Tag Archives: inspire

4 Signs You’re Not Leadership Material

23 Mar

leadership material

I don’t know who came up with this extremely popular notion of promoting employees into leadership positions based on tenure, but to whoever’s responsible..stupid idea, bro.

The truth of the matter is this…

NOT EVERYONE’S LEADERSHIP MATERIAL…

And that’s okay!

Just because you’re a genius in your field…

Just because you’ve been at your job for twenty-some odd years…

It doesn’t mean you have to have direct reports. 

It takes really particular skills to be a manager.

Heck- it takes a whole lot of patience too.

And for that reason, throughout my career I’ve been absolutely dumfounded when I’ve seen some not-so-leadership-material employees placed in managerial positions.

Let me say it again.

IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE!

And like I said…that’s okay.

You can still be a genius.

You can still be kick-ass at your job.

But if you’re not leadership material, please, for God’s sake…don’t make other people suffer. 

Now some of you may be wondering whether or not you’re leadership material.

(But really…those of you who aren’t…you probably already know that.)

Just in case though…to clarify this for everyone…here are 4 Signs that You’re Not Leadership Material.

1. You Have Zero Social Skills/You Hate People

People say hi to you and you stare at them, but you don’t say hi back. You don’t hold doors open for people 5 centimeters behind you. You know…basic courtesy kind of stuff.

If you’re the kind of person who avoids social situations at all costs and really doesn’t want to be troubled with interpersonal relationships, then that’s fine…but you have no business managing others. This is pretty self-explanitory.

2. You Don’t Like It When People Ask You Questions

Questions annoy you. When people ask you dumb questions that you think they ought to know the answers to, you think they’re stupid…you think that they are mentally challenged. Every time that someone asks you a question, you feel that they’re taking time away from you doing your own work. Open door policy? Forget that! Locked door policy is what you’d implement…peace and quiet is what you need.

Good managers want their employees to feel comfortable coming to them whenever they have questions. And the reality is, good employees do ask a lot of questions. Managers need to accept that part of their job is helping out their direct reports, and they shouldn’t make them feel bad about seeking that support.

3. You Couldn’t Care Less if Your Team is Motivated/Inspired

You’re sure as hell no cheerleader. You don’t think it’s your job to motivate those around you. You’re here to get a job done and everyone should be on the same page as you.

FALSE. Managers need to be cheerleaders. If it’s not written in the job description, someone’s lying to you. If you want your team to work well and to perform to the best of its ability, you’ll need to take out those metaphorical pom-poms at times and inspire your people. Because let’s face it, there are times at any job when morale is low. And when morale is low, not a whole lot of work gets done. Teams that get out of that slump are the teams who have great leaders, and believe me, they’re super grateful for that. Look into it…they call it transformational leadership. 

4. You Want to Punch Positive People in the Face

You hate it when people smile. You hate it when you come to work Monday morning and people are actually happy. What the heck is wrong with them? They ought to be a bit less peppy.

If you’re a negative Nancy, you have no business managing others. You need to be a positive influence, and people need to actually enjoy being around you. Do you have to do backflips everyday and sing songs? No. But you should strive to be a positive role model for others and part of that means helping others see the bright side of things regardless of how bad any work situation is.

***Now it’s your turn…what else makes someone not leadership material?

Other stuff you might like:

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5 Easy Ways to Make This Year Awesome

5 Feb

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It’s February already. Can you believe it?

It’s semi-depressing to me, really. 

Time keeps going by more quickly (aka…I’m getting old).

I kind of need to focus here, though…only 11 more months to make this year the best one yet.

So here’s the list I’m using to make sure this year is awesome.

Because to tell you the truth, I’m not settling for anything less than that.

1. Make Time For Travel

If you’re looking for excuses to not travel, there’s plenty. Can’t take time off work… don’t have any money… the kids are in school. Traveling isn’t just going to happen magically, and again, you can always come up with 5 different reasons why you shouldn’t plan a vacation. 30 years later though, you’ll regret not taking that trip.

