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HOW TO BUILD A CONNECTION WITH WORKERS THE RIGHT WAY

Leadership is essentially defined as the act of assuming command, or taking charge, over a group of other people. By this definition, leadership is a duty that inherently depends on interacting with others. This means that having the capacity to build strong interpersonal connections is a skill that directly contributes to the effectiveness of a leader. The more people a leader is responsible for overseeing, the more obligated a leader is to show accountability. The easiest way to demonstrate accountability furthermore is to build relationships that are marked by openness, trust and mutual respect.

Influence feeds on the type of connection a leader can establish with followers. This is primarily because having strong connections with employees bolsters trust. When employees trust their leaders, it’s easier for them to focus on achieving organizational objectives with discipline and concentration. Consequently, investing in good relationships with employees is one of the best decisions a leader can make in pursuit of success. Transcending the formal relationship between manager and employee in order to form a more sincere social bond creates mutual loyalty. Four central principles can be relied upon to guide any attempt to establish connections with employees. They are as follows:

1.       Demonstrate Integrity: An honorable person is the easiest person to trust or be aligned with. Practicing basic ethical behavior such as honesty, respect, transparency, kindness, and so on, communicates a desire to be genuine with how you relate to employees. This is a message that is essential for employee morale and professionalism because whether consciously or not, employees are inclined to reflect the character of their superiors towards colleagues and clients. The more integrity a leader demonstrates therefore, the more integrity employees will pra! ctice in kind.

2.       Exercise Emotional Intelligence: The phrase “out of touch” is often used to describe leaders who are experiencing ineffectual relationships with their followers. Being out of touch is a general way of describing a situation whereby someone isn’t using emotional intelligence to make others feel appreciated or understood. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to empathize by considering other people’s needs before one’s own. As is the case with integrity, the more emotional intelligence a leader displays, the more admiration employees will show! back in kind. When employees feel appreciated or understood by leadership, the sense of loyalty generated will make their work feel validated beyond a paycheck.

3.       Make the First Move: The golden rule is infamous – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The idea behind this universal rule is simple. Expecting other people to do things for you, that you aren’t willing to do for them, is unreasonable. This idea applies to employee relationships. If a leader expects to connect with followers, said leader has to be willing to engage proactively and convey what type of a connection is desired with others. In a world full of passive people distracted by endless information and busy schedules, being the t! ype of person who steps up first to build relationships sends a strong message of earnest initiative.

4.       Remember to Lead: Friendship my help people lead with compassion, but leading is a responsibility that doesn’t always call for friendship. In the effort to connect with people, always remember that above forming friendships, people look to leaders for decisiveness, guidance, and strength. Getting caught up in forming interpersonal connection more than projecting leadership can undermine authority irreversibly depending on the environment.

Strong leadership is a balancing act. Finding the happy medium between firm authority and compassionate friendship is the key to building sincere relationships with employees. There is no instant solution to the question of how to establish good connections with a workforce. Every meaningful approach to this issue requires dedicated, continuous effort. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love the various informative workshops and events listed on our website and social media. Whether you’re interested in personal development, or overall improvement of your business, give us a call at 1 (888) 823-7757 to find out how RISE Programs can help you break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

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QUICK GUIDE: WHAT TO DO ABOUT SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

On October 5, 2017, the New York Times published a news story that shed light on decades-long sexual misconduct allegedly committed by renowned Hollywood Film Producer Harvey Weinstein. This story, which outlined multiple accounts of how Weinstein habitually harassed women in the film industry, emboldened even more victims from all walks of life to step forward and publicly share their painful experiences of sexual harassment. The many accusations that ensued not only identified other influential people who have committed sexual misconduct in the past, they also revealed just how prevalent the problem of sexual harassment actually is in the workplace.

What is Sexual Harassment?

