Posts

Nailing Your Job: 5 Reasons Remote Work Requires Discipline from Both Sides

Does the idea of working from home appeal to you? Many companies today hire remote teams. Don’t think they have it all figured out.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Nailing Your Job: 5 Reasons Remote Work Requires Discipline from Both Sides | Remote Work
 
There’s quite an effort and discipline required from both ends to make a successful collaboration at a distance.

If you want to get a remote job and be successful at it, you l need to prove you’re the person who can make telecommuting work.

There are certain skills that remote employees need that aren’t taught in school. They’re skills you learn through the rich experience of working for others.

Regardless of your experience, you should understand the downsides of remote work positions so you can be the best version of yourself, but also recognize what you need from your superiors to make this telecommuting job work.

Supervision Is Less Frequent

Some business owners frown at the thought of anyone working outside the office because they feel they are losing control over work production.

As an employee, it’s vital to show that you don’t need to be handheld. While you’re working remotely, you can’t knock on the boss’ door to ask questions. You can send an email looking for help with your tasks, but it might take days to get an answer.

The work must have a continuous flow.

You need to show problem-solving skills and be proactive. If your boss spends more time helping you with your tasks than doing their own, they might start looking for your replacement.

Show you’re able to work independently from your boss and coworkers. That’s what they need to see.

To be proactive and independent in your job, you also need to have clear instructions and procedures, which your employer should provide. You cannot become a self-reliant and productive employee if you didn’t receive a proper education.

Remote Workers Have to be Self-Motivated

Self-motivation is the key to working alone from home. It’s developed from the inside but also depends on the company you work for. No one wants to be a part of a poorly organized corporation that doesn’t provide onboarding, education, and work assessment.

Besides proper organization, employees are motivated by a company’s vision, great leadership and culture.

Motivation comes from within. If your own values match the company’s core values – you’ll be a great fit, and you’ll have that intrinsic drive.

When working remotely, there’s no manager to check up on your progress, give you a pat on the back or provide course correction. If you’re a procrastinator who doesn’t work unless nudged, remote work isn’t going to work well for you.

You’ll probably have a task list and a scheduled day, but you also have to create a routine that keeps you on and be disciplined about sticking to it.

It takes time to find what morning routine works best for you. If you want to be great at your job and climb up the corporate ladder, do whatever it takes to become awake, energized, and ready to crush it, whether it’s a routine or some focusing tools. The tools should work with you and improve your work habits.

As you’re building your discipline and work skills, make sure you’re becoming more adept at handling a busy schedule.

Know that more capable employees often receive extra work because they grow into someone dependable who can be trusted with an important task.

Clear Communication is the Most Needed Skill

Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean less communication and interactions. In fact, home-based workers often have to communicate more often with people, whether it’s customers, employers, or co-workers.

That communication includes voice as well as written correspondence.

When you’re exchanging emails or direct messages with others, your message has to be clear.

There can be huge misunderstandings when communicating through text. Being misunderstood or unclear can cause very serious problems and delays with projects.

To be considered for a remote position, be sure that you have strong writing skills. It takes practice to be understood through written communication. There’s no way to hear the tone through text.

The right word choice is vital. It’s one of the best skills you can perfect for work-at-home opportunities.

Likewise, your superiors need to hone those same skills, but that’s out of your hands. What you can do is when interpreting instructions is to read them twice, with care.

Are you sure you understood what’s been asked from you?

Don’t be edgy and jump straight to completing the task, rather read it carefully and patiently, and ask for clarification if there’s something that you are not sure how to do.

Digital Tools are the Essence of Remote Work

Whether it’s conference calls or video conferencing, there’s a need for virtual connections. It’s very likely that you’ll be collaborating with others on projects. That collaboration requires you’re adept at handling technology.

There are software programs that manage all aspects of projects. Your employer needs to provide you with the necessary tools, but it’s your job to learn how to use them properly.

When working from home, you probably won’t have access to the company’s IT services. It’s on you to fix any computer problems that might occur. Along with fixing computer problems, you have to provide yourself with all the necessary equipment.