Traveling is an important part of life. I really don’t think this whole giant world was made so beautiful for it to not be seen. So go out there, and see something. Anything. Even if that means driving an hour away from home to stay at a little bed and breakfast you haven’t stayed at before.

2. De-clutter & Organize

You know that spare bedroom you have that’s become a storage unit? Go clean it! What’s the point of having so much space if you can’t even use it? You really can’t have friends and family come visit if you can’t move in your own home. So fix that. 

Nothing makes me more anxious than when I look at my apartment and see that everything is thrown everywhere and there’s a huge mess. Sure, it resembles what’s going on in my brain, but it stresses me out to no end. When you take time to de-clutter and organize, you eliminate the things you don’t need in your life anymore. Maybe there’s clothes you don’t need. Maybe you’ve got 500 boxes you can throw away. You may even have some people in your life you can do without. So out with the old, in with the new. Make space in your life for things that  make you happy.

3. Stop & Reflect… A lot

We get so caught up in our everyday routine that we don’t take time to reflect on what’s really happening. We just go and go and go and go and then we get burnt out. And then we rest a bit. And then, we repeat the cycle. Reflection is the key to growth, so if we want to make our lives the best that they can be, every once in a while, we need to stop. EVERYTHING. Just stop. And then think.

What’s working? What’s not? Am I happy? Am I sad? Why am I sad? Is there something I’ve been needing to do? Why am I not doing it? What could I be doing right now to make things better?

When you actually stop and ask yourself these questions, you get to know yourself a whole lot better. Otherwise, you just continue your routine- which you very well might hate and not even realize.  

4. Make an Effort to be Social

This is big on my list this year because basically, I’ve become a hermit. I’ve got so much going on in my life that I don’t even have a minute to breathe. And when I do have a minute, all I want to do is sleep. All the time. Forever. Because I’m exhausted. So yes, I’ve become a bad friend and I don’t get invited to social functions all that much anymore. For good reason, though, because whenever I do get asked, I respectully decline. Go out to a bar? LOL, negative. My bed just looks too comfy.

But hello! I’m 23 years old! I need to be social. I need to make a better effort to continue developing the relationships that I have. I also *cringe* need to make new relationships. Make new friends?? Ugh that sounds so stressful. But I’ve got to. So this year, my man friend and I have made that a priority. We redecorated our place so that we can invite people over. Because we realize that without family and friends, life kind of sucks.

5. Find Something You’re Passionate About & Dive In

Purpose. You’ve got to have one. So if you want to make this year 10 times better than the last, try finding something you love and throw every ounce of yourself into doing that. Maybe it’s a social cause. Maybe it’s just opening up a book and reading. Maybe it’s learning how to cook. Maybe you’re lucky and it’s your actual job. Just find something that you enjoy doing. Find something that puts a smile on your face because you’re  doing something good or something challenging- something that requires personal growth.

When you’ve got things in your life that you look forward to, the daily grind seems a whole lot more bearable. So try to find these things, and when you do, don’t lose them. Don’t forget about them. Don’t stop trying. Because there’s so much that we can look forward to in life…so many things that we can experience. It would be a real shame to waste our lives doing nothing.

So tell me…how are YOU going to make this year a great one? I’m curious.

Other stuff you might like:

Oprah’s Advice For New Grads

31 May

I’m such a sucker for commencement speeches.

I could really just sit and watch them all day.

But I don’t.

Because I have a job and have to work.

And be productive.

Regardless, here’s the latest one I’ve watched.

Oprah addresses the Harvard graduating class of 2013.

And anything that has to do with Oprah can’t be bad.

So if you have some time this weekend, watch it (You can start around minute 8).

Let me know what you think! 🙂

Gen Y, Social Media, & How We’re Making A Difference

11 Apr

I’m sitting in class and I feel really bad for my professor. No one’s paying attention to him.

I look around and everyone’s either got a phone in their hand or a laptop open. And I promise you, no one’s taking notes.

Statuses are being updated, pictures are being posted, and I’m sure that at least five people are on Twitter.

