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About 9 percent of the US civilian population is made up of veterans – ex-military personnel from all conflicts and branches of the military. Being an active duty service member is very different from leading a life as a civilian. Even though all ex-military personnel had their own lives before joining, readjusting to the life of a civilian can be challenging both personally and professionally.

Leaders need to understand these challenges in order to hire and lead veterans successfully. These challenges start even before the interview—many retired service members have not had to write a resume or interview in years, if ever, which can make evaluation difficult for employers. Veterans possess many valuable skills that can be an asset in the workplace, but to really recognize and leverage these skills, managers and leaders need to be willing to support and accommodate employees in the transition back to civilian life. If you’re welcoming veterans into your office, here are some ways you can help make the adjustment process easier.

Be Patient and Transparent

Patience is key in ensuring that veterans successfully adapt to the civilian workforce. Not all of the 250,000 people who leave the military each year have trouble adapting, but a good percentage of them do – about 27% of all US veterans and 44% of post 9-11 veterans. The most important thing to remember about managing ex-military personnel is that they may not have some of the knowledge you take for granted from other new employees. They may never have worked in an office, and may be unfamiliar with the cultural nuances that exist in an office environment. If you notice confusion or uncertainly, encourage questions and be open and transparent about how the office functions.

Don’t Single Veterans Out or Subscribe to Harmful Stereotypes

We all have cultural biases that can prevent us from treating every employee fairly. Unfortunately, there are many stereotypes that affect all veterans—even though veterans have diverse backgrounds and experiences, just like the rest of the population. Don’t stereotype or pigeonhole veterans—they are more than their service, and have different personalities.

One of the most harmful stereotype about veterans in the workplace concerns mental illness – 46% of US hiring managers believed that PTSD and mental illness were concerns about hiring veterans. Not all veterans struggle with these challenges, and even those that do are not defined by them and it may not even affect their work. Encourage employees to socialize and welcome all new team members, regardless of background.

Work with Veterans to Establish Processes

Many veterans are used to working in high-pressure situations, requiring them to think quickly and follow processes and protocols. They’re used to following rules and structure, which may not always be the norm in the modern office. While civilian employees may feel micromanaged with too much structure, veterans are used to this model and often thrive within it. If your veteran employees struggle with unstructured workflows, adapt to their style and work out a more formal structure they can use to be productive (but micromanaging still isn’t appropriate). Clearly outline what needs to be done and why—what are the goals and how do you expect the team to get there?

Use Alternative Evaluation Methods

Depending on your company, you’ll have differing methods for employee evaluation. While some veterans have no trouble showcasing their productivity through these methods, you may need to tweak your evaluation methods in some cases. Just as standardized tests don’t always give a clear picture of student achievement, your evaluation methods may not showcase your employees’ real contributions. Consider thinking outside the box and adapting your evaluation methods to suit employee needs.

Use the Resources Available to You

Not sure how to make veterans in your office feel comfortable? If you ever need guidance, there are many resources available for employers to help veterans find success in the civilian workplace. The US Department of Veteran Affairs has a wealth of resources available on their website for helping to understand challenges veterans face, and how to help ease those challenges.

Encourage Questions and Open Communication

Going back to the first point, questions and communications are the key to preventing misunderstandings and helping veterans feel comfortable in a civilian office. Assigning a mentor new employees can go to with questions can help veterans integrate and get the information they need, although you should always be a resource for them. Be open, and be ready to work with your employees on challenges that may arise—that will help them to remain comfortable and acclimate for a long term, productive role within your company.

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Probably every leader wants to support his team by saying ‘Yes’, but a wise leader must be able to say ‘No’ to workers without shutting them off. If you are afraid of discouraging your staff, keep in mind that no one ever went broke by saying ‘No’ too often, as Harvey McKay would say. So, at least the financial matter won’t be an issue.

Here are 8 steps of learning to say “No” and stay a top performer of the team.

  1. Listen Carefully and Always Think Through

Sometimes the lack of understanding can make one accept hasty decisions. Before you agree to your team’s initiative or suggestion, think over those ideas and the consequences. Only after that your ‘No’ will seem a shrewd decision to the employees and will prove your competence.

