Restarting a stalled career

b loehr - stalled careerYou’re career has stalled. It could be a temporary plateau… but what if it’s a deep slump? What if a swan dive looms just around the corner?

For a plethora of reasons, careers goals can fizzle. That dream position that started out with such great promise no longer shines as it once did. You feel unappreciated – almost invisible. The career path you chose years ago no longer fulfills or challenges you.

Other signs that spell a definite stall include:

  • People are being promoted all around you
  • Your job responsibilities and duties have decreased
  • Your input is no longer sought after
  • You dread each day
  • Family and friends have grown weary of your job complaints

Don’t beat yourself up about it. That is, unless you choose the do-nothing-but-whine approach; in that case – then smack away.

The fact is, careers stall. It probably happens a lot more often than you think. Step out of the comfy familiar, yet limiting, “victim” shoes and choose to take action.

  1. It’s time to talk to your boss

Approach the one-on-one meeting with a positive, I’d-like-more-challenge-responsibility-input attitude. Refrain from blaming, pouting, or getting defensive. Your boss may be unaware of your career goals OR unaware of the shifts in the scope of your job. Be specific about what changes you’d like to see in your present position. Inquire about other positions suited to your particular skillset. Broach the subject of upcoming openings you would qualify for if you agreed to seek additional training.

  1. Volunteer to learn the new system/take on the next project,, or to troubleshoot the latest issue

Initiative and an eagerness to learn will get you noticed. If in the past you opted for a behind-the-scenes approach, take a more active role in leadership, brainstorming, or mentoring. Plunge into whatever area best suits your skills and become noticed.

  1. Consider both short-term and long-term educational opportunities

Maybe a certification program requiring a relatively minor commitment will position you for a promotion within the department. If the job you really want requires extended training, however, or possibly a specialized degree, consider the reality of making that type of commitment at this time in your life. Will family responsibilities allow you to return to school? Are you up to the challenge of meshing work/family/school?

  1. Re-evaluate your specific career goals

Over time, your aspirations may have shifted. New priorities may have replaced what once seemed important, or even crucial. Grab pen and paper and put your re-ordered goals down on paper. Mull over the list for a couple weeks – months if it takes that long. An adjusted set of career goals are necessary to bringing fulfillment back into your employment world.

  1. Seek a mentor who can guide you toward achieving your newly ordered career goals

Choose someone in your field or the field you aspire to enter – someone who will be committed to seeing you succeed. Be teachable and remain open to constructive criticism.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we’ve been specializing in jumpstarting careers in the fields of office/administration, accounting, medical, clerical, and light industrial since 1898. Contact us today for excellent opportunities to further your career.

 

 

6 Networking tips for Introverts

b loehr - networkingDo you shy away from the noisy, crowded environments that your co-workers seem to love? Are you overwhelmed when prodded to mingle in a large crowd? Welcome to the world of extroverted networking expectations.

Networking doesn’t have to be painful, paralyzing or petrifying. But it may be if you try to fit into a mold that isn’t you. The key is to recognize that being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t network. It simply means you connect both socially and professionally with people in different ways.  If you find an approach that works with your personality and comfort level, you too can benefit from networking opportunities.

Consider these networking tips for introverts:

  1.  Start small

Choose to attend the smallest group setting of the networking opportunities available. Tackle one event at a time, focusing only on the present. Banish nerve-wracking thoughts of next month’s multi-company mixer or the huge year-end shindig.

  1. Practice

Rehearse small talk and conversation starters with a friend who can also walk you through some Q and A scenarios. Jot some notes on an index card and slip it into your pocket. With practice, you can learn to steer conversations. Additionally, feeling prepared will ease the fear and anxiety climbing up your throat.

  1. Allow yourself time to recover

Recognize the need to recharge between meetings or events. Unlike extroverts who thrive on back-to-back networking events, you’ll drain your people-battery fast by connecting events too close together.

  1. Connect online ahead of time

Making contact online before the upcoming meeting with a bit of email or Facebook back and forth will ease the “complete stranger” fears. It’s especially helpful to be able to match a name with a face, thereby eliminating those panicked moments of trying to determine which of the fifty mingling people is your contact.

  1. Take down the details

Make the most of this event you convinced yourself to attend by saving the details for future reference. On the back of the index card in your pocket or on your phone, note details about the person and the conversation. This will help eliminate, or at least reduce, worrying about remembering who said/did what.

