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Some tips for an effective work

1.Love What You Do
Confucius wrote, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

2.Learn from Your Mistakes

If you make a mistake, avoid getting hung up on it for too long; move forward with your newly learned knowledge. Apart from the fact that making mistakes is a part of human nature, don’t beat yourself up.

3.Be Flexible
Be flexible under the conditions in which you will be expected to work.

4.Be Prepared
While you are hard at work, remember that preparation is key.
Planning and organizing can help to ease much of the pressure that comes with hard work. The fact is, when your big opportunity presents itself, you’ll want to look and be as prepared as possible.

5.Mind Over Matter
Having a mental strategy is the key to achieving your goals. No matter how hard the work gets physically, if you remain mentally strong, focusing on your goal, you will have the ability to achieve.

Concentrate on results, not on being busy!

Use the 80:20 Rule( the Pareto Principle). This argues that typically 80% of unfocussed effort generates only 20% of results. The remaining 80% of results are achieved with only 20% of the effort.

Take Control of Your Work Life by Learning How to Manage Time

Time management is a set of principles, practices, skills, tools, and systems working together to help you get more value out of your time with the aim of improving the quality of your life.

The important point is that time management is not necessarily about getting lots of stuff done, because much more important than that is making sure that you are working on the right things, the things that truly need to be done.

Smart time managers know that there is much more to do than anyone could possibly accomplish. So instead of trying to do it all, smart time managers are very picky about how they spend their time.

They choose to focus and spend their time doing a few vital projects that will really make a difference, rather than spending all their time doing many trivial things that don’t really matter all that much.

If you become a good time manager, you’ll not only get a lot more done in less time, but you’ll feel more relaxed, focused and in control of your life.

7 Manager Tips for Resolving Conflict

Every good project manager will tell you that conflict is part and parcel of the job.  Whether it’s an issue within the team, or whether an external source is disrupting your progress, conflict happens.  Dealing with the conflict will determine whether your project succeeds or ends up as a failure.

Here are seven tips to addressing and resolving conflict on the job.

1.       Keep your cool

As a project manager, you will find yourself at the center of the cross fire.  You need to make sure that you stay calm and you do not get worked up.  In environments with lots of stress, everyone else is already angry; getting angry yourself will just make the situation worse.  If you feel you are getting tense: step back mentally, breathe and relax.  You need to remain rational and demonstrate your leadership.  Think through your responses before reacting, whether it is verbally or sending an e-mail, and display a calm even demeanor.

2.       Deal with conflict when it arises, don’t wait

Conflict is part of everyday life.  It happens all around us, in different forms, but it’s important to act on it as soon as you notice it’s there.  Don’t let conflict fester, assuming it will “blow over”.  In most cases, conflict will arise because of something which was said, or in the case of dealing with project stakeholders, something which was not said.  Miscommunication among project stakeholders can be a nuclear bomb.  If you suspect something is wrong, speak to your team; and if there is an issue, deal with it transparently.

3.       Don’t play the blame game

People get defensive when they are blamed for something, it’s a natural reaction.  When you are sitting two people down to mitigate a conflict, encourage them to you use “I feel that” or “I think that” instead of pointing fingers and saying “You do” or “You are”.  The latter is placing blame on somebody while the former is simply conveying a feeling, and this can greatly reduce defensive reactions among both parties.

4.       Accept that somebody has to be wrong and it might be you

People make mistakes, its part of life.  It doesn’t make you a bad person, or a bad project manager (most of the time); and it doesn’t mean that your team is not suited for the job.  It simply means that you are human.  Once you have identified the cause of a problem, accept it if it is your fault. Apologize and correct it.  If the problem rests with the other party, accept their mistake, forgive them and move on.  Accepting that mistakes happen, and accepting responsibility for mistakes when they are yours, is the cornerstones of ensuring a project stays on track after it hits a wobble.  It also demonstrates a high level of leadership maturity to those around you.

5.       Compromise, but don’t limit yourself (SWOT)

Conflict requires compromise, but don’t limit yourself to the options presented.  Thinking creatively about a solution might be your best chance of saving a project, enforcing client expectations, or ensuring team members are not overworked.  Similarly, the first solution you come up with might not be the best one.  List all the solutions, as well as their pros and cons, using a “SWOT” format.  Using the SWOT format, list the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of critical project conflicts to mutually arrive at a compromise.

6.       Keep the big picture in mind

Whatever solutions you come up with, and whatever recourse you take to get there, keep in mind that you still have one ultimate goal: the success of your project.  Don’t lose momentum, identify the source of the conflict and address it immediately.   