A working computer and a reliable internet are required. Be responsible for your computer to protect your work and the company’s data. Security concerns are something you’ll have to cover yourself.

You’re a Team Player without the Team

In the office, you can just walk over to a co-workers desk and ask them a question. You can easily show them a paper or ask them to clear up a problem.

Written communication takes more time, and a simple question that you would ask by the watercooler can take much more time when done via Skype chat, for example.

Also, you don’t know what the other person is doing at the moment and you don’t want to interrupt, so you send an email. There’s less casual banter happening with remote teams, especially when the team is dispersed across different timezones.

There are project management tools that make it easier to track progress and collaborate in real-time, so you feel like you are doing stuff together. Depending on the job, you will probably collaborate with other team members.

Even if you are too busy to get to know your colleagues on a personal level at work, you can leverage the software in your daily work life to catch up in your free time.

You’ll have to make an effort, but it’s certainly possible to feel like a part of a team. Group meetings can happen with the software you’ve learned to use daily, or you can connect with your work buddies on social media.

From a company’s side, teambuilding can be boosted by organizing meetups that gather everyone at the same place, from in-house personnel to those working remotely. That is a great way to get everybody on the same level and connect with people more deeply.

Is remote work right for you and your employer?

The companies having a remote workforce benefit in a number of ways. From lower overhead to happier employees and decreased operational costs, telecommuting can be enticing for employers.

Likewise, employees can save a lot on lengthy commutes and invest them in quality time, especially those living in big cities.

If your profession allows remote working, and you are considering applying to a remote job, try to strengthen your self-discipline and perfect your written communication before jumping aboard the telecommuting bandwagon.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Joe PetersJoe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters

Top 5 Skills that Differentiate a Stellar Leader from a Mediocre One – Do You Have Them?

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Leadership Skills | Top 5 Skills that Differentiate a Stellar Leader from a Mediocre One – Do You Have Them?There was a time when the great thinkers of this world thought that we all come into being with a specific set of skills. These skills defined our lives and decided who we were going to be even before we’d have a chance of thinking about it.

This led to the idea that some people are born leaders, some are born musicians, and some are born without any special skills (aka the regular ones). Luckily, we know better by now, and even if a natural inclination is important, it’s the skills we acquire that make us who we are.

This means that we have talented people who chose not to develop their natural abilities, and we have determined people who choose to compensate by learning and being consistent.

Now, when it comes to leadership, not everyone is a natural at it. However, if you truly want to be a stellar leader, you can do so by refining your behavior and actions through training, education, and experience.
Today we’ll list the top 5 skills any true leader must have in order to rise above the average and make a difference in their field.

Communication & Empathy

You must be able to inspire the people in your team and the only way to do this is by communicating in a way that lets people know you understand and support their positions. As a leader, you are in charge of guiding the team towards new levels of success but there’s no way to do this without showing empathy and being a good listener.

Verbal communication is crucial in both one-on-one and group meetings, as it creates a strong bond between participants.

Luckily, most of us can learn to get better at communicating their thoughts and making other people feel heard and understood. Nowadays, we have access to a wide array of online business communication courses designed specifically for leadership and management positions.

However, empathy may be a bit more difficult to grasp if you’re not a natural empath. It can be learned, but it requires you to see the world through the eyes of another person, which can be confusing to master.

Integrity & Accountability

If you want people to be honest and work from a moral high ground, you need to be the leading example.

C.S. Lewis once said that “integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” If you invest more in your image than you do in your team and your behavior, things will start to crumble pretty fast.

A good leader must implement a solid foundation and allow team members to grow on their own path. This usually means putting your employees first and being appreciative of their time and efforts. After all, their success is yours as well.

Furthermore, a stellar leader will always support its team and share in both the blame and the success. They will hold themselves accountable for their actions, thus creating a sense of responsibility among team members and gaining their respect.

Resilience

When we talk about great leaders, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk, we only discuss their success stories. However, if we were to read their biographies, we’d learn that they had to overcome increasingly difficult conditions and situations.