  1. Take the reins and set-up your own events

If you prefer minimally stimulating events over loud, crowded settings, then take the planning into your own hands. A meeting over lunch, a small dinner party, even an afternoon coffee break “chat session” can provide you with networking opportunities that don’t send your pulse racing.

Professional interactions don’t have to be torture. Discover what works for you, personally, and reclaim the benefits of networking.

Take the torture and uncertainty out of finding a job by teaming with B. Loehr Staffing . We get it right the first time. Contact us today and utilize our comprehensive services – we’ve beeen finding Candidates/Field Associates the perfect job placements since 1898.

Leadership Styles Part 2: Why Adaptability is Key

b loehr - leadership 2Leadership has never been a one size fits all proposition. Most successful leaders develop a blend of leadership styles, a personal model they feel comfortable with, that suits their personality and has afforded them a lucrative level of success. However, a time may come when that tried-and-true winning strategy doesn’t seem to be getting the job done.

Quality leaders soon learn it takes the blending of various leadership styles to engage the entire team and meet the company objectives. The most effective leaders will be able to assess situations quickly in order to adopt the leadership model that’s best suited to the moment. Like a clever magician, a skilled leader has more than one leadership style tucked up his/her sleeve.

Whether it’s a particularly trying product challenge, an upheaval in the industry, or a serious financial crisis, the leader who realizes new encounters call for an attitude of adaptability will ride the wave of change and come out on top. Could it be the comfortable, always-worked-in-the-past methods have grown stale, and it’s time for a fresh approach?

Ideally, leadership needs to be in an adaptive mode, always responding to the current situation, to the people involved and to the challenges of the moment with an arsenal of leadership skills and strategies. Successful leaders know it’s all about managing circumstances while advancing toward the desired outcome.

An attitude focused on adaptability will be on the lookout for situations that call for a new approach. So, how adaptable are you?

  • Are you open to new ideas?
  • Do you welcome the challenge of trying a new approach?
  • Can you admit when something simply is not working any longer?

OR

  • Would you rather be comfortable and fail than launch an alternate leadership style?
  • Do you dig in your heels when approached with a suggestion to go a different direction?
  • Are you afraid you can only be successful sticking with the tried-and-true methods you’ve always used?

Answering “yes” to the first set of questions suggests a level of flexibility that can “roll with the punches.”

Answering “yes” to the second set of questions implies a fear or a resistance to approach leadership with a different method.

Three activities are the key to the process of adaptive leadership:

  1. Observation of people, events and patterns
  2. Interpretation of those observations that includes “what if?” analysis
  3. Determination of “what’s next?” and the appropriate follow throughIt’s crucial this process be continually repeated, rather like the simple instructions on the bottle of shampoo in your shower: lather, rinse, repeat.

Adaptive leaders bring together a plethora of skills, methods and practical theories that allow them to continually assess the most appropriate leadership style to meet any situation head-on.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we recognize the important role adaptability plays, not only in company leaders, but in quality candidates as well. Our goal is to help your company meet and exceed your business goals. Contact us today.

 

 

Leadership Styles Part 1:  The Good and the Bad about Common Leadership Styles

b loehr - leadership1A multitude of leadership styles based on various theories have emerged over the last century. Some work well—most of the time yet now always—and some are a train wreck—most of the time but not always.

Most of the varied methods fit into one of these four categories:

  • Trait Theories – What type of person makes a good leader?
  • Behavorial Theories – What does a good leader do?
  • Contingency Theories – How Does the Situation Influence Good Leadership?
  • Power and Influence Theories – What is the Source of the Leader’s Power?

Let’s explore several of the most common leadership styles.

  1. Autocratic or Authoritarian Leadership

This type of leader provides clear, strongly communicated expectations in an atmosphere that focuses on command by the leader and control of the followers.

The pros: This style of leadership works well when decisions must be made quickly and with decisiveness. When the time or need for team input is neither available nor necessary, an autocratic leadership style is often best.

The cons: This method may create a hostile environment that pits followers against the leader or lend itself toward an abusive, bullying approach.

  1. Democratic or Participative Leadership

This approach relies on the leader to make the final decisions after gleaning input from team members whose creativity and engagement in the project are encouraged.

The pros: Said team members are known to exhibit excellent productivity and often express a high level of satisfaction with their involvement.

The cons: Quick decision-making can be hard to come by with this approach as the sharing of multiple opinions can lengthen the final process for arriving at a conclusion.

