How to be a Better Manager, a Conversation with Ben Woodward
Caleb Pascoe
October 19, 2021
How to be a Better Manager, a Conversation with Ben Woodward
I recently sat down with Ben Woodward at the Leadership Institute (LI) to discuss best management practices. Originally from the United Kingdom, Ben's track record of success at the Leadership Institute started when he joined LI as an intern during the summer of 2015.In Ben's five years at LI, he was promoted from intern, to Career Services Coordinator, to Deputy Director of Career Services, to his present role as Director of Communications Trainings. In his last few weeks at LI before starting a new position at Deloitte Insights & Solutions, Ben gave some important advice on how to be a great manager.Making the move from internship to management is a long track, but what are the biggest take-aways from your time as an intern, a career services coordinator, and a manager?You always learn how to be a manager even when you're not a manager.You observe bosses you have that are good and bosses that are bad. I learned some key things from different bosses that I had.When I was an intern, my supervisor had a real commitment to excellence. She taught me to pay attention to those small details that matter, and the importance of following the standards set by the organization.As a manager, one of the key things I learned was to set an example for your staff. If you're showing up late to work, your staff will start showing up late to work. If you start leaving early your staff will start leaving early. So, you've got to set the standards, because people will look to you for how they should behave.As I supervised more interns, I gradually learned a lot. Setting expectations early on is key. Also, learning what the author Kim Scott calls radical candor, which is being very honest in the feedback you give. You have to be kind, but honest. Being able to say, ‘here's what I liked about your project, here is what you should do differently.' Or, if there is time in an ideal world, you tell them what they should do differently, and you let them go away and fix those things for themselves.What recommendations do you have for people to overcome the fear of overseeing other people for the first time?Good managers do their subordinates no favors if they fail to be honest. You're their boss and their mentor, and your job is to get them up to the standards that the company expects of them.First time managers -- change your mindset about the nature of the work you are doing.As a manager, your job goes away from being the doer, and you now get things done through the people who work for you. Of course, there's a lot of work you still must do yourself, but where possible your mindset is now that you are accomplishing things through other people, and that's how you will be judged.How do you become a conductor and leader of the team you are managing so a project goes well?That's a big question. Let me tell you a few key things to start you on the right path.Identify what your team is good at and what your team is bad at. Be open minded about ideas, and the new innovative things that employees bring in, especially when they are new employees. They come in with fresh eyes, and they come up with their own ideas, where a manager may not see the possibilities.So, pivoting a little bit, what have you found in day-to-day life that has taught you do be a better manager? Observing my dad, for certain, was a big factor. He was self-employed and had a small business.He had two to three people working for him at any given time. I would get to observe him when I was younger, especially when I would go into his office and study, which I did frequently. I really enjoyed that, and I got to see how he worked as a manager.He was just brilliant because he was so calm even when I knew he was stressed. He was the epitome of a duck on water, calm and gliding on the top, even though he was franticly kicking underneath. That calming energy was instilled into his team, even when the going got rough. They knew that panicking was never going to be a productive activity.My dad was a calm, solutions-oriented person, and I really respect him for that.When you have an employee who has just flubbed the project, and maybe not even apologetic about it, how do you deal with a situation where you're trying to communicate that they have done something wrong and need to correct themselves?Number one, just as your staff should never surprise you, you should never surprise your staff. They should know the standards expected of them at all times.They should also know the strategic direction of the department you are running, and their role in it. Which means that they will know when they've flubbed it. If the employees don't know they have really messed up or that the standards haven't been met, then you really haven't done a good job setting the standards.I have always worked on the philosophy that you praise in public, and you criticize in private; and you should praise a lot more than you should criticize.If you are criticizing too much, you're a bad manager because your staff clearly can't do their jobs. Praise in public means that when someone does something good, you're sending all staff emails, and you're including the department head or the CEO.Praising in public is a big thing.There is absolutely no reason to criticize in public. I would suggest that when something goes wrong you bring it up right away. Don't wait. Explain what the problem is and why it's important. You want to be calm and in control of your emotions at all times. If there is a problem, you'll deal with it calmly and in a way that's professional. So, when things are going wrong, bring it up right away.Your first instinct should be performance improvement. Your staff are not disposable commodities; they're an investment, and the investment needs care.Just one more point; a good manager will plan for succession. Your staff should be so well trained and so effective that they should be able to function largely without you breathing down their neck. Most people, when they get promoted, are likely doing their bosses job in some way already. Too many managers let their egos get in the way, and they get defensive about the big juicy, high profile projects.A good manager will praise their staff constantly and will do so to leadership without seeking to take all the credit themselves. They'll look good because their staff looks good.Well on that note, Ben, thank you very much for taking the time today, and congratulations on moving on to a new position at Deloitte!Thank you! Very excited about the new challenge but will miss LI terribly. It's been a fantastic five years.If you would like to learn more about becoming a better manager, attend the Leadership Institute's online Management 101 training and sign up for more careers training at LeadershipInstitute.org/Training.
