Woody Allen once said, “80-percent of life is showing up.” This week’s guest on The Good Works Show, Michael Lucas, Deputy Director of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyer Foundation, seems to agree.
“I think leadership is all about the power and the value of showing up,” he said. “Whether it’s as a leader and showing up for your staff, or it’s for an organization that wants to do community change, there is incredible value in just showing up, and being present in solidarity with the community or client base you are trying to serve. Both the leader and the organization will reap the benefits of that.”
This week’s job tip on The Good Works Show came from Summer Dunham, Director of Public Relations at Goodwill of North Georgia. From turning her childhood interests into a career, she provided a job tip that has helped her build a career while doing what she is passionate about.
“Think about something that you like, and find a way to do it as a job,” she said. “When I was little, I liked talking to anybody that would listen. I looked at careers that involved talking to people, and here I am doing public relations in the great state of Georgia, for an organization with a mission I really believe in. Think of what you like, and find a way to get paid for it.”
To listen to the full show, click here and don’t forget to tune in at noon on Saturday for a new episode of The Good Works Show!
John Maxwell once said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” Each year 45-percent of Americans set resolutions for the new year. Of this 45-percent, only 8-percent are successful in achieving their resolution. To make 2017 your most successful one yet, consider these simple and achievable workplace resolutions to add to your routine, along with tips for maintaining them.
1. Listen and communicate effectively. Being an effective communicator begins with listening. This year, try to not leave people waiting for answers. Keep your coworkers updated, thank them if they’ve helped you and don’t be afraid to ask questions when needed.
2. Stretch yourself to grow. Start with asking yourself, “How can I go above and beyond?” Stepping out of your work comfort zone will allow you to expand your knowledge, as well as your experience.
3. Get fit. After a season full of cookies and holiday parties, it’s no surprise that getting fit is one of the most common resolutions. Getting fit is not only beneficial for your health, it is also helpful in creating success in the workplace. Adding simple activities to your routine, such as going for a 20-minute walk, will increase your likelihood of living a healthy lifestyle and sticking to this resolution. Don’t forget, a healthy body creates a healthy mind.
4. Maintain a healthy work-life balance. With technology allowing workers to stay in constant communication with work, this resolution may seem almost impossible. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Remember to reward your hard work with some well-deserved play. Drawing clear lines and sticking to them may even help you stay sharper while on the job and help you resolve workplace issues more efficiently.
Usher’s New Look alumna Kamera Cobb learned a thing or two from going through the four-year program. One of the many leadership tips she picked up while participating with the nonprofit? Networking, and how you present yourself, is key.
She emphasizes this with the current students of the program, with whom she advises. “It’s all about eye contact, a firm handshake, and speaking clearly,” she tells them.
These tips are also critical when interviewing for a job. First impressions are key, and even the littlest component of the initial meeting can contribute to the overall success of the interview. Beyond eye contact and confidence Cobb suggests, here are a few more ways to make your mark.
Don’t be late. But don’t be too early. The potential employer might have a very busy schedule, so don’t show up too ahead of your interview, making them scramble to be available.
Dress appropriately. This will likely be the first time you have met the employer face-to-face. Make sure you wear something that fits well, is ironed and clean, and is professional.
Practice your elevator speech. All interviews are different, but it’s usually a given that you’ll be asked to tell the interviewer a little bit about yourself, and why you are a good fit for the job. Be prepared with this answer.
Treat everyone with respect. You aren’t just trying to impress the interviewer. Make sure to be kind and appreciative to everyone from the secretary to the CEO.
Send a handwritten thank-you note. Emails and quick communications are the norm. Stand out by taking the time to write, and mail, an appreciation for the time of your interviewers.
For more job and leadership tips tune in to The Good Works Show on Saturdays at noon on News Radio 106.7 FM or catch the podcasts at https://soundcloud.com/thegoodworksshow.
Leading an organization (or department, or project at work) can be hard, tiring work. But, according to Elisa Buckner, Board Member of Atlanta’s Summerhill Community Ministries, it’s important to stay strong and focused, and get through the task at hand, no matter what.
“Never give up,” she said. “There are definitely times when the funding might not be there, or challenges might come up and you feel overwhelmed, but don’t give up. When you are working with people and you are working with real, live beings, you want to keep encouraging, keep teaching, and keep giving positive alternatives to what may be a very dark situation that they are in.”
As a leader, how can you inspire others (and yourself) to keep going with the work gets tough?
Break it down. Sometimes work can be overwhelming. Take the project or work one step at a time, setting smaller, achievable goals and benchmarks. Focus on the smaller pieces that will eventually make up the whole puzzle.
Stop to smell the roses. Or, to take a walk. Or, to have dinner with a friend. Encourage staff to take time for themselves. If the work is hard and stressful, they will need some moments to recharge and refresh, and come back ready to try again.
Celebrate small wins. Motivate the team by recognizing accomplishments along the way.
Show them the bigger picture. The project at hand may cause some long hours and sleepless nights, but it’s all part of the larger mission. Accomplishing the task will set the organization up for success.
Howard Lubert, Managing Director of the Rowan Innovation Venture Fund, joined The Good Works Show to talk about Rowan’s investment initiatives, but also left listeners with a leadership tip.
“Smart investors invest in jockeys, not horses,” he said. “We are looking for leaders who generate the kind of strength and charisma and trust that make us want to write checks. It’s not about the cure for cancer, and it’s not about the key fob that finds your keys. It’s about the guy who can gather the troops and make things happen and generate that loyalty and trust.”