  1. Laissez-Faire or Delegative Leadership

This approach allows the team to make the decisions with little guidance from leadership.

The pros: Highly capable and motivated team members or qualified experts appreciate their level of responsibility with this leadership style.

The cons: If team members aren’t well suited to this approach, a lack of direction and progress as well as finger-pointing may lead to failure.

  1. Transformational

Thought by many to be the most effective leadership style for business situations, transformational leadership involves motivation by an authentic, empathetic, accountable person who effectively communicates a vision of the future, sometimes utilizing a reward system.

The pros: Productivity and engagement tend to be high as the leader’s high expectations and “walk-the-walk” example inspires loyalty and commitment.

The cons: Out-there ideas taken on in the name of innovation may put the company at risk.

  1. Servant Leadership

This more recently embraced leadership model seems to embrace tenets from each of the four category theories. The framework behind servant leadership is a “servant to all” rather than a “master” mentality adopted and exhibited by the leader whose focus is to build up others while pursuing benefit for the overall organization.

The pros: This mentality creates a positive culture and leads to high morale and levels of engagement by team members who in turn pull together to create lasting and effective initiatives.

The cons: This approach can take time to integrate fully, as a paradigm shift may be required throughout the entire company.

Chances are you see traits of yourself in more than one of the above noted leadership styles. That’s good as seldom does a single leadership style completely fit the bill nor will one approach work in the various situations a leader may face throughout a career.

Next week’s Leadership Styles: Part 2 post will speak to the need for adaptability.

Since 1898, B Loehr Staffing has been the go-to source for:

  • Companies looking for team leaders, who will serve their valued customers well.
  • Leaders looking for companies, who will recognize, respect and use their leadership abilities.

Contact us today. We match the best with the best.

I hate My Job… Now What?

b loehr - jobAt some point, everyone falls prey to working at a job he/she hates. Whether it’s the co-workers, the hours, the pay, the commute or the specific tasks themselves, hated jobs are, unfortunately, quite common. Especially disconcerting is the realization that what you once loved doing, or felt certain you would eventually really like, did not pan out.

If you’re truly unhappy at your job, if it’s more than simply a bad week or a challenging project, then it’s time to take inventory and make a decision. Whatever you do, do not broadcast your discontent at the work place or on social media. While sharing the situation with a spouse or close friend can help you gain perspective, limit who you confide to those you can trust to keep quiet. The last thing you need is a rumor gone viral.

These five questions will put you on the road to recovery from a case of I-hate-my-job syndrome.

  1. What do I hate about this job?

When your mind is functioning clearly and rationally, make a list of who and what are at the center of your job dissatisfaction. In an effort to uncover what matters most, stick to the major issues. And no, the fact that the breakroom donuts are stale three out of five days a week does not qualify as a major concern.

  1. Is there anything I can do to improve the situation?

With the situation before you in black and white, does a possible solution stare back at you? Maybe a heart-to-heart with the boss or supervisor is in order. What about requesting a shift or department change? Is there a flexible work option that would offer relief?

Something convinced you to take this job in the first place. So, be quick to consider a possible solution and slow to march in waving a resignation letter.

  1. Should I stay or should I go?

The 1982 song by The Clash poses the question you will eventually have to answer: do I stay in the job I currently hate OR do I quit?

Even if attempts to remedy the situation failed, a hasty, adrenaline-charged “I’m-outta-here” is not the answer. If careful thought has solidified a decision to quit, begin the search for a new position.

When the time arrives to make it official, go with grace and dignity. Give two weeks’ notice, tie up loose ends, assist in the transfer of your responsibilities to someone new, and, if at all possible, leave on good terms.

  1. What do I really want to do?

Revisit what the recent bad job experience revealed—about you as a person, your likes and dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses. Now you’re prepared to jot down what you’d really like in a job. Include everything, big or little. The resulting list may be long and seem like a pipe dream, but it’s a starting point.

Less-than-positive employment opportunities can be very helpful in terms of narrowing down the particular job setting where you will be most productive and happy.

Too many people stay in a position they hate, going through the motions, barely keeping their head above water, month after month, year after year. Don’t waste time, energy, and talent on a job you loathe.

Contact B. Loehr Staffing today. Our temp-to-hire program allows you the opportunity to actually perform the position, experience the inside of the company, and determine with surety that this is really is your dream job; all before you make a long-term commitment. Our goal is assisting you in discovering a career where your specific skills and unique personality, as well as your happiness, will shine.