Okay, fine. Maybe we should be paying a little more attention.

I hear it all the time, when I talk about Gen Y, that we’re addicted to social media.

Gen Y… addicted to social media…can’t put their phones down.

How awful.

But is it really?

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m addicted to social media. I know that one of these days I’m going to leave my phone on my bed and I’m going to head into work and that day is going to be terrible. I repeat…terrible.

Because whether we like it or not, we have this constant need to be connected.

To everything…all the time.

Everything is in our face.

Always.

And that’s not going to change.

So we can do one of two things.

We can either focus on how awful social media is because back in the day people used to actually play outside, etc. etc. etc.

OR

We can embrace the fact that it’s here to stay and figure out how to use it for the better. We can look for the positives. We can figure out how to make the world a better place by using it to its fullest potential.

Companies and organizations that are smart, are choosing the latter….because it makes sense.

Take a look at Rotary International.

They have an amazing campaign to help end polio.

Even though they’ve been active in ending polio since the 80s, right now they’re focusing on raising awareness through their innovative End Polio Now campaign. Since the global initiative began over 25 years ago, Rotary International and its partners have reduced polio cases by more than 99 percent worldwide.

That’s pretty impressive.

You see, it used to be that foundations and organizations could only raise awareness through face-to-face events. It used to be that in order for these initiatives to be successful, thousands of dollars had to be spent on direct mailings asking for donations. It used to be that the only people who took interest in philanthropy and good causes were wealthy individuals, who were usually older.

But that’s not the case anymore.

And I’d argue that social media has played a pretty big role in that.

Because today, it’s cool to make a difference. We see it all the time.

Every time I go on Facebook, there’s a post from someone I know asking me to help them raise money for some kind of marathon they’re running. And so I donate because it’s for a good cause (and because dear God I have no idea how anyone can run 26+ miles without losing a lung).

And when I’ve done this, I feel good about it.

I feel good about it and it makes me happy.

It makes me happy because I see that young people are making a difference.

For that reason, organizations like Rotary International make me really happy.

I mean, you just can’t help but be interested when you hear that they’re putting together the World’s Biggest Commercial to end polio- and create a Guinness World Record- and that you can be a part of it.

First of all, I think it’s awesome that we’re so close to eradicating polio. In 1988, 125 countries were polio-endemic. Today, due largely to Rotary’s efforts, only three countries in the world- Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan- have not eradicated the disease.

That’s a huge deal.

But although we’ve come a long way, the fight won’t be over until polio has been completely eradicated. The disease isn’t fun. It’s a cruel disease that cripples children. It’s highly contagious, and until it’s 100% eradicated, polio remains a worldwide risk. If we don’t finish the fight right now, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralyzed by polio in the next 40 years. And I don’t want that.

So let’s help end it.

How?

By spreading awareness.

That’s why I’ll be participating in the World’s Biggest Commercial.

Nearly 14,000 people in 144 countries have joined to date!

I’ll be joining other individuals and celebrities worldwide by uploading my “this close” photo.

I’ll use my new wonderful photo app, Picfx, to edit my photo until I look decent.

And then I’ll post it on Facebook

And Twitter…

And Instagram…

And pretty much anywhere else that people can see it.

Because I want people to know that it costs just $0.60 to vaccinate a child.

Because I want people to be educated.

And because more than anything, I want everyone to know that us kids, us young people… we can make a difference too.

Here’s How You Can Help:

  • Make History. Visit EndPolio.org and take part in the World’s Biggest Commercial in a show of solidarity and raise awareness for the complete eradication of polio. People around the world are uploading their photo making a “this close” gesture to join the commercial, and sharing the news with their blogs and social networks to make sure that we finish the fight to eradicate this terrible—and completely preventable —disease.
  • Generate Social Media Buzz. Tweet using the hashtag #EndPolioNow and including theEndPolio.org URL to help raise awareness.
  • Give Financially. Visit EndPolio.org and make a donation. Just $.60 can vaccinate a child from the disease.
  • Share the good news with your community. Inform your social circles that we are “this close” to ending polio, encourage them to join the World’s Biggest Commercial and make history, and share these actions items with them for ways in which they, too, can help.