Your D.C. Internship: Three Tips from a Former Hill Intern
Dylan Craig
October 18, 2021
Your D.C. Internship: Three Tips from a Former Hill Intern
Back in the fall of 2019, I found myself blessed with the opportunity to accept an internship in the House of Representatives. At the time, I was attending college in the other Washington, the one with incessant rain (instead of incessant humidity) and towering evergreen trees (instead of towering marble monuments). Moving nearly 3,000 miles across the country into an unfamiliar city was daunting by itself; the stress of the move was only compounded by the fact I would be entering the nation's political frontlines during unprecedented political turmoil. In my first week, rumors of impending impeachment proceedings swirled through the halls of the Rayburn House Office Building. I quickly realized my internship in D.C. was much more than I had initially bargained for. Like many other interns in D.C, my first several weeks on the job were quite overwhelming. I had no option but to learn through trial and error. I fumbled important phone calls. I got lost in the belly of the Capitol building while giving a tour to a group of Air Force officers. One day, while waiting in line for coffee, I made small talk with the person behind me. After a cordial discussion over the improving performance of the Nationals, I asked him which Representative he worked for. He politely explained that he himself was a Representative.Despite these early slip-ups, and despite the abnormally politically charged environment of my internship, my time on Capitol Hill was easily one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. If given the chance to go back and do things over, I wouldn't do anything differently. However, one aspect of my experience did catch me off guard, an aspect which I wish I had been better prepared for. I didn't anticipate my internship to be a 24/7 experience. When you're interning in D.C., you're not done once you walk out of your office. If you hope to leverage your internship into a job, or if you hope to take full advantage of your time in D.C., you must take every opportunity that presents itself, both inside and outside of the office. There's your office internship, and then there's your D.C. internship. I hope these three tips on how to maximize your D.C. internship can help you as much as they would've helped me back in 2019. 1. Don't let your title limit youDon't be self-conscious as an intern. This was perhaps my biggest mistake. For most of my internship, I operated under the assumption that interns were inherently looked down upon due to their non-employed status, and this mindset sapped my confidence when it came to networking, both inside and outside of the office. Now that I've spent more time in D.C., I realize just how much that mindset was holding me back. Here's a fun game. Go to the website of your favorite think tank or congressional member. Randomly pick any staff member, then look at their LinkedIn. This person was almost certainly an intern at some point. Almost everyone in D.C. got their start as an intern. Almost nobody will look down on you as a lesser individual. They were in your shoes at some point. People in D.C. go out of their way to help interns grow, because they know exactly what it's like. Be proud of being an intern. 2. Expand your horizons beyond your immediate onesYou'll most likely become close with the interns you work with or live with. After all, proximity breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds friendship. However, I've seen many interns opt to stick to what's familiar and exclusively spend time with their co-interns or roommates. They unknowingly cut themselves off from meeting new people. This isn't to say that the bonds you form with interns in close proximity to you aren't legitimate or that they're inherently lesser, it's just that many people make the mistake of seeking security in familiarity and don't push themselves to meet new people. Thousands of interns work in D.C., and the odds are high you'll meet life-long friends if you put yourself out there.3. Network naturally When I was a new intern, I kept hearing people use the term “networking.” Of course, I knew what the concept was, but I wasn't quite sure how to apply it in practice. If you treat networking like a chore, rather than treating it as a fun opportunity to form authentic connections with people, you'll come across as stiff and be a poor networker in the process. It's immediately apparent when someone you're talking to is merely looking for transactional relationships that they can use to open up a job or to get closer to someone they're hoping to meet. It's also immediately apparent when someone you're talking to wants to form an authentic connection with you, not just for professional purposes, but also cares about you as a human being and takes genuine interest in the lives of others. Network naturally!For more tips on how to make the most of your internship or for help with your next career move, including free one-on-one career consultations and a list of job opportunities, subscribe to the Conservative Jobs newsletter and find more career opportunities at LeadershipInstitute.org/Career/.
LI Grad Interview: ‘It’s up to us,’ says new father, Southern Illinoisan
Kirsten Holmberg
May 28, 2021
LI Grad Interview: ‘It’s up to us,’ says new father, Southern Illinoisan
“You and I may face hardships in this country, and our political system may be broken, but we come from a long line of fighters willing to put it all on the line to stand up for what we believe in.” – David Blair, Executive Director of the Conservative Leadership PACMeet Leadership Institute (LI) faculty member and distinguished graduate, David Blair. I recently interviewed David to learn how he got interested in politics, his advice to young people, and his take on the current state of politics. He even announced a new little arrival on the way soon!Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself?I am originally from Southern Illinois, where my family has lived for more than a hundred years. I moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Leadership Institute in 2015 and am now the Executive Director of the Conservative Leadership PAC and the President of my consulting firm, the Blair Group. I live in Sterling, Virginia, with my wife Hannah (whom I met at LI). We are about to welcome our first born into the world in June and are very excited to be first-time parents. Q: What motivated you to enter the political world?My motivations to enter politics really stem from my sense of right and wrong. When something seems like it's not right or unfair, I find myself feeling a great deal of moral indignation about the situation. Seeing how our government operates and the total failure of many of our elected officials, I almost couldn't help gravitating towards politics. I can't see something being done poorly, recklessly, or hypocritically and keep my mouth shut. Sometimes this gets me into trouble, but it is what drove me into politics and what drives me to work for the good guys every day. Can you tell me a little more about the work you do as the Executive Director of the Conservative Leadership PAC and as President of the Blair Group, LLC?As Executive Director of CLPAC, I find talented, principled, and driven young people to act as Youth Coordinators on hotly contested election campaigns all over the country. Often in a very close race, a few thousand votes can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Candidates who employ our system of mass-based youth organizing (first pioneered by Morton Blackwell) find that they have a winning edge when it comes to the close races when compared to their colleagues who do not run serious youth efforts. In short, it is my job to find talent and make sure our coordinators win for the candidates we support. As President of the Blair Group, I act as a strategic consultant for candidates, non-profits, and for-profit companies who are interested in grassroots solutions for their causes. It is my firm belief that there is no better source of value in a campaign than a good grassroots movement. I work with my clients to earn media, contact voters, hold events, and gain support through true ground-up grassroots campaigns. I also am an active speaker on the virtues of grassroots organizing and mass-based youth organizing as a faculty member at the Leadership Institute. Your work focuses on mobilizing young people. What advice to you have for those who are just starting out in political work and campaigns?I have more advice for young people than I have space to write here. However, if I were to stress one thing to someone just starting out in politics, it would be to focus on the success of your principles. Don't let your ego, your vanity, or your pride get in the way of the greater mission. We are all working, or at least we should be, toward a cause greater than ourselves. Credit, fame, money, and all the things many young people see as “success” in politics amount to nothing if you aren't working tirelessly to make the world a better place than you found it. So don't get caught up in the number of twitter followers that you have; social media fame has its place, and we have some warriors out there, but you have to find where you add value to the movement and work at that with all of your heart. If it's hard, good. It should be. How has the Leadership Institute helped you prepare for the work you are currently doing? First as a student and now as a faculty member at LI, I've had such a fantastic opportunity to meet the next generation of conservative leaders in this country and abroad. When I speak to a class at LI or club on campus, I know I am speaking to a room full of tomorrow's leaders. My network has grown with solid, work-centered, movement conservatives whom I can call on to get the job done. When I need someone in a particular state for a tough job or for a Youth Coordinator on a campaign, I know I can look to the contacts I have made through LI to find the right connection. Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?As Americans, we have the unique ability to profoundly affect our government in every election held at the Federal, State, and local levels. Today the cost of political involvement is historically cheap when compared to our nation's forefathers. The Declaration of Independence was essentially a signed death warrant for the Founding Fathers. Yet, motivated by their love of liberty and love for this nation, they willingly lined up to sign. You and I may face hardships in this country and our political system may be broken, but we come from a long line of fighters willing to put it all on the line to stand up for what we believe in. Americans must not abandon the legacy of freedom and the sacrifices of so many who came before us because we find ourselves in difficult times. America was founded in difficult times, forged in them, and will continue to persevere despite them as long as there are good people willing to work hard and stay in the fight. Voting, volunteering, activism, and old-fashioned hard work are what will cure our current political woes. With COVID coming to an end and the overreaches of Liberal politicians on full display, conservatives have a profound opportunity to make massive gains in 2022. You and I can take this opportunity by the horns and show the American people once again that conservatism is the way to go, or we can allow the opportunity to pass and allow the hard-won gains of our ancestors to fall by the wayside. It's up to us.This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities.