One of the biggest lessons to learn from the controversy surrounding the Hollywood Sexual Harassment Scandal is that harassment can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time. Moreover, sexual harassment is not a problem confined to the past. There are countless people suffering in silence today, either because they don’t know what to do about it, or they’re too intimidated to speak out. Harassment of any kind in the workplace is a serious issue. Not only is it unethical, it is illegal. Acts of harassment violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome or offensive conduct of a sexual nature. Such conduct typically includes:

      • Physical Contact
      • Unwanted Advances
      • Offensive Humor
      • Slurs
      • Name-Calling
      • Threats and intimidation
      • Ridicule or Mockery
      • Display of Offensive Objects or Imagery
      • Interference with Work Duties

It’s important to note that the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that bear no reasonable consequences. However, harassment becomes illegal when:

  1. It is committed with the intention of influencing employment status or an employment decision.
  2. It is so frequent or severe that it creates an intimidating and hostile work environment.

What to do if you Feel Harassed:

It isn’t always easy to stand up for yourself, especially when you have a lot to lose by confronting people in power. However, it’s important to remember that not only can coming forward to report harassment end up saving your own life, it can prevent others from being victimized in future as well. If at all you are working in a situation where you feel harassed:

  1. If it’s safe enough to do so, tell the person harassing you to stop – but only do this as long as you feel comfortable confronting them directly.
  2. If confronting a harasser directly is too difficult or unsafe, find a copy of your company’s anti-harassment policy and review it. Once you understand what the company policy is, report and prosecute the harasser under that policy.
  3. If the company you work for doesn’t have an official anti-harassment policy, talk with a separate supervisor or authority figure who has the power to address the situation. They may be able to help stop the misconduct.
  4. If following internal procedures doesn’t provide a solution, file charges of discrimination with the EEOC.

How to help if you Notice Harassment:

Victims of sexual harassment do not have to be subjected to it directly for harassment to be relevant. Anyone affected by offensive conduct, including those who observe it, also have a right to complain about it. If you see something, do something:

  1. Document details of any harassment you see as soon as it happens.
  2. Collect any evidence you can, especially written evidence, of any sexual misconduct you observe. If what you witness ends up being litigated, this evidence could be of help to the victims of harassment.
  3. Privately reach out to the person(s) you witness being harassed and offer your support. They may be reluctant to fight back because they feel alone. There’s strength in numbers.
  4. Share what you know with the Human Resources department of your company, or an authority figure who can put a stop to any harassment you witness.

Passiveness has the unfortunate effect of enabling sexual harassment. If someone engaging in sexual misconduct isn’t reprimanded for it promptly, their behavior will likely escalate and recur until someone makes it clear that such behavior is unacceptable. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love the various informative workshops and events listed on our website and social media. Whether you’re interested in personal development, or overall improvement of your business, give us a call at 1 (888) 823-7757 to find out how RISE Programs can help you break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

 

 

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LOVE YOUR CAREER

According to a Gallup study on the American workplace, two-thirds of employees are disengaged at work. They don’t enjoy what they do which represses them into doing the bare minimum and become ‘just enough’ employees. Ironically many actually like working under these circumstances whereas some tolerate it. Only a fortunate few are lucky enough to bypass this dilemma and find gainful work that they genuinely love.

Considering that work takes up most of our day, and lives, it’s a tragedy to imagine that so many employees get placed in miserable jobs that slowly drain their happiness. Don’t despair however if you happen to be in such a situation. You can still find enjoyment in your work by modifying your attitude and perspective. Doing so is very valuable to your life in many ways.

Here is an exercise that will help you to create your ideal career

Brainstorm these areas:

1.       Things you are passionate about

2.       Your Strengths and Abilities

3.       Things that help those around you

Things you are Passionate about

What activities bring you joy? What are you passionate about? What fills you with energy? What makes you come alive? What is your ideal environment? What types of people would you like to be around? When you love and enjoy your work, your desire and excitement will be a great motivation to keep moving forward.

Your Strengths and abilities

What are your strengths and abilities? What comes naturally to you and doesn’t really cost you too much effort? What have others told you that you do well?

