Can you believe it has been one year since we first "met"? That's right; one year ago, this weekly business column was introduced to our region and since then we have explored so much together.
We've been introduced to ten very different area leaders who have shared their leadership journeys including their trials, tribulations and success lessons. We've discovered ways to help us become better leaders and employees. College students and recent graduates have received helpful insight about how to stand out in their quest to land an internship or job offer. Business owners have learned about resources available to help them realize even more success, and regional success stories have been shared. Professional and personal advice specific to women in the workplace has provided food for thought, and career guidance for job seekers at all levels has been offered.
What's next for year two? It's up to you.
This column is intended to serve as a resource for anyone who cares about seeking more professional or personal success. It's for those of you who care about exposing all of the greatness this area has to offer, including untapped opportunities worth exploring.
If you fit that bill, then I want to hear from you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions and ideas. Tell me what topics you think our readers could benefit from, and what leaders you'd like to see featured. If you know of any success stories that are begging to be told, let me know. Perhaps you even know about some unique services available for business leaders and job seekers in our region. I want to hear it all. All ideas are welcome and will serve to make our next year together even better than the first.
In honor of our first year together, I am going to once again share some highlights of my favorite column with you. Based upon the overwhelmingly positive feedback I received from many of you when this was originally published, I think it's the perfect topic to cap off this week's column. Enjoy!
Excerpt from "Eight Traits of an Effective Leader" (originally published April 14, 2013):
1. Make others feel important.
The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to feel important and appreciated. As a leader, you won't ever be completely effective until you can do this. How are you inspiring your team to accomplish and achieve excellence?
2. Promote a vision.
A vision is a descriptive picture of where you are leading your team and why it is valuable to them. Over time, the vision becomes a source of energy and excitement that gives meaning to their work. How are you communicating your vision to excite, inspire, motivate and unify your team?
3. Lead to serve.
Simply put, nobody likes to work for a jerk. When you treat your employees well, it will inevitably lead to excellent treatment of customers by your employees, and a highly loyal customer base. What are you doing to stay attentive to the growth and development of those you lead?
4. Admit mistakes.
Be real, open and honest to build trust. It is a sign of humility and strength. It is important to have the self-confidence and integrity to admit your mistakes. The only way to maintain the trust of those you lead is by learning to do this. A simple apology goes a long way. How do you typically respond when you've made a mistake?
5. Criticize others only in private.
Criticizing an employee in public only embarrasses and alienates everyone. When you do this, you're showing your team that you are insecure and have a need to feel powerful. You may not realize it, but it's true. When was the last time you were criticized publicly? How did it feel? Next time, stop yourself before you do it to someone else.
6. Stay close to the action.
You cannot effectively lead your team by staying in your office. The more informed you are, the better you'll be able to correct situations and motivate those you lead. What are you doing to actively see and understand what is happening in your operation?
7. Make a game of competition.
Without goals, you will be stuck in a constant "reactive" mode. Involve your team in setting challenging yet achievable goals that support your organization's mission. When these are met, celebrate. What are you doing to reward your team's work achievements?
8. Encourage your employees to have fun while they work.
Studies have proven that happy employees who are having fun show increased productivity, innovation, better decision making, and superb team work. Organizations who embrace this also have fewer absences, lower turnover, and more profitability. When is the last time you shared a laugh with your team?
Elizabeth P. Cipolla is a regional director and senior consultant with JL Nick and Associates Inc. She is a business communications professional specializing in the areas of leadership training, creative recruitment strategies, employment branding, professional development and executive coaching for nearly 15 years. Her leadership experience comes from various industries including marketing, mass media, apparel, education, manufacturing, nonprofit agencies and insurance. To contact Elizabeth, email her at email@example.com or visit JL Nick and Associates' website at www.jlnick.com.