How to Let Your Employees Grow and Go
Sarah Morrison
April 20, 2021
How to Let Your Employees Grow and Go
Good employees make your workdays run smooth and help you anticipate the unexpected. But what happens when your good employees outgrow their roles? Or when their goals lead them on another path? When you face this intersection, make the difficult decision to help them grow toward their goals, even if it means they leave their current role. Here are three suggestions to help you build an environment where your employees can grow and eventually leave to pursue their career goals. 1. Provide the Tools Your Employees Require to GrowThis might seem like common sense, but to build an environment to help your employees grow, you must provide them with the tools to do their job. Give them ample opportunities to learn and grow. Encourage them to attend trainings and webinars to help develop their skill set. I send my employees to outside training, as well as to the Leadership Institute's more than 47 types of training (online, on-demand, and in-person). Many of these trainings are great ways to continue employee education.Don't forget to ask your employees about what they think will help them grow too! Open communication lines help.2. Open Communications About Career GoalsCommunication is a key to success. That's why you should know your employees' career goals beyond their current job goals. This knowledge will help you build an environment to help your employees grow.When you invest in your employees and help them pursue their goals, there is a greater chance they will invest in your organization. Here are a couple of examples you can use to pair your employees' personal goals with their current job goals:If you have staff who want to be writers, but their main jobs are organizing events, let them become creative in marketing those events through email, blog, and social media content creation.If you have staff who want to work on Capitol Hill, put them in charge of projects that interact with people who work on the Hill. That way they can network and develop their own contacts. 3. Plan for Employees' Future DepartureWhile it may seem strange to plan for your employees' departure, it is important to be prepared for when they outgrow their role. In their last couple weeks, make sure you have your outgoing employees draft a Standard Operating Procedure Manual for the functions of their current role. Have them include all tasks, projects, and resources required for someone to pick up where they left off.To make it easy for your employees to put together their manuals, ask them to draft directions for different tasks as they perform those tasks. This will make their last few weeks as productive as possible.
Networking Essentials: Warming Connections
Emma Siu and Patricia Rausch
February 10, 2021
Networking Essentials: Warming Connections
With limited in-person events, you'll find many new barriers and obstacles to networking. Everyone faces one glaring challenge -- how to turn a cold connection into a warm one. When you cultivate your current network to connect you with new people, you'll find greater success than going it alone. What is a Cold Connection and why is it bad?A cold connection, or cold call, is an unsolicited request to connect or act when you don't already know the person or have common ground to work from. These attempts to connect can be off-putting to the receiver, who is more likely to decline or even ignore your connection, request, or ask because it feels “cold.” In order to warm yourself up to people, you should find a mutual connection to help with the introduction. This is where your network comes into play.Identify Your Current Network Stakeholders1. Who do I already know?Create a spreadsheet or database of everyone who you consider part of your personal network. This should include friends, current co-workers, past colleagues, mentors, etc. Include how you met, where they currently work, perhaps some of their past employment history, email address, phone number, address, birthday, social media accounts, and any other information you would find helpful to remember.2. Divide that list into two categoriesEveryone you are connected to in some way can be defined as part of your inner circle or your outer circle. Your inner circle is likely family and close friends who you go to for very personal advice and counsel. They're likely to have your best interests in mind, but may not always give the best advice. They also might not always be willing to mix business and pleasure. This is why you should have an outer circle too.Your outer circle contains your coworkers, friends, and colleagues at other organizations or businesses, bartenders at your regular happy hour spot, fellow Junior League members, etc. While you may not interact with them on a regular basis, these individuals, statistically, are more likely to connect you with other people than your inner circle ever will. You'll soon realize it is of mutual benefit to you and other members of your outer circle to enjoy a healthy reciprocation of IOUs and, as Morton Blackwell says, you should not keep a careful tally. Now that you have your network mapped out, let's work on that cold call.Three Ways to Turn a Cold Call into a Connection 1. Determine if the person you're trying to contact is a connection to someone in your network.The warmest connections will always come through your friends and network. Ask your friends to introduce you to people you want to connect with. An introduction increases your social credibility to new connections.If you are running a conference and you're looking for a speaker for a specific topic, you might learn that an executive at another organization would be perfect for it. Unfortunately, your attempt to send an unsolicited email will likely be met with silence. The smart networker will notice they have a former colleague who works at that organization and ask them if they would be willing to make an introduction.2. Build your reputation in mutual interest groups.Another way to warm a connection is to connect through mutual interests. Post in multiple online groups, comment on posts, and use relevant hashtags so your name becomes more familiar before you send a connection request.You may see a job opening on a company's website, but you want to know more before applying. Unfortunately, there isn't an email address listed, so you can't reach out to someone in the organization. You think you'll be clever and find someone who works there on Facebook and message them for more info but unbeknownst to you, they don't read messages in their “other” inbox and find it invasive when job seekers try to contact them in that way. Luckily, you know there are some standard industry Facebook groups and a few of the staff of that company are members, so you join too. When you start to engage in the conversation and interact with them, you end up bringing new people into your outer circle. You can then use this mutual group to get help from someone in your network. 3. Send a personal messageLastly, you can warm a cold connection when you send a personalized message along with your request -- especially on LinkedIn or by e-mail. Your message should emphasize the motivation behind the connection request and make the recipient feel special by emphasizing their skills or talents as well as the value you will provide them. Do your research to find out what that message should look like for each unique contact. You can note the exchange of industry knowledge, quality content, future introductions to people of interest, or even how they'll make a difference in a field they care about.You could be growing your small consulting business and come across a business you think would do well to pay for your services. Unfortunately, it happened by chance, and you don't know anyone who works there and don't know any groups to which the owner belongs. But what you do have is a knowledge of their industry. You know what you can do to help them, successes you've had with similar clients, how success would look for them, and the overall benefits they'll get from working with you. If you are able to truly tailor your initial contact request to them, you're much more likely to get a response. The TakeawayContinue to cultivate your existing network and always be courteous. The key to warm up a connection is to make connecting feel natural. Find common ground, connections, or interests.Make sure you continue to provide useful content, value, and quality conversations to your network. If you have a big ask, now or in the future, it will not feel like it is coming from a needy stranger, but from a helpful friend or connection.And remember, even if someone declines a request, make sure you thank them for their time. Courtesy can go a long way and leave a memorable and positive impression.
