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Monthly Archives: January 2020


Do You Have the Mindset to be a Good Leader? 

Some say that great leaders are born while others believe that they are made. No matter what the case may be, whether nature or nurture, it is true that most leaders have a common set of traits that determine their level of success. Let’s take a look at the characteristics and mindset that it takes to be a leader in any industry. 

Leaders come from all walks of life and can be found in every industry. According to Lolly Daskal, a designated Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine and honored by Huffington Post, “Everybody has within them the potential to be a great leader. But it all starts, and ends with mindset.”

Great leaders seem to share common traits that have allowed them to be successful in their business or goals. Some of the more important characteristics include: communicativeness, positive curiosity, openness to change, empathy, and the ability to listen. These are not, by far, the only traits, but some of the more important ones that help a great leader succeed in whatever task lies before them. 


Great leaders are always looking to learn from a situation regardless of the positive or negative outcome. Every instance can become a learning opportunity. 


Some of the best leaders in history learned to communicate their vision and the ability to explain to others how to accomplish it. Being able to communicate clearly and concisely is a hallmark of a great leader. 

Ability to Listen 

Going hand-in-hand with communicativeness, is the ability to listen and learn from others. Too many leaders have become complacent with the listening portion of communication, and become too focused on the speaking aspect. A good leader can do both well. 

Openness to Change 

Far too often we fear change. Good leaders know that change is inevitable so they might as well embrace it. It may mean changing course, learning new technology, or adopting a new way of thinking. 


One of the more important traits of a great leader is the ability to connect with others and tune into their feelings. Having this can mean the difference between leading with care and compassion and just leading the way with no concern for others. 

What kind of leader do you hope to be? What sets you apart? Check out our Leadership Mastermind workshop on January 29 for more information on leadership with a purpose. 


business leadership

Common Leadership Mistakes 

Being a leader comes with a huge set of responsibilities. The fast-paced world we live in means quick decisions, handling weighty issues, and recovering from failure quickly. Unfortunately, leaders are constantly on display, so the missteps, errors, or mistakes made in this environment seem to be on display for all to see. 

Most great leaders will take the opportunity to learn from a mistake, whether big or small. So let’s take this chance to run down the most common leadership mistakes and how to learn from each. 

Delegating Mistakes 

One of the most common leadership blunders made is in regards to delegating. Good leaders are able to assess the skill and ability of those around him/her. For some leaders, lack of delegating altogether can create a situation where they are overwhelmed with work and fall behind. In other circumstances, mistakes can be made by delegating to the wrong person. For example, asking an employee with no experience to run a meeting or take on a role they are ill-prepared for. 

Avoid delegating mistakes by understanding the interests and skills of the people you work closely with. Trust in those skills instead of taking on tasks that will weigh you down and cause a slow down in your business. 

Communication Mistakes 

This common error by leaders usually has something to do with a failure in both speaking and listening. Good leaders can do both well. Be sure to follow up with assignments to make sure your employees are understanding your instructions. Give good feedback at varying points of the project and be sure to listen to concerns from the people doing the work. 

Make it a priority to be clear and concise in your instructions, follow up, and create check-ins so that if an employee is misunderstanding your assignment, you can catch it before it goes too far. Regular meetings to get updates on the project can help clear up any communication confusion. 

Management Style 

While every leader has a different management style, there are two common errors when going from one end of the spectrum or the other. The styles I am referring to are the micromanager or the hands-off manager. Neither one proves to be very successful. 

On one hand, if a leader practices micromanagement then you may be showing employees or team members that you don’t trust their skills or abilities to get the assignment done without peering over his/her shoulder. On the other hand, being too hands-off means that a leader failed to conduct regular check-ins to be sure the project is headed in the right direction. The goal of a good leader is to find a balance between the two. 

If you are looking to fine tune your leadership skills, check out our workshop on Introduction to Supervision on January 31, 2020 @ 8:30 am – 3:00 pm. 


computer resume writing

Make Your Resume Stand Out

With the dawn of a new year and decade comes the yearning for something new and exciting. For some that might mean traveling the globe, while for others it may mean starting the hunt for a new job or even a new career altogether. If the latter describes your situation, you will want to take a look at your resume and start fine tuning it in order to land the job of your dreams in 2020. 

According to Workopolis,  companies receive between 75 and 250 resumes per open position and, on top of that, hiring managers spend just 11 seconds or less looking at a resume before deciding to move on. That means your resume needs to be easy to read, clear, and concise so that it catches the attention of hiring managers who are already overwhelmed with a pile of resumes to review and candidates to interview. What can make your resume stand out? 

resume writing

Don’t Forget the Basics 

It may sound absurd, but you would not believe the number of resumes that appear without contact information including a phone number, email, and mailing address. Put your contact information up top, where they can’t miss it. Also important is to mention what specific position you are applying for since many Human Resource departments deal with multiple open positions simultaneously. The last thing you want is an HR professional or hiring manager to remove your resume from consideration because they can’t find your contact information quickly. 