Whether it is motivating people, art, dance, organizing things, public speaking, or cooking, figure out what that is for you and use it to your advantage. These are resources you have available now that will help you excel at what you do, increase your confidence, and build more success.

Things that help those around you

What could the world around you do with more of? In what ways could people benefit from your unique skills and abilities? What can you do or provide that people would be willing to pay for?

Now that you’ve done some brainstorming for each of the areas, carry out the following Venn diagram exercise.

 

 

In the top left circle, list Things you are Passionate about. In the top right circle, list Your Strengths and abilities. In the bottom circle, list the Things that help those around you. Lastly, in the inner overlapping circle, make note of a few items that cover all three areas. These are possible career goals you might want to consider! The items in the overlapping center are the Things you should do more of!

 

Richard Martinez

Transformational Expert

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5 COMMON SENSE WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CYBERATTACKS

If you keep up with the news at all, the word hacking is something that probably rings alarm bells in your head by now. And if it doesn’t… it should. Recent trends indicate that virtually any and every computer system in the world is vulnerable to intrusion by unseen bandits lurking in the shadows. In fact, every new incident of data breaches is so sensational, it’s understandable if anyone is distracted from the big picture of how many people are cumulatively affected by this dilemma. Just to give a few notable examples:

  • Up to 70 Million Target Corporation customers lost personal information due to cyberattacks in November of 2013.
  • Up to 143 Million Equifax users lost personal information due to cyberattacks in May of 2017.
  • Up to 145 Million eBay users lost personal information due to cyberattacks in March of 2014.
  • Up to 152 Million Adobe Systems users lost personal information due to cyberattacks in October of 2013.
  • Up to 3 Billion Yahoo! users lost personal information due to cyberattacks in August of 2013.

For some who held simultaneous accounts with these, and the many other organizations that have suffered data-breaches, the risk of identity-theft and other problems is actually overlapping. There has never been a more urgent time to become smart about how you share, and protect, sensitive personal information with others. Here are some common sense precautions to take in order to protect yourself from cyberattacks:

  1. Don’t Volunteer Information:

One of the easiest ways for hackers to access sensitive information is by attacking companies that don’t prioritize safeguarding it. If you make a habit of providing detailed information to any website or company that requests you to create a profile, you’ll inevitably end up exposed by the fact that your data is scattered across a wide network of sites. When requested information on a form is optional, don’t fill it out. If it’s clear that a company only wants details about you for marketing purposes, don’t provide it. The less corporations know about you, the smaller the target on your back.

2.                   Maintain your Devices:

Smart technology has become a part of daily life. Not only does your computer contain sensitive information about you, but so does anything that connects to Wi-Fi, including: phones, cars, tablets, streaming devices, televisions, and so on. Always makes sure to update the operating systems on these devices and replace their default firewalls with sophisticated antivirus security suites.

3.                   Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when Devices are Idle:

Wireless connectivity provides a backdoor for anyone with the right equipment to access and corrupt electronics without anyone’s knowledge. Unless you are actively using Wi-Fi on an a device, make sure to disable it before setting it aside, or switching it off. Not only does this significantly reduce the odds of hackers infiltrating your technology, it also decreases costs charged by service providers for data-use.

4.                   Use Two-Factor authentication:

Two-factor authentication is a security measure that requires multiple steps in a password-entry process. Rather than relying on a single password that can be easily deciphered by attackers, two-factor authentication generates a second temporary password via phone or email. This ensures that the user entering a password on a given account is genuine. Two-factor authentication makes it difficult for any hacker in a remote location to access a personal account.

5.                   Inspect the Webpages You Visit:

Before you ever decide to click any buttons on a webpage, always assess it to determine whether it’s been disguised for phishing. This is especially crucial before using any websites for financial transactions or sensitive communication. If you notice anything peculiar on a web page such as typos, altered appearance or inconsistent information, desist from browsing immediately until you can ascertain whether it’s been hacked.