One Simple Tactic to Boost Your LinkedIn SEO Today
Emma Siu
February 5, 2021
One Simple Tactic to Boost Your LinkedIn SEO Today
The default URL for LinkedIn profiles is an unhelpful jumble of numbers and letters. You'll raise your online ranking and appear at the top of LinkedIn search results when you customize your LinkedIn URL. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plays a key role to get your content viewed online and outrank your competitors. SEO is what dictates how visible your profile is when searched, based on factors such as keywords and high-quality content. You will rank higher within LinkedIn Search (and Google) if you add your name as a keyword to your custom LinkedIn URL. This is especially valuable for people/brands with common names. When you rank higher it increases your visibility with important connections and recruiters. What is a good LinkedIn URL?Your URL should include your proper name. Avoid spaces or special characters. A safe bet is to type your name all in one word or separate out the name with a dash or underscore.Example: https://www.linkedin.com/in/Jon_DoeHow do I change my LinkedIn URL?Login and click on your profile icon located in the upper right-hand corner. Then select “View Profile.” On the upper right-hand side of your profile, select “Edit public profile and URL.” When clicked, this will open a new page in a separate tab. In the upper right-hand corner of the new page, under “Edit your custom URL,” select the blue pen icon, and type in your new LinkedIn URL.It's that simple. You're now easier to find online!
Top 6 Digital Skills Employers Look for in Employees
Emma Siu
January 7, 2021
Top 6 Digital Skills Employers Look for in Employees
Whether you are looking for a job or seeking a career change, these skills will help you become the most desirable potential employee in 2021. If you don't have these skills yet, don't worry. Leadership Institute offers a variety of courses to help you learn the skills you need to win.ProgrammingHTML, Python, Java, and SQL grow as more businesses need to improve their online presence. Just knowing the basics of one of these languages can show employers you can incorporate programming into your decision making.Data AnalyticsBeing able to take large quantities of data and transform it into meaning is invaluable. Employers look for individuals who can find trends in data and come up with actions based on the trends. The Leadership Institute offers an Introduction to Google Analytics course to help you get started.Social Media MarketingSocial media marketing goes beyond knowing how to use social media casually. This means understanding algorithms, the associated analytics tools, learning how to gain followers, as well as knowing how to create a high-quality post to send a message and gain attention.SEOSearch Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is how to direct people to your website and its resources. When you know how to boost your ranking and generate unpaid traffic to a site, you will be set up for success. UXUX, or User Experience, is how someone interacts with a website or app and how users feel while using your product. When you are skilled in user experience, you will be able to use tools such as heatmaps and analytics to determine how people are using a product/service. Understanding user experience is great, but being able to anticipate the problems or roadblocks a product/service might cause is invaluable.CommunicationBeing able to communicate with a team as well as customers is very important. Online communication mediums such as Zoom, Skype, Teams, Slack, Meets, SMS, and Email are all important to cultivate relationships. When you know how to use these tools to connect with others, this will get you ahead of the game.
5 Actions to Ensure a Successful Career Strategy in 2021
Kelsey Mix
December 14, 2020
5 Actions to Ensure a Successful Career Strategy in 2021
1. Make a plan for one career-related activity in early 2021.This could be anything -- attend a Leadership Institute training, read a book related to career development you have been putting off, or spend 30 minutes to polish your LinkedIn profile. 2. Volunteer with a cause or organization that is important to you.This serves as an opportunity to give back to your community in a meaningful way. While in-person volunteering may look different this Christmas, there are still ways to get involved if you put in the time.Bonus, who knows who you may meet. These days, meeting new people is a challenge. Take this opportunity to engage with others outside of a professional environment. Maybe you will meet someone who could be a part of your professional network. 3. Set calendar reminders for early 2021 tasks. For example, set a reminder for early February to ping five contacts you have not spoken to in a while. A short email, not asking for anything. Simply reconnect and ask how their holiday was. 4. Find an accountability partner for your biggest 2021 career goals and make an action plan together. I am a big believer in accountability partners. Accountability partners are often referenced in the health, exercise, or money fields, but not in the career field.Find a partner and schedule a standing monthly call to discuss your progress at work. Review what went well, what you need to work on, and make sure your actions align with the strategies you set at the beginning of the year. 5. Write letters to a few people who have made a difference in your year. Write personalized handwritten notes sharing how grateful you are to have them in your life.It could be people on your team, a boss, or a mentor who helped you this year. Maybe they provided career advice or direction. Perhaps they connected you with someone who turned out to be meaningful for you professionally. Maybe they make zoom calls more enjoyable.Whoever they are, send them notes telling them you appreciate them.
How to Invite Someone to Interview or Speak
Emma Siu
December 9, 2020
How to Invite Someone to Interview or Speak
7 minute readWhether you ask someone to speak at an event, or ask someone for a podcast interview, it is important to know how to request someone's time. Showing due respect will help you Everyone likes compliments. Respectfully highlight their accomplishments and explain why they are the right person. Let them know the value they can bring to your audience and why you want their time. Good invitations are clear, easy to read, and contain all background information your guest needs to decide in your favor. Keep it short People do not have time to read essays. Keep to the point, and make sure you clearly ask for what you are looking for. A helpful hint: use a combination of bullet points and bold words to make it easier for your reader to get the gist of an email by quickly skimming it. Do not fear rejection You do not know if someone will reject your offer until you ask them. You may be surprised by the number of people who will accept your invitations. Dream big and send requests to people even if you think they are out of your reach. You never know who will say “yes.” Be persistent Cast a big net. Ask a wide variety of interesting people, and do not be afraid to follow up if there is no initial response. But remember, there is a fine line between persistence and annoyance. If someone politely declines, find another person to ask. Follow up If your potential speaker responds, always follow up. If the response is positive, thank them for accepting your request. “A prompt, generous letter of thanks can seal a commitment which otherwise might disappear when the going gets rough,” writes Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell in his Laws of the Public Policy Process.Ideally, you will send them a calendar reminder and follow up again at least twice before the event. If the response is negative, nevertheless send a thank you. Thank them for considering the request. Try to leave the interaction on a positive note. You may be able to find a win-win scenario in the future. Structure your requestDo not overthink it. Here is a simple structure to make sure you are concise while getting to the point: Greeting, introduce yourself and your cause, ask for what you want the interviewer to do, include details such as dates and topic points, include the value that the speaker/interviewer will bring, thank them for their consideration, and sign off.