Customize Your Resume 

While it may seem convenient to make a hundred copies of your resume and send it out to multiple listings, you may be passed over because the business may be looking for specific skills you did not spotlight on your resume. 

It’s a good idea to customize your resume for specific positions. For example, if a position is looking for a certain technical expertise, then place that at the top of your resume under skills. That way the business won’t miss it and you may get called in for an interview. From there you can talk up your experience and knowledge. 

resume writing

Be Organized 

Resumes can look different depending upon the position or field of work. One thing that all resumes should have is a sense of organization. For instance, you may want to organize your resume in chronological order showing what companies and positions you held in the past. Or possibly, you may want to forgo the chronological order and focus on accomplishments and skills. Whichever way you decide to organize be sure it makes sense, has pertinent dates, and summarizes with key words they may be hunting for. 


Hiring managers have seen it all from grammatically incorrect resumes, to those that spell multiple words inaccurately. Be sure to have your resume proofread before you send it. 

Need help with your resume? Check out our programs and workshops that can help you write a resume that will get you noticed and may even land you a coveted interview. 


performance evaluations

Preparing for Performance Evaluations: An Employer Perspective 

In continuing our two-part series on performance evaluations, we take a different point-of-view today. Last week we examined the perspective of how an employee should prepare. Now we are taking a closer look at what managers and business leadership should do to make these evaluations productive, effective, and if possible, a positive experience. 

Let’s start by saying that performance appraisals should not be a stand alone event. Instead, feedback should be given throughout the year, whether it is in writing or in discussions held at regular intervals. The annual review, therefore should just be a formalized way of talking about an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. 


Document Performance 

Just as an employee should be documenting their achievements throughout the year, you should also be keeping track of what you see as “above and beyond” efforts including client feedback, completed projects, ability to evolve and learn, any skills training that occurred, and general demeanor in the office. 

In keeping your documentation on each employee, you should be sure to note where the employee improved and where he/she could improve more. These notes will help you give both positive feedback and constructive criticism during the review meeting. 

Plan for the Future 

Most employees envision a review as looking back on what happened in the past year, but as an employer, you should be thinking ahead as well. Use the review to find out what goals your employee has for the future, whether it is specialized training, a degree, or to gain a promotion. Set aside some time during the meeting to explain what you would like to see as goals for the employee and get feedback on your thoughts. 


Make it “No Mystery” 

Performance reviews are sometimes shrouded in secrecy and the office may take on a different feeling during the days and weeks of reviews. Make your reviews less mysterious by having your team members fill out a self evaluation. This way they know exactly what will be discussed. 

Some managers find that using performance review software can take away some of the secrecy and mystery surrounding these yearly appraisals. 

In addition, some companies find it helpful to have more than one manager in the review to make things more comfortable for all (This is especially important if you are a new manager, or the employee is completing his/her first review process.). 

Most importantly, go into the review with your ideas and thoughts prepared. Be sure to listen as much as you speak. Interested in learning more about performance reviews? Check out our programs and workshops that often include information about performance review and techniques. 


business review

Preparing for Performance Evaluations: An Employee Perspective  

As a hard-working employee, there are almost no events at work more nerve wracking than the annual performance evaluation. How can you prepare for this evaluation both professionally and emotionally? There are a few things you can do in the days and weeks leading up to your performance evaluation that may help calm your nerves and help your professional outlook. Let’s take a look at this first from an employees perspective today and in our blog next week we will look at how business leadership should also prepare for this annual milestone. 

Before you begin to prepare for your annual performance review, it is important to put yourself into the right mindset. Yes, it is hard to take criticism. Keep in mind, however, that this constructive criticism is meant to help you grow as a professional in your field. It is an opportunity to connect with your direct manager and let him/her know what you have learned, how you have grown, and the hurdles you have overcome this year. Once in that right “headspace” you can begin your preparations. 

gathering notes

Gather Your Notes 

It’s a really good idea before you head into your review to compile your notes from the year. Create a list of major accomplishments, goals that were completed, projects that were on schedule, positive feedback from clients, and any awards or recognition that your received over the past year. Keep a list that your can refer to as well as pass on to your manager. You would be amazed how some accomplishments are quickly forgotten after the next project has started. It is always a good idea to remind leadership how much has gotten done under your guidance. 

Be Realistic 

In gathering your notes you will want to also be realistic. There were probably some “pain points” during the year or difficulties in some aspect of your job whether it was staying on-time with a project deadline, technical difficulties, or maybe a problem that had to be solved. No employee is perfect, so be ready to talk about these issues and how you handled them, or possibly what you learned from them and how you would do things differently. Employers can’t ask you to be perfect, but they can examine what you learned from the situation. 

Do Some Comparison Shopping 

If you plan to ask for a promotion or raise, be sure to do your homework. Do salary comparisons online before you ask for something that is not feasible. Research current salaries for your position on sites like PayScale or Glassdoor.

Head into your performance review with a positive attitude, your notes, and reasonable expectations of whether you will see a pay raise or not. Need help preparing for your review? Check out our programs and workshops that can boost your education and skill level.