  1. Take Time to Take Decisions

To show that you are listening to the team’s requests and taking them seriously, don’t rule on anything immediately. Time will help you work out the issue. When thinking over, imagine the outcome in case of the positive and negative answer. Perhaps you will even be able to come up with an alternative.

  1. Explore Other Options

If you feel like ‘No’ is already building up inside of you, take a step back and consider your team’s initial purpose. Understand what motivated them to make this request from you. Invite the personnel to a brainstorming session and find different options together. This way you will stand by your beliefs and will say ‘Yes’ to an alternative.

  1. Communicate with Your Team

Sometimes you have no other choice but say ‘No.’ Explain to them why you feel the way you do. Seeing how serious you have taken the situation, they will understand your judgment.

Unless your employees listen to the reason, ask them to support you with this specific matter. Elaborate why their way is wrong and how to make it right in the future. Accept the future possibility of the positive answer if some aspects change.

  1. Support Your Team’s Future Requests

Explain your team that if you refused the idea this time, it is OK for them to trust you in the future with other requests and concerns. Remind them that you work for the same company and you all want it to grow and develop. That’s why they are welcome to come to you with their ideas and projects and you will collaborate to make them work.

  1. Support Contributions and Contribute Yourself

Don’t just wait for the employees to come to you with their demands. Ask their opinions on different matters and help them increase their input to the company’s well-being. This way, all of your decisions and reactions, whether it is saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will be received as considerate.

  1. Use the “No-Sandwich” Approach

If you have followed all the steps above precisely, you are now confident in stating your reason and defending your position. In order for the employees to feel positive about their contribution next time, declare your decision in a “no-sandwich”. First, acknowledge your gratitude for the employee’s participation. Then, justify your negative answer. Finally, praise and encourage further intention of bettering the working process.

  1. Always Have an Open Dialogue

As mentioned before, you can suggest your employees going back to their application later. This way they will see the business aspect of the matter and why now is not a good time to fulfill their demand. Also, you will inspire open discussions and negotiations, thus motivating them to progress and go forward.

Do not try to win everyone over. Be open to the suggestions of your people and, when there is such an opportunity, implement them. If they do not agree with you and in the end convince you of their rightness, support their ideas as you would like them to support yours.

Saying “No” is a tricky skill to learn. Many leaders fear to earn the bad reputation or the image of a poor headman. However, once having managed to refuse wisely you will earn people’s respect and esteem. Saying no can also help in your personal life, thus giving new-found freedom and alternative methods of problems solving.

Biography: Irene Kot is a happy mother, wife and an inspiring blogger.

Her major is financing, and being a mom is a calling.

Her lifestyle Blog Irene Kot http://irenekot.com/  centers around one question: how to combine the mode of life, family, personal interests altogether and make everything easier, more interesting and fun?

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To be a leader, you must be an effective communicator. To be a great leader, you must effectively communicate across cultural boundaries — recognizing that your cultural norms, values, and ways of communication can differ from others. When not in observance of this, it can be very difficult to get anything done in any setting where you are positioned as a leader.

One setting becoming increasingly culturally diverse is the business world. Managers are finding that to survive in the business world, you must be able to effectively communicate with partners from all over the globe. So, just exactly what does it take to be a great cross-cultural communicator?

Below we take a look at three common traits of people who are successful in leading cross-culturally.

Aware of Cultural Diversity

It’s one thing for leaders to know how to communicate effectively with their team and throughout their business, but many find it hard to do so outside of their cultural norms. Great cross-cultural communicators are understanding and aware of cultural differences and make sure that their team members are as well. A great business leader will take into account and accommodate differences across cultures.

Some cultural differences that should be researched and discussed, especially when conducting business, are differences in time zones, holidays, and religious and cultural customs. The noted attention and adherence to cultural differences will show to your international partners that you are accepting and willing to work with them. This will go a long way in furthering your communication and business efforts during your partnership.

Communicate Clearly

An obvious difficulty when communicating cross-culturally is the language barrier. Native English speakers have it easy, as English is the most widely-used language in business. However, this does not mean that you can speak the same way to your international partners as you do to your team in your region of the world. Many things can get misconstrued and can confuse or even insult your partner.

