Are You a Modern Leader?

By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

Traditionally, a strong leader was someone who would take and command power and control. It was someone who would sit at the head of a company and issue directives to be fulfilled by those below them. Times are changing, and with it, the way corporations are run.
An effective new style of leadership in modern business requires you to understand that command and control are a way of the past. Successful leaders today need to effectively communicate direction while also remaining companionable and compassionate.
This engages the team and encourages them to grow personally within their own positions. The overall effect is an inspired team that follows an example of collaboration, innovation, and acceptance.


Start With a Clear Vision
Consumers are more educated than ever and appreciate businesses that are willing to help them learn. As the leader, you need to be able to cut through the noise and focus on what will contribute to the company’s end goal of serving the customer.
Focus your efforts on achieving the main goal. Trust in your team and let go of control of the day to day tasks. This encourages innovative thinking and problem-solving.

Collaborative
Greater development comes from collaboration. Your company cannot truly be successful when each team and individual work in a vacuum. By encouraging collaboration, you allow employees to build on each other’s work for an overall stronger and better outcome.

Get Comfortable with Conflict
Not everyone will agree with everyone all of the time, and that’s ok. As the leader, it’s your job to be comfortable with this conflict and mediate to find a compromise acceptable to all parties. This is when a clear vision becomes essential as it helps you align conflicting parties towards the common goal.
Plan for conflict by understanding that interdepartmental collaboration tends to come with a certain level of conflict. This is because each department approaches the overall goal from their department’s point of view. It can be challenging for employees to step outside of their duties to understand the problem from another’s perspective.
As the leader, it’s your responsibility to minimize animosity and encourage understanding. When you lead by example, you can be a conductor of change. This will help mold the corporate culture to be one of understanding and communication.

Culturally Aware
As a leader, it’s important to understand that you’ll communicate and lead people from various backgrounds. Don’t let your personal bias influence who you lead. This could include controversial topics like race, religion, and nationality. But it can also pertain to things like hairstyle and color, tattoos, or personal habits and quirks of your team members.
Focus your analysis of an employee’s quality on their performance at work and not on your personal bias. This encourages the development of your most talented employees, no matter what walk of life they come from.

Consistency
Nothing sinks a corporate ship faster than confusion and inconsistency. While it’s important to be agile, this shouldn’t apply to the overall goal or your leadership style.
If the goal continually changes, then employees won’t know how to prioritize their work or what they’re working towards. If your management style changes, you breed insecurity and paranoia.

Embrace a New Style of Leadership
It takes time and effort to develop your management style into a new style of leadership that blends with modern corporate culture. One way you can develop your style is by speaking with other leaders. This allows you to see working examples of implementing modern leadership approaches.

Let’s get to work!
-Linda

If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

How Mindfulness Is Changing The Corporate World

By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

Google, General Mills, Aetna, and Target have already jumped on the mindfulness trend. Are you familiar with corporate mindfulness and its emphasis on slowing down to focus on the present? Extensive research on the topic of mindfulness and its benefits is convincing executives and managers to adopt this new-age approach to corporate culture.


What Is the Mindfulness Approach?
Encouraging mindfulness and a management approach involves helping employees to slow down. The goal is to focus on the present task at hand in order to reduce chaos and improve productivity. As a leader, you support reflection, thoughtfulness, and openness.


How Does Corporate Mindfulness Benefit Your Business?
When employees take the time to refocus their minds and attention, they become more productive. Practicing mindfulness allows them to direct all of their focus onto the task at hand. By eliminating attempts to multitask, an employee’s finished work product is of higher quality.
As a leader, being mindful means you take the time to consider all of your options and potential outcomes. This results in better decision making.


