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8 Steps to Becoming a Better Leader Within Your Petrochemical Business

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Petrochemical Business|8 Steps to Becoming a Better Leader Within Your Petrochemical BusinessWithin oil and petrochemical industries, innovative thinking and strategic planning are key. As a leader in such business, you need to constantly be adapting your way of working, as well as understanding how to inspire the best out of your company and its employees.

Step 1: Encourage Effective Communication

Not only do you need to ensure that you’re effectively communicating with your people, but you also need to make sure that you’re allowing for effective communication throughout the business.
As there are so many roles and branches within a petrochemical business, you need to make sure that all employees and departments can effectually share information.

Step 2: Be Positive

The petrochemical business can be a difficult industry to get into, as well as hitting hurdles. What matters most as a leader is to remain positive and be a source of motivation and inspiration if times get tough.

Step 3: Leadership is Ever Evolving

There’s never a time you should stop learning about being an effective leader. Be sure to keep track of your skills, and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. You can then work to constantly improve your skills and learn new habits to enhance your role.

Step 4: Streamline Your Processes

As an effective leader within this industry, you should be taking all necessary steps to make processes as easy, quick and productive as possible. Making sure that you embrace helpful software and technology, such as field service software for your operatives, shows your employees that you care about proper management systems and anything which can make their jobs a little easier.

Step 5: Recognize Hard Work

No matter whether it’s in-office, out on the field or any other role within your business, recognizing hard work is a must. Be sure to regularly speak with employees to ensure that they know everything they’re doing right, and rewarding hard work.

Step 6: Stay on Top of the Competition

As a business leader, you will need to constantly be aware of what the competition are doing, so that you can effectively communicate with your team how your business can gain a competitive advantage. Employees need to know that you best understand how to help your business succeed over the competition.

Step 7: Pay Attention to Feedback

Being a leader doesn’t mean that you know everything. Being open to feedback from employees, both regarding your own role and the processes of the business, always means that you stand to learn something and gain an outsider’s perspective.

Always be willing to take on board constructive feedback.

Step 8: Stay Organized

It’s hard to trust a leader who is disorganized, who forgets tasks, or whose physical environment is in disarray, such as a messy desk. You can inspire trust by being an organized and tidy leader in everything you do. You need to be a person whom others can depend on, so that begins with being able to organize yourself and your own schedule successfully.

8 Ways You Can Improve Your Leadership Skills

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Leadership Skills|8 Ways You Can Improve Your Leadership SkillsAre you considering starting your own business, or wondering how you could get better results from the current business or businesses that you run? If you always seem to get held back and are struggling to get your teams to work exactly how you would want them to, your leadership skills could do with some improvement. Studies show that teams who work under good leaders tend to be more eager to go above and beyond the call of duty when needed, have better relationships with their work and their colleagues, and tend to be more loyal to the companies that they work for. So, there’s every reason to consider improving your leadership skills for the good of your business. Here are just a few ways that you can do just that.

Consider a Coaching Course:

Some people are just naturally good at coaching and guiding others, while others miss the mark completely. If your efforts to train your employees in something new or coach them through tasks are not getting you the results that you want, a course like the BCF Group executive coaching course could be the ideal choice for you. With a BCF Group executive coaching course, you will learn the leadership skills needed to coach your employees in anything and get the reception that you want, with one to one sessions provided either at your workplace or over the phone.

Become a Better Listener:

One of the main differences between someone who is a boss and somebody who is a leader is that a leader knows how to listen to their team. Reflect on your practices so far. If you have been simply telling people what to do and not giving them much of a chance to be heard, then it could be that you’re acting more like a boss than a leader. Active listening skills are absolutely essential to anybody in a leadership position, as they allow you to truly hear what your teams have to say and take it on board.

Act on Feedback:

Simply listening isn’t always enough – being able to act on feedback or give team members concise reasons as to why a suggestion might not be possible right now, is a crucial skill for any good leader. A good leader knows that his or her team is extremely important to the organisation and, as a result, will listen to and try to act on any feedback that is given by them. Whether it’s about small changes to the layout of the office, or suggestions about remote working, leaders never just dismiss their teams’ concerns and suggestions as they know that these are the people they are relying on for success.