7.       Listen carefully, find the facts, ditch the rest

As a project manager, it’s up to you to not only manage the project, but also the relationship between all involved.  It’s therefore imperative that you are a good listener.  If somebody has an issue, listen to them, but make sure you listen to the other side of the story, too.  Gather the facts of the situation and discard any irrelevant personal agendas which might be making the situation worse.  Confront the facts and resolve the issues that way.

Project managers must be expert diffusers.  Think of your role as a bomb technician – somebody who has to very carefully get rid of a potentially explosive device.  One wrong move and you could blow everything sky high.  Communicating clearly, keeping calm, and sticking to a diplomatic approach is the best way to move forward and ensure the success of your project.

Overcoming the Three Most Hated Aspects of the Job Interview

For many job seekers, the interview is often considered the most dreaded part of the hiring process. Not only are you forced to be interrogated by a complete stranger holding the keys to your future in his her hands, but for all of the effort you put into preparing for this pivotal conversation, it can just as easily leave you with nothing to show for your toil. No matter how desperate you are for a job there are always those parts of the process that frustrate and annoy.

It’s time to change your mindset: you can get over these worst parts of the interview with a little bit of focus and preparation. But don’t just get over these problem areas – take control: trust that you can fly over them with ease and land unscathed. Here are the top three things people hate about the interviewing process and how to turn them to your favor.

1.) Knowing what to ask about

Researching a company’s background can lead to golden opportunities to ask pointed questions to show your dedication and interest in the company and your professional savviness. But where do you turn to find the information you need to be sufficiently informed of a company’s background and current interests? It will take some real effort, and the reading is certainly not for pleasure, but check out their SEC filings and any other corporate filings you can get your hands on. Poring through these documents can net you some choice nuggets of information that can give you the edge in crafting the perfect question to ask during your interview. Check the company’s annual report, proxy statement, and 10-K to give you excellent research material on the company. One you have this knowledge and research done about the employer, you’re ready to come up with your interview questions.

2.) Dealing with the issue of salary

The issue of salary negotiation is always a point of contention between interviewer and interviewee. When is it too late to bring up the conversation? What is it too early? In the end, it is best to ask for a salary range before the issue is formally brought up. The longer you put it off the less prepared you will be when it comes time to deal. Instead of waiting for the topic to come up and risking being unprepared, ask about salary early on in the application process; preferably from a recruiter or from someone at a preliminary information session. All you need to do is get a general salary range in order to get the information you need to haggle and ensure that you aren’t leaving any money on the table. Here are some more tips for salary negotiation that would be good to review before the interview process.

3.) Coming up with your own faults

Everyone has a particular interview question that acts as effectively as kryptonite to Superman at some point during the exchange. Perhaps the most hated interview question involves asking for weaknesses. How do you answer such a question without causing too much damage to your candidacy? Simply pick a technical skill that is completely unrelated to the job for which you are applying. Instead of relying on predictable and empty responses such as “I work too hard,’ or “It’s hard for me to say ‘no’,” give a genuine answer explaining your real weakness with a technical skill but use it to push for why you are applying for one job as opposed to one requiring your “weak” skill. So while you are admitting to a real weakness, the fact that the skill is unrelated to your sought after job ensures that it won’t hurt your candidacy. Don’t want to use that approach? Here is a detailed explanation of how to get through the weakness question.

Do you see a pattern here? All three of these hated aspects of the interview process involve things that are up to you – not the interviewer. Knowing the right questions to ask, knowing the salary you need to accept the position, knowing yourself well enough to assess your weaknesses – these are all internal self-knowledge. Perhaps the reason these things most often make interviewees nervous is that these are self-driven activities. But we can’t leave the interview up to the employer – you must take control. In the end, no one is going to hire you if you aren’t ready to get yourself hired. To succeed in an interview, we have to be confident, prepared, and ready to play an active role.

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Don’t Let Failure Ruin Your Dreams

When you start a company, launch a new product, or take on a new job, you, of course, hope to succeed. But that’s not always the case. Next time you face failure, here’s how to make the most of it:

Acknowledge sadness. It’s disappointing when your dreams don’t come to fruition. Take time to grieve. If you sublimate the sadness, you risk losing your passion and getting stuck.

Jettison shame. Failure shouldn’t be a referendum on you. Pull shame out of the picture and label it as the waste that it is.

Learn the right lesson. Experts say failure is the best teacher but you have to be more specific. Ask yourself: What valuable truth did I discover by failing?

