leadership

Developing Strong Leadership from Scratch

Developing Strong Leadership From Scratch

Anyone can learn to be a good leader, but it takes something extra for a team to get behind you.

If you own a business and it starts growing, you’ll need other people to whom you can delegate management and leadership duties. But how do you develop those ever-important leadership skills in your employees? Here are some tips.

Identify the critical skills you need in your leaders. Each organization is different, so you need to take the time to figure out what your needs are and how your current staff’s competencies work into that. Once you know those needs in relation to your company’s strategy, you can begin your efforts to develop new leaders.

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Identify leadership candidates. Which of your employees seem to have these critical skills, or which of them could develop those skills with some mentorship from you? Which of them takes the initiative when things need to be done? A good leader knows each team member’s strengths and areas where they need to grow. With that information, a leader can begin building skills in those with leadership potential.

Invest in your team. High-impact companies spend three to four times more on leadership development than novices do. Help your staff to participate in programs that will give them the skills they need to become leaders in your organization. It’s worth the cost to send promising employees to workshops and classes.

Teach them to network. By doing so, you’ll help them learn how to make connections with people they don’t know. They’ll also develop some mutually beneficial relationships that will help you and your company. You can start small, with company potlucks or after-work happy hours, and then bring them to larger networking events and introduce them to your connections.

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Give them the right experience. If your managers need to be good public speakers, for example, invite your team member to watch you give a presentation and then, later on, ask them to present in your place. You can do the same with duties like running meetings and overseeing projects. All these tasks will help your budding leaders develop their management skills.

Allow them to stretch. It’s okay if your potential leaders struggle a little; it will ultimately help them to build their skills and learn who to ask about what.  That doesn’t mean you should sit around and watch while your employee tries to figure out something that’s become easy for you. Give hints here and there, or introduce them to someone in the company who will be better able to help.

Let them take ownership. If you’ve taught your employees how to make smart, informed decisions based on their knowledge of the company and the product, you shouldn’t make them run their ideas by you before executing them. Trust your employees and your mentorship enough to let them make their own decisions. Some of those decisions will result in learning experiences, some will be amazing—but whatever the case, if you let your potential leaders lead, the long-term results will be great.

A 5-Step Guide to Setting and Meeting Career Goals

A 5-Step Guide to Setting and Meeting Career Goals 2313 Inc
Nobody with any degree of motivation imagines that they’ll be in the same job, at the same pay rate, five years from now. But what do you do if you want to move beyond your current position? You need to set goals—but how do you do that for maximum chances of success? Here are some tips.
 
Make your goals SMART
Unless your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, you’re not going to be able to achieve them. It’s not enough, for example, to say that you’d like to own your own business. You need to set a goal like, “I will own my own business in five years.” This specific goal is also measurable because you can track your progress toward that goal. It’s achievable and realistic if you are motivated, and timely because you’ve set a time limit for achieving that long-term goal.
 
Create milestones
Because SMART goals must be measurable and achievable, create milestones (or short-term goals) in support of your long-term goal. For example, you could create a short-term goal of finding at least one mentor within a month, or taking an accounting or bookkeeping class within a year to support your ability to manage your business finances.
 
Build your network
Once you’ve decided on the goal you want to achieve, some of the milestones you create should revolve around building your network. Seek out mentors in your desired career field, talk to people at networking events and conferences, and build connections with people online through career-oriented social media channels. By building your network, you’ll have a better chance of successfully achieving your goals.
 
Be committed and accountable
You can create all the long-term and short-term goals you want, but if you’re not committed to them, you won’t succeed. If you believe your goal is important and attainable, you’re more likely to do the work necessary to achieve it. Likewise, you need to be accountable, so make sure a mentor or fellow entrepreneur is there to hold you to your long-term and short-term goals.
 
On the other hand, be flexible
You may find that you need to change your timeline for achievement of your goals. For example, if you have a goal of graduating from college in three years, but then realize you can’t do that while also working full-time, don’t be afraid to modify that goal. Maybe you can take one or two evening classes each semester.
However, there’s also a chance that a goal you set may no longer be important to you; in that case, set yourself a new SMART goal to achieve.
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Meaningful Ways to Handle Rejection

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Everyone gets rejected, but will you let rejection stop your career in its tracks, or will you turn it into an opportunity to grow

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Rejection hurts. There is no way to avoid it. Your first step is to acknowledge the rejection–but don’t dwell on it. Convert that rejection into motivation. Here are some strategies that will keep you moving forward.

1. Don’t Expect Rejection

Anticipating rejection can lead to procrastination. Reaching out to a customer can be scary. But then again…what if you’re just what that customer needs when they need it? Don’t let the fear keep you from putting your best foot forward!

2. Establish Clear Goals

Have you created a clear set of goals? Get specific about all of your goals. Establish daily, weekly, and monthly goals. If you need help setting goals, consult your team members or supervisor. 

