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Top 8 Characteristics of Good Leadership

Last week we asked if you should want to be a leader.

This week, we’ll look at how to be a good leader, regardless of your actual leadership role or title. 

Anyone can be a leader. The best, work at developing their skills and adopt the characteristics of other quality leaders. The easiest way to do this is to observe several leaders you admireObservation may include following them on social media, reading their books, and attending or downloading any speeches they have given. Watch what they do and how they do it, then incorporate the traits you admire into your own leadership style. 

Next, realize that leadership isn’t just a “top of the ranks” role. The greatest leaders can – and will – work alongside those they are tasked with leading. Leadership is about setting an example. No task is beneath you. You shouldn’t ask others to do anything you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. 

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job, Work-Life Balance

Should you want to be a leader?

The answer to that question is yes, but… and there’s always a “but.”

You may be thinking:

  • I’ve never been a leader so how do I know if I’ll like it or be good at it?
  • Does it mean more responsibility and am I ready for that?
  • Does it mean more money and is the money appropriate for the level of responsibility?
  • Does it mean I’ll have people who report to me and will I have to evaluate and discipline them, if necessary?
  • Does being a leader always mean I’m in charge – or could I lead in other ways?

Some people never actually consider these questions, so they are unprepared when thrusted into a leadership position.

That leadership position could be as a mentor, team leader, project leader, supervisor, manager, and the list goes on. There are many ways, and some of them don’t require the designation as a “leader.”

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job, Work-Life Balance

How to deal with a gap in employment?

It happens for any number of reasons and many people have it, but how exactly should you deal with a gap in employment? The first thing to remember is: be honest. Do not try to disguise the gap or lie about what you were doing when you were not working. Companies are scrupulous about checking references. The last thing you want to do is risk a potential job or start a new job with a lie. Lying on your resume, application, or as part of the hiring process is often a reason for dismissal at many companies.

You do not have to identify on your resume what you were doing during a gap in employment. Caring for a family member, relocating and trying to find a job in new city, taking time off to travel, or attempting to start your own business are all legitimate personal reasons to have a gap. Even though they do not need to be identified on your resume, you should be prepared to address them during an interview. You do not need to provide a bunch of personal details. Explain the situation, but do not include more than the basic facts. Then you need to explain how the situation is no longer a factor. Finally, you should reassure them of your interest and that you are ready to return to the workforce. Use the explanation as an opportunity to move the conversation to why you are particularly interested in the position and what you have to offer.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Volunteering, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Interviewing

Warning signs you are unhappy with your job

This is the first of a two-part series on job happiness. This week, we will look at some of the warning signs that indicate you may be unhappy with your current position. Next week, we will look at what to do about it if you find you are unhappy with your job. Sometimes, you know right away when you are ready for a change. But for others, their satisfaction with their position has slowly declined and they do not immediately realize how unhappy their position is making them. This post is meant to allow employees to recognize they may be unhappy, and maybe even help change their role on the job so that they can become a happier employee! Sometimes, people do not realize just how unhappy they are until someone points it out to them. In case you are one of those individuals, or you are just curious about how to tell when it is time for a change, or you are a supervisor who should be aware of your employees’ issues, here are some warning signs you can watch for.

Apathy

Apathy, not caring, lacking passion, unmotivated these are all ways to express a loss of interest in the daily job tasks. It could be that you see upcoming assignments as too simple, or you just do not care anymore about the tasks you have been assigned. Perhaps you look at your daily job to-do list and think it is like trudging along a rut you just cannot get out of. Or perhaps, you are present but not participating. You are doing just the minimum amount of work necessary, but no longer pitching in with conversations, other tasks, or helping co-workers. If you are numb to projects or tasks that used to excite you, you are probably in the apathy category.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job

Soft Skills Can Make or Break You

Soft skills are defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. So how are these skills going to help you land a job or even a promotion? Let's find out!

Creativity.  Collaboration.  Adaptability.

These are just three of the soft skills employers are looking for and showing you have them could be the difference between whether get the job or not. LinkedIn Learning created a list of the top soft skills employers find most valuable. Rounding out the top five are persuasion and time management.

