Over the last several years, there has been no shortage of information about the importance of soft skills in today’s work environment. Empathy often leads the list of the most vital soft skills. A recent study by Development Dimensions International (DDI), a leading global leadership development company, compiled research involving over 15,000 leaders from 300 different organizations. In this study, which measured the leadership conversational skills having the most impact on overall performance, leading with empathy ranked number one.
The DDI study is not alone in confirming the power of empathy.
In a contribution to CLO (Chief Learning Officer) Magazine, leadership expert, Ken Blanchard shared, “Being sensitive to others’ feelings — recognizing ourselves in each other — opens the door to trust.”
In a 2011 speech at Brigham Young University, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg stated that empathy was a guiding principle of his company. He believes that the number of Facebook connections symbolizes “empathy developing in the world” that will lead to “a greater understanding of how we are all connected.”
Empathy is at the heart of servant leadership. It is an essential skill that encourages active listening, transparency, and provides a leader an opportunity to demonstrate authenticity.
Dr. Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, includes the habit of, Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood®, and to be able to do this effectively, you need empathy.
Empathy is not sympathy.
It can be easy to confuse the two terms. Jacob Morgan, leading author and expert on the future of work commented on how organizations can confuse the two terms:
A lot of times we confuse empathy with sympathy. In the past organizations have been good with being sympathetic to employees, but in the future of work, it is empathy, not sympathy that is crucial for organizations to have. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone else’s circumstances, empathy on the other hand, is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to not just say you feel sorry for them, but to actually imagine how hard it must be to be in that situation.
There are proven benefits to being a leader who understands the importance of empathy. Empathy is not a weakness, it is a leadership strength.
Leading With Empathy Increases Engagement & Reduces Turnover
One of the core elements of employee engagement is providing a sense of belonging within the organization. Empathetic leaders are more likely to develop a deeper bond with their team members. These leaders walk alongside their people. This deeper connection creates an environment of open communication and transparency. People are less concerned about “fearing” if their leader will understand. They are more motivated to share opinions and information.
Other benefits of leading with empathy include:
higher employee satisfaction rates
higher levels of loyalty and customer satisfaction
The majority (85%) of employees agree that empathy is often undervalued.
60% of employees surveyed would be willing to take slightly less pay if their employer showed empathy.
77% of employees would be willing to work longer hours for an empathetic employer.
Employee turnover is driven by a lack of empathy. 72% of employees would consider leaving their current company if they displayed less empathy.
Empathy reduces turnover. 92% of employees would be more likely to stay with a company that empathizes with their needs.
Leading With Empathy Influences Culture
Empathetic Leaders create a workplace culture that encourages collaboration, transparency, values, and a greater sense of purpose. When empathy is a core value, it impacts a company culture at a foundational level. Having a culture where empathy is a core value impacts recruiting efforts. According to UndercoverRecruiter.com,
Empathy can impact your company culture on a deep level, so it should be a key component of everything from team leadership to customer relations.
A culture that has empathy as an attribute is beneficial in attracting new talent to an organization. As long as workplaces have humans, life events will happen, and empathic leaders understand the importance of their people being able to count on them in good and bad times.
A culture that is influenced by empathetic leadership has strong open communication streams, a safe environment that is free of fear, and a genuine interest and concern for everyone. Understanding your people as individuals is a strength of an effective leader. Each person has unique gifts, experiences, and talents that make them who they are.
Increasing & Cultivating Empathy
Empathy comes more naturally for some than others. It can be developed, like a muscle. Regular exercise is needed to build its potential. Developing a culture of empathy does not happen overnight. There are a few things that leaders can do to develop their empathy. This will have an impact on your culture over time.
There are two approaches that I use when working with clients who have a desire to improve their empathy and create a culture that is emblematic of their empathetic leadership. These approaches are personal and organizational.
Personal Empathy Development
The personal approach involves working with a leader in finding their empathy or learning how to apply it to their leadership style. Helping a leader measure and understand their self-awareness, blind spots, and level of self-expression are starting points for understanding the degree of empathy used in their leadership.
This approach requires the leader to be honest with who they truly are.
Since we are all wired differently, we use different degrees of empathy. How empathy is used can be situational to events and individuals. It is more common for a leader to demonstrate a higher level of empathy with a family member than with a work peer. One situation may also require a higher level of empathy than another. It is crucial to understand the level of empathy desired by the person needing your understanding.
Organizational Empathy Development
The second approach to helping leaders build empathy involves the development of an organizational culture that is reflective of their focus on empathic leadership. A great place to start is to implement some initiatives that are supported by this type of leadership approach. Remember, you can experiment to see what works within your organization. Not all ideas will fit every work environment, so customization is a great idea. Here are a few ideas:
Launch a mentoring program. This program would align people within the organization with a senior level peer or manager who can be a great listener and idea generator.
Invest in coaching. This could be a formal, internal coaching program or using the resources of external coaches.
Develop a passion for learning. Development of your talent should always be a priority with leaders. If your people do not grow, neither does your organization.
Recognize your people. People want to know they did a great job. They also need to know they are valued. This has nothing to do with their compensation. Learn how your people need to be recognized.
Leaders who allow empathy to influence their organization also understand the importance of celebrating successes and supporting failures. You have to be with your team members in the great, good, and really bad times.
How you support your people is a hallmark of leading with empathy.
They will remember how you demonstrated your leadership during all of these times. Many exit surveys have echoed the horror stories of leaders who demonstrated little or no empathy. You do not have to leave a legacy of being uncaring and aloof.
Being an empathetic leader does not make you weak. Your impact will be reflected by increased employee engagement, stronger communications, lower turnover, and an enhanced “word of mouth” about your organization. Empathy takes time to develop, and it can be more challenging for some leaders.
Remember, your approach to empathy needs to be authentic. If leading with empathy is not part of your natural leadership style, and you start applying too much, you may experience an initial lack of trust. Empathy is also shown in your actions and not just words. Make sure your approach to becoming an empathetic leader is genuine.
I’m fortunate to be an executive coach. As you might imagine, I get to see many different types of leaders and leadership styles. Take it from my more than 25 years of experience… it’s not easy being a leader! The set of skills and capabilities a leader needs today is always morphing AND expanding! Since the business landscape is being called VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) it will be the agile, self –aware leader, good at learning and adapting, who will succeed.
Leaders Need Executive Coaching
Unfortunately, you can’t buy something online that will make you agile, self-aware and good at learning and adapting. Executive coaching comes to mind but do coaches help with self-awareness in leadership?
It’s common to think of executive coaching for:
Better interpersonal skills, listening skills and empathy
New and broader perspectives
Smooth transition from manager to C-suite
Improved leadership skills and authenticity
Recognition of useful behavioral options to engage employees
Increased job satisfaction
The list of goals and skills that an executive coach can help you develop is much longer than this. There are also dozens (even thousands, I’ve heard) of “leadership