Idioms, slang, and especially humor are often very culture specific. A non-native English speaker might be able to understand the literal words you said in a joke, but not the context in which would make it funny. This can be extremely confusing when trying to correlate complex business matters and, in some instances, can be taken as insults — whether the literal language translates to an insult in their culture or just the fact you have confused them and are now laughing. It is best to maintain professional demeanor in these matters, unless you have extensively experienced your partner’s culture and know how they will respond.

Active Listening

Any leader knows that effective communication doesn’t just involve talking, but listening as well. Actively listening to your international partners — meaning you are not just listening for what you want them to say or listening for a break so you can start talking again — includes providing feedback, answering questions, and proposing solutions to problems.

Listening attentively, paying attention to body language, providing verbal confirmations, and asking clarifying questions throughout your communication not only makes people feel listened to across all cultures, but it is an efficient way to handle intricate matters, whether it be business, public relations, or most any delicate matter that requires strong leadership.

The best ideas, information, and values are shared across cultures, and if there were more effective leaders to embody the traits above, the world might be a more peaceful place. The characteristics above need not apply just to business matters, but in any communication held in the interest of coming to common ground on any subject.

Image Source

Brooke Faulkner is a full-time writer and full-time mom of two.

She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek

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Your customers should be considered your greatest assets. Many UK businesses are busily pursuing new target markets. However as a leader and manager, you want repeat customers. Loyal customers bring with them repeat sales leading to revenue and of course, promotion through word of mouth. This is why customer retention and loyalty should be an important issue for all businesses.

Businesses should not become consumed with appealing to new customers but also aim to keep their current and past customers happy. Happy customers tend to return. Returning customers mean a better bottom line for your business. A bonus point: Retaining customers is 5- 25 times cheaper than acquiring a new one. Sounds appealing? Read on to see three great ways to help your business’ customer loyalty.

Put Your Customer Service To The Forefront

Good customer service has never been more important. In 2016, Magnetic North’s report ‘Customer Experience to Revenue’ found that poor customer experience costs UK Brands over £234 million each year in lost sales. Additionally, almost half of the customers would switch  to a competitor due to service related issues rather than price or product related problems. Take the time to perfect your customer service. It is the first and last point of contact for your customers. Tactics to achieve this includes adequate training of staff and the after sales team. You may be selling a product but shifting focus to the experience your customer gets when they shop can make all the difference.

Another strategy to employ is to go scouting. Take a look at what your competitors are offering customers in terms of customer service and after sales care. By doing this, you can formulate a competitive strategy and also lets you know what you are up against.

Be Proactive Not Reactive

Being able to predict what your customer needs before they actually voice it means you can stay ahead of the competitors. It pays to take the time to follow the upcoming trends and use it to forecast any changes in the market in the future. This can apply in a variety of forms ranging from product extension and personalised version offerings to addition of complementary products to the range.

Customer feedback plays a very important role in this process. Using regular feedback to spot what the customer is missing or may like in the future gives you an idea of what direction to go. This also applies to managing existing accounts. Courtesy calls to a customer after a lack of purchases can sometimes open the door for them to let you know where you went wrong. You can make moves to amend this and keep a valued customer.

Introduce Loyalty Programmes

Customer loyalty programmes are one of the more popular options for improving customer loyalty. Rewarding your customers are one of the best ways to keep them interested and returning. A mere 37 percent of UK customers believe companies reward them for loyalty. Customers on a loyalty program with attractive rewards tend to feel more valued; something you want them to be. Make it a point to show your customers how much you appreciate them choosing to shop with your business. Your loyalty program does not have to be boring either; feel free to explore the different options for customer loyalty programs and find the one that best suits your business and your customers.

Another option for your rewards scheme is adding a referral bonus. This pushes the promotion by word of mouth aspect. Customers who receive great service and quality products will happily spread the word to their family and friends if there’s an added incentive for them. Choosing programs like these are not only simpler to incorporate but also can be quite inexpensive.

For any business, retaining customers is vital. While it is important to employ strategies and resources on gaining new markets, businesses should not forget the value of their current ones.

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How many times in your day to day work life do you step back and appreciate something great for what it really is? You might feel compelled to do it when your team moves mountains, but don’t forget to do it when your team moves molehills.

Every success is a success, and great leaders recognize the small wins just as often as they recognize the big ones. Celebrating everything worth celebrating makes work better for everyone in a few noteworthy ways.

