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.

 

 

The Truth about Multitasking

b loehr - multitaskingIt would appear we’re not as good at multitasking as we think. I, for one, find this news quite distressing.

There was a time when noting “multitasker” on a resume was considered a desirable trait to highlight. Now, some employment experts warn against hiring a person who boasts of their multitasking skills. What happened to change the tide?

Studies in recent years, where actual brain activity was recorded, have concluded that trying to focus on more than one activity at a time, reduces productivity by as much as 40% . Ouch. It would seem that we weaken our ability to block out distractions when we switch our focus from one activity to another, repeatedly; resulting in a greater amount of time spent completing the tasks. And all along, I thought I was saving time.
Millennials who cut their teeth on computer-aided everything seem to have a rather impressive grasp on multitasking. It’s nothing for said generation to pay bills via a mobile app and text mom about Sunday lunch plans all while winning at the newest video strategy game. Oh, and answer an ad on Craigslist at the same time. But don’t expect them to remember to take out the trash on Tuesday night. While the techiest amongst us appear to take multitasking in stride, research continues to warn we aren’t gaining as much from our multitasking as we think.

Many of us routinely combine making dinner with doing laundry, washing dishes, and emptying the trash. Personally, I think it’s cool to see how much I can accomplish while the oven or microwave timer ticks away two minutes – or even 45 seconds. I wouldn’t dream of simply watching the microwave turntable make its rounds when I could put away the silverware and plates – maybe the glasses too – from the dishwasher before the buzzer rings.

Checking your email while watching the game? Not a major deal—most people can handle this type of multitasking. If you miss the play of the night, chances are you can hit rewind and recapture the moment. Reviewing spelling words with Bobby while doing the dishes, sweeping the garage or washing the car? Again, not a major deal. But this really wasn’t the type of multi-tasking we’re discussing.

It appears we can become so accustomed to such focus-splitting in our daily lives, that we may feel we do it well. The experts agree, however, it’s not nearly as efficient as we presume and can even be harmful. The negative effects attributed to repeated periods of multitasking include increased stress, short-term memory loss, relationship interference, and even overeating.

Some jobs, where the pace is chronically hectic, require a degree of multitasking. The brain can often successfully handle brief periods that demand switching from one task to another. Over the long haul, however, the negative is likely to outweigh the positive. Studies reflect that the best results are realized when we focus our full attention on one task at a time.

Understanding and Mastering the Art of Communication

(This is the first post in a 3-part series on Communication. Watch for “Communication that gets Results” and “Improving your Communication Skills” in the next two posts.)

What does it Mean to Communicate?

Communication, by definition, is the flow of information between people. Simple, right? But it’s more than simply words passing from mouths to ears. True communication encompasses all the processes by which people influence each other, making the entire issue of communication a complex, sometimes tricky, endeavor.

In part one of this series, we’ll examine how three types of communication impact the workplace:

  • Verbal – information that passes over the phone or in person
  • Non-verbal – cues like facial expressions, body stance, and tone of voice
  • Listening – ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process

Verbal communication

Effective verbal or oral communication demands that you understand the power of words, and how word choice must vary from setting to setting, from event to event. Take the airline industry for example. Their carefully chosen words are meant to calm rather than instill panic. They consciously chose to say “flotation device” rather than “life preserver”; no mention of a “barf bag” rather a “motion discomfort bag” is available; the plane may experience “mechanical difficulty” but it is not “broken”. You get the picture.

Also consider volume which can show great energy or a total lack of enthusiasm and inflection which puts emphasis on the most important part of your message.

Words may lead the way, but it’s non-verbal communication that goes the distance.

Nonverbal Communication

In Principles of Management, Mason Carpenter, Talya Bauer, and Berrin Erdogan share –

“What you say is a vital part of any communication. But what you don’t say can be even more important. Research also shows that 55% of in-person communication comes from nonverbal cues like facial expressions, body stance, and tone of voice. According to one study, only 7% of a Receiver’s comprehension of a Message is based on the Sender’s actual words; 38% is based on paralanguage (the tone, pace, and volume of speech), and 55% is based on nonverbal cues (body language).[5]

It’s essential that non-verbal communication reinforce your message, not contradict it. If your words say one thing, but your body language goes a different direction, you listener may feel you’re being dishonest. Enhance your verbal communication with the use of open body language—arms uncrossed, standing with an open stance or sitting on the edge of your seat, and maintaining eye contact.

Listening

Very possibly the most important facet of communication involves only the ears and the brain. It’s crucial to understand that listening is not the same as hearing.

According to Life Skills You Need –

“Hearing refers to the sounds that you hear, whereas listening requires more than that: it requires focus. Listening means paying attention not only to the story, but how it is told, the use of language and voice, and how the other person uses his or her body. In other words, it means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages.”

Those seeking to improve their listening skills—and that should be all us—would do well to remember the words of Mark Twain:

If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.

Listening without interruption, while observing body language, is the best way to connect with another person. Giving your undivided attention assures the speaker you are making an effort to truly grasp what is being said. When the speaker is finished, it’s good to clarify to insure you did indeed understand the message.

Understanding and putting into practice the various components of effective communication will make you better at your job whatever position you hold.

B Loehr Staffing takes time to communicate with clients and field associates. We listen to your needs, and then connect you with the best fit.  Contact B. Loehr Staffing for all of your hiring and employment needs.