4 Tips to Use in Your Next Online Meeting
Emma Siu
December 4, 2020
4 Tips to Use in Your Next Online Meeting
5 minute readLook like the professional you are while you participate in online meetings.Camera Location Whether you are using a separate webcam or the one built into your laptop, make sure the camera is at eye level.This may mean putting some boxes/books under your laptop, but it is worth it. A camera at eye level provides a flattering angle and is how your coworkers would view you if you were in the office. Lighting Make sure your face is well lit, and visible. The light should be behind your webcam aimed at your face. Ideally, your light will come from a window because natural light is the most flattering. You can also purchase a ring light for a more professional appearance. When purchasing a light, find one that changes the intensity of light and brightness. If you wear glasses that get the ring glare, a bar light is a great alternative that will reduce the glare on your glasses. If you do not have time to buy a light, you can always use floor lamps to get the desired effect. Background You want your background to be professional and not too distracting. Sit in front of a blank wall and make sure there are only simple things behind you. Remember to avoid a cluttered background, the focus should be you and not your background. Bookshelves, plants, and paintings are great ways to create a virtual office background. Remember Camera Etiquette When you are speaking, speak to your webcam, not to the screen. Put a sticky note behind your camera with some eyes drawn on to help you remember where to talk. Unless you have turned off your camera, you should always be sitting in a professional way. Avoid leaning on your hand or putting your head down on the table at all costs.
How to Win Your Next Job Interview
Emma Siu
November 12, 2020
How to Win Your Next Job Interview
10 minute readYou've already got the interview, now all you have to do is win your employer over. Here is a helpful guide to common interview questions, answers, and closers to help you succeed.1. Do your research.Research the company you are interviewing for thoroughly. Know the company mission statement, goals, successes, and even their pain points. Research your interviewer as well. This might tell you what kind of questions they could ask or give you the ability to connect on a personal level. Remember, your interviewers are human so it's important to get along well with them to show them you can fit well with their team. When you can imagine yourself working at an organization, the interviewer can too.2. Find the questions.The internet can be overwhelming with the amount of interview questions available. Make sure you find common interview questions as well as ones specific to your field. Here is a downloadable Question and Answer Guide with 8 popular interview questions. You should also have questions to ask the interviewer. Make sure to ask a closer question to quell any doubts your interviewer may have about you.3. Practice interviews.Find a few friends or family members to do practice interviews with you. Take this exercise seriously. Have your allies create their own questions for you, so you can get a sense of answering questions on the spot. If you get flustered by a question you can't answer, tell them: “That's a great question, let me give it some extra thought.” That way you can pause for a few seconds to give yourself more time to think up an answer. Practice in the same format as your interview (phone, Zoom, in-person, etc.) to help reduce your anxiety the day of your interview. Get your practice interviewer to give honest feedback afterwards. It can be hard to accept criticism, but it's best to hear it from a friend before your interview.4. Prepare your cheat sheet.Create a list of key points about you, important details of the organization, and your closing questions. If you have a phone or video interview, put your list in front of you, as well as paper to take notes on important things your potential employer says. In an in-person interview, you must memorize your key points. In addition, you should bring a copy of your cover letter, resume, and a pen and paper for any notes you may wish to write down.5. Present yourself well.Depending on the format of your interview, presentation can mean a lot of things. If you have a phone interview, dress nicely to put yourself in a professional mindset. If you have a video interview, make sure your background is professional. Find a blank wall or office type background. Remember to keep lighting in mind. Ring lights are great for lighting but not necessary: try plugging in lamps near your interview space so you can control the lighting. Make a test video to ensure you can be seen and heard correctly. If you have an in-person interview, make sure you are dressed well and are organized. In any interview your phone should be out of sight and on silent. Focus on the interviewer, smile, and ensure there will be no interruptions.6. Follow-up with your interviewer.Right after the interview, send an email thanking the interviewer for their time. Make sure you thank interviewers for the opportunity regardless of how the interview went. This is not only courteous, but will show interviewers your professionalism and dedication.
6 Photography Tips for Social Media
Emma Siu
November 12, 2020
6 Photography Tips for Social Media
7 minute readLearn how influencers make their photos pop and how you can take your photos to the next level.1. Think about the message you want your picture to send.It's easy to snap a quick picture, but you should focus on the message you want to convey. What message do you want your viewers to receive? Pin down the message you want to send, then choose and place your subject matter. Think about how you can stage a picture to present your message. Every little detail contributes to help you present your message through the feeling a picture prompts in your audience.2. Choose your camera and settings.Take more pictures. You can take high-end photos with most cell phones. Play with the settings on your phone's camera. Include where you want the focus to be, whether you want to see a grid, and the size of the picture you plan to take. Professionals should invest in a DSLR camera to improve image quality. The more details you can control with your camera, the higher quality your outcome will be. You want your original picture to be as perfect as possible, so you have minimal edits to make.3. Play with the lighting before you take a picture.You can change lighting in the editing phase, but ultimately there is no substitute for good lighting in the original picture. Make sure your subject is not backlit and that light comes in from multiple angles (not just an overhead or direct light), to make the subject look natural. Play with the lighting before you take a picture to make sure you get your desired effect. Natural light will look the best, so use it if possible. There is a reason you see influencers talk about “golden hour” as it is a golden opportunity to take some amazing pictures.4. Take multiple shots.The perfect picture is not likely the first shot you take. Take several shots from multiple angles with different kinds of light. What looks good in the moment may not look as great in the editing process. Take many pictures and you'll have more options.5. Edit your photos.No picture should go directly from your camera roll onto your social media. Each image you post should be carefully edited to send the ideal message. Editing your photos in Adobe Photoshop will give your photos that refined look that influencers seem to effortlessly achieve. Photoshop will be a great asset and is an important skill for you to build in photography. Learn how to use Photoshop before the end of this year at an upcoming digital training with the Leadership Institute.6. Post timely photos and tag them.Make sure you tag photos correctly so your image can easily draw your audience. Your tag system depends on which platform you post on.Look at your competitors and friends and see what tags they post that you can take advantage of. Check out hashtags your community follows and include the relevant tags in your post. For places like Facebook where hashtags are not as helpful, make sure you post at a time of day when your page or group draws the most traffic.