3. Create A Work Routine

Create a work routine. Make customer contacts at the same time every day. As you improve your skills, you’ll reach more people. The more people you reach each day, the greater your chances of getting to “yes.”

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4. It’s Not About You

Don’t take the easy way out by making rejection personal. Learn to see each rejection as an opportunity to understand something about yourself.

5. No Doesn’t Mean Never

Once you hear a “no,” acknowledge it and continue talking. If you don’t have what your customer needs, you may know someone who does. Be a useful resource. You’re establishing and maintaining a long-term relationship.

6. Start With a Smile

Start your day by visualizing success. Picture your customers saying “yes.” Sometimes a positive attitude is all you really need to get that sale squared away.

7. Toughen Up

You can’t take a break every time you get a rejection. You need to toughen up and build up your endurance. Rejection is a great teacher if you learn to see it as motivation.

8. Ask for Feedback

Always ask for feedback when you’ve been rejected. If you don’t understand why it happened, you won’t know how to prevent it from happening the next time.

9. Keep Moving

Working with purpose prevents rejection from moving in and taking over. Choose to get things done. Organize your workspace. Finish up tasks you were putting off. Taking constructive action will improve your attitude.

Think Like a Manager To Help Grow Your Career

2313 Inc. Think Like a Manager

Learning to think and work like a manager gives you the perspective you need to earn professional recognition and reach your goals.

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Great managers aren’t just born overnight. Sure, some people naturally possess some of the skills necessary to excel at management, but most great managers are great because they have years of experience and learning on their side. 

What can you do to prepare yourself for a management position? Learn and practice the necessary skills – no matter where you are in your career. Peter Drucker, a well-known management consultant and educator, is considered the father of management studies. He broke the manager’s duties down into five basic tasks:

1.    Sets Objectives

2.    Organizes

3.    Motivates and Communicates

4.    Measures

5.    Develops People 

Encourage employees and sales associates to develop their understanding of business and management practices. Drucker’s management tasks inspired the following tips that will teach you to think and work as a manager, no matter where you are in your career.

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Keep Developing Management Skills

There’s always something new to learn about management and business. Keep your skills sharp by reading new management books or even finding online classes to improve your management skills. Then, create a study group at work to support and apply what you learn to real-world problems. You know the old saying: practice makes perfect!

Connect With Your Team

Tell your team members, team leader, and supervisor that you want to contribute to your team’s growth. Come up with a pitch for a team-building activity, a volunteer project, or a social event that will improve team cohesion and productivity.

Find a Mentor

Some companies have formal mentorship programs, though that’s not completely necessary in order to find a mentor. Your supervisor might be interested in mentoring you, or you can look for a mentor at a networking event. Mentorship will improve your management expertise and develop strong professional relationships, which you can use as resources once you become a manager.

Don’t Keep Your Career Goals a Secret

How will you advance in your career if you don’t tell anyone about your goals? Let your supervisor know that you’re interested in becoming a manager. Complete your regular assignments and volunteer for special projects when you have the time to do them well to show that you’re willing to go above and beyond.

Becoming a manager will help you to advance in your career and develop the skills you need as a leader. Make a commitment to your future by using these strategies to increase your skills and your opportunities for advancement.

How a Focus on Team Bonding Helps Your Business

2313 Inc. How a Focus on Team Bonding Helps Your Business

2313 Inc. is a business and consulting firm based in Farmington Hills, MI. Learn more about our company at http://www.2313inc.com

We’re all aware of media representations of team building exercises, like trust falls and camping trips that usually turn out to be a comedy of errors. But that’s media, not real life, and in real life, team bonding can be a huge part of building a successful team. We’ve all worked at jobs where there was little to no team unity, or where a corporate culture was handed down from on high in an attempt to foster such unity, but which failed to take the real experience of workers into consideration.

Teams where coworkers not only get along, but know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, are more successful. People know who to go to for specific projects or challenges, they know who they can trust to solve certain problems. They know how to work together to achieve goals, instead of trying to out-perform one another.

There are some managers who feel that they should pit their employees against one another so they push themselves to achieve as much as possible, but more often than not this simply leads to employee burnout. Similarly, teams which lack in unity often result in employees thinking that they need to do everything themselves, which can lead to burnout as well.

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Team building doesn’t have to take the form of field trips and such, but can be accomplished by simply bringing people together and getting them to talk about their own strengths and weaknesses, and having people work on projects together. These projects can be exercises specifically designed for team building, or they can be actual projects. And unless you’re planning on working right alongside your employees, it might be best to step back and leave teams to themselves sometimes.

It’s important that they know their managers as well, and trust them if they have concerns, but you don’t want to put them on the spot and observe them. Bosses who micromanage can not only harm team unity, but turn that team against themselves.