It’s time to face facts. Hacking is a new frontier in criminal activity that isn’t about to diminish anytime soon. Considering that the bad guys aren’t about to let up on victimizing people online, we all have a responsibility as individual consumers to be tactical about our online activity. Any information about you is as valuable as currency in today’s society, so start treating it as such. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on consumer awareness and remember to spread the word by sharing this post.

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4 PRACTICAL WAYS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AS A LEADER

Responsible leadership is defined as governance or management that considers the impact of decisions on every possible stakeholder in a business environment, not just those who benefit from a given decision. Responsible leaders therefore, are leaders who don’t just seek to make as much profit as possible out of employees and consumers, they also seek to safeguard these people’s well-being and interests. Responsible leadership is courteous in nature. It is informed by ethics and upholds integrity as the most important trait a leader can exercise. Responsible leaders do not hesitate to do what’s right, even when what is right stands in conflict with what’s lucrative. Here are four important principles of responsible leadership that every leader should personify:

  • Understand the Difference Between Right and Wrong:

Without a moral compass, there is no limit to the amount of damage a leader can inflict on innocent people. Based on their authority alone, leaders are always entrusted with power and resources. The more a leader is entrusted with these elements, the more important it is for said leader to be incorruptible. This can only happen if a strong sense of right and wrong exists in a leader. At the very least, every leader must have a full grasp of three ethical precepts before exercising power over others:

      • Universal Moral Law.
      • Statutory Codes.
      • Organizational Codes of Conduct.
  • Stand up for What is Right:

It’s not enough for a leader to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Leaders also need enough of a backbone to be just. They have to relentlessly fight against pressures or negative influences that goad them towards unscrupulousness. It is extremely easy, almost instinctive even, for people to abuse power selfishly. However when a leader can consistently look past personal interests and always act for the greater good, they stand a good chance of leaving an enduring legacy at the conclusion of their tenure.

  • Understand who you’re Accountable To:

If responsible leadership can be compared to a house, accountability represents each and every brick of that house. Weak accountability makes for an irresponsible leader whereas strong accountability produces wise leadership. Leaders should always remember that they exist to serve. They exist to serve the consumers who rely on their products and they also exist to serve the subordinates whose collective effort endorses a leader’s authority. When a leader loses sight of this dynamic, they begin to impose unrealistic expectations on the very people who support and rely on them.

  • Understand the Consequences of Transgression:

Abuse of power isn’t just a problem, it’s a betrayal. It’s a betrayal of the trust that is placed in a leader, and it always has victims. This is a fact that should exist in the consciousness of every person who calls themselves a leader, regardless of how prominent their role. When leaders break the rules, it’s more than a violation of protocol or red tape. It could end up causing financial loss, personal injury and diminished quality of life to people who don’t deserve to suffer.

20th century author and activist Helen Keller once said, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” This statement is one of the most succinct ways to describe what responsible leadership is all about. Not only do the little things matter, but paying attention to them makes a difference. Leaders who understand how to take responsibility for every facet of their mandate, not just what is glamorous, inevitably position themselves to achieve greatness. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on leadership, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love our many informative workshops and events listed on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/rise-programs-10789866034 Join RISE Programs any time to learn how to break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

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4 EASY STEPS TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE AT WORK

You’re at the office, clocked in and ready with your morning coffee. Before you know it, five o’clock has rolled around and you can’t help but wonder where the time went. What was supposed to be a productive day flew by with little to show for it. Often, the noise that surrounds us can derail our focus before we even realize it.

