We are more effective in life when we exhibit high levels of self-awareness. Self-awareness, a critical component of emotional and spiritual intelligence (EQ and SQ) is the building block for success in life. It enables us to make insightful and sharper decisions and “course correct” as we go. It facilitates improved, authentic relationship within and with others – our boss, colleagues, team members, clients, suppliers, family and friends.
So how do we harness and develop this core competency in business and our personal lives?
Here are five things which will lead to increased self awareness:
- Become aware and mindful of how you are feeling in the moment.
- Try naming these emotions and feelings.
- Notice when your feelings and mood change – say if you find yourself getting upset or excited.
- Ask yourself why this might be the case.
- Become conscious of the impact of your feelings and emotions on your thoughts and consequent behaviour.
The role of feedback
Being open to feedback and reflecting on our experiences are two other significant ways of increasing our self awareness. Our so-called failures can also provide fertile ground for increased self awareness and learning.
In business settings, self awareness can be fast tracked through management and leadership development courses and executive coaching. A key component to any learning and development programme is self-assessment along with 360-degree feedback from ones colleagues, direct reports, and manager. In some instances, suppliers and customers can also be part of this process.
When it comes to feedback, there are broadly four windows to self and other awareness: (Joharis window)
- What we know about ourselves and others do too
- What we know about ourselves but others don’t
- What we don’t know about ourselves and others don’t as well
- What others know about us but we don’t
Feedback and leadership effectiveness
It is in the fourth category that feedback if listened to and taken on board can have a significant impact on one’s management or leadership style. If you are getting feedback about some aspect of your leadership style that you may have filtered out than now is the time to take notice. Changing your thinking and behavior may take some time and commitment but the rewards will be well worth it.
The results in the form of greater productivity, improved team and business relationships and positive feedback from those in your immediate environment can be not only rewarding but also humbling.
This was the case of a senior manager I was coaching who had been branded as someone with a confrontational and aggressive style. Though initially questioning ( of course!) of the results of his feedback, he was able to take this feedback on board as he realized that his attitude and behaviour were not serving him at all (not to mention others!).
Over a period of twelve months involving conscious awareness of his mind-set and behaviour, reflection and feedback, he was able to change his leadership style to a much more constructive one. The biggest win was that he managed to side-step career derailment at a critical time in his career.
Three steps to increase your leadership effectiveness:
- Ask for feedback.
You may wish to ask 5-6 people for a key strength as well as one thing you could do better to achieve your specified goals.
- Listen to this feedback.
No, I mean really listen! More often than not, there will be a theme from your feedback providers. Listen with an open mind and open heart.
- Take action
Decide what one thing you are going to focus on and enjoy growing in your awareness and wisdom.
How To Stay Ahead Of The Curve And Thrive
In business, surviving is not good enough. Keeping your head above water so to speak suggests your business is a disaster waiting to happen so you’ve got to change what you’re doing so your business gets a different result.
Clearly if you have started the year believing your business is in ‘survival mode’ right now, it’s most likely behind the curve and you’ve lost control of its destiny, so it’s time to do things differently so you gain back the control.
What Does Staying Ahead of The Curve Mean?
Ahead of the curve or phased another way ‘ahead of the pack’ is an idiom or set phrase.
A more detailed definition of an idiom is, it is a group of words that have a figurative meaning as opposed to a literal definition.
Essentially ‘ahead of the curve or pack have the figurative meaning: you’re out in front, i.e. leading. Relating to business, the products, services etc are better than competitor offerings.
Clearly this is the perfect position for your business to be in. You’ve got something that’s better than the competition however this doesn’t mean your business automatically succeeds.
Having the world’s best products or service is the perfect starting point, but if at the same time they’re the world’s best kept secret, your business is not likely to succeed and thrive.
Operating a business requires a plan, systems, processes, strategies and great people.
Stepping into the leadership role and driving the business in the right direction falls on your shoulders as the business owner/operator.
If being a leader is not for you, don’t persevere in the role, hire someone more suited to taking calculated risks, and asserting control of the operation.
The creator of leading edge products may start the business however they can only take it so far. Their skillset usually doesn’t extend to executive leadership and failure to let go of the operations is why so many small businesses fail with the first few years.
When a business is stagnating, change is needed. Continuing to take the same actions and getting the same results will likely drown the business if not immediately it will happen, so there’s a chance you’ll be in denial for while, and even feel optimistic that it’s turned the corner. However without an injection of inspiration and change, the end is nigh. Therefore fight any resistance to change starting with your mindset.
Adopting a ‘growth mindset’ that motivates productivity is key and it’s likely injecting the business with external resources is also required. The saying: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is likely to apply to you, with the right professional input, you’ll break those hard and fast habits for the business.
In this article these areas of change promote the right mindset to focus on putting your best foot forward so your business does an about turn and eventually gets ahead of the curve and thus it’s main competitors.
Be Extraordinary, not Ordinary
Fight the desire to follow everyone else. Focus on where you want your business to be i.e. leading, not following. Set your one standards and live by them and them alone. To do so effectively you’ll need to set up some key measurements in place so you know you’re on the right track.
Start with defining the key objectives of the business. Use the four Ws and one H i.e. what, where, why, when and how. To leave nothing to chance, remember to aim BIG.
If your objectives are to achieve the same as your competitors your business won’t be ahead of the curve, so that’s not good enough. You reap what you sow so go for it and surprise yourself with your new ‘take over the world’ attitude.
Do everything better
To do better you need to analyse what’s been happening in the business up to now. There will be some parts that are working well and they will need just tweak or two to improve their performance. That’s the easy part. 🙂
There will be major change required in the poor performing areas and this is where you need to use your external resources i.e. consultants, or mentors who are not emotionally tied to the business.