While this post has been sponsored by Rotary International, I’m proud to serve as an ambassador for their End Polio Now campaign.

Respect and Gen Y: What’s Age Got To Do With It?

26 Feb

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I’m working on an exciting new project. It’s awesome, really, because I get to do something that I love.

I get to teach college students about leadership and about success at work.

Yes, I’m currently in the midst of trying to be productive…even though this is me on most days…

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Alright… so in an effort to find the right topics to discuss and the right stories to share with these students, I’ve had to reflect a lot on my experiences in the workplace.

And well…that hasn’t been fun.

It hasn’t been fun because I’ve realized something.

I’ve realized that although there are a lot of things that I can teach these students, there’s no way that I can control the hardships that they’ll continue to face as young professionals.

There’s no way that I’ll be able to rid them of the label that they’ll often be given:

YOUNG & INEXPERIENCED.

This makes me mad.

You know, I once went on a job interview and overall, it was a great experience.

The people were friendly and made me feel comfortable…something a bit rare for an interview. I was actually having a good time.

Until I wasn’t.

I was totally bothered by something that one of the men who was interviewing me asked.

He said, “I’m going to ask you something…you look very young…how are you going to handle yourself when an executive or a senior employee needs something resolved and doesn’t want to talk to you because you look so young?”

Yes. I was really supposed to answer that.

Now, don’t get me wrong…the man who asked me the question was a nice guy. I actually got a long with him very well and so I know that he didn’t mean this question to be negative or to upset me.

But it did upset me because it made me realize that this is a very real problem.

When we talk about discrimination, stereotypes, diversity in the workplace, etc., we often tend to focus on race and ethnicity.

But what about age?

I mean, in that very same interview, would it have been okay for him to say, “you know…you look a bit Asian….how are you going to handle yourself when an executive or a senior employee needs something and doesn’t want to talk to you because you’re Asian?”

No. Absolutely not. That would absolutely NOT have been okay.

So why is it okay that he asked about age?

Why is it okay for young professionals to receive less respect than we deserve?

Think about it.

So many of us are intelligent. So many of us are driven. So many of us are talented and determined and hungry for the opportunity to make a difference.

Sure, we don’t know everything. No one does. And yes, we have a lot to learn.

But we need people who will teach us and who will treat us as equals.

Not people who feel that we’re beneath them.

Because at the end of the day, we all have a lot to learn from eachother.

So when I think about these students that I’ll  be advising, I hate that I won’t be able to force others to fully see their value. I hate that I won’t be able to delete that label that many of them will get stuck with.

But I CAN make sure that they understand the following…

Each of us…we get the respect that we demand.

Simple as that.

Just because we’re young doesn’t mean that we’re not good at what we do. Skill and ability are not necessarily determined by age.

Experience, not age, is what leads to wisdom.

And sometimes people forget this.

So young professionals…

Demand that respect. Demand that equality.

Don’t let people underestimate your abilities and your talents.

And when they do, prove them wrong.

Don’t let people be mean to you just because they think that they can.

Know your worth.

Be professional.

Do good work.

And always make sure to stand up for yourself.

Because if you don’t demand that respect for yourself, no one else will.

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Small Changes = Big Results

5 Feb

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Last week I had a HUGE dilemma. Really, it was catastrophic.

It was the weekend, I had somewhere to be for the first time in forever, and I HAD NOTHING TO WEAR.

Before I continue, please let me say that this is not a post about fashion.

It’s not about clothes, nor is it a story pertaining to any of my previous shopping trips to the mall.

You’re welcome. Now, I’ll continue.

So how could I fix this? Without even thinking much, the solution was pretty obvious to me.

Clearly, I needed to go shopping ASAP and spend all my money on a new wardrobe.

Genius!

But then I stared at my closet for a good fifteen minutes. I mean I just stood there and stared at it.

Here, this is my closet…

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I know, it’s a disaster. I’ll get around to organizing it this weekend. Promise.