As a result, we lose track of our goals, projects take longer to complete, and it gets harder to move forward. The good news is that there are solutions! Check out the following tips to get rid of those distractions keeping you from progressing:

  1. Get rid of the clutter:

Physical Clutter

Are you really going to work on that budget analysis right now? If not, you’re probably not going to touch that stack of books anytime soon. Though we might think having these things out in the open will serve as a reminder to get them done, they may actually be hindering your productivity. There may be items on your desk that get you visually overwhelmed and though you might be focusing your eyesight on a specific area, something will still draw your attention. Visual distractions can be reduced by clearing your desk, your walls, and your home of unnecessary possessions. Cleaning up at the end of each day helps you remove clutter and improves your focus.

Digital Clutter

Alright, so you’ve gotten rid of your desk clutter so we’re all set, right? Not quite yet. Organizing your mind means organizing everything! Desktop icons, backgrounds, programs, apps, along with other digital distractions get in the way of getting your work done. Organize your files into the fewest possible folders and keep your computer desktop as clean as your actual desk.

  1. Be smart about your e-mail notifications

We’ve all wasted time focusing on that unimportant email that somehow ends up setting us back in our whole day . You figure you’ll stay on top of everything by enabling email notifications on your desktop and next thing you know, your whole day is spent dismissing notifications – or worse – shopping that “ONE DAY ONLY exclusive sale” that ends in 4 hours, hurry before you miss out! Don’t let email takeover your life. Minimize the distractions by:

  • Turning off automatic email notifications for everyone and allowing them  ONLY for important contacts that you can’t afford to miss
  • Checking your email at specific times throughout the day
  • Having less than two email accounts
  • Unsubscribing from advertisements and newsletters that are no longer of value to you
  1. Schedule phone calls

How many days have slipped out of your hands because you were bombarded with phone calls? Yes, you’re working but by constantly answering your phone, you’re taking time away from crossing out tasks on your to-do list. Avoid taking every call you receive as it comes and instead, establish a specific time each day to return calls and messages.

  1.  Organize your environment:

We mentioned clearing your desk of clutter but if you want to take it one step further after you’ve done this, organize your entire environment! You’re only leaving a few things on your desk at this point, so make the most of them. Organize everything in a way that will improve your productivity. For example:

  • Position important documents or supplies within your reach
  • Label your shelves
  • Use folders for different articles and files instead of having them loose in your drawers
  • Store any books or magazines in a box or a drawer
  • Sort your mail by topic or sender

Investing a little effort into organizing your workstation will save you time in the long run. The more organized your desk is, the less time you’ll spend shuffling through piles of paperwork and the more time you’ll have to actually progress in your career!

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4 ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF VISIONARY LEADERSHIP

The only way to truly succeed in life is to work hard and to work smart. Likewise, the only way to make a meaningful impact as a leader is to fuel those who follow with enduring incentive to provide their best efforts. There are many different ways to accomplish this outcome. One of the most effective methods is to practice what is known as Visionary Leadership.

What is Visionary Leadership?

Visionary leadership is a style of leadership that is characterized by a desire to push the envelope, and exceed the basic expectations of a team’s mission. Visionary leadership focuses on the future, and how to achieve success in the long-term. Whereas a basic leader only concerns themselves with immediate goals such as meeting sales targets or project deadlines, visionary leaders contemplate the overall impact of such activities and how they can be augmented to ensure the survival and prosperity of both their team and any external stakeholders who rely on their leadership. Here are four  characteristics of visionary leadership you should embrace in order to refine your aptitude as a leader:

1.- Foresight:

It is no coincidence that vision serves as the root word for the term visionary. Visionary leadership is only possible when a leader is inclined to be analytical and thinks about the future. The more a person deliberates and prepares for the future, the better positioned they become to capitalize on any assets they wield in the present. Developing a clearly defined vision for a team establishes a sense of direction that can guide the decision-making process beneficially.

2.- Emotional Intelligence:

Being visionary and being inspirational go hand in hand. A visionary leader is someone who bears a distinct ability to motivate others into committed, enthusiastic action. This is an ability that ultimately hinges on how well said leader understands the fact that different people have different natures. The circumstances that motivate one person into action may not necessarily motive another, purely because of personality. If a leader can figure out how to complement varying personalities collectively, they stand a better chance of drawing out exceptional performance from their followers.