A Personal Letter to the Staffer whose Campaign Lost
Lee Jackson
November 10, 2020
A Personal Letter to the Staffer whose Campaign Lost
So… you lost. I get it. I would call what you're going through a gut check, but that term doesn't seem to be strong enough. For one reason or another, your campaign came up short. I have been where you are right now. I've been there multiple times. You put your life on hold for months, you're mad at the world, you're mad at yourself, and you probably question if it was even worth it.Trust me, it was. Campaigns are cruel and unforgiving. It's a sick joke that your campaign could have done everything perfect and still lost. Throw in human slip-ups and unforced errors and it's almost like it's game over from the start. It's like it's your turn on Family Feud, your family already has two Xs, and Steve Harvey has asked you to stand on your head, drink a glass of milk, and name the third reason why the chicken crossed the road.To make matters worse, it probably feels like you got the answer right. You and your team outworked the other side and factors beyond your control prevented you from the victory you have been chasing. Or worse, someone on your team wasn't doing their job and, if they had, the outcome may had been different. Either way, the race is over.It's okay to be upset. You're going through a mixture of feeling professional whiplash, questioning what the purpose of your life is without a candidate to please, and it hurts in a way that can only be compared to the first time you had your heart broken.Just remember you are not the first person to lose. And losing does not mean your career or your time in the public policy process is over. I lost two major campaigns in a row before I won my last race in 2019. Don't forget, Abraham Lincoln lost his U.S. Senate race five years before he was elected President of the United States. Take the time you need from this race to decompress. Go home and watch the Sound of Music with your mother. Trust me, it will make her happy. Sleep in until 2:00pm after watching The Office for 12 hours straight.Remember you learned a lot this last year. I promise you could run laps around the person you were a year ago. Even though your campaign came up short, that doesn't mean you didn't grow as a person. You harnessed new skills that can slingshot your career forward. Send me an email when you're ready to sharpen your skills in order to re-enter the arena stronger than ever before. One of my favorite Morton Blackwell quotes is “You owe it to your philosophy to learn how to win.” Yes, that means you. You can also see the list of upcoming LI trainings here.And when the fire in your stomach is back, go looking for the next campaign. Don't wait for 2022. For example, Virginia is going to have some competitive elections up and down the ballot in 2021. Winning a tough Virginia election is a great way to redeem yourself. Just remember, Rocky always had his best fights after he got his butt kicked in front of the entire world.
Keep Your Cool When Things Get Heated Online
Emma Siu
November 8, 2020
Keep Your Cool When Things Get Heated Online
5 minute readWhether it's an internet troll or someone with different views, it's important to know when it's time to participate, and when it's time to move on with your day.What is an internet troll?An internet troll is someone online who aims to make others angry. Trolls love to get people on all sides riled up just because they can. Still, not everyone who makes you angry online is an internet troll. They may just have a different opinion. Usually people who want to discuss ideas or topics will use facts in their argument, where internet trolls will use broad generalizations that are known to get angry responses.Decide whether or not to engage.If there is a comment on your page or in your group with an opinion or stance you disagree with, it's okay to write a comment in response to your stance. Remember, the comment section is not the place for a debate. Try not to respond more than twice. Ask truly interested parties to move to Direct Messages or communicate in a place for debate. If someone is “trolling” in the comments or on one of your posts, it's best not to even dignify them with a response. Not every comment needs to be answered. If a comment is excessively malicious or inappropriate, report and delete.Give level-headed responses.When you decide to write a reply, make sure you are not angry. It's easy to quickly write out a sharp-tongued answer, but that's not necessarily what you want. If you are mad, don't respond right away. Walk away, take some deep breaths, and come back in five minutes. The best way to reply, if you still choose to, is to respond with facts. Never resort to name calls or threats online, which will put you on the fast track to be banned or shadow banned. Before you hit the send button, think “would I be okay with saying this out loud?"Make sure you stay on message.Responding to comments is a great way to build your community, if your comments align with your online goals. Your comments must be on brand. You don't want to send mixed messages or detract from the message you try to convey.
Plan Now for Life After November 3rd: An Open Letter to a Young Campaign Staffer
Lee Jackson
October 8, 2020
Plan Now for Life After November 3rd: An Open Letter to a Young Campaign Staffer
Dear Over-Caffeinated, Underpaid Worker Bee:Congratulations! You made it to October.By now, every day is a new adventure. You're working seven days a week, you're hooked on the campaign high, and you're back and forth between having the time of your life and wanting election day to just get here already.But we need to take a moment and talk about life after November 3rd. Right now, it's probably hard to envision.I had been working for my candidate for roughly a year by the time Election Day rolled around on my last campaign. That means for a year, my boss was the most important person in my life. For a year, he and I had traveled the district together, hoped and dreamed about the future, and he became a second father to me. The most important thing to me was getting him re-elected. I felt that I owed him victory and, for so many personal reasons, failure was not an option.Because of the loyalty I had to my candidate, I felt guilty thinking about life after Election Day. Every second I spent doing so was a second not being spent to give my boss the victory I had promised him. However, I was wrong to think this way -- and he likely would have been disappointed if he had realized what was going on in my head.One of the many things the Leadership Institute is known for is Morton Blackwell's Laws of the Public Policy Process. If you have never read them before, I would encourage you to read them HERE.I always had a copy of the laws framed in my office for campaign volunteers to read.One law that stuck with me was number 18: You can't save the world if you can't pay rent. When I first heard this law, I took it to mean candidates who want win must raise money. Heaven knows I said it to my candidate countless times, stressing how important call time was. However, it rings true for you as an individual as well.The hard truth is, some of your campaigns will win, others will not. For better or worse, elections have clear winners and losers. The good news is, if you win (and work hard), your campaign is likely to offer you a job.Now is the time to start planning your life on November 4th without your current candidate in the picture.If you want to stay in the political arena, start networking now. It's a cruel joke that just as our campaigns need us most, we have to start seriously considering our future. I would recommend having four or five solid leads and a failsafe. For a while, my failsafe was going back to McDonald's.Each year, there are operatives who decide campaign life isn't for them. That's okay. Many of them go back to school or join a sales team and excel in those roles.If you want to stay in the public process, I encourage you to check out the Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs HERE.Conservative Jobs is your free job bank, connecting recruiters and job seekers of all experiences across America. If you have questions about Conservative Jobs or would like someone at the Leadership Institute (LI) to review your resume, you can email my coworker, Kelsey at kmix@leadershipinstitute.org. LI is proud to be a resource placing conservatives in government, politics, and the media.I also encourage you to look at states that have elections in 2021.During off numbered years, I packed up my car and moved to Virginia to work on a campaign. For better or worse, Virginia doesn't have campaign contribution limits, so local House of Delegate races could be more than a million dollars. Working on campaigns every year allowed me to learn more skills and move up the totem pole twice as fast as many of my peers.No matter what you do next, you owe it to yourself to start planning.I always consider the time between one campaign and the next as my “funemployment.” Don't forget to take the time to unwind and relax too.My final words of advice for the next three weeks: stay away from pizza, try to sleep at least six hours a night, start thinking about life after Election Day, and keep day dreaming of that well-deserved tropical vacation to get you through one more walkbook.Keep on knocking,Lee
