undertones – Great hearing starts long before the talking begins. Assign hearing homework. Help them assess the landscape and positions, BEFORE they plan their presentation.

Bigger Context – It’s hard to speak like an executive when you don’t have a clue. Give them enough insights to present an integrated view.

Meaning in Data – Teach interpretation not regurgitation. Leaders must pull meaning and implications for results. If there’s a gap, or a trend be sure they can explain it. Not tap dancing… thoughtful analysis and understanding. Help them show up as the expert.

The Unsaid – Every now and then your growing leader will step into an unexpected landmine. If the entire room reacts like they’re in a Harry Potter movie, where someone just named “the one who can’t be named.” Teach them to stop, take it off-line, and understand more before continuing.

How To Be A Better Team Leader: A Case Study

I used to be one of those disengaged reps, you’re talking about.” We were all a bit shocked by Mike’s response. After all this was a recognition focus group for the top reps in this enormous call center. Several of whom were on the short-list to become team leaders.

I smiled gently, my eyes pleading for this brave, young rep to continue. My team leader was just terrible. The rest of the high potential reps turned to him in a chorus of disgust:

  • “It shouldn’t matter what your team leader does.”
  • “You are in charge of your career.”
  • “You need to do great work and people will notice.”
  • “You should care about the customers no matter what.”
  • It’s about building a bigger network.”

Mike continued:

“It’s more complicated than that. When I first got here I was so optimistic. I worked my butt off, but my team leader didn’t notice. He never said “thank you”. I got ZERO feedback on what I was doing right or wrong. We never talked about my career. So I gradually did less and less and got the same response. So I figured, why bother?

Then they re-shuffled the shifts and I got moved to a different team leader. Everything changed. This guy cared about me. He gave me great feedback. He shared all the career options available and we made a plan to get me ready to lead a team. He helped me believe I could do it. And now I’m here being recognized.”

Silence. The others still weren’t convinced. And for some reason, a little mad. I asked softly, “How many of you want to be team leaders?” All but one raised their hand.

You End the Story

Instead of sharing what I said next, let’s play with this:

  • What would you say next?
  • What questions would you ask?
  • What teachable point of view would you go for?

Expert Career Advice From HR Leaders: Carnival Of HR

Every few weeks, HR professionals around the world gather to share their ideas and insights in the HR carnival. It’s LGLs turn to host, so I asked for advice on “Growing Your Career.” After all, if you had a dozen HR folks in a virtual room, what would you ask ? And so I offer you, expert advice on growing your career. Please add yours through the comments.

Becoming a Better Leader

I loved this post by Dan McCarthy about “going under” your managers heads. A fantastic warning for managers of managers about how easy it is to undermine authority, even when your intentions are good. The Perils of Going Under your Manager’s Head

John Hunter provides great advice on Building Your Circle Of Influence. There is a temporal component to your circle of influence. Building that influence is possible by proving the value you can provide. By helping others achieve success you increase the chances they will pay attention to your suggestions in the future. For more posts relating to a career in management improvement see http://management.curiouscatblog.net/category/career/

Alli Polin shares important lessons from her personal experience in Leadership Challenge: Responsibility Without Authority What do you do when you’re given responsibility for a task but never really handed the full reigns to get it done?

Jon Mertz shares Trust Is About Giving and Receiving. In our careers, trust plays a key role. It needs to be evident in how we build and work with teams. It needs to be evident in how we act when given certain responsibilities. Trust provides a solid foundation in which we can flourish in our career paths. Don’t miss his creative video.

Prasad Oommen Kurian shares an edgy post on leadership development. It’s not just about leadership programs. Be sure your leadership development path has depth and breadth. Simplicity @ the Other Side of Complexity

Taking Charge of Your Career

Julie Winkle Giulioni shares great pragmatic advice in,  Career Development Today: Is Your Head Screwed on Straight. Formal, organizationally-orchestrated and condoned career development programs and paths are simply incapable of accommodating the number of people who want to grow on the job. But that’s no reason to sit idly by and stagnate. Change your mindset. Get your head screwed on straight. And start growing today.

Your strengths can hurt you by Robyn McLeod offers important tips on how to prevent your strengths from becoming derailers to your career. In order to grow in your career, you need an honest and consistent loop of feedback on your performance and presence at work. That feedback and your own self-awareness tells you what your strengths are and where your weaknesses show up. There are times when your strength can turn into a weakness

Matt McWilliams gives great advice for when you find yourself in a toxic environment in, “I Can’t Afford to Lose this Job.” He shares how to warm-up your network, fast.

Ben Eubanks shares How Stale Are You? Be sure you don’t go “stale” over time. Here’s how to continuously grow your skills and abilities, even if you don’t change venues. Good stuff.