9 Things Recruiters Wish Job Candidates Knew

Sure, we’ll consider their qualifications. But admit it: This is what you’re really looking for during interviews. Job candidates say a lot during an interview. As the interviewer, so do recruiters.

But there’s a lot HR wish they could say to job candidates well before the interview ever takes place:

1. Recruiters want you to be likable.

Obvious, sure,but also critical. We want to work with people we like and who likes us.

So HR wants you to smile, to make eye contact, sit forward in your chair, and be enthusiastic. The employer-employee relationship truly is a relationship–and that relationship starts with the interview (if not before).

A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond.

You may have solid qualifications, but if we don’t think people will enjoy working with you, recruiters are probably not going to hire you.

Life is too short.

2. HR are taken aback when you say you want the job right away.

Oh, we do want you to want the job-but not before you really know what the job entails. HR may need you to work 60-hour weeks, or travel 80% of the time, or report to someone with less experience than you… so hang in there.

No matter how much research you’ve done, you can’t know you want the job until you know everything possible about the job.

3. Recruiter wants you to stand out….

A sad truth of interviewing is that later I often don’t recall, unless we refer to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates. (Unfair? Sure. Reality? Absolutely.)

The more people I interview for a job and the more spread out those interviews, the more likely I am to remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.

So when HR meets with staff to discuss potential candidates we might initially refer to someone as, “the guy with the handcuff-ready stainless steel briefcase,” or “the woman who does triathlons,” or “the guy who grew up in Romania.”

In short, we may remember you by “hooks”–whether flattering or unflattering–so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career.

Better yet your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time, or the huge sale you made.

Instead of letting me choose, give recruiters one or two notable ways to remember you.

4. …But not for being negative.

There’s no way we can remember everything you say. But we will remember sound bites, especially negative ones.

Some candidates complain, without prompting, about their current employer, their coworkers, their customers.

So if, for example, you hate being micro-managed, instead say you’re eager to earn more responsibility and authority. I get there are reasons you want a new job but I want to hear why you want my job instead of why you’re desperate to to escape your old job.

And keep in mind I’m well aware our interview is like a first date. I know I’m getting the best possible version of “you.” So if you whine and complain and grumble now… I know you’ll be a total downer to be around in a few months.

5. HR want you to ask lots of questions about what really matters to you…

HR needs to know whether he should hire you, but just as importantly he needs you to make sure my job is a good fit for you.

So we want you to ask lots of questions: What we expect you to accomplish early on, what attributes make our top performers so outstanding, what you can do to truly drive results, how you’ll be evaluated–all the things that matter to you and to us and our business.

You know what makes work meaningful and enjoyable to you. HR don’t. There’s no other way to really know whether you want the job unless you ask questions.

6. …But only if the majority of those questions relate to work.

Recruiters know you want a positive work-life balance. Still, save all those questions about vacation sign-up policies and whether it’s okay to take an extra half hour at lunch every day if you also stay a half hour late and whether I’ve considered setting up an in-house childcare facility because that would be really awesome for you and your family.

First let’s find out if you’re the right person for the job, and whether the tasks, responsibilities, duties, etc. are right for you.

Then we can talk about the rest.

7. Recruiters love when you bring a “project.”

We expect you to do a little research about my company. That’s not impressive; that’s a given.

To really impress HR, tell us how you will hit the ground running and contribute right away- the bigger the impact the better. If you bring a specific skill, show how we can leverage that skill immediately.

Remember how HR see it: we have to pay you starting day one, so we’d love to see an immediate return starting day one.

8. Recruiters want you to ask for the job… and we want to know why.

By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so. Let’s figure out how to get you what you need to make a decision.

If you don’t need more information, do what great salespeople do and ask for the job. Recruiters will like the fact you asked. We want you to really want the job-but we also want to know why you want the job.

So tell to HR why: You thrive in an unsupervised role, or you love working with multiple teams, or you like frequent travel. Ask us for the job and prove to us, objectively, that it’s a great fit for you.

9. Recruiters want you to follow up… especially if it’s genuine.

Every interviewer appreciates a brief follow-up note. If nothing else, saying you enjoyed meeting us and are happy to answer any other questions, is nice.

But “nice” may not separate you from the pack.

What recruiters really like is when you follow up based on something we discussed. Maybe we talked about data collection techniques, so you send me information about a set of tools you strongly recommend. Maybe we talked about quality, so you send us a process checklist you developed that I could adapt to use in our company.