Creating a Sense of Unity

There are some natural disconnects, particularly in communication, between leaders and the people they lead. When you’re willing to celebrate the small victories, you’re reminding your team members that you stand in solidarity with them. They feel relieved and happy when they’ve successfully met any challenge, no matter the size. You should too. It shows that they’re growing in their skills and competency, and celebrating that shows that you’re involved enough to know the kind of progress that they’re making on the ground.

Keeping Employees Happy

Everyone is susceptible to burnout. If it’s difficult to see the payoff from all of the hard work you’ve been doing, that makes it even harder to continue doing that work.

Small celebrations show your team members that their efforts are worthwhile. They’re being recognized, rather than being ushered from one task directly into another. That small break in the day provides them with the opportunity for introspection. They can reflect on the skills they used to accomplish what they accomplished and feel good about their work.

Inspiring Greater Productivity

The necessity of keeping employees at a high level of productivity is one of the most important things they teach you in management school. What they don’t always teach you is the variety of methods you can use to achieve that goal. The idea of reward encourages people to be productive. That’s why it feels better to walk to the ice cream shop than it does to walk home from it.

If your employees know they’ll have an opportunity to enjoy something fun after they’ve put in the efforts, they’re more likely to work more efficiently in order to meet the goal in a timely manner.

Making The Work Environment Positive

Tensions and rivalries arise in the workplace from time to time – especially if your workplace is well staffed. Having a diverse group of people with opposing viewpoints and different experiences can help your team function better, because everyone has something unique that they bring to the table. The interactions won’t always be pretty, and that’s why small celebrations are important. They keep things lighthearted, particularly after some of the spirited debates your team members may have encountered while completing a project.

Boosting Motivation

Company culture is so important. If your culture involves celebration and recognition, your employees will have a constant reminder of what they’re working towards, and that the people around them share the same professional values. A thriving company culture builds teams that want to stick together for the long haul, even when things get particularly stressful or something doesn’t work out the way it was planned.

You want your team members to love their jobs – that’s what ultimately gives them the strength to keep going, even in the darkest of times. Celebrating will motivate them by encouraging them to hold on to that hope and reminding them of the reasons why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Great leaders will never miss an opportunity to celebrate, even over things that might seem trivial on a surface level. As long as your celebration is proportional to the achievement, there’s no way to do it wrong, and no excuse to skip the joy.

About the author:

Sarah Davies – with her experience in business administration and communications, Sarah Davies works as a blogger and communication expert at Open Colleges.

Privately, she is a great fan of self-improvement and might often be found listening to motivational podcasts or reading self-growth books.

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“When we deal with people honestly, and with kindness, faithfulness, and gentleness, we send the message that we care. In return, we are treated the same way, because what we give to others often comes back to us.”  –  Sir John Templeton

There’s a lot of talk these days about empathy. Why empathy is good for business and why it’s bad. Predictably, the question of empathy experiences a renaissance whenever those in the public eye shine a light on the shadow side of power. But we bandy about the term empathy as if its meaning is obvious, like understanding the feelings of another person or walking in their shoes. We judge who has it and who doesn’t, or rank the top ten most empathic places to work. Because, of course, we must quantify empathy to give it the gravitas it achingly deserves.

On the upside we are told empathic leaders engender trust and collaborative cultures. On the down side, empathy can lead to poor and irrational decision making. There’s research to prove both sides of the argument depending on which definition of empathy is used. This polarization causes more confusion than anything. Let’s dig a little deeper because understanding empathy more as a fluid human ability allows us room for growth. It’s the bedrock for kindness, compassion, collaboration, generosity, taking perspective, and living a purposeful life.

I recall a major empathic fail when I was working as a research scientist. It was the day after the September 11th tragedy and the boss called the company together seemingly to console one another. Instead, he shared how it affected him and his family. He rattled off who knew who, and which acquaintance worked on what floor in the Twin Towers. Not once did he ask how the horrific event affected the rest of us. My sweet neighbor, a new father who had lived one floor below me, perished on AA Flight 11; another co-worker knew a woman from TJX, also a passenger; another had visited the World Trade Center with his kids on a New York tour just a month prior; one had a schoolmate who was called in as an emergency responder. Whether there was a direct connection or not, we were all in some state of shock and anguish. The tragedy became about him. I left bereft and seething with rage.