Mike Henry Sr, founder of The Lead Change Group shares, Kristy Smith’s Post, Is Sharpening Your Skill Set Along the Way the Fine Print to Career Success? Leadership is never handled. There are so many great resources… to grow your career… ENGAGE. Excellent.

Andrea Hrab reminds us of 5 reasons to begin a mentoring relationship in Five Ways Mentors and Mentees Can Grow Their HR Careers Important read.

Leena Thampan provides solid resume advice in her post, 6 Creative Resume Ideas to Find You a Job. Resumes still matter, and Leena’s post can help.

Ian Welsh raises an interesting question in his post How Important is Career Integration for Happy Families?, “Is it better that career is distinct and separate, and that family living and hobbies provide the light relief – the real living?

Practical Career Skills

Need to hone your negotiation Skills? Look no further than Jennifer Miller of the People Equation. Jennifer gleans great career advice from an interesting source: reality TV’s Pawn Stars. See her tips for Six Ways to Be a Better Negotiator.

Whether you’re a recent college graduate or searching for your dream job, Frank Sonnenberg offers practical advice in, Simplify Your Job Search.  My favorite line, “dreams, unlike eggs, don’t hatch from sitting on them.”

Amit Bhagria reminds us to say sincere “thank yous” along the way, One Powerful Word Which Will Help You Grow in Your Career “I would like to kick it off by thanking “Evil HR lady“, Suzanne Lucas, the woman behind one of the most successful blogs on Human Resource Management, who is an inspiration for my blog on HR. I started following her blog in 2009 and since then have been a fan of her writings and her take on the HR world. I am also thankful to Shauna Moerke (better known as HR Minion) who runs the famous HR carnival and every month she sends reminders to us for submitting our best work for the upcoming HR carnival.

Melissa Fairman shares the importance of chosing the right solutions in, But Can You Do It Right? So true, sometimes we look for “new” or “different” when we should be focused on what’s best. Nice read.

Mick Collins shares, Going Social with Workforce Analytics. He encourages frontline leaders to make better use of workforce analytics in their hiring and staffing decisions. As a leader looking to grow your career, it’s important to understand a bit about these tools and how they’re being used. Interesting perspective.

6 Steps To Loving The Job You Hate

Many readers write to me and disclose, “I hate my job.”

You’ve gone from skipping to work, to dragging your butt. Little annoyances mushroom in the dung of frustration. Reasons vary: a witchy boss, unrealistic expectations, downsizing pressures, stagnating gifts, unrecognized contributions.

You’ve considered quitting, but that’s a bold move and another post.

I’ve made a career out of re-engineering my own jobs. There’s joy-packed potential all around you. Energizing possibilities abound. Grab the happiness that lurks in your day job.

Reinvent before quitting.

6 Steps to Loving the Job You Hate

  1. Name your frustration – Write down what’s really ticking you off. The big and the small stuff. Use as much paper as needed, and get it all out. Then step away.
  2. Pick the biggies – Find a big red pen and cross off the annoyances. Every job has crap like that.  Shake those off.  Determine the one or two game-changers. Focus your energy on addressing those concerns. You know what must be done. Listen to your heart. If you weren’t scared, where would you start? Talk to a mentor or coach, and make a plan. You are powerful. Use your power to change your scenery.
  3. Collect joy – Remember what you love. Negative feelings overshadow joy. Notice what makes you truly happy at work. Certain tasks? Interactions? Challenges? Write those down too.
  4. Forget humility – Write down your best talents. Not just the “work appropriate” ones. One of my leaders has an amazing rock band. I love to sing. You’d be surprised how many opportunities you can find to sing “at work.” Sure, in the long-run, confident humility is vital. But you’ve got to acknowledge you gifts to have the courage to use them.
  5. Create the job you want – Bring your passion to your job. My deep desire is growing leaders. My job description says I’ve been in sales, marketing, customer service, outsourcing… Not one of these job descriptions says “design and deliver unique leadership development programs for your team.” Or, “mentor anyone that asks for help.” Or, “spend your weekends writing an International blog to let your team in your head.” By investing deeply in those aspects of the job, I get through yawner finance meetings just fine.
  6. Look for special projects – Before our leadership summit, a frontline leader asked if he could take a few pics and video throughout the 2 day meeting. Yesterday, my entire organization received a fully professional video that lit us all up. It was an amazing investment of personal time and energy. He took it upon himself to leverage his gifts to bring more joy beyond his role. Skipping to work, turns heads.

How have you found more joy in your work? How could you?

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Why Your Elevator Pitch Isn’t Working

You know you need an elevator pitch. Perhaps you’ve even practiced and gotten “why choose me” down to a perfect pitch. But somehow you never seem to get the chance to use it. Sadly, the biggest mistake I see aspiring networkers make is that they don’t recognize an “elevator” when they’re in one.