Most people would have caved, given the same difficulties, but the stellar leaders of this world plowed through any wall that blocked their way. They had the vision and, even though there were many times of doubt, they never let their teams see this.

Wrap Up

While the skills mentioned above don’t talk about incredible talent or extreme intelligence, they can be difficult to master for most people. We’re not all great communicators and it can be difficult to maintain your integrity when things don’t go your way. Also, keeping yourself accountable and moving forward regardless of difficulties doesn’t sound like that much fun.

However, these are skills that toughen a person’s character, earn their peers’ respect and help create some of the most amazing leaders of our world (past, present, and future)!


About the Author

Oli is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses.com.au.

Finding The Right Job Role To Fit Your Characteristics And Skills

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Finding The Right Job Role To Fit Your Characteristics And Skills
 
Many people are unhappy with their careers. The problem is that we all tend to focus on the salary that comes with a particular job role. Obviously, that’s important, but it doesn’t mean you have to settle for a job you hate. It’s possible to have the best of both worlds. Okay, not everybody can become the President, but there are other important political careers out there. The point is that you shouldn’t sell yourself short. You should pursue a career that caters to who you are as a person. If you’re trying to find the right job role to fit your characteristics and skills, then here are some financially rewarding industries that might have career options which suit your personality and interests.

Accounting

For people with logical minds, the world of accounting might sound quite enticing. There’s no denying that many of the job roles in this line of work are financially rewarding, but what do the jobs themselves entail? Well, it all depends on the employer. Pretty much every type of business in the world will employ accountants because all businesses need professionals to help them manage their money. If you’ve always been financially minded and numerically gifted, then this is probably the career for you.

Of course, if you want to do something that has an impact on the world, then accounting could still be the right profession for you. Obviously, it benefits the business in question, but certain kinds of accountants can have a wider impact on the world too. You could look into forensic accounting, for instance. This would involve crunching data to help with legal cases, so you’d have a positive impact on the world in that sense. And you should do some research if you’re wondering what to expect from an accounting career salary. They’re all very financially stable.

Healthcare

The healthcare industry is one that appeals to those who want to help other people. There are so many different job roles available to you in this line of work. You just need to choose your profession based on your goals. Obviously, you’ll need to accept that most job roles in this industry require a few years of training before you can become qualified to work in a particular field. That’s why you should give it some thought. Maybe you care about mental health; you could look into therapy-based roles. Or maybe you really care about animals; you could become a qualified veterinarian. This industry might be perfect for you.

Education

A career in teaching could be another good route for you if you want to change people’s lives. For those with caring personalities, this is the perfect industry. You’ll be helping to shape the minds of young people. You’ll be guiding them so that they can find their own dream jobs. The great thing about teaching is that there are so many different routes you could take. It suits people of all academic backgrounds because you have a variety of subjects from which you can pick your particular topic of expertise. Obviously, it’ll take a few years of training to get the necessary qualifications, but it’ll be worth it for the joy of doing something you love.

Stretch Goals, The Field, and Choosing the Best Path

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Stretch Goals, The Field, and Choosing the Best Path | Stretch GoalsStretch goals are intended to push the organization to higher levels of performance. They stretch all teams and the individuals in those teams. Stretch goals can rarely be met with incremental changes, thus, management and staff must be dynamic and creative in planning how to meet the goals. This situation can be intimidating, but it is the ideal scenario for you to shift your career in a new, more desirable direction. There are two key components to help you make the shift: understanding how the Field works, and discerning the work activity you most enjoy – regardless of “normal expectations” for your position.

Defining the Field, Understanding Its Drivers. The Field – which is also referred to as “quantum reality” – is a matrix of electromagnetic waves that permeate everything. “So what?” you may ask. Consider the following reality as proven via scientific experiments and measurable observations: i) at the base of all physical matter are tiny electromagnetic energy waves, ii) as two electromagnetic waves intersect, they exchange data, and iii) communication in the Field is instantaneous. This reality means that all living and innate matter in our world are connected every single instant.