10 Business Books You Need to Read Right Now

2313 Inc 10 Business Books You Need to Read Right Now

Flickr CC via Tim McFarlane

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Don’t just sit there—learn! You may think you’re done with school but you’re not done with education. Continued success and achievement requires an agile mind chock-full of new ideas and fresh approaches to problem-solving.

Today’s business arena is global and competition has increased exponentially. Simply stated, there are more smart people out there and they share your goals and sometimes the same markets you serve.

So it’s time to buckle down because your business success requires continuing education. And these 10 business books will propel you forward with the information and aptitude required to succeed.

Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work

Liz Wiseman

Experience is a barrier that prevents you from imagining new ideas. Rookies are open to experimenting, testing, and risk. This quality of openness makes them more productive than veterans. Rookies are people of all ages starting something new, following a dream, and determined to make it work.

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Walter Isaacson

Berners-Lee, Gates, Jobs, and Wozniak contributed to the digital revolution, which began in the 1840s. Issacson, author of the bestselling Steve Jobs’ biography, profiles creative geek, geniuses, and hackers and delivers inspirational stories and a deeper understanding of the technological revolution’s evolution.

#Girlboss

Sophia Amouruso

Following your passion requires a plan. It’s easier if you find someone able to provide practical advice. Amoruso is the Nasty Gal you need to listen to before you begin your journey. Her online retail site, Nasty Gal, brought great success. But she got there after a tough life on the streets that included dumpster diving and a daily struggle to survive.

How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say—And What It Really Means

John Lanchester

Money talks and you usually walk away from the conversation scratching your head wondering what it all means. Finance is complicated and confusing: Lanchester clarifies capitalism’s argot. You’ll appreciate his plainspoken explanations of the World Bank, hedge funds, and the IMF—whatever that is.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Ben Horowitz

Horowitz was trained as an engineer and became the CEO of Loudcloud, which produced Opsware, which was purchased by HP for $1 billion in 2007. During that time he struggled with failure, bankruptcy, and personal tragedy—his wife’s life-threatening illness. Read this book to gain insight into the real struggles faced and overcome by a brilliant, yet imperfectly human, entrepreneur.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Peter Thiel

While teaching at Stanford the author, and founder of PayPal, delivered a series of lectures that invigorated the imaginations of a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Need more convincing? Thiel is a billionaire: sometimes that’s all you need to know.

Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion, And Purpose

Tony Hsieh

Did a failed worm farm lead to Zappos’ domination as an online shoe retailer? That’s one of the first failures perennial entrepreneur Tony Hsieh encountered on his path to success. He’s a smart kid who didn’t like school but loved to learn and test out his moneymaking ideas, which lead to a revolution in customer service.

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Adam Grant

Success in business is achieved through being ruthless and selfish. The author, an organizational psychologist at Wharton, shares research that refutes this assumption. His studies reveal leading professionals achieve success by consistently creating value for others. Do good. Earn big.

ReWork

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

The authors founded 37Signals, a web design company that has also produced popular project management solutions Basecamp and Backpack. Here they rewrite the rules for running a business. It’s full of important lessons for Internet industrialists and just about anyone else who’s reaching for the stars.

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Seth Godin

Godin is the go-to guy for insight about marketing, storytelling, and connecting your message with right audience. This book is built out of short chapters featuring fast access to innovative ideas about pricing, promotion, and publicity. It will inspire you to include a Purple Cow into everything you create. You’ve got to read the book to learn what a Purple Cow actually is.

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Making the Company Meeting Matter

2313 Inc Making the Company Meeting Fun

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Meetings can be one of the worst parts of your day if you’re not engaged with them. If they’re not productive, meetings can suck time out of the day and the life-force out of the employee. But that doesn’t mean we can simply do away with meetings altogether. Rather, we need to make our meetings better, faster, and more engaging. So how can we make one of work’s most boring necessities more productive?

Go Outside

Office life can be tough: lots of sitting, staring at a computer, perhaps next to a small window which only reminds you that life outside still exists. It’s a good idea to bring your workers back into the real world—physically! Fresh air and sunshine can be rejuvenating and relaxing. A simple change of scenery can do wonders.

Do Something Different

If your meetings are the exact same every time, everyone will be bored and probably tune out useful information. By bringing in a guest speaker, you can liven up meetings with some novelty. Get employees to think in new ways by allowing someone else to step in and speak to them. If you get great conversation going, you’re likely to get great debate and innovations.

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Make it Fun

Even though meetings are a part of life, they don’t have to be a snooze-fest. If you want your team to be enthusiastic and energetic, you need to exemplify those traits yourself. If employees see you in a good mood, they’ll pick it up themselves. Do name games; bring food (people will do anything for free food), acknowledge successes and good works; remind people why they’re there, what you hope to accomplish, and connect with your employees face-to-face.

Running a meeting isn’t always the most fun thing, either, but if you structure the meeting to move along at a brisk pace, keep an eye on the clock, incentivize participation, and connect with your workers, your next meeting might actually be fun.