Give Autonomy:

A good leader trusts his or her employees to get the job done and makes sure that they are around to offer support and guidance when needed. If you want to become a better leader then the first thing that you will need to do is let go of the idea of micromanaging people or constantly checking up on them to make sure that they are getting the work done. While it might be tempting to do so, this will only create a sense of mistrust in your team and could even lead to individuals resenting you. As a result, you’re less likely to cultivate a sense of loyalty among your team, and could even see a bigger rate of turnover among employees.

Inspire By Action:

A boss will stay in their office all day and tell others what to do; on the contrary, a good leader inspires their team to do their best through their own actions. Whatever you want your team to do, make sure that you are demonstrating this to them in the best way. Even in the workplace, people are inspired by the actions of those who are in authority to them and a leader who demonstrates a genuine passion and verve for their work is always going to get this kind of response from the people that they are in charge of. Show your team exactly how it’s done.

Be Honest and Humble:

Nobody likes having a boss who struggles to admit when they made a mistake. The truth is that we do all make mistakes from time to time and nobody on your team expects you to be perfect. If you mess up, the best thing that you can do is admit it to your team with honesty and integrity, take responsibility, and work together to figure out how you can avoid the same situation happening again. Nobody is going to respect an authority figure who tries to cover up their mistakes or blames others for them.

Communicate:

The best leaders have a thorough understanding of good communication skills and just how important they are to the workplace. Not only do they clearly communicate tasks and instructions to their teams, but they also encourage their teams to improve communication between themselves and provide them with the tools to do so. This could mean giving teams more time to get up to speed at the beginning of each day or providing remote teams with the best communications tools to get the job done while working from home.

Keep Learning:

A good leader knows that there’s never going to be a point where they know everything. No matter how experienced or successful you become, there’s always going to be something that you don’t know and somebody that you can learn something new from. In fact, you may find yourself learning new things from people who are further down the chain of command from yourself. Good leaders never feel embarrassed that they didn’t know something or resent others for knowing more than them; they appreciate the opportunity to learn more and have the utmost respect for the knowledge of others.

Whether you want better results for your existing business or want to get your new business started out on the right foot, the best place to start is by improving your own leadership skills.

5 Project Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

StrategyDriven Project Management Article |management mistakes|5 Project Management Mistakes and How to Avoid ThemNo matter your company or industry, one thing is true: you’re working on projects. And the truth is that these projects don’t always go well.

In fact, did you know that 70% of organizations have suffered at least one project failure in the last 12 months?

It doesn’t have to be this way. With effective project management, you can stay on top of your company’s various projects and priorities.

But if you’re new to project management, it can be easy to mess up. Keep reading for 6 project management mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. The Goal is Unclear

First and foremost, everyone in your organization needs to understand the goal of your project. What’s the main objective?
Understanding your end result will help make the entire process simpler. If you don’t have this, your project will likely fail.

Think about your ideal final state. What do you want to have done?

Then consider how you will measure the success of your project. Will it be when the website is finished and launched? Perhaps you’ll base success off of results like sales.

No matter the metric, having this clearly defined will make your experience much better.

2. Failing to Manage Project Scope

For many project managers, scope creep is one of the most common management mistakes. Let’s talk about it.

As projects progress, it’s common for you to discover additional tasks that need to get done. Other ideas may emerge. New requests may come in from other stakeholders.

All of this can add to the scope getting out of hand, referred to as scope creep. In definition form, scope creep is adding more features and functionality to a project without addressing the changes to timeframe, resources, and/or costs.

To avoid scope creep from derailing your projects, be sure to have a clear process in place when new asks or changes do come in. Because they will. They always do.

Consider creating a scope document. At the beginning of your project, clearly outline all of the tasks you’re going to complete for this project. Have this agreed upon and assigned by all stakeholders.

Then, as new things emerge, take time as a group to assess the impact to both budget and schedule. If they’re minor, okay. If they’re major, it’s usually best to assign those tasks their own separate project to be completed at a later date.

3. Poor Communication

Whenever you’re working with a group, communication is key. That’s just a given.

But when you’re the project manager, and your job is to make sure things get done at a high level on the right schedule, communicating effectively is even more important.

Set up systems to keep everyone informed and involved.