Epidemic of the Modern Workplace: Burnout I Lead Your Future Episode 6
Christopher O'Neil
August 14, 2020
Epidemic of the Modern Workplace: Burnout I Lead Your Future Episode 6
You're floating in the clouds, your childhood friend you haven't seen in ten years flying next to you until a blaring siren strikes you from the sky like Icarus. You half open your eyes and face the grueling task of deciding whether or not to hit snooze. You may resist it and sun's ruthless, unforgiving rays with every ounce of your being, but you must arise. The world is counting on you!If you've ever lived through that saga, you're probably familiar with workplace stress. It's imposing, formidable older brother is something you may have also contended with: burnout. You may have had a good laugh like I did at the dramatic story above, but burnout is no joke.Symptoms include demotivation and detachment from work, ineffectiveness, feeling a lack of accomplishment, emptiness, self-doubt, self-isolation, a neglect of personal needs, and even a desire to drop out of society completely. It can even lead to depression, memory loss, sleep problems, alcohol abuse, weakened immune systems and poor job performance.Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, unchecked buildup of stress across long periods of time and it has been called the epidemic of the modern workplace. The line between stress and burnout can often be hard to draw, but they are two very different things. Dr. Cregg Dyke explains how it's difficult to pinpoint where stress becomes burnout, but stress always comes first. Sometimes, burnout can be harsh enough that you won't even recognize who you used to be beforehand. This can all seem rather overwhelming, but you're not helpless to stop it. Don't be discouraged, and don't think for one second that you're alone.There are three steps you can take to stand your ground.1. Get Help!Work with your employer to change your circumstances. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant says “burnout is not in your head, it's in your circumstances.” That means you must take charge of your surrounding stress points. Your organization plays a large role in your circumstances, so it's their duty to take part in the solution.There are three ways you can work with your employer to change your circumstances. The first is to reduce the demands of the job. There's no shame in recognizing that you've been given more than you can handle. No one can carry the weight of the world. The second is for the organization to give you more control to manage the load you carry. Finally, an organization can provide plenty of resources for support and help in the form of counseling and other methods to help you cope. 2. Find Purpose!We, as people, are meaning seekers. Without it, life can look pretty bleak; and whether we recognize it or not, we need meaning in our lives. Author, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Bob Bufford referred to “smoldering discontent” as something many workers contend with when they build their lives of success for decades, and then realize their lives have no deep significance to them. Psychologist Adam Grant says the strongest buffer against burnout is a sense of daily progress. Take small steps forward every day. While they don't have to be large, be sure to keep them consistent.3. Track, track, track!The best way to stay on track is by keeping track. Make a list of everything that makes you feel anxious, stressed, and worried. For each item, write at least one way to modify or mitigate the stress you face. Find a routine that addresses behaviors that contribute to your stress and meet it with solutions at every change you get!To learn more about how you can help yourself and others take arms against the ferocity of burnout, be sure to listen to the Lead Your Future Podcast Episode 6, called Epidemic of the Modern Workplace: Burnout. In the second half of this episode, Patti Rausch, the Director of Career Programs at the Leadership Institute shares her own story with burnout. She took a leave of absence to work on a campaign where the weight of a family member's death placed an immense weight on her shoulders, and she came face to face with the foreboding force of burnout. The only way she was able to conquer it was by working with her supervisor, recognizing the burnout was only temporary, and facing it head on together. In order to fight burnout, remember that you are not helpless! You can stop it! Be sure to know your needs, know your circumstances, and develop effective coping mechanisms that work for you. You can get out of bed in the morning with an energy you don't think you have, don't let depression win, and listen to Episode 6 of the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, Twitter.
The New Normal – What to Expect When You Return to the Office
Spencer Evans
August 10, 2020
The New Normal – What to Expect When You Return to the Office
Each organization will develop its own policy weighing up the benefits of returning to work with employee safety.Many have announced indefinite remote policies until a vaccine becomes mainstream, others are waiting to follow the lead of government guidelines, and some are considering phased returns now as they put measures in place to prevent wide spread infection among their staff.This situation is unprecedented. No one can know for sure when working culture will be back to normal.When you return to the office, bear in mind that even with safety measures in place your colleagues will expect you to act in a way that keeps them (and you) healthy. Returning to in-person work does not mean you are returning to normal.You are unlikely to have the water fountain hangouts with your coworkers, or any big sit-down lunch breaks.It is likely that when you return to work, your employer will require you to wear a mask. Be generous to your employer, even if safety measures appear excessive, remember that they are liable for what happens in your office space and may have little control over the policy.To avoid trouble with your boss, keep multiple masks on you or around you at work. Do not risk losing it and having to return home or missing out on meetings because you are not welcome in the room.If you are the boss, you will be expected to set an example. Your staff will follow your lead. Make sure you communicate what's expected of your staff in order to avoid any unpleasant conflicts between members of your team later on.But probably the most important aspect to prepare for is the cultural difference you will see. Simple things like shaking hands and sharing an elevator may become awkward. People may not wish to share your office supplies and expect you to wipe down common areas, such as the printer area or kitchen, after use.The important thing to realize is that these precautions are not personal. Your employer puts them into place to keep their staff safe. Even if you think it's over the top, respect your company policies and co-workers' safety precautions. You do not know what is going on in someone else's personal life, so give them grace. They could be living with their grandparents or have a baby at home.Don't be offended by your colleague's extra caution, even if it seems excessive. Communication is key. Be polite and let people know what you expect from them. If you are nervous about a colleague's lack of care, talk to them. But do not be the office grandmother either. Your HR department is on hand should you need them.Everyone is excited to get back to normal. No one is enjoying this. If you communicate with colleagues and practice safe working practices, you can make returning to work a smooth process when the time comes.