Invisible Elevators

I had my entire leadership team in for a Summit– 2 1/2 days of strategy, development, growing and fun. The shuttles from the hotel to our headquarters-based meeting left at 7 am. A few of us had cars and were driving over. As I walked into the parking lot, there was a cluster of folks who had clearly missed the bus.

“No worries, I’ve got room,” I said, cheerfully. Everyone looked at their feet. One of my Directors who also had a car offered, “or you can come with me…” They all followed her. I looked at them and smiled, “really?” You are on the way to a leadership summit, where the first thing on the agenda is how to network through elevator pitches and no one’s getting in my car? One brave soul came forward and we put her suitcase in my trunk. “Don’t worry, I said, no elevator pitch necessary.”

I then proceeded to share all the crazy stuff that had happened when I was in cars with executives. The time I was so busy “elevator pitching” my team’s results to our CEO that I drove past the exit (with an 8 mile recovery). The day I took a sales rep out to lunch for a “wager” we’d made on an “impossible” accomplishment, and got pulled over for an illegal turn. She warmed up. And bingo a BEAUTIFUL elevator pitch. I learned a bit about her and what she was up to. She asked about my career, and then shared more. We both left enriched by the time together.

Fast Pitch Exercise

Fast forward to 8 am. Summit.

A few leaders on my team created a “fast pitch” exercise. I recommend it if you ever have a large team together who are eager to advance.

A bit like speed dating, and speed mentoring, We had 120 people join us in fast pitch stations. My senior team and I were the “catchers” and everyone else brought their “elevator speeches” or joined us in a “mock interview” question in one-on-one sessions. Each session lasted only a few minutes, but we offered immediate feedback, and a chance to fine-tune. I was astounded by the progress made in such a short time.

Improve your elevator pitch

In the debrief, the team said they learned to…

  • Start with genuine connection
  • Understand what’s important to “them” and build on that
  • Don’t assume they get your world
  • Speak in understandable language
  • Don’t minimize who you are
  • Share your passion and energy
  • Speak from your heart (show up genuine)

Most importantly. Get in the car. Leverage that walk to the meeting. Chat while working together on volunteer day.  Get past the small talk at the recognition dinner.

Elevator speeches don’t need elevators.

Know your worth, hone your message, and share it.

Why Your Elevator Pitch Isn't Working

You know you need an elevator pitch. Perhaps you’ve even practiced and gotten “why choose me” down to a perfect pitch. But somehow you never seem to get the chance to use it. Sadly, the biggest mistake I see aspiring networkers make is that they don’t recognize an “elevator” when they’re in one.

Invisible Elevators

I had my entire leadership team in for a Summit– 2 1/2 days of strategy, development, growing and fun. The shuttles from the hotel to our headquarters-based meeting left at 7 am. A few of us had cars and were driving over. As I walked into the parking lot, there was a cluster of folks who had clearly missed the bus.

“No worries, I’ve got room,” I said, cheerfully. Everyone looked at their feet. One of my Directors who also had a car offered, “or you can come with me…” They all followed her. I looked at them and smiled, “really?” You are on the way to a leadership summit, where the first thing on the agenda is how to network through elevator pitches and no one’s getting in my car? One brave soul came forward and we put her suitcase in my trunk. “Don’t worry, I said, no elevator pitch necessary.”

I then proceeded to share all the crazy stuff that had happened when I was in cars with executives. The time I was so busy “elevator pitching” my team’s results to our CEO that I drove past the exit (with an 8 mile recovery). The day I took a sales rep out to lunch for a “wager” we’d made on an “impossible” accomplishment, and got pulled over for an illegal turn. She warmed up. And bingo a BEAUTIFUL elevator pitch. I learned a bit about her and what she was up to. She asked about my career, and then shared more. We both left enriched by the time together.

Fast Pitch Exercise

Fast forward to 8 am. Summit.

A few leaders on my team created a “fast pitch” exercise. I recommend it if you ever have a large team together who are eager to advance.

A bit like speed dating, and speed mentoring, We had 120 people join us in fast pitch stations. My senior team and I were the “catchers” and everyone else brought their “elevator speeches” or joined us in a “mock interview” question in one-on-one sessions. Each session lasted only a few minutes, but we offered immediate feedback, and a chance to fine-tune. I was astounded by the progress made in such a short time.

Improve your elevator pitch

In the debrief, the team said they learned to…

  • Start with genuine connection
  • Understand what’s important to “them” and build on that
  • Don’t assume they get your world
  • Speak in understandable language
  • Don’t minimize who you are
  • Share your passion and energy
  • Speak from your heart (show up genuine)

Most importantly. Get in the car. Leverage that walk to the meeting. Chat while working together on volunteer day.  Get past the small talk at the recognition dinner.

Elevator speeches don’t need elevators.

Know your worth, hone your message, and share it.