Okay, so how does one use this massive web of connection to choose the best path in a stretch-goal environment? Think about the basic formula that underpins all success in the workplace – to achieve a high performance rating, you need to understand how your boss thinks, what their expectations are, and what their goals are to attain a high rating from their superiors. Once you understand this, then you can design an effective performance plan. It is the same with the Field: understand what is important to the Field, then you can proactively engage the Field to aid in directing your career path to higher levels of success.

Why the Field supports you. What is the top priority of the Field? Expansion. Everything in the universe has a drive to expand – humans, animals, plants, bacteria, even the universe itself. At the individual level, the human feeling of “excitement” is most closely aligned with expansion. Why? The Field is connected to all things, so it is aware of your strengths and how those strengths can best help it expand. Thus, when you are focused on an activity that you enjoy (that you look forward to, that excites you), the Field gives you a clue you are on the right track via the feeling of excitement.

So find a comfortable spot at work – or even head to your favorite coffee shop – and review all your work activities, ranking them by how much you enjoy the activity. Be sure to include activities or skills that you have been wanting to learn. Next pick the top activity (or top two, not more) and create a plan around that activity, quantifying how your efforts will increase productivity or drive efficiency.

In the Field, a Low Risk. Your unique stretch-goal-plan is – in quantum reality – a low risk. This is because you have centered the plan around what excites you at work, and when excitement is combined with venturing into new territory, it will invariably lead to your growth as a professional. Thus, you grow personally, your wider team is challenged and grows with you, and the project itself will be productive. Put another way, each of these aspects expands – and, thus, the Field expands.

The Fringe Benefits. What about the other goals in your overall career plan? The good news is that by focusing so much energy on just one or two areas, your plan/project will create a larger momentum that will inevitably demand the demonstration of other skills. Besides the leadership and innovation capabilities you show in putting forth the plan, the additional skills of project management, team management, communication, selling, leveraging diversity, conflict management, and budgeting will likely be demonstrated.

Stretch Yourself, Stretch Your Boss… Expand the Field. In creating a plan that will stretch yourself in an area you enjoy, you will also be stretching your boss. They will need to acknowledge the merit of your plan, they will need to consider how best to sell the idea to their superior(s), and they may need to think about who else on the team will perform the duties they had expected you to be doing. All of that is a fantastic challenge for your boss. They don’t want a boring job; else they would not have accepted the promotion to manager. Besides, like you they may be a bit intimidated by the stretch goals, so you will be helping them with an innovative idea for meeting leadership’s expectations.

Understanding how the expansive properties of the Field work, combined with a focus on the top one or two work activities that excite you, ensures the design of a successful stretch-plan. It also raises your awareness of potential opportunities that may arise – whether those are hoped for or unexpected.

Stretch goals are not obstacles to success, they are unique opportunities to customize your path and accelerate your success. Embrace and use them to stretch yourself, stretch your boss…and expand the Field.

Rejection Epilogue. If your boss rejects your stretch-plan, this is not a failure. Remember that the Field is connected to all things, so it will be keenly aware of your focused and organized vision for expanding your career/team, and by default the Field itself. After the rejection, maintain a positive “can do” attitude and keep your eyes open for other development opportunities. Perhaps a mentor will ask you to join their team, perhaps someone outside the company will offer you a job, or perhaps your boss will ask you to lead a brand-new project in an area that you find exciting. As long as you focus your stretch-plan on an activity that you enjoy, the Field will not be able to help itself: It will notice your effort, and, one way or another, it will respond.


About the Author

For 28 years John Jay McKey has been a student of success, building and leading data analysis teams in the banking sector, a Big Four accounting and consulting firm, the Office of Inspector General, and a multinational Fortune 50 company. While commuting from Chicago to Washington DC to work for the OIG, Jay had a personal epiphany that led him on a deep dive into the world of quantum physics. That journey resulted in the writing of Leverage the Field for Success, which explains how one can use what scientists call the universal energy field, the zero-point field, or simply “the field,” to support and accelerate one’s success and/or the success of their team.

Signs You’re In The Wrong Job

It happens to all of us from time to time: you wake up one day to find that you are suddenly in the wrong job, and maybe have been for a long time. It is always disconcerting when that happens, and can actually be extremely worrying if you feel stuck and you don’t know what to do. But it does happen to everyone probably at least once or twice in their life, and by itself it is not necessarily a problem that you need to be concerned about. The thing to be concerned about is knowing whether or not it is just a pang, or whether you really do need to start thinking about getting another job. In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the clear-as-day signs that you might be in the wrong job. If you spot any of these, then you know it might be time to move on to something better.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Wrong Job | Signs You're In The Wrong Job
 
It’s Making You Sick

This is one of those signs that you absolutely can’t ignore. It is one of the most serious too, and it’s something that you will definitely want to think about paying attention to should it becomes obvious that it is happening. If it gets to a point where your work is actually making you sick, then you will find that there is no clearer indication in the world that it is time to move on to a better job. But the question of course is how to know that it is the job making you sick, and not just that you are getting sick generally. You should be able to tell if, for instance, you tend to feel unwell when you have been working a lot, and then better on your days off. It might be as simple as the stress getting the better of you. That is a sign that you should really think about moving on.

Or it might even be more serious than that. Sometimes, you will get sick from a job because of the company’s poor approach to health and safety. This, again, is a real red flag, and one which you should wave to other people too, to help warn them of the company in question. At the extreme end of the scale, you might be working for a business that allows asbestos to be in use, and you could develop something as serious as cancer. If that does happen, you should be able to find a firm that handles claims of all sizes of this kind, and hopefully get what you are owed. But it is definitely a sign that nobody should be working for that company.

Sometimes it is a smaller infraction, but still something that shows that you should go elsewhere. For instance, if there is a constant attitude towards health which you find is making you a little sicker, then you should think about moving on to another job soon enough. As long as you are paying attention to these signs, you will hopefully move on before you get too ill, so that at least it doesn’t affect you all that much in the long run.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Wrong Job | Signs You're In The Wrong Job
 
You Dread Going In

We’ve all been in that one job where we absolutely dreaded going into work. This is a horrible feeling to have, and if you do have it you should take it as a very clear sign that it is time to change jobs. Of course, you should wait it out a little first, to make sure that it is not just a temporary thing. These times can happen, and you are unlikely to be in love with your job every day of your life. But if you find that a feeling of dread persists, then it is no use remaining in that work – you should feel free to take yourself out of it as soon as you possibly can. Make sure that you identify what it is that you dread about it, however. If you are not entirely sure, you could end up accidentally recreating the same situation in another job, whereas if you are aware of what it is that is making you miserable, you can make a point of avoiding that as best as you can in the future too. That will lead to a much better quality of life.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Wrong Job | Signs You're In The Wrong Job
 
You Complain About It

You might have noticed that you have started to talk more and more about what is wrong with your job, or that you are even just complaining about it in your head. These are signs too which should not be ignored. Probably the clearest indicator is if your friends say to you that you have been complaining about your work non-stop, especially if you didn’t even realize up to that point. When that happen, that can be an incredibly alarming situation, and it can really have a way of stopping you dead in your tracks. Once you notice just how often you complain, you can be sure that you are soon enough going to want to change jobs – and it is much better to put your energy into doing that, rather than the act of complaining itself, as much as you possibly can. Complaining is an indicator, but it’s not healthy to dwell in it too much, so make sure that you are able to get yourself out of it wherever that might be necessary.

You Dream Of Something Else

One of the more positive signs you can have is that you are constantly dreaming of doing something else for a living. This is one of the better indicators for the simple fact that it means you have a clear direction to move in. If you have a specific role in mind that you would just love to do, then you know that that is probably what you should aim for, and it makes sense to do so as soon as possible. The less time you waste on a job you don’t love, the better your life will be, so make sure that you are paying attention to yourself should you start to dream about another job in this way.