3 Ways to Effectively Communicate with Your Boss
Spencer Evans
July 14, 2020
3 Ways to Effectively Communicate with Your Boss
Looking at my watch, I anxiously pace back and forth in the hall. I was supposed to talk to my boss 10 minutes ago, but I was too nervous. I planned to discuss innovative ways to improve the office. I was intimidated and unsure of myself, but I pushed on.Many people struggle with talking to their bosses. Whether discussing time off, salary, or problems at work, everyone has to deal with these conversations at some point. To help you succeed, let me share with you three of the best ways you can effectively communicate with your boss.1. Be confident and have a plan.This should be self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. If you go to talk to your boss, they can tell if you're not confident. When you communicate with your boss, you should be confident in your speech, body language, and demeanor.Easier said than done, so how exactly do you become more confident? The best way to achieve this is to produce a plan. Before you go into the meeting, plan what you are going to talk about. More importantly, consider possible responses to what your boss might say.For example, let's say you talk to your boss about taking some days off for vacation. Before going in, you should have an idea of how many days you want to take off, what you have done to earn the days off, and what you will complete before you leave. This plan allows you to walk in with exactly what you are going to discuss and how you will respond to questions. This makes you look confident and makes it easier for your boss to say yes.2. Be solution oriented.When you communicate with your boss, make sure the discussion is solution oriented. People don't like listening to others complain or rant about their problems. This is especially true with your boss, whose time is limited. But, good bosses are always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the business.If you find something that is time consuming or causes problems for staff, try to figure out a solution to the problem. Anyone can present problems. You're hired to find solutions.Going in with this mindset will serve you well. Your boss will not only take you more seriously as an employee if your solutions work, but they will see you as a future leader.3. Be honest and know when to say no.Your boss wants honesty. Honesty builds trust, which you'll need to earn. Don't be the person who lies under pressure, or takes on too much because you're afraid to say you're overworked. You'll be respected all the more for prioritizing correctly and knowing your own limitations.For example, John is a new employee who enjoys his job. But, this past week, he was taking on too many assignments, to the point where it was too much. He couldn't say no to his new coworkers and bosses, because he wanted to make them happy. But he was lagging, and people were starting to take notice.His new boss called him in for a meeting to discuss what exactly was going on. John, after walking in, immediately started complaining about how they were issuing him too much work. How he had only just started, and they were forcing everything on him. How everyone else didn't have nearly as much work as he did.Do you see any problems with this? I hope so, because this is the opposite of what should have happened.From the beginning, John should communicate with coworkers, explain his current workload priorities, and establish healthy boundaries. Failing that, he should go to his boss with a plan and establish realistic deadlines. That way, he and his boss can look at his current work and reprioritize. If John waits until it's gotten out of hand and he's overwhelmed, he's already made a bad impression.Final Thoughts…Talking to your boss can be extremely difficult and nerve-racking. But if you approach with honesty, present a confident plan, and show your boss you are solution-oriented, you'll do great. Each and every one of us will have to talk to a boss at some point in our lives. When the day comes to take action, you'll be well prepared.
3 Steps to Effectively Juggle Work and School
Spencer Evans
June 12, 2020
3 Steps to Effectively Juggle Work and School
Hearts pounding, anxiety going through the roof; the whole room went quiet as the final results came in. I was six months into the Louisiana Gubernatorial Election, and we were going into a highly contested primary. I had spent countless hours at the office and in the field doing everything I could to win this election for my candidate. All the while, I was taking 18 hours of college classes. I had my fair share of challenges along the way to manage my time and balance both a rigorous workload and the demands of college classes. Let me share with you the three steps I used to successfully balance both a 3.9 GPA and win a primary election.1. Be a Master of Your TimeTo be a master of your time doesn't mean you have a crazy calendar and have everything preplanned and written down. It just means you effectively use the time you have to your advantage. In the middle of work and school, you have a lot of things flying at you at once -- like assignments, due dates, and personal life. It can seem very hectic at times, but don't panic. Instead, prioritize what you must get done first, then go from there. Often, people get overwhelmed with how much they have to do. Instead, you can focus on what needs to be done and do it effectively. The best thing I did was set a timer for myself. This did two things for me. It allowed me to dedicate a certain period of time to one particular project, then once the time was up, switch to the next item. It also pushed me to get the most work done in that time. I created a competition for myself. 2. Turn Off Your PhoneThis one should seem self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. I don't know how many times at work or during a school assignment I would take a “break” on my phone and it turn into a 30-minute Twitter scroll. Nothing is more distracting than seeing a notification, and not being able to answer it.Instead, just turn off your phone. I would say, “I'm not turning it back on ‘till I am done with this work project or school assignment.” You will be surprised how much time you will save and how much more work you will get done.3. Communicate with your boss and professors Probably the most used relationship advice phrase ever is, “communication is key.” This couldn't be any closer to the truth. Having a good relationship with your boss and professors is very important. You need to communicate with your boss often in order to establish that connection with them. A great way to establish that connection, is to prioritize their time. I'll give you an example. Let's say you have a school assignment due next week and you know it'll take a good chunk of your time to complete. Instead of telling your boss the week of, tell him, “Boss, I have a big school project coming up and it's going to take a lot of time. Is there anything I can do for you early, so I can have more time later in the week?” They love this, because it shows you care about their time and getting your work done. Likewise, the same goes for professors. They will appreciate you communicating with them, and you'll be surprised on how many professors will give you the homework early or give you an extended due date. Final Thoughts…Managing both a job and school is very tough; it is not for the faint hearted. You'll have to make many sacrifices to effectively get everything done. You have actively taken the first step in balancing your job and education. If you incorporate these small steps into your daily life, you will be well on your way to success.
Dealing with Stress in the Workplace | Lead Your Future Episode 5
Chris O'Neil
June 11, 2020
Dealing with Stress in the Workplace | Lead Your Future Episode 5
Do you ever struggle to stay focused? Does your to-do list ever look overwhelming? If so, you're far from alone. According to the American Psychological Association in 2017, more than 60% of Americans cite work as the highest source of stress in their lives.Stress can be a serious barrier to your progress in the workplace and life in general. Your health suffers, your productivity slips, and your happiness falls with everything else. Job stress is a set of harmful physical and psychological responses that can occur when the requirements of the job do not match your capabilities, resources, or needs. While it can manifest in many ways, the most common you'll recognize are inability to stay focused, inability to meet expectations, and money. It can often feel like a constant battle.But don't be discouraged! Your stress is not going to win. The Leadership Institute's Lead Your Future podcast addresses your stress in Episode 5.Here, you'll find three steps to reduce your stress.1. The Nose MethodDon't look further into the future than the end of your nose. Thinking about the future compounds stress, even if it's only 5 minutes in the future. “Taking the burden of the future and dumping it on today, makes today unnecessarily heavier.” “The future of our nation” is cited as the most common stressor in America today, according to the American Psychological Association.2. Replace ExpectationsOften, you and I can treat valuable ideals like being confident, relaxed, respected, or reciprocated as expectations. In cognitive behavioral therapy, they call this “shoulds” and “musts”. This phenomenon can be a serious source of stress, and when we expect them, we are not being fair to others or ourselves. Not only will you be happier, but also more likely to achieve them when you treat ideals in a much healthier way.3. AwarenessCognitive Clinician, Alicia Anderson, explains how being aware of your stressors is one of the most vital steps in solving them. There is even healthy, beneficial stress called eustress. Increasing your own self-awareness can help you make the most of it. The more self-aware you are, the more this enables you to get help when you really need it. Stress is corrosive. It damages your relationships, physical health, and even compromises your immune system and cognitive functions. Don't be discouraged though! With the right methods, you can overcome it.Listen to Episode 5 of the Lead Your Future Podcast to hear more about these tips from a cognitive behavioral expert. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: Youtube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, and Twitter.
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