Will you have a weekly meeting to address progress, roadblocks, and answer questions? Will you communicate via email or a messaging service? What type of project management software will you use and what functionality does it have in terms of communication between team members?

These are all important things to consider. The most important thing is to have clearly defined channels of communication and a regular schedule that people can depend on.

4. Lack of Prioritization

As a project manager, here’s one of the most important lessons you’ll learn: not all projects are created equal.

This means that some tasks are massive and some are small. Some will have a massive impact on the business’ bottom line immediately. Others will take a while to show results.

With so much variation, it’s crucial that you get good at prioritizing.

Take some time to come up with a system that aligns with your organization’s goals. Think about the following things as you prioritize:

  • The impact on revenue
  • The impact on customer experience
  • The long-term impact
  • The amount of resources needed
  • The length of time for the project

To do this, it may be helpful to break projects up into tasks and subtasks. This will help you truly understand the complete scope of projects before you make a final decision on what needs to get done first.

You can also loop in managers from across the department or company to get their input as well. This can be super helpful. Learn more in this post.

5. Poorly Estimating Time and Budget

At the end of the day, time and budget are two of the most influential factors in your life as a project manager. So estimating these incorrectly can completely derail your projects.

It’s easy to overlook potential issues as you’re planning. To avoid this, make sure you include managers as you make plans. They’ll have more context and understanding of the ins and outs of their areas.

Also always plan in some wiggle room when it comes to timeframe and costs. They often are higher than you expect at first.
It doesn’t have to be massive, but include an extra 10% for budget and timeframe. You’ll thank yourself later.

Project Management Mistakes: Avoid Disaster

There you have it: 5 of the biggest project management mistakes you should try to avoid. By avoiding these mistakes, you’ll save yourself and your company a lot of grief.

And your projects will be more successful, meaning great things for your career.

Now that you’ve read through these tips, next it’s time to put them into place. Where do you need the most help? Start there and move on as you go.

Want to learn more about thriving in your career? Check out our blog for additional tips and tricks today.

10 Tips to Get Others to Take You Seriously

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Get Others to Take you Seriously|10 Tips to Get Others to Take You SeriouslyWe all know those people who command a room the moment they walk through the door. How do they signal that they have what it takes?

Recent research identified three qualities as key for commanding the respect of others — gravitas, communication and appearance. Gravitas, as in serious and impressive, mattered most, with 67 percent considering it crucial if you want to be taken seriously.

Use these 10 tips to establish your gravitas.

1. Prepare thoroughly. If you want others to take you seriously, bring your A-game. The biggest challenge to preparing is that we put it off because we’re nervous. The answer? Embrace technology and use voice notes on your phone to record your pitch or your presentation. Practice saying it out loud and listen back. The recording let you know when you’re ready to “go live.”

2. Be concise. To draw attention, be concise. Drill down to your elevator pitch — what you’d say to pitch your business in the time it takes to travel between floors. Think like a news reporter. Introduce your topic, offer up two or three supporting points, then conclude with an impactful statement. Keep it simple and punchy and you’ll earn respect as a clear thinker.

3. Banish Powerpoint overkill. Hiding behind your slides is a good way to lose the respect of an audience. You are the expert, so step away from the slides and distill your content down to a few bullet points. Make your argument compelling with powerful examples and stories. Take the audience on a journey. Bring your ideas alive in the way that only you can.

4. Change gear. Choosing the right tone for the situation is key to earning respect. When preparing for a meeting, ask yourself what approach is required here? Crisp and formal and focused on the task? Or smiling and conversational and focused on relationship-building? If you need to change gear fast, a palms down gesture is good for credibility. A palms up gesture and a warm smile will up your approachability.

5. Use your breath. Actors will tell you that giving a powerful performance relies on maintaining a relaxed breathing pattern. Why? It signals that you’re in control. If you can stay calm when the pressure hits, you earn respect. Controlling your breathing is the key to getting out of the nervous system’s panic room and into a space where you can think. Notice the butterflies, then breathe down into them, relaxing your shoulders. Notice the feeling of relief. Your breath gives you a quick way to settle down the nerves.

6. Practice active listening. The best speakers are always the best listeners. To show gravitas, don’t commit the cardinal sin of repeating what’s already been said. People take you seriously when you respond with something relevant that shows you’ve been paying attention. The key to owning any encounter is to turn up, listen, speak your truth and don’t be too attached to an outcome.