3.- Innovation:

Visionary leaders should not hesitate to defy convention. They should be ready to think the unthinkable and try the unimaginable. To put it simply, it’s impossible to be a visionary leader without thinking outside the box. This isn’t just a standard that should apply to the work a leader does, but also to what a leader believes. There are moments in life when success can only be achieved through unusual methods. If a leader cannot actually apply these techniques, they can never break past being ordinary.

4.- Courage:

Considering the fact that visionary leaders take risks in order to accomplish their goals unless they have enough mettle to withstand the pressure that automatically accompanies risk, chances are they’ll be doomed to struggle with stalled plans and unfinished business. Visionaries must persevere under stress. They must be able to keep their eye on the prize even when everyone around them has given up on the dream. It is ultimately a leader’s responsibility to keep hope alive and provide an example that ensures others stay focused on the finish line.

The only way for dreams to come true is if people dare to dream in the first place. The higher the ambition, the higher the stakes are for a leader to strive for greatness. Being a visionary doesn’t just set high standards for a leader’s performance; it provides a team with meaningful motivation to go above and beyond with their duties. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on leadership, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post.

 

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4 PAINLESS WAYS TO COPE WITH THE PRESSURE OF LEADERSHIP

The responsibility of leadership can feel like walking a tightrope on a windy day. Leaders continually have to strike a balance between achieving the greatest good for the greatest number, while also having the resolve to make critical and even unpopular decisions. What’s more, the higher the stakes, the more thankless this role is. Everyone counts on leaders to demonstrate strength in times of crisis. However, leaders seldom have the luxury of showing vulnerability when faced with problems. The boss always has to be composed. The boss should always have the answers. The boss should always have a plan of action.
People easily take for granted that even the most dauntless leaders are human at the end of the day. Regardless of what their specific title is, they face pressure that tests them at every decision. This pressure is what adds the most weight to the burden of leadership. If a leader doesn’t actively try to cope with the stress of external expectations, their chances of success become greatly diminished. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in charge of a neighborhood book club, or the CEO of a blue chip company, practicing stress-management as a habit is imperative to the survival of a leader. Rather than avoiding pressure, addressing it proactively creates the opportunity to disperse the insecurities that pressure causes. Here are four easy tips that every leader should use to overcome the pressures of responsibility.

Stay Calm: When things get tense, keeping your wits about you despite any fear or aggravation is the single most helpful thing you can do for yourself, and the people who depend on your leadership. This is because panic only begets chaos, whereas composure begets wisdom. The simplest metaphor for this is the Stop, Drop and Roll safety drill. If someone catches on fire, succumbing to the human instinct to flail around and scream doesn’t put out the flame one bit. On the other hand – even though it feels counterintuitive – overcoming panic with calm by stopping, dropping, and rolling on the ground, does more to extinguish the fire.

Be Humble: One of the easiest traps of leadership to fall into is excessive ambition. Whether it’s because of a desire to prove oneself, or because of a genuine wish to solve as many problems as possible, many in leadership often find themselves making more promises than they can actually keep realistically. This is detrimental because it amplifies the expectation to deliver on pledges and perform well. Intelligent leadership means understanding how to reassure others without biting off more than you can chew.

Be Flexible: Any leader who doesn’t know how to compromise is setting themselves up for failure. It’s important to keep an open mind about what it takes to make complex decisions. This is why negotiation is one of the most essential skills of leadership. Not every conflict can be solved without a willingness to be pragmatic and find a happy-medium. The more stubborn a leader is about getting their own way, the more others are entitled to expect nothing but unattainable perfection from said leader’s choices.

Live Healthy: Pressure causes stress, and stress in turn causes physical symptoms of illness. Maintaining good health is therefore necessary to circumvent not just the mental impact of pressure, but it’s possible physical outcomes as well. Good leaders should always remember that stepping outside of the tension in order to rest, exercise and eat a good diet is just as vital to good performance as academic and professional training. A healthy lifestyle keeps people strong enough to withstand any severe conditions in life.