But here’s the deal…You see that piece of white wall to the left? Well, behind that wall is a continuation of my closet. The problem, however, is that when I stand in front of my closet and try to decide what to wear, I can’t see anything that’s behind that wall, all the way to the left. So what happens? The clothes that’s all the way to the left of my closet…I forget that it exists.

And then I cry because I have nothing to wear.

So here’s what I did…

I shuffled my closet around and shifted the stuff that was all the way to the left, right to the smack center of my closet. And after doing so, I had a brand spankin’ new wardrobe.

Oh…and I spent no money.

Success!

Now I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking um…okay…so she rearranged her closet…so what?

So why do I think this is important enough to write about?

Because it was a small change that made a HUGE difference.

It seems that these days, young people in particular, whenever we’re faced with a dilemma, we tend gravitate towards brash solutions.

We hate our jobs? We quit.

We feel that our life is devoid of meaning? We pack our bags and take a 7 month trip to Europe…all expenses paid by our student loans that will end up consuming our entire adult life leaving us broke forever.

Now yes, granted, sometimes drastic measures need to be taken. That’s fine.

But more often than not, we just need to relax, take a deep breath, and see things differently.

The solutions to our problems are not always great, giant, life-changing events.

I once read in an article somewhere that just a tiny change in your daily routine can impact your mood dramatically.

So listen, tomorrow…when you wake up hating life because you’ve got to go to that job that’s terrible… take a different route. Drive with the windows down. Decorate your office. Buy a plant and put in your office. Read a book during your lunch break. Go take a walk during your lunch break. Have a 30 second dance party. You might just see that it helps a bit.

But maybe your job REALLY sucks. Maybe you really DO need to quit. Do you really need to quit right away? How about you try making small changes leading up to that? Be smart about it. Don’t just get angry one day and throw in the towel. Figure out what else you can do. Figure out what else you WANT to do. Network. Work on a project on the side. Cultivate a new skill. But do all those things while you have a job.

Because a huge change, a big change…that might not be the best kind of change at all.

You’re feeling that you’re lacking purpose in your life and suddenly feel the urge to take off for a year and travel around the world like a nomad?

That’s cool. But is that the only thing that you can do that will give you that sense of purpose and adventure? Can you maybe make it a point to travel on the weekends? Can you join a club of some sort? Can you find an organization to volunteer at? Can you take up photography? Can you learn a new language?

You see…that problem you have…there may be more than one solution.

You just need a different perspective. You need to see it differently. So change the way you see things.

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Kid Wisdom You Need to Listen to…Now

30 Jan

Just a little wake-up call from a pretty smart kid 😀

Watch this…it only takes three minutes and it’s definitely worth every second.

Why Good Isn’t Good Enough

25 Jan

Good-is-the-Enemy-of-Great

I think a lot of people find me annoying.

Okay… I KNOW a lot of people find me annoying.

You see, I’m one of those nerds who’s always reading some kind of self-help/improvement/learn how to do something better-ish kind of book.

I mean, really, if you’re ever at Barnes & Noble, check out the self-help section…that’s where you’ll find me. ALWAYS.

There…I said it.

Most people are embarassed to admit that. They think that self-help books are just for losers.

But you know what? Last time I checked, wanting to do something better doesn’t make you a loser. Instead, it makes you the kind of person that refuses to settle…you should be proud of that.

How many of you have good jobs?

How many of you are in good relationships?

How many of you are good writers?

How many of you are good friends?

If you are, you need to be careful. Yea, careful. Because the minute that you accept that you’re “GOOD” at anything, more often than not, you STAY good at it.

Now, I hear you…

“What the heck is she talking about?”

“Why is it bad to be good at something?”

Why???? Here’s why…

Because it means that you settle for “GOOD” instead of working your ass off to get to “GREAT.”

If you don’t understand this, you need to read Jim Collins’ book…Good to Great.

Actually, even if you DO understand this, you should still read it. It’s kind of awesome.

Although the book primarily focuses on companies and organizations and their need to strive for excellence in everything that they do, the concept is very much applicable to our everyday lives.