Creativity

When you think of ‘creative’ people usually artists, musicians or authors come to mind. But you can be creative in business as well. Think about how most people can be taught how to do a job. A creative person, however, looks at how to do the job better, perhaps in a way that has not been tried yet. A good example is the number of apps that are available to do so many things. For example, it took a creative person to say, what if we made an app so it would be easier for people to track what they eat? Seeing a need and figuring out a better way to meet the need is creativity at its best. Stefan Mumaw, author of six books on creativity, says creativity can be learned, just like any other skill. So if you are looking for ways to increase your creativity, you can try Mumaw’s Creativity Bootcamp training session.  Or you can just begin to think about innovative and better ways to do the same things you have been doing, challenging your mind to find a more “creative” solution.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Gaining Experience, Resume, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Training, Interviewing

Top 4 reasons to work in the trades

There are some very good reasons these days to work in the trades, but before you know the top reasons, you should consider what careers make up “the trades.” Basically, skilled trades are those jobs or occupations that require a special skill or ability. Training for skilled trades can be from a technical school or college, or on-the-job. But the job does not require a four-year college degree.

Skilled trades can be in one of three areas:

  • Industrial trades, like mechanics or machinists, welders, or tool and dye makers
  • Construction trades, like carpenters, plumbers, electricians, bricklayers or insulators
  • Service trades, like some nursing positions, aides, orderlies and some therapists

Mike Rowe, famous for his TV show “Dirty Jobs,” started his Mike Rowe Works Foundation to promote skilled labor.  He says “skilled workers make civilized life possible.” From his website:

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Skilled Trades

What Skilled Trades Jobs Are in Demand

Which skills are in high demand?

One of the best ways to find a job is to have a skill that is in high demand, but finding out which skills are in high demand now, and are likely to be in high demand in the future, can be difficult. After all, no one can accurately predict the future, no matter how many crystal balls they might have. But you can use information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the Department of Labor to get a good overview, and an estimate of industry trends to help you know what skills are needed now and how much the demand is expected to be in the next several years. The BLS has a page on their website called “Occupational Outlook Handbook.You can use this page to search various occupations by wage, required education level, type of training required, number of new jobs projected and the projected growth rate. You can even browse various occupations by the highest paying, fastest growing and most new jobs. Right now, the fastest growing occupations are solar photovoltaic installers, wind turbine service technicians and four categories in the medical field: home health aides, personal care aides, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Leaving a Job, Skilled Trades

What's the difference between temporary and temp-to-hire?

Understanding Temporary vs. Temp-to-Hire

If you’re looking for work, you’re bound to come across the terms “temporary” and “temp-to-hire.” But what, exactly do they mean and how do you know which is best for you?

According to BusinessDictionary, temporary employment is where you are expected to remain in a position only for a certain period of time. That time could be based upon completion of a project, availability of funding or other circumstances, like replacing someone on leave who is expected to return.

This type of work is also referred to as seasonal employment – like at a retail shop during the Christmas season, or summer work at a pool. Other terms you might see used are: temps, contract, interim, outsourced or freelance.

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Topics: Temp-to-Hire, Temporary, Seasonal, Contract, Gaining Experience

Why trends in job descriptions are important to job seekers

Low unemployment and high demand for skilled workers means that companies are changing the way they seek employees. This means changing job descriptions in order to attract their ideal candidate in as little time as possible.

The job description is usually the first introduction to a company that job seekers have, unless it’s a well-known global corporation like Google or Amazon. Even then, the job description should contain information that makes the company’s “ideal” candidate want to apply.

Some of the emerging trends in posted job descriptions are taking that into consideration, which is good for job seekers.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Gaining Experience

Do Staffing Companies work for the client or the candidate?

Staffing Scrabble by Amtec CC BY-SA 2.0

Finding a job isn’t always easy, even in today’s economy. What makes it even more difficult is navigating the various types of placement and staffing companies and their fees.

If you’re unemployed, you don’t necessarily have the funds to pay someone to find you a job, so do you have to pay the staffing company that’s advertising for warehouse workers? And just who is that staffing agency working for – you or the company that needs the worker?

As in most things, the answers to those questions are: it depends.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Employment Agency, Gaining Experience

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