7. “Talk low, talk slow, don’t say too much.” John Wayne offered this advice. Researchers have found that voters tend to prefer political candidates with a lower voice. A low voice shows that you’re relaxed and in charge.

8. Put the brakes on. If nerves speed you up, consciously put the brakes on. Speak in short sentences, with a full stop between each one. One thought, one sentence. Take a relaxed breath in between (think of breathing in a lovely smell). By slowing down, you can take your audience with you. Natural pauses raise the audience’s perception of the speaker’s intelligence.

9. Show teeth. If you want gravitas, you need to be able to do what’s called “showing teeth.” No, it doesn’t mean showing off your pearly whites. Instead, it means that you can push back when required. The best way to approach an opposing viewpoint is to remember why you’re there. Think: “Who am I? Who are we? What’s our common purpose?” Then you can stand up for your beliefs in a way that works for the group.

10. Stand firm. Gravity is intrinsic to having gravitas. The Sanskrit word “guru” means “weighty one.” Staying grounded signals to your audience that you’re not a pushover. Find the points of support between your body and the earth. Focus on the feeling of your feet on the floor (or, if sitting, your bottom on the chair), moving your mind away from anxious thoughts. Try it — it has real power. It brings you “down to earth” when under pressure and communicates presence and calm to others.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Caroline GoyderCaroline Goyder has an international reputation as an expert speaker and trainer with senior management within organizations as well as private individuals. She worked for many years at London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama as a voice coach before launching her own company. She is regularly sought out by the media, and her extremely successful Ted Talk has had over 7.5 million viewers. Her new book is Find Your Voice: The Secret to Talking with Confidence in Any Situation (Penguin Random House UK, Jan. 30, 2020), along with previous books Gravitas: Communicate with Confidence, Influence and Authority and The Star Qualities: How to Sparkle with Confidence in All Aspects of Your Life. Visit www.carolinegoyder.com, or find her across social media: @Carolinegoyder.

How to Improve Your Entrepreneurial Skills

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Entrepreneurial Skills|How to Improve Your Entrepreneurial SkillsBeing your own boss may sound like a novelty, but it can be a challenging career path. Although aspiring entrepreneurs may have a concrete vision and idea for a potential business, there are vital skills needed to turn that concept into a reality. Unless you have worked in business before, it can be difficult to know how to become a successful entrepreneur; this is because there is no-one to support you from higher ranks, unlike typical employment.

If you require some advice on which skills are essential to become a successful entrepreneur, this blog will come in useful:

Attend business training and seminars

Unless you have carried out formal training, it is impossible to understand the basics of business. Enrolling onto a training program will give you an insight into theories and methods which could be applied to your personal business development. It will allow you to gain more in-depth knowledge into the responsibilities of becoming a business owner and how to enhance your productivity and performance.

Find a business mentor

In the early days of becoming an entrepreneur, you may feel as though you need a helping hand to make crucial decisions when it comes to your business growth. You can only learn so much from books and websites; however, a business mentor will be able to share first-hand advice of their own experiences and provide guidance when it comes to making crucial decisions. According to a survey by Sage, 93% of entrepreneurs believe that having a business mentor was the key reason for their success.

Travel far

If you have the determination to expand your business globally, it would be wise to travel to different countries to get an insight into which countries may be best suited to your business niche. Popular countries for business expansion include the likes of China, Japan, and India. Once you have decided which country will benefit your business, it would be wise to hire translators from globalcitizenstranslation.com to communicate with professionals abroad in the native language for effective communication.

Practice communication skills

If you’re not much of a social butterfly and find it difficult to communicate on a personal and professional level, you must work on your communication skills to succeed in business. You’ll be expected to deal with customers and clients both face-to-face, via phone call, video call, and email, to name just a few. However, being a poor communicator as an entrepreneur can result in misinterpretation of information and potentially even catastrophe. There are different ways you can develop your communication skills, such as:

Learn from your mistakes

Upon starting out in business, you’re bound to make mistakes along the way; however, you should turn the negative thinking into positive by learning from what went wrong and how to avoid these errors future. Ask yourself, ‘what could I have improved on?’ and make a list of pointers that you can refer to if you’re ever in the same position again.