But empathic failures happen all the time in much smaller interactions. More often than not, they are unintentional. Today’s societal pressures and attitudes reinforce independence, competition, social comparison, self-absorption, and personal achievement — hardly the seeds for empathy. It helps to be explicit about what empathy is because, I argue, we could all use some remedial training. And since we spend most of our time working with other people in one way or another, in real spaces or virtually, it’s good to get reminders.

Rather than some fixed ability, empathy falls along a continuum of emotional resonance with others. It’s a prosocial emotion, meaning it connects us to others in meaningful ways. Like any emotion, empathy is fleeting and impermanent. Perhaps uniquely, however, empathy fuels other emotions: sadness, anger, grief, happiness, joy and love. Like baker’s yeast used for leavening, empathy is organic, and it needs nourishment in order to grow.

The word empathy means “feeling into” something or someone. Empathy engages your imagination as you sense the thoughts, feelings, and intentions of other people. It thrives with nurturing experiences, secure attachments to caring people, and in trustworthy environments. It is also shaped by trial and error, discernment, and by knowing personally and deeply what it feels like to be hurt and to do the hurting.

Empathy is a necessary starting point, not some outcome to be achieved. We are wired for empathy and endowed with the mental capacities to harness it. The roots of empathic resonance can be seen in the emotional contagion of babies, when one laughs or cries in response to another. We experience it with a human cry, voice, movement, or facial expression. As we grow, it becomes possible to vicariously share in another’s emotional or mental states without being lost in them and mistaking them for our own (which leads to empathic distress). Psychologists have assigned these attributes and skills to two basic functions in the mind:

  • Emotional empathy is when you viscerally feel happy or sad when another person feels happy or sad. You mirror the emotional states of another person, tapping your neural circuitry for emotional response.
  • Cognitive empathy gives you the ability to take on the perspective of another person, imagining or intellectually understanding their thoughts and feelings without necessarily evoking emotions. The run of the mill sociopath, for instance, has cognitive empathy but lacks feeling.

Empathy is a bridge between the emotional and the cognitive—our heads and our hearts—and it makes acts of both reason and love possible. It nurtures a kind mind and a deep understanding of a common humanity. Both emotional and cognitive aspects of empathy lead to motivational empathy—empathy that motivates us to care about each other, create compassionate communities, and yes, even to really love our work and the people we work with.

We need these three aspects of empathy so that self-awareness, personal accountability, emotional regulation, and taking perspective—all core elements of effective leadership and teamwork—can develop. And for many, direct experiences at work can either foster or hinder prosocial experiences. The evidence suggests we need to pay more attention. Science confirms that friendliness, kindness, generosity and gratitude are incredibly good for you. Altruistic behavior makes people feel happier, triggering a “helper’s high” in the brain; is good for love life; improves symptoms of chronic illness; alleviates social anxiety; can boost one’s financial bottom line; and is associated with a longer life. Yet, many of us are conditioned to a “no pain, no gain” mentality. We suffer needlessly for it.

“I can’t just get up and quit,” a lovely college grad implored. Her confidence had been stripped in the first year of working at a major accounting firm. The culture thrived on persistent hazing: impossible work hours, emails in the middle of the night, emergency calls on holidays, incessant pressure to crunch numbers, and never a gesture of gratitude. It’s a common story with predictable outcomes: poor health, mental distress, destroyed relationships, and perhaps worst of all, indoctrination into abusive cycles of power. “Quit,” I would say. “There’s nothing to prove here.” Eventually she trusted her own instincts, cultivated a kind inner voice, and found a job in a collaborative organization where her gifts could shine. Better at age 24 than 54.

Importantly, empathy not only applies to how we relate to others, but how we relate to ourselves. Self-compassion is necessary, too. This woman came to see that her inner critic, the one afraid of failure and rejection, was triggered by a chain of senior managers who bought into a prove it or lose it environment. Her mentors turned into tormentors. Self-kindness is a practice of directing kind and warm feelings towards yourself, cultivating mindfulness, and understanding that you are not alone. It can require courage. She learned that she could strive for excellence without such personal sacrifice.

Ultimately, we can choose the ingredients in how we lead, live, and love. Let kindness be one of them.

______________

Biography: Tara Cousineau, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, meditation teacher, well-being researcher, and social entrepreneur.