The more closely you listened during the interview, the easier it is to think of ways to follow up in a natural and unforced way.

Remember, we’re starting a relationship–and even the most professional of relationships are based on genuine interactions.

Tips on Managing Difficult People

Three Ways to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Colleague

It can be incredibly frustrating when a co-worker agrees with a plan of action, only to go off and do his own thing. This type of sabotage is all too common and can make it difficult to achieve your goals. When you have a co-worker who says one thing and does another, try this:

  • Give feedback. Explain to your co-worker what you’re seeing and experiencing. Describe the impact of his behavior on you and provide suggestions for how he might change.
  • Focus on work, not the person. You need to get the work done despite your peer’s style, so don’t waste time wishing he would change. Concentrate on completing the work instead.
  • Ask for commitment. At the end of a meeting ask everyone (not just the troublemaker) to reiterate what they are going to do and by when. Sometimes peer pressure can keep even the most passive-aggressive person on task.

Keep Your Composure, or Walk Away

With offices becoming more physically and metaphorically open, the privacy of a room with a closed door can be difficult to find. More often, everyone from the CEO to the receptionist is visible to everyone else. This level of exposure can encourage transparency but can also put you on display in fragile moments when you are stressed or upset. Next time you feel like you might lose your cool (and who hasn’t had these moments?), take note of where you are. If you might be observed by others, take a deep breath or a drink of water. If that doesn’t do the trick, get outside. In these new open work spaces, it’s critical to maintain professionalism by being calm and supportive of others, and by doing your venting somewhere private.

Three Tips for Resolving a Conflict with Your Coworker

Differences of opinion between coworkers can be useful and even productive. But when clashes turn ugly, conflict can be harmful to working relationships. Here are three tips for handling the next disagreement you have with a colleague:

  • Identify common ground. Point out what you both agree on at the beginning of the conversation. This may be a shared goal or a set of operating rules.
  • Hear your coworker out. Allow your colleague to share his opinion and explain his point of view. Don’t disagree with individual points he makes; listen to the whole story.
  • Propose a solution. Use the information you gathered in the conversation to offer a resolution. This should incorporate his perspective and be different from what you originally thought.

Turn Your Competitors into Allies

When a colleague’s agenda is seemingly opposed to your own, it can be tempting to demonize him. Distorting other people is a common response to conflict, but not a particularly productive one. In fact, doing so undermines your ability to exert influence. Instead of deciding that everything about a colleague you don’t get along with is hateful, get to know him better. Sit down and talk about what he cares and is concerned about. You may find that the source of your conflict is actually an area of mutual interest and rather than being enemies, you are natural allies.

Stop Being So Nice

Conflict avoidance is a common trait of most corporate workplaces. But, steering clear of disagreements and leaving things unsaid creates unnecessary complexity and needless anxiety. To get better at confronting conflict constructively, follow these three steps:

  • Reflect. Ask yourself whether there are times you should’ve spoken up but held your tongue. Do you avoid certain types of conflicts?
  • Get feedback. Ask trusted friends and colleagues how they perceive your readiness to engage in constructive conflict. They might see patterns that are less obvious to you.
  • Experiment. You don’t have to change overnight. Try pushing back on a request or speaking up in a meeting and see how it goes. Preface your comment with an admission that you are working on getting better at conflict. This will help demonstrate your sincerity.


Hiring for Emotional Intelligence

Making a hire can be a hit-or-miss affair. A promising candidate can turn out to be a disaster, leaving frustrated colleagues and tattered client relationships in his wake. Sooner than anyone planned, the new hire and the organization part ways, with recrimination and regret on both sides.

Emotional intelligence–EQ, for short–”accounts for anywhere from 24% to 69% of performance success”. Some positions require more emotional intelligence than others, but there are very few jobs in which a solid level of EQ does not confer advantage. For managers it is crucial, as it is for anyone who needs to be adept at the give-and-take of working as part of a creative, dynamic team.

There are multiple aspects to emotional intelligence, but homing in on these three in the interview process will go a long way toward identifying candidates with high EQ–and eliminating those likely to destroy more value than they create:

  1. Self-awareness and self-regulation. The candidate understands the needs and wishes that drive him and how they affect his behavior. He regulates his emotions so that any fear, anger, or anxiety he experiences doesn’t spread to his colleagues or make him lose control.
  2. Reading others and recognizing the impact of his behavior on them. The candidate has well-developed emotional and social “radar” and can sense how his words and actions influence his colleagues.
  3. The ability to learn from mistakes. He can acknowledge his mistakes, reflect critically upon them, and learn from them.