Pressure isn’t something to be endured without awareness or precaution because it has the capacity to overwhelm people unnecessarily. Leaders who understand this and take holistic steps to deal with pressure on a psychological level don’t just stand to survive, they stand to grow exponentially in leadership ability. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on leadership, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post.

Author: Daniel Otianga

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7 SMART STRATEGIES TO ACE VIDEO CONFERENCE ETIQUETTE

Once upon a time, only big corporations and media outlets enjoyed the luxury of being able to video conference live. Today, any mobile device with internet access can facilitate a conversation with people who are oceans away. Video chatting has become so available, and so easy, that we hardly notice how routine it now is. For instance, skype interviews are part and parcel of the job-search process today. Board rooms and staff meetings often feature conference calls with stakeholders in remote locations. It’s impossible to do business without encountering the need to video conference in a formal setting. This makes it all the more important to always be prepared to participate in a video conference without conveying disorganization or incompetence. A few basic preparations can go a long way towards creating the right impression. These are the seven cardinal rules of how to video conference with professionalism.

 

  • Set the Stage:

 

It’s always a good idea to ensure that the area you intend to speak from is tidy. At the very least, declutter your space and create a background that doesn’t distract from the conversation. The simpler the better. Even beyond clearing out, set up plenty of lighting to guarantee your video feed is visible. A clear image on-screen makes it possible to interact without visual obstructions to the conversation.

 

  • Dress the Part:

 

If a video conference is being hosted for professional reasons, it’s especially important to treat it as if it were an in-person meeting. It’s easy to underestimate the seriousness of a video conference because each party chooses to stream from familiar environments. This luxury doesn’t change that fact that choosing the wrong wardrobe can put people off. Breaking out that business suit for the meeting communicates a willingness to go above and beyond in order to respect the other party.

 

  • Keep your Info Nearby:

 

If a meeting with someone is likely to last for an extended period of time, chances are the topics of discussion will require reference to specific records. Scrambling for notes and sources mid-conversation not only looks sloppy, it slows down the pace of discussion and can sidetrack the conference altogether. Well before connecting with someone on video, gather all essential information and place it within reach nearby. This keeps the flow of the meeting seamless whenever it becomes necessary to look-up relevant information.

 

  • Test your Equipment:

 

No video conference can be successful without functioning audio and video equipment. One-on-one meetings don’t necessarily create any challenges with regard to this issue, but conferences with multiple people in different locations often require added logistics. It’s important to figure out if every microphone, every camera, and every computer works well enough to keep conversation uninterrupted. A quick test-run before the meeting easily prevents the possibility of glitches.

 

  • Secure the Area:

 

Even with everything perfectly in place, there is one seemingly insignificant detail that many people neglect when it comes to hosting video conferences. Lock the doors if privacy is vital to the meeting. It can be painfully embarrassing to apologize for people barging into a meeting if it’s meant to be held behind closed doors. The peace of mind itself of knowing that one’s immediate surroundings are secure make it easier to concentrate on the video conference.

 

  • Be Punctual:

 

Being available on time for a conference call is arguably more important than punctuality for in-person meetings. The limitations that make meeting face-to-face impossible also amplify the urgency of a video conference. Being late thus translates into irretrievably wasted time. Always factor in how much time it takes to organize a video conference, then prepare strategically enough to accept a call within 15 minutes of an appointed time.

 

  • Be Conversational:

 

One of the most common mistakes that people make when video conferencing is treating their call as if they’re watching TV. They begin to display passive habits such as leaving the room to attend to random issues or frequently looking away from the people on-screen. Establishing an interpersonal connection is equally as important during a video call as it is face-to-face. Always make an effort to be attentive, maintain eye-contact and actively listen to everyone involved in a video conference.