She has received numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovative Research program and is affiliated with the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion at Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, MA.

Learn more about her new book, THE KINDNESS CURE (February 2018, New Harbinger Press) and check out her Kindness Quotient quiz.

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As baby boomers are preparing to retire, the workforce is experiencing an influx of millennials — and their unique needs as employees. In contrast to their predecessors, millennials are technology-heavy and leverage networking and collaboration to solve problems.

Company leaders will need to adapt their leadership style to accommodate for more consistent, open channels of communication and the need for value in work. Millennials aren’t satisfied with filling a chair all day, and they’re asking more of their leaders, too. `

Providing Direction

Today’s employees are motivated by having a sense of purpose. Visionary leaders are prime candidates to instill a feeling of teamwork and emphasize that the organization as a whole is working towards a shared goal. Leaders must shape a future that people want to work for, and they must be able to communicate why it’s the most beneficial plan.

In the face of changing situations and ever-evolving technology, adaptability is paramount to keeping employees engaged. Being transparent as goals shift and trajectories are recalibrated allows middle management the ability to fulfill their duties, as well as ensure that the company vision remains clear, even as it evolves.

Facilitation of Democracy

Part of creating a future that employees can buy into is making success relevant — obviously employees know that if the business goes down, so does their job. However, if the success and growth of the business stands to benefit their quality of life, there’s a greater motivation to work harder.

Facilitating democracy within a hierarchy, when appropriate, can be an excellent way to achieve an open and invested company culture. In order to do that, leaders must create a space where employees feel heard and valued. Leaders must choose strategic moments to open decision making or brainstorming to all employees, and then follow through on listening. Incorporating multiple points of view into problem solving demonstrates that being valued is part of being an employee.

People First Attitudes

Making employees feel valued stems from a people-first mindset. When managers prioritize the human aspects of their employees, they automatically start to create a culture of understanding and reciprocity. As employees put more time and energy into the company, they can trust that the organization will reciprocate in times of need.

For some leaders, this means taking a vested interest in their employees’ personal lives. For others, it may mean that data-driven results comes second to the overall tenor of their employees. No matter what form employee recognition takes, it’s apparent that the little things can have a huge impact.

Emotional Intelligence

In order to put people first, you must understand needs, wants, and priorities, as well as the best ways to facilitate them without sacrificing authority or integrity. Physical factors influence emotional wellness and can impact workplace dynamics dramatically. As a leader, being able to identify and manage emotions is key to keeping a workplace running smoothly. Emotional intelligence plays a huge role in decoding why people do what they do.

Being cognizant of emotional intelligence among employees equips leaders to create work groups with better interpersonal dynamics, as well as mitigate conflicts before they happen. Mediation skills can be passed on to employees, as well, to help them build their own toolbox of constructive conflict resolution strategies.

Coaching Mindset

Passing skills on to employees, as with emotional intelligence, will save leaders time and energy as their team becomes more adept. In past eras, bosses and managers were authoritative figures who enforced the company line. Today’s workforce demands more of their superiors, preferring a coaching strategy with frequent and open communication.

Cultivating a coaching attitude over an authoritative persona will foster innovation and problem solving. When employees are encouraged to think for themselves and learn new strategies, their sense of value to the company will increase, in turn upping engagement.

Looking Forward

Today’s workforce is demanding change among their leaders. They want to see open doors and hear constructive criticism, and effective leaders are finding that utilizing engaging, proactive strategies results in happier employees.

When employees are happier, they’re more engaged, and the organization profits (financially and culturally) from their hard work.

Images Source:https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-man-wearing-black-suit-jacket-doing-thumbs-up-gesture-684385/

Brooke Faulkner is a full-time writer and full-time mom of two.

She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek

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Social commerce is a fairly new concept where eCommerce and social media companies work together to deliver an exceptional shopping experience. Basically, the goal of social commerce is to enable shoppers to use social networks to make eCommerce transactions.

From shoppable Instagram feeds to ‘Buy’ buttons on Pinterest and YouTube, social commerce is reshaping the online shopping world as we know it. Even multinational eCommerce corporations are taking up this trend. A great example of that are eBay’s Daily Deals on Facebook.

According to Facebook, about 450 million users visit buy-and-sell groups on a monthly basis. With that in mind, Facebook rolled out a new service called Marketplace in October 2016. This concept is pretty much the same one that eCommerce giants like eBay and Amazon use.