Improved Employee Wellness
Many companies that adopt mindfulness programs see a significant drop in stress levels among employees. This reduced stress results in a happier and calmer environment. On a corporate level, embracing mindfulness reduces the number of sick days employees take.
But mindfulness can do more than reduce stress. There are several benefits you’ll experience when regularly practicing mindfulness:
-Reduced inclination to interpret uncertainty as a threat
-Improved mental agility
-Improved short-term memory
-Ability to perform complex cognitive tasks
-Reduced mental wandering and distractibility


Company Longevity
Constant turnover is the death of any company. Recruiting, hiring, and training are expensive. If your company is constantly in this cycle, you will have a large draw on your overall bottom line. Additionally, it’s impossible to be productive when working towards long term goals when the team is continuously changing.
By creating a culture where mindfulness is encouraged, you create a more positive, caring, and open environment. Employees feel lower stress levels and perceive the company as caring about them. These qualities can help to encourage employee retention.
With higher employee retention, you have the opportunity to build stronger interpersonal relationships. Your recruiting, hiring, and training costs are reduced, which improves your bottom line. Finally, you’re able to be more productive at achieving short and long term goals.


How Companies are Implementing Mindfulness
While it’s helpful to look at how other companies incorporate mindfulness, for it to truly be a success, the program you implement needs to be customized. The program you implement needs to make sense and naturally incorporate it into your business. It can help to start with a pilot program.
Start from the top down with leadership training on mindfulness. This will encourage executive-level support. Then you could expand the program to include meditation training or mindfulness coaching for all employees.
To make your corporate mindfulness program a success, you’ll need to garner support. You’ll have to address those who are resistant to change, stuck in their ways, or doubtful of the new program. But by encouraging people to embrace the unknown, you’re already well on your way to incorporating mindfulness into your corporate culture.


Try Corporate Mindfulness Today
Whether you’re ready to try mindfulness in your company or are still unsure of its benefits, it can help to start with yourself. By practicing mindfulness for yourself, you can experience the benefits and get a better understanding of this new way of thinking.
It can help to speak with someone to help guide you on your path to mindfulness. Our coaching and networking services allow you to speak with others and learn about their experience with mindfulness.

Let’s get to work!
-Linda

If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

What Type of Leader Are You? Try These Strategies of Great CEOs

By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

How does someone become a great leader? Are you born with the right qualities, or can you learn the skills to effectively lead?
Being a great leader is about more than having a single set of ideal skills. It’s about knowing yourself and those you’re leading. This list of the best leadership strategies will help you understand the strategies used by the world’s top CEOs.
With the right leadership, you can help ensure long term success for you, your employees, and the company.


Achievement Oriented
Leaders that are achievement-oriented like to set goals and then work towards them. They encourage those around and under them to grow and improve. This type of leadership is successful because it clearly aligns everyone within the company to work towards a common goal.
Employees who like to have autonomy appreciate this leadership style. They’re encouraged to take self-responsibility to grow and work toward their personal goals while also contributing to the company’s overall goal.
The one potential pitfall of this type of leadership is getting too focused on the here and now. As the leader, you need to look both at the current and overarching long term goals.


Supportive
Those that show compassion and empathy while striving to remain approachable are supportive leaders. There’s a genuine concern for employees, and everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
The benefit of being a supportive leader is that employees feel cared for and valued. This concern garners respect and loyalty.


Participative
For a democratic style of leadership, consider being participative. These types of leaders like to include lower-level employees in the decision-making process. This can be wise when you’re looking for varied points of view. It also gives employees a sense of ownership and importance.
As a participative leader, you’ll seek to elevate your employees. You’ll inspire them to work harder because you’ve given them a sense of inclusion in the direction of the company.
To make this style of leadership successful, you’ll need to balance participation with decision making. Ultimately, as the leader, it’s your responsibility to make decisions in a timely manner. Don’t let the operation of the company get bogged down in round tables, meetings, and updates.


Transformational
Are you the type of leader who loves innovation and has a vision? Then you’re a transformational leader. You’ll find this type of leader is most common in the technology industry, but you can apply it to other businesses.
This type of leadership works because it benefits both the organization and its employees. As a transformational leader, you look to the future of both your company and the industry as a whole. Then use that vision to model and align your mission and business plan.
Employees that are driven by a mission gravitate towards this leadership style. They appreciate a leader who has goals that are bigger than the next new product.
Directive
The final leadership style provides a clear structure and direction for employees. You’ll need to be able to provide performance objectives and effectively communicate expectations. This leadership style works best when leading employees in more of a repetitive and task-driven role.
Not all company roles need collaboration, innovation, or achievement. The focus is on getting the daily tasks done. A directive role is effective at ensuring employees perform to standard consistently.


Develop Your Leadership Style
When it comes to developing your leadership style, it needs to feel natural. You cannot force yourself into one of these best leadership strategies that don’t blend well with your personality. You’ll be perceived as not genuine and, therefore, untrustworthy by those you’re trying to lead.

Let’s get to work!
-Linda

If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

Lessons Learned from Those Who Serve

 

By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

There are bosses, and then there are leaders. Which one do you want to be? A boss is focused on gaining personal power and wealth. A leader puts the interest of the entire team first. Through the growth and development of the entire team, you as the leader gain more experience, knowledge, and recognition. People who focus on leading and supporting their team are seen to have more humanity and maintain better long term workplace relationships. This is a positive influence on your entire career.

What Is a Servant Leader?
The concept of being a servant leader arose in the 1970s. The idea is to make those under you more important than your own personal aspirations or the shareholder’s desire for wealth. Through positive support and growth, everyone benefits because the focus is on the betterment of everyone and not on just one person or a small group of people.

Humility
Focus on developing humility by being generous and humble. Don’t be afraid to admit your weaknesses. No one is perfect, and just because you’re the leader, doesn’t mean you never make mistakes or have any weaknesses. By admitting fault and weaknesses, you show those under you that it’s ok to make mistakes and makes you relatable.
Focus on giving credit where its due. Give your team credit for their ideas and effort. This will encourage them to speak up and work in the future. People want to be recognized for their efforts.

Humanity
Everyone has a backstory. Approach everyone with humanity, empathy, and compassion. Understand that everyone has a background that shapes their point of view and perspective. By taking the time to understand someone, you can better identify their needs.
Understanding and getting to know each member of your team will help you to manage them better. It will also help you to find common ground and resolve conflicts.

Communication
Too often, corporate leadership thinks communication is relaying information to those they manage. But this is only half of the communication puzzle. As a servant leader, you should do more than effectively communicate at your team.
Develop your listening skills by focusing on your team. Give them 100% of your attention when they’re speaking. This lets them know you value their time, ideas, and employment.
Another important skill is to develop your persuasive speaking skills. This means focusing on speaking in a way that focuses on providing supportive facts and figures rather than commanding action. When your team understands why they’re doing something they’re going to work harder than just being commanded to do something.

Self-Awareness
Don’t be afraid to look at your own skills objectively. Identify what your strengths and weaknesses are. By knowing where you excel and where you don’t, you can effectively distribute the workload so that everyone’s tasks can get utilized in the best way.
Keep in touch with your emotions and understand what causes you to react emotionally. This will help you identify your emotions and prevent you from reacting with them. As an effective leader, you should make decisions based on logic and reason and not on your emotions. Practice self-discipline and set boundaries for yourself. This will ensure you take care of yourself so you can better take care of the people around you.

Develop Your Servant Leadership Skills
One of the best ways to develop your servant leadership skills is to communicate with fellow career-minded individuals. This will give you the opportunity to practice your persuasive speaking and listening skills. Focus on what others are saying and learning about who they are and their background. You can then apply these skills to your role as a leader.


Let’s get to work!
Linda
If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at  lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

Stay Motivated and Focused With These 5 Tips

By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

Only 8% of people successfully achieve the goals they set for themselves. Don’t let this discourage you, though. Most people fail because they don’t have the right plan, tools, or skills needed to succeed. Are you ready to set yourself up for success? Then it’s time to learn and apply these five tips.

1. Clearly Define Your Goal
The first thing you need to do is define your goal. How can you stay motivated and focused if you don’t have a clear picture of what you’re working for? Write down a definable goal and the steps you need to take to reach that goal.
Let’s say you want to retire early. This isn’t a clear goal. Saying that you want to retire by 50 is. From there, you can create stepping stone goals of targeted saving, income level increases, promotions, and investment growth.
You now have a clear roadmap for you to follow to reach your end goal.


2. Break It Into Chunks
The human brain likes to find groupings. This is why it’s easier to remember a phone as three groups of numbers instead of one long string of ten. The grouping strategy is effective beyond memory tasks.
If you look at the entirety of your goal, the sheer magnitude of it will become overwhelming. This will drive you to avoid working towards it. Instead, break it up into manageable chunks that your brain can focus on.
Jump-start your progress by making the beginning chunks smaller and have them get progressively bigger. This will give you several “wins” early on. Your motivation will exponentially build so that you can better tackle the larger chunks.


3. Give Yourself Positive Reinforcement
As a manager, you should be familiar with positive reinforcement. Rewarding desired behavior yield better results than punishing undesired behavior. You achieve better results, and morale remains high.
Use this tactic on yourself. Find a small reward that makes you happy. Every time you perform a task towards your goal, let yourself enjoy your reward.


4. Create a Social Support System
People try to use social support to pull themselves along to their goals. This is not the right way to use this tactic. The biggest mistake you can make is to tell your support system your end goal and depend on that person to stop you from slipping up.
Instead, tell your support system the goal for the current chunk you’re working on. This will help you stay focused on the task at hand. Next, only use your support system to validate your wins, and not as a guilt-trip.
Let’s continue with the goal of retiring at 50. Don’t tell your support system this goal. Instead, tell them your goal is to attend two networking events a month. By doing this, you’ll expand your professional network, which helps you move up in your career, increase your salary, and eventually retire early.


5. Plan for the Bumps in the Road
Don’t plan to fail. But you’re human, slip-ups will happen. Create an action plan for when those bumps in the road occur. It should include things like these:
Avoid negative self-talk
Own the slip-up to your support system
Avoid over-analyzing
Recognize repeated slip-ups and do self-reflection to break the pattern
Take the First Step to Achieve Your Professional Goal


Do you have a career goal in mind or need help defining your goal? Contact us today and let an expert career coach help you define your goals. Our full suite of services can help you work towards your career goals. We also offer networking services to help you network and develop your support system.
Select your customized career package today, and let’s start working towards your goal!

Let’s get to work!
Linda
If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at  lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

5 Tips to be a Successful Networker

By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

About 85% of open positions are filled through networking. This means that if you want to move forward with your career, you need to get talking. Networking with other professionals in your industry not only opens you up to new opportunities, but it allows you to become more connected with your current industry.
Being a successful networker isn’t about just knowing a lot of people. Follow these tips to make the most of your next cocktail hour.

Be True to You
Don’t try to portray a false image. People will figure out you’re not authentic, and this will tarnish their impression of you. You will also blend into the crowd of other professionals who display superficial behavior.
Compare this to the trend in marketing we see. Companies that focus on flashy marketing campaigns don’t perform as well as those that strive to be authentic. People want to form real relationships. You can do this in your networking by being a real human being and not a walking advertisement for yourself.

Be Honest and Direct
While you want to be impressive, you also want to be honest. While people may not catch your falsehoods at first, they will eventually. When this happens, your brand is tarnished forever. People will remember your dishonesty and translate that to your professional performance.
You also want to be direct in your networking. Respect people’s time, and they’ll respect yours. Getting to the point is appreciated by business professionals who have numerous demands on their time.

Bring Value
Now that you’ve ditched the cheesy personal sales pitch, it’s time to create a new strategy. Offer the person you’re networking with something of value. Remember, the people you’re networking with are looking to further their own careers.
You don’t have to offer anything significant. Sometimes all it takes is a small piece of advice or a kind gesture. The key to making an impact with your offered value is to not expect anything in return. This small gesture now can lead to exponential dividends over the long term.

Ask Specific Questions
One trick to making yourself memorable is to be engaged and interested in the person you’re speaking with. Show the other person you’re paying attention by asking specific questions. Listen to what they say and form a question directly related to what they’ve said.
Doing this can also help you with the previous tip. Asking specific questions can help you to better understand the other person’s wants and needs. This will help you narrow in on their needs to determine how you can offer value.

Follow Up
You’ve spent time and energy getting to know someone. Show that you care and build on that investment by following up with the people you network with. You don’t have to do anything extravagant; a simple follow up phone call or email will suffice.
When you follow up, express your appreciation for the conversation. Specifically, mention something they said or any value they gave you. It’s also helpful to ask a question. This encourages continued communication and helps develop the relationship.

Become a Successful Networker
The next time you attend a professional event, try putting these tips into practice. Try to be direct and true to yourself. Ask specific questions and learn about the person you’re networking with. Then offer them some value without the expectation of anything in return. The people you’re networking with will appreciate your authenticity and generosity. This will make an impression and make you memorable.

Sign up for one of our Senior Executive Round Table events and connect with other executives while practicing your networking skills.

Let’s get to work!
Linda
If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at 203-323-9977 or lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

Master Virtual Networking From Home

conference, online, networking, zoom, business, interview

By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindavan/
lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

It took 24 days for the world total of confirmed Covid-19 cases to double. It took just four days for the total confirmed cases in the United States to double. These numbers drive home just how infectious this virus is and how fast the number of those infected can exponentially grow.
We all want to stay safe during this uncertain time, but we also need to address our responsibilities and care for our families. This means changing our habits and figuring out new ways of doing things. How do you maintain a successful career when you are working from home, and all networking functions have been canceled? We have a few ideas to help you maintain your network while also maintaining a safe distance.

Virtual Cocktail or Coffee Hour
Create a virtual event where you invite other professionals to have a cocktail or coffee with you. Use a group video chat app that allows multiple people to see and talk to each other simultaneously such as:

  • Google Hangouts
  • WhatsApp
  • Join.me
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Zoom

Create a theme for your video call that can provide some value to the attendees. It could be a chat to help those working from home for the first time. Or it could be a chat to address how you’ll address a loss in company productivity, financial strains, or employee illness.

Phone and Email
This is the perfect time to follow up on past networking contacts you’ve made. Life and work can get busy, and even with the best of intentions, you may not have followed up with everyone you’ve connected with. Use this time to create a list of people you haven’t connected with recently.
Once you have your list, decide the best way to reach out to each person. Some people may prefer an email, while others may appreciate a quick phone call. Keep the conversation short and express genuine concern for the other person. Don’t forget to offer assistance or aid.

Build Your Online Reputation
Try taking this time to build your reputation online. You could publish articles or answer forum questions. By doing this, you’ll build your reputation within the industry beyond those in your immediate network circle.
Try community websites like Reddit, Quora, or an industry-specific website. Engage in online conversations and develop your thoughts on relevant topics. There are 330 million users on Reddit that are active in over 138,000 communities, so you’re sure to find people to network with. Quora is a question and answer website with 80 million active users who ask and answer 3,000 to 5,000 questions every day.
Write an article or blog post for an industry website. Pick a topic that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about. Make sure that it’s published under your name.

Get Social
Log into your LinkedIn account and start virtual networking with industry professionals. This is another way you can connect with people you have networked with. Consider it a step in building your relationship with important connections.
You’ll also be able to see your second and third level connections. Look through your suggested connections and reach out to people that you may not have had a chance to meet in person.

Virtual Conference
With large gatherings getting canceled, people are getting creative in how they can get a similar experience. This has led to big-name musicians like Coldplay, Keith Urban, and John Legend hosting virtual concerts. Don’t be surprised if others start to follow suit with virtual conferences and other events.
Reach out to the host of an event you were planning to attend. Ask if they will still host the event, but virtually. You could attend a video presentation and then participate by submitting questions or comments through a chat system.

Continue to Network From home
Humans are social creatures, so staying away from each other and isolating ourselves is a challenge. Not only will these virtual networking tips assist you with your career, but they’ll also help you stay positive during this uncertain time.

Let’s get to work!
Linda
If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at 203-323-9977 or lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

A Message from Linda

COVID-19, virtual meeting, networking

To our clients and friends,
With all of today’s health concerns due to COVID-19, we wanted to let you know that our primary concern is the health and safety of our clients, networkers, and colleagues. I am always available remotely for meetings, sessions, and inquiries. Our March and April networking meetings will be held virtually in response to needed safety concerns and I am more than happy to change any in-person meetings to video conferences or telephone calls.
Businesses will push ahead and this health pandemic will pass. I have included a free document for you to download in the hope that it will help shift your mindset in these uncertain times. Virtual interviewing is soon to become the norm and this document will help you with your preparation and presentation for your career campaign. Scroll down to find the free download.

Stay healthy and safe,

-Linda

Linda@MyExecutiveCareerCoach.com

::FREE DOWNLOAD::

If you are ready to sign up for our virtual SERT Meeting, register like you normally do. Linda will send the virtual meeting link to all attendees via email ahead of time. Once you are registered, download this form, fill it out entirely, and send back as a Word Doc to Linda the day before your meeting.

::REGISTER::

See why Fairfield and Westchester County Senior Executive Networkers say:

  • My Executive Career Coach offers a professional way of engaging with high level professionals.” Chris P.
  • “The best of my networking groups.”  Lee N.
  • “I love the high quality of talent & energy in the room… and so well run.” John R.
  • “An excellent venue for sharing ideas and best practices networking.” Michael M.

Who Attends?

Senior Executive Round Table meetings are for CEO. COO, all C-Suite Executives and other top level executives at compensation levels of $200,000 and above. It has been designed to provide a unique forum for top corporate professionals, like yourself, to network, build quality relationships, exchange leads, experiences, ideas and peer feedback specifically for your career development. Click here for complete details..

What is in it for you?

This senior level group will provide a controlled, discreet, confidential environment where you can make important contacts and share information with others from different industries and functions. Whether you are currently in transition, confidentially investigating, or a career smart professional that knows that constant networking is critical to your career, this group can become an invaluable resource to you and you to it.

The First Time Leader’s Guide To Success

By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindavan/
lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

You’ve worked hard for years, arriving early, staying late, and volunteering for projects. Your hard work has been recognized, and you’ve accepted a promotion offer. In your new position, you have the opportunity to manage people for the first time in your career.
This new position of leadership presents new challenges and requires skills that you may not have developed yet. Set yourself up for success by keeping this guide in mind as you prepare for your new position.

Don’t Underestimate Your Transition
Getting promoted to a management position is a career milestone and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is a new phase in your career, and you need to prepare for it with the same vigor that you did for the last phase.
Many companies lack the necessary support for their first time leaders. If you are in this position, look for development and learning programs that can help you develop the skills you need to succeed in your new role. The skills you mastered to be a top-performing employee are not always helpful as a leader.

Improve Your Listening Skills
When you can communicate effectively, you can keep your team engaged and inspired. The quality of your interactions will affect how your employees feel about their performance, your leadership, and the overall company.
When you actively listen to others, you develop trust and improve your team’s perception of you as a leader. This can generate more creativity and boost job satisfaction.

Actively Seek New Challenges and Experiences
It’s been long touted that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a new craft. While recent scientists have debunked this exact number, there’s an important message to this saying. You’re new to leadership, which means you haven’t mastered this new role yet.
All too often, new leaders fall into the trap of working harder and longer because that’s what worked in their old role. But you’re a leader now, so this approach isn’t the most effective. Instead, seek out situations where you can develop and learn new leadership skills.

You Work for Your Employees
You may be the leader, but it’s your team that will make you a success. Their performance is the barometer of your effectiveness as a leader. Learn how to identify their needs and how you can adapt to provide for them.
Learn how to identify what motivates your team. For each person, it will be different; money, status, or recognition. By learning this, you can tailor how you manage and reward that person to effectively motivate and boost morale.

Be Kind
You may have feelings of insecurity and nervousness as a first time leader, but don’t let this manifest when you interact with others. Give the impression of confidence and security in your new role by building up those around you. Be kind and compassionate to your team members, and you will garner their trust and respect.

Learn to Trust
Have you ever worked for a manager that didn’t trust their team? They place tight restrictions on all areas of the job, they micromanage, and there’s an overall oppressive feeling to the workplace. Don’t be this manager.
It can be tempting to lock down control as a way of dealing with your insecurity in your new role. Ultimately this does you and your team a disservice. Instead, offer your team open trust as the foundation of your relationship. Then slowly take that trust away if your team does something to lose it.
By developing this open and trusting relationship, you will become the leader that everyone wants to work with.

Seek Professional Guidance
One great quality all leaders have is the ability to identify when you need assistance. As a first time leader, you can seek out guidance by networking with great leaders. Learn from their experience and guidance to develop your leadership style.

Let’s get to work!
Linda
If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at 203-323-9977 or lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

Grow in Your Career Through Self Reflection

By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindavan/
lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com

With 2020 in full swing, now is the perfect time for self-evaluation and reflection. This is different from the standard employee evaluation that your boss probably gave you at the end of 2019. Think of this as your opportunity to think about your career development.

Two common pitfalls that everyone falls into is complacency and overinflating one’s skills. As humans, we seek out comfort and positive affirmation. This can be detrimental to your career. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to do a self-assessment and shake things up. This will help expose you to new challenges and opportunities for your career in the coming year.

Have the Right Attitude
This project isn’t about self-reassurance or ego inflation. You need to have the right attitude and be honest with yourself throughout your entire self-assessment. People tend to overestimate their skills, so keep this in mind when looking at your strengths and weaknesses.

Start With Quantifiable Data
Gather any hard data that can help you evaluate your work performance. This data doesn’t lie and can help you pinpoint weak areas. Think about your performance and look at your track record. This could be anything from getting to work on time, meeting sales goals, or meeting project deadlines.
Your employer will look at this data to evaluate your performance and potential for career growth, so you need to know this information. It can also help you create a more robust resume by showing potential employers actual performance metrics and not just fluffy positive-sounding language.

What Do You Enjoy?
People tend to put more effort into the things they enjoy. You’ll find that these are the areas you perform best in. Identify the areas of your job that you love the most and the skills required for those tasks. Ask yourself a few questions to get started:

1. What have others complimented me on?
2. What am I good at?
3. What are my hobbies, and why do I like them?
4. What have I spent hours on and not gotten tired?

Once you have a list of these skills, look at ways you can build on and improve them. Building on these skills will ensure you don’t become complacent in your comfort zone. You’ll also learn how to apply these strengths to other areas and expand your skillset.

What Do You Dread?
Why do you not enjoy specific tasks? Is it because you aren’t mentally engaged or because you lack the skills to make these tasks easier. Look for weak points in your performance based on the feedback you receive. Then figure out ways you can address these weaknesses. Ask yourself these questions:

1. What projects drain my energy?
2. What have others complained about?
3. What have others had to help me with?
4. Are there things I continually forget or get wrong?

What the Industry Requires
If you want to move up within your industry, what will it take? Compare your current skillset and performance to the position you want to move into. Addressing and improving on your skillset will show your employer you’re committed to growth. If your employer isn’t committed to your growth too, then you’re better prepared to find career growth elsewhere.

Set Achievable Goals
Now that you know what you need to work on, you need to set measurable and achievable goals. Create a timeline wherein the next month; you’ll research ways to build on your skills. You’ll then set a deadline for signing up for a course, conference, or anything else that will help you improve. Create a mid-year check-in where you hold yourself accountable for progress.

Let’s get to work!
Linda
If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at 203-323-9977 or lindavan@myexecutivecareercoach.com