But how does an effective leader build loyalty and trust? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Encourage open communication. Allow your staff and team to speak freely about their work and their ideas. Let them know their opinions are valid and valued.
Collaboration is key. Each part of the team plays a key role in the work. Remind them that working together is critical to success. This will help form bonds and connections within the organization.
Invest in your employees. Let your team know their professional development is a top priority. The organization is only as strong as each individual member, so ensuring each employee both maintains their skills and grows in their position.
Don’t micromanage. Trust that you have put together a strong team. By giving them some freedom to do their work, you’ll show your staff you have faith in their abilities and competencies.
Promote a positive work culture. Recognize the efforts of your team, and applaud jobs well done. Show your staff you appreciate the time they put into their work, and that the organization couldn’t succeed without them.
Hear more from Howard Lupert on the Healthcare Angels podcast of The Good Works Show at http://goodwillng.org/goodworks.
In her role evaluating worthy organizations for Philanthropitch, Chelsea Manning has worked with nonprofit leaders from all over the country. In addition to funding ideas that are making a difference, the Philanthropitch program loves to support organizations with innovative and forward-thinking leaders. She also looks for a little humility from these leaders.
“Honesty and transparency are what we look for when we are talking to nonprofit leaders—someone who can honestly say ‘We don’t quite know what we are doing in this area, so we know we need help here, but we know we have a really good idea.’”
So as a leader, why are honesty and transparency so important?
1. Honesty and transparency creates trust. Employees want to know they are in the loop, and aren’t being kept in the dark. This trust helps promote a sense of stability in the workplace, and ultimately encourages loyalty among the staff.
2. Teamwork is enhanced. Transparency and honesty allows for leaders and staff members alike to show and discuss their strengths, demonstrating how each can best contribute to the work.
3. Problems are solved more quickly. Lack of honesty and transparency often causes a communication breakdown or barrier. When leaders and staff are encouraged to talk about what they need, they become better able to resolve any issues that arise within a project or the workplace.
4. Creativity thrives. An open and honest workplace lets employees feel supported to do their best work, and allows them to be more engaged.
5. Respect is earned. Honesty and transparency keeps leaders authentic. Employees can respect a boss that can both lead by example, and also be willing to admit that they don’t have all the answers.
Atlanta-based Amplify 4 Good creates social and organizational change by using rapid problem-solving techniques and by coming up with innovative solutions to challenges. Amplify’s co-founder and Executive Director Joey Womack joined The Good Works Show to talk about the organization and offer some leadership advice to listeners.
“Build a solid team. Hire slowly, fire quickly. Definitely take time to find the right people—people that have the values that you see in your organization, people that are committed to the cause.”
An organization that thrives on efficiency and high-paced work would surely depend on an effective team, but a quality staff is critical for any organization. Here are some steps to creating a strong group.
1. Define your organization’s needs and goals. By identifying the mission of your work, you will be better able to fill it with people who can get the task at hand done.
2. When hiring for a position, meet multiple people. Even if you think you’ve found “the one” in the first interview, sit down with at least a couple more. This will broaden your selection pool and enable you to pick the best person for the job.
3. Throw a curveball. Move the interview mid-conversation. Have another employee come into the room to ask a question. This will allow you to see how the job candidate responds to different situations.
4. Get the opinion of the current team. Have the job candidate talk with a few different members of the staff. Let them get a feel for the potential new employee to evaluate whether or not they would be a good fit.
5. Consider all sides. This person may have the technical experience, but do they come with the passion and the drive? Try to fill your team with people who have a combination of tangible and intangible skills.
“Résumés. It’s really important to make sure your résumé is up-to-date and has the current information – including your valid email address – so that employers are able to contact you in the event they are interested in looking at you for potential employment. So please, please, please make sure that your résumés are up-to-date.”
– Heather Morrison, lead facilitator at Goodwill of North Georgia’s East Athens career center
For more job tips like Heather’s, tune in weekly to The Good Works Show or check out the podcasts at https://soundcloud.com/thegoodworksshow/northern-star-cobb-works-032616.
Good Works Show guest Mandy Williams, founder and executive director of Northern Star Independent Transitional Living, offers listeners a leadership tip for finding a job they love. “Follow your dreams,” she says. “If you are passionate about something, stick with it. Ask for help. Learn all you can.”
What if you know what you like, but aren’t sure of your passion? Here are some tips to pinpoint your dream job:
Think about who you admire. Professionals, family members, community leaders. What are they doing? Maybe you admire them because they are doing what you want to do. And, if their path doesn’t exactly align with your wants, you can at least look to them for advice on how they got to where they are.
Evaluate what you spend your time on outside of work. What you do after the 9-5 is often the most important to you. Can you turn that into a job or career?
Forget the money. Sure, paying the bills is important. Passion work, though, is about what you would do if money was no object. Try to leave the money part out of the initial search for the right path.
Make a list of deal breakers. What don’t you want to do? What is a work environment that you couldn’t handle? Sometimes gauging what you don’t like will lead you to something you do.
Do your research. Read biographies of established leaders and learn how they got to their position. Check out professional development books like What Color is Your Parachute? Peruse career and lifestyle websites like Levo League (www.levo.com) and Clarity on Fire (www.clarityonfire.com).