Users of this social media platform can now browse through eBay Daily Deals through Facebook’s mobile app. This is where eBay’s ShopBot bot comes into play, and helps customers narrow down their search. After all, there are more than a billion listings on eBay. With the Daily Deals feature, customers can get free shipping, unique discounts, and PayPal guarantees.

As outlined in the infographic below, major social media platforms are becoming more commercial, while eCommerce platforms are becoming more social, and the social commerce trend is gaining in popularity with each passing day.

From 16Best.com

From 16Best.com

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Millennials get a bad rap for coming off as narcissistic, technology-obsessed job-hoppers. Though millennials now make up a third of the workforce, other generations have trouble understanding this passionate and tech-savvy group of professional whipper-snappers.

Everyone but millennials have an opinion about this generation’s work ethic. Everyone but millennials hand out tips like the information is some kind of golden ticket to being a real leader. Here are six relevant leadership tips that turn around stereotypes about millennials and play to the generation’s strengths:

1. Use Your Passion For Change

While some see millennials as job-hoppers and pot-stirrers, name-calling only goes to show that this generation is passionate about change. Millennials feel drawn to altruistic missions and inspired to support and cultivate social causes which bring about the greater good — one study discovered that millennials each give $600 annually to causes they care about.

Use your passion for change to spearhead products and projects that give back or provide a benefit for the greater good. As the world grows more connected, social responsibility to one’s community and the world at large is increasingly important in business and life. Where can you use your passion to cultivate change and inspire those around you?

2. There’s More Than One Leadership Style

You likely possess preexisting ideas of what makes an effective leader, but to become one you must look at the motivation and intention behind your leadership style.

As millennials step up to the plate of next-generation leadership, these aspiring leaders state their goal is to empower others on the path of success and to gift purpose to their followers. Some 91 percent say they want to become leaders. Among these budding leaders, over half are women. Surveyed millennials lead with the heart — 50 percent want to empower others on the path of success — and lead with purpose, too. Over 60 percent want to challenge and inspire followers in a transformational style of leadership.

3. Know Your Communication Style

Conflicting communication styles often disintegrate relationships to the detriment of business success and professional growth when leaders and followers, as well as colleagues, cannot find common ground.

Knowing about communication methodologies, especially as a leader, optimizes success and connection. The DISC model of communication identifies four styles of leadership. You will most likely have one dominant style plus aspects of others:

  • D-style: Motivated by competition but suffers from impatience. They prefer direct and brief communication.
  • I-style: Enthusiastic and warm, but limited by impulsiveness and disorganization. They like personal communication with smiles and conversation and prefer to talk it out.
  • S-style: Helpful and calm, but struggle with confrontation. They prefer clarification and democratic communication.
  • C-style: Motivated to gain knowledge and struggles with delegation and quick decision-making. They appreciate facts and persistence over pep talks.

These points only briefly touch on a few aspects of each style. The DISC model also explains how to communicate with each style in the areas you may each struggle with understanding.

4. Remember the Power of Patience

Older millennials came into the job market during the Great Recession. Lingering aspects of that crisis still affect job-finding efforts, the buying of homes and more. As millennials seek their work-life balance, they will be eager to rise in the ranks of leadership and may feel tempted to stick with a job or accept one that doesn’t nurture their leadership potential.

Choose opportunities that fit you and offer leadership growth — but remember the power of patience as your leadership style develops. Snap-decisions result in consequences far more often than patience does.

5. Channel Your Love of Technology

Millennials were the first to grow up fully immersed in the technological age. While others judge the generation for being too attached to tech, millennials see the benefit and can automate processes in business while maintaining personal and professional connections. Technology only increases accessibility as a leader — and texting and video chatting can even facilitate training and enable an offline open-door policy.

Use technology to your advantage as a part of leadership growth.

6. Be Transparent and Authentic

Don’t present yourself as something you’re not. “Faking it” until you “make it” only gets you so far. Customers, employees, colleagues and others in your network appreciate transparency and authenticity which build trust, loyalty and respect — especially in a technological age where anyone can hide behind a facade.

Use these six tips to become a memorable, effective and successful millennial leader. On the path to leadership, you must leave behind assumptions of what leadership should be. Focus on what leadership could be and mean for you, instead.