Video conference etiquette is all about self-awareness. The most important thing is to treat conversations that happen on video with equal respect as those that happen in person. As long as interaction is respectful and focused, there shouldn’t be any hindrances to a satisfactory experience with this mode of communication. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on business, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post.

Author: Daniel Otianga

 

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A Quick Guide to Training Team Members

A Quick Guide to Training Team Members

At some point or another, every company has to go about the process of training its employees. Whether it’s because of new-hires, or whether it’s to introduce new procedures and systems, understanding how to formally prepare and instruct team members to adopt new ideas is an essential component of business. Good training has the capacity to enhance employee performance and elevate operational output. Many managers fumble when it comes to staff-training however because they either underestimate its importance, or they do not know how to coordinate the variables involved in training team members. On the surface, training people seems like a complex, labor-intensive initiative. Nonetheless with the right approach, there are no circumstances that make it absolutely impossible to achieve success when it comes to training employees. The following is a general guide to illustrate the most important principles of training team members:

  1. Conduct a Needs-Analysis.

Any form of training has to be established on a bedrock of self-awareness. The more an organization understands the specific areas of its functions that need improvement, the more precisely said organization will be able to facilitate changes that eliminate its problems. This self-awareness is best achieved through a needs-analysis evaluation. Needs-analysis involves documentation of elements such as employee skills, shortfalls in customer satisfaction, production cycle hitches, financial losses, or any other such performance indicators. Documenting this information creates a clear guide to determine the exact changes and training resources a company should implement in order to improve its situation.

  1. Know your audience.

Training programs are a tangible representation of the standards and values that an organization seeks to uphold. When successfully incorporated, these programs are meant to become part and parcel of employees’ behavior and instincts. As such, successful implementation of a training program hinges on a thorough understanding of the people who are expected to practice it. Instead of springing a set of blind instructions onto a team out of the blue, taking some time to assess their knowledge and abilities will create the opportunity to identify who needs concentrated attention during training, and by how much. Always prefix new training with team-building exercises that help staff prepare for change. Explain the company’s employee development process to reduce uncertainty, and prepare everyone psychologically for heightened supervision.

  1. Customize your Training Program.

Getting to know your audience opens the window to customize a training program. A deeper understanding of the personality profiles that compose a team makes it possible to modify training methods in a way that matches the performance expectations of your current workforce. For instance, if it is discovered that some members of a team are more familiar with a specific new technology than others, it would be more effective to design training in a way that gives basic information to the novices and advanced information to the experts. The most important goal is to emphasize knowledge that will enhance employee’s ability to perform their work rather than inundate them with information that they either know already, or have no ability to comprehend.

  1. Implement the Program.

After all of this background preparation has been completed, the next step is to decide on how best to implement the desired training. This basically denotes making choices such as: whether or not to hire professional trainers, whether to attend conferences, whether to invest in new technology, or whether to rely exclusively on in-house methods. Ultimately the most beneficial thing to do is to use a cost-efficient method. If training is going to be conducted on a small team, using elaborate means such as hiring professionals should only be necessary in cases where team members require specialized expertise.

  1. Evaluate Progress

Good training is about being engaged in the process well beyond the point that team members have been given new information. As employees adapt to new procedures and requirements, managers also have a responsibility to minimize any friction or push-back instigated by the natural human impulse to resist change. Feedback should be provided abundantly in order to maintain consistent performance from team members. Performance appraisals can help keep track of how well people are adapting to their new responsibilities. Rewarding good performance also bolsters employee morale about adopting new routines or systems. Making the effort to guide the training process past initial instruction keeps the motive behind this training alive, and allows it to become instinctive.

Conducting regular training is a way for a company to simultaneously improve operations, as well as communicate to a workforce that personal growth and development are esteemed at an institutional level. Being systematic and considerate about introducing employees to change is the key. Training is a process of nurturing and cultivation, not delegation. The more attention is paid to seeing it through, the more successful the desired training will be.

 

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