What follows are guidelines for questions to ask and answers to listen for in interviews. The advice here is also pertinent to managers who need to interview colleagues outside their units to decide whether to appoint them to cross-functional teams.

1. Self-awareness and self-regulation
Anyone working in an organization needs to recognize his moods, his emotions, and the deeper emotional needs that drive him–and how they shape his behavior. Generally people are competent at labeling their moods (“I’m in a good/bad/restless/mellow mood”) and emotions (“I’m happy/sad/angry/anxious”), but fewer can articulate the strong emotional desires that shape much of their behavior and identity, such as a longing for validation, a hunger for power and status, a strong need to be liked.

This is the case for Ian, a manager in a midsize specialty consumer products company. Ian places a high premium on always being right but is unaware of this need and how it makes him arrogant, defensive, and cautious in turn. When a project falters or a client is unhappy, Ian is unable to work with his direct reports, his boss, and his coworkers to reach a common understanding of the problem. Instead, he focuses on demonstrating his blamelessness for it–not very helpful when what’s needed is a solution.

In addition to understanding her emotions, an emotionally intelligent person is able to regulate them and control her behavior. When anxious or fearful, she is self-aware enough to recognize that she tends to broadcast these emotions nonverbally, allowing her to put extra effort into projecting calm optimism. When angry, she has the self-control not to rage at her colleagues or direct reports.

To assess a candidate’s self-awareness and ability to self-regulate, ask these questions

  • Can you tell me about a time when your mood affected your performance, either negatively or positively?
  • Tell me about a conflict you had with a peer, direct report, or boss–how did it start and how did it get resolved?
  • A manager has to maintain a productive, positive tone even when she’s anxious about a business threat. How have you been able to do this in previous positions?

2. Reading others and recognizing the impact of his behavior on them

Because so much of a manager’s work is accomplished with and through others, the ability to read other people–to pick up their emotions and discern their opinions–can spell the difference between success and failure. Managers also need to recognize how their behavior influences that of others. High-EQ individuals are deft persuaders and motivators because they can read others’ cues and adjust their own words and behaviors accordingly.

To assess a candidate’s skill level in this aspect of emotional intelligence, ask questions such as:

  • Tell me about a time when you did or said something that had a negative impact on a customer, peer, or direct report. How did you know the impact was negative?
  • Have you ever been in a business situation where you thought you needed to adjust your behavior? How did you know and what did you do?

In one interview  “the candidate gave a few examples of when he had a negative impact on someone, but in each case, he said someone called him aside and told him where he fell short–he didn’t seem able to recognize these things on his own.” In contrast, “another candidate for the same position pointed to very specific examples of when he was able to read another’s body language and behavior that indicated that something was wrong.” The second candidate landed the job.

Misreading a customer can be fatal to the relationship. A financial services account manager directed a customer he took to be of modest means to a less expensive product than the one the man had been considering. Feeling insulted and humiliated, the client took his business elsewhere.

3. Theability to learn from mistakes
Missteps and outright failure offer opportunities for growth, and high-EQ individuals are able to learn from them. Here again, look for positive patterns in candidates’ past experiences:

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you needed to modify or change your behavior? How did you know? How have you been able to take lessons learned from that situation and apply them to another?
  • Tell me about a situation when you discovered that you were on the wrong course. How did you know? What did you do? What, if anything, did you learn from the experience?

There was an interview  for an IT position. When the candidate was asked to describe her work on a project that faltered, she spoke of a systems overhaul that missed key deadlines and required several course corrections. Asked to analyze how she could have made it run more smoothly, the candidate answered that she should have documented expectations at the outset of the project and communicated more precisely and consistently with users. She also cited her tendency to be reserved and acknowledged that in the past she sometimes held back from asking necessary questions. This candidate concluded by saying that she had thought a lot about what went right and wrong in the project and how she could be more effective the next time she was called on to contribute to such a project.

Contrast the self-awareness and openness to learning in her answer with the defensiveness and rigidity in another candidate’s response. When asked about conflicts she had experienced, she ticked off several diverse examples: a schedule delay, a customer dispute, a delayed product launch. Asked to reflect on how they started and what part she played in them, she portrayed herself as a victim of incompetent colleagues, unreasonable customers, and unlucky circumstances. Several times in her narration she said, “I knew I was right–the others just refused to see it.”

Her ability to learn and progress was about zero–an ominous sign for her future performance.

                                                                                             (author Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay )

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