Implement the changes and deal with the resulting initial fallout with the help of your new operations leader or leadership team (internal and external stakeholders).
Now Own It
Now is the time to ‘own it’. Dominate the market and keep going. Remember to review your progress and keep refining your processes and systems. Good luck and let us know how you’re doing in our comments area.
Worried about tricky job interview questions? Here’s how you can nail them!
Firstly, congratulations on landing a job interview in this competitive job scenario, but the real test of your ability is yet to commence.
With the growing need for securing a position in a reputable organization and the dearth of relevant skills and knowledge, the recruitment process especially the interviews are becoming increasingly tough to crack. The questions are no longer straightforward, “so elaborate me in this skill of yours?”, Instead, they have evolved and taken a more practical form.
The severity of interview questions depends on the industries, but there are specific reasons behind interviewers shooting tough questions:
- This way they measure your experience level and expertise in the skill that you have mentioned in your resume;
- This helps them analyze your body language and thought process when met with extremities;
- This also helps them gain a better understanding of your personality.
But just like the tough and tricky questions, there are crafty ways of answering them. In our today’s post let us discuss some common tricky questions and how to answer them tactfully:
Q: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Interviewers ask this question to gauge upon your values and how is your attitude towards problems. This way they observe what you can bring to the table and how can you contribute to the organization’s goals. The Interview board is looking for candidates who can fill the gap with their practical experience. Hence tailor your answer that best demonstrates your expertise with skills in equal measure.
Q: What is your weakness?
This is one of the trickiest questions, answering which without giving any thought could land you in a soup as it might reveal your shortcomings. Remember not to mention any of the skills that are required in the position you are hopeful of. A similar question they can ask is, “Do you have any regrets?”. Articulate your answers in a manner that it shows that you are self-aware but are also working on your being better day by day.
Q: Why are you leaving your present company?
The immediate answer of most candidates for this question is, throwing their current company under the bus for whatever negative experience forced them to leave it. But we would suggest you prepare for it if that is the case. Maneuver your answer so that it implies that your experience in the present company is fulfilling, but you’re looking for a greater playfield to enhance your skills and expertise. If you are being laid off, be honest and say that instead of bashing your previous employer.
Q: Explain the gap in your work history?
Unless you have explicitly mentioned in your resume that you have utilized your skills in those gap years, be prepared to get pressed on this subject by the interviewer. It is advisable to stay honest but also refrain from talking foul of your previous employer. Emphasize how the knowledge gained in your gap years will add value to the position you have applied for.
Q: How do you react in the face of failure?
Another way of asking the same question, “Are you willing to fail?” Although your immediate response would be “No” because to say yes would be to put your proficiency in a suspicious state of not being up to the mark. The contention behind asking this question would be to judge how to retaliate in tough situations and what would be your thought process in the event of a failure?
A smart way to answer this question is by acknowledging the importance of failure in helping you become a better person and then quoting examples of events where you have failed and learned a lesson from it and how that lesson will help you add value to the position and organization you are interviewing for.
So instead of sitting worried about the interview, we would suggest you brainstorm and come up with creative sometimes funny answers that you can reply to the interviewer. Just like it is not necessary that all questions will be tough; similarly it is not essential that all questions are going to be easy.
Like they say always prepare for the worst, a candidate should always stay prepared for whichever questions, easy or tough, where the aforementioned list will be of assistance.
How to Start a Resume Business to Help Others Succeed
Do you have a knack for writing resumes? Are you the person your friends always turn to when they need help beefing up or reworking their resumes?
If so, you may want to consider starting a resume writing business. A resume business involves helping others create their resumes from scratch or rework their resumes for a set fee.
You may work with anyone from waiters to engineers to business executives. And, the best part is that you get the satisfaction of knowing your services helped someone land their dream job.
So, where do you get started?
Read on to learn how to start a resume business to help others succeed.
Do the Necessary Housekeeping Involved in Starting a Business
First things first, you’ll want to get some of the boring stuff out of the way. That is, you’ll need to take care of all the housekeeping that comes with starting a business.
Here’s what should be on your initial checklist to start your business:
- Create a business plan: Consider your initial startup costs, your target market, and how long it will take for your resume business to break even
- Register your business: Be sure to check with your Secretary of State about any licenses or registrations you may need
- Register for taxes: There are a variety of state and federal taxes you will need to register for before you open your business
- Open a business bank account and set up business accounting
- Get business insurance
While these tasks certainly can feel tedious, you’ll be thanking yourself later on for taking care of them right away.
Promoting Your Resume Business
The best resume writing services spend a lot of time promoting and marketing their business.
Word of mouth can certainly be a great place to start, but after a while, those leads will dry up.
In order to get the word out about your services, you will first want to create a website. Here you can share a little bit about yourself and your qualifications, and you can also list your services and rates.
It’s also a good idea to create social media profiles on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You may even want to consider starting a Youtube channel where you create short videos about writing the perfect resume.
You will also want to create some simple marketing materials to start, such as business cards and flyers.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to get in touch with local staffing agencies, as they can often refer you to job seekers who need help creating resumes.
If you’re struggling to get clients, it can also be beneficial to offer your services for free so you can get some samples and references on your website.
Get the Right Credentials
People will take you much more seriously as a resume writer if you have the right credentials.
Joining professional associations is a good way to demonstrate that you are qualified to write resumes. Two associations you’ll want to consider joining are the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches and the National Resume Writers’ Association.
Are You Ready to Start Your Resume Business?
As you can see, starting a resume business takes some work. However, once you get the ball rolling, things will be much easier and you’ll soon be able to focus solely on finding and helping your clients.
If you have any questions about starting a resume business, leave a comment below.
And, be sure to check out these 5 content marketing ideas that can bring traffic to your resume website.
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