You know, when you’re BAD at something, chances are that you put a lot of effort towards getting better. But here’s the problem…when you get to being GOOD at it, you usually stop trying.

YES!!!! I”M GOOD!!! SUCCESS!!

But why are we stopping at GOOD? Why is GOOD suddenly the best that there is?

In terms of your career, for example, is it good? If it IS good, what are you actively doing to take it to the next level?

Did you forget that there’s a next level?

In terms of your relationship…is everything good?

It is?! That’s wonderful!

But again, what are you actively doing to make it better?

What are you doing to make it GREAT?

If we settle for good, we’re missing out on a whole lot of potential. And if we’re actually aiming for good, well…quite frankly, we’re not aiming high enough.

I’m a big believer in continuous learning…in continuous improvement.

And you know why?

Because the moment you settle for good, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage…especially if you’re running a company in a competitive market.

The moment you settle for good, that’s where you stay.

And meanwhile, overachieving nerds, like myself, are doing everything in their power to get to the next level.

And then, those people surpass you.

And then, you get left behind.

Yea, you’re GOOD…

Congratulations!

But not good enough.

A Gen-Yer’s Hopes for 2013

13 Jan

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So I’m a little late here but I’m still gunna say it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2012 was wonderful to me in a lot of ways and I hope it was for you too.

But for some people, 2012 sucked. For some people, 2012 was the worst.

So here are my hopes for all of you…for everyone…my hopes for 2013…

I hope that you’ll do something different.

Even if it scares you.

Especially if it scares you.

I hope that you’ll discover something that you’re passionate about.

A person, a place, a thing…whatever.

I hope that you’ll travel.

Somewhere far and awesome.

I hope you’ll try to mend something that’s broken.

At the same time, I hope that you’ll accept that there are certain things that can’t be fixed and when that’s the case, I hope you’ll learn to move on and let go.

I hope you’ll find something that inspires you.

I hope that you’ll take risks, that you’ll take chances.

I hope that you won’t let fear immobilize you.

I hope you’ll stand up for something you believe in.

I hope you’ll be nice to those around you.

Even when you want to punch them in the face.

I hope that you’ll make a difference, even in the smallest of ways.

I hope you’ll save a bit of money.

I hope that you won’t take yourself too seriously.

I hope that you’ll get that job you want or that person you’ve been stalking on Facebook.

But when that doesn’t happen, I hope that you won’t get discouraged.

I hope that you’ll pick yourself up and work twice as hard to get something better.

I hope that you’ll realize that life is really short and because of that, you won’t indulge yourself in petty arguments about stuff that DOESN’T matter.

Instead, I hope you’ll spend more time with the people and things that DO matter.

I hope that you’ll make friends.

I hope that you’ll take every opportunity.

I hope that you’ll learn something new.

Even if it’s by reading Wikipedia.

I hope that you’ll be courageous.

Because we need more people in the world like that.

I hope you’ll be a little silly.

I hope that you’ll laugh at yourself for it.

And I hope that you won’t have regrets.

Because regrets suck.

But more than anything, I hope that you’ll believe that 2013 will be better.

I hope that you’ll make sure of it.

Because what I love most about a new year is the chance at a fresh start.

A chance to BE better and DO better.

And we can do that, but we have to want it.

Best of luck to all of you.

The World Didn’t End. Now Let’s Make It Better.

21 Dec

The world’s going to end…blah, blah, blah.

YOLO!

Let’s do dumb and crazy things since we only have a few days left to live!

That’s pretty much all I’ve heard the past few weeks.

Congratulations everyone…

We’re still here.

So now what?

Now you watch this video. Because it’s awesome.

The Future is Ours from Michael Marantz on Vimeo.

You get it now?

Get how important innovation is?

Get why we HAVE TO inspire our youth to think outside the box, correction: to think like there is NO box?

If you don’t, watch the video again.

Then, start contributing.

Start thinking.

Start creating.

PUSH HUMANITY FORWARD.

There’s no greater purpose.

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