Biography: Writing about the ways businesses can use the latest technologies, Nathan Sykes has written for a number of sites about topics ranging from programming, cybersecurity and AR. To read more of Nathan’s posts check out his blog.

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As the head of your business, you are the leader that everyone turns to. You might be a brilliant entrepreneur or chef, but you might not have every skill you need to run a business. Even the best business leaders need extra help to do their taxes, hire employees, or track their finances.

Like any skill, leadership is something that must be learned. By avoiding the worst leadership mistakes, you can set up your business for success. Here are some mistakes you should be watching out for:

Being Afraid Your Employees Are Better Than You

No one is able to do everything. At some point, you have to hire employees and delegate tasks. When you hire people, you need to hire the best staff members. Unfortunately, this is not what happens at every business. Some entrepreneurs are afraid that their employees will eclipse them. They want to be the most talented worker, so they deliberately hire people who are not a threat.

Sometimes, this problem is more insidious. An entrepreneur hires an amazing employee, but they micromanage everything that the employee does. In some cases, the entrepreneur deliberately avoids giving them tasks where the employee could get all of the glory. All of these actions are major mistakes. You need to hire the best people possible and give them a chance to shine. Better staff members ultimately mean that your business will ultimately earn more money.

Micromanaging Excessively

You cannot do everything. You have to train your employees to take on more tasks. Some employers end up micromanaging everything that their employees do. This is stressful for you, but it also makes it harder for your employees to do good work. To stop hovering over employees, consider using a project management tool. You can still see what your employees are doing–but you won’t be watching their every move.

If you don’t change, your employees may become afraid of making suggestions because their suggestion is not “your” way. At the very least, you will spend countless hours reviewing work that was already done fairly well. When it comes to running a business, you have to find a careful balance between being too hands-off and micromanaging.

Forgetting to Motivate, Train and Reward Your Employees

For your employees to do their best, they have to be trained properly. When an employee first starts, you have an opportunity to train them according to your vision. Once the employee has worked at the company for several months, they will naturally be resistant to change. If you try to retrain them, they may respond angrily or with frustration.

No one wants to be told that they are doing things the wrong way. Your best choice is to train them properly from day one. Your employees spend countless hours working for you each year. When someone puts a lot of effort into their job, they need to be rewarded for it. Even a small bonus will make employers feel appreciated.

If your business cannot afford a bonus or treating the employees to lunch, you can still recognize their efforts verbally or with a card. Showing your gratitude will make the employees feel appreciated and motivate them to do even better.

Throughout this process, you should be continually motivating your employees. Doing the same job every day can get tedious. Great leaders are people who are able to motivate others and rally people around a common cause.

Not Securing Your Network

For your business to function effectively, it needs to be protected. This includes human resource techniques, insurance, and other types of protection. Unfortunately, many people forget that their data is one of the biggest sources of security risks. By using a disaster recovery tool, you can protect your data from being hacked. Once the software is in place, you can focus on other security needs.

Speaking More Than You Listen

Good communicators are able to listen as much as they speak. If you are always talking, you will never be able to hear new ideas or spot potential problems. You hired talented, intelligent staff members. While you are also talented, it is always a good idea to get as much insight and creativity as possible.

Your employees may have ideas about ways to improve your profits or make the company more efficient. For example, it isn’t a bad idea to automate some of your employees tedious work. If your company sends out a lot of invoices, try using electronic billing instead. This way–the employees have more free time to do more meaningful work. If you make it a point to listen to them, you will be able to hear these ideas and put them to use.

Forgetting to Put Profit First

You want to create an amazing work environment, so you have coffee machines and baked goods for your employees. You want to create innovative products, so you invest heavily in research that will hopefully pay off in the future. Throughout the year, your company donates to charities to make the world a better place.

These are all great things to do, but it is extremely easy to lose sight of the one main goal of any business: profit. Your employees will not have a job for long if the business does not turn a profit. You owe it to everyone to make profits a priority.

Learn and Move Forward

Good leaders learn from the mistakes that other people make. By learning how to be a good leader, you can boost the success of your company. If you are afraid to take risks or change–you are hurting your company more than helping it. Mistakes are bound to happen in your life no matter what–just try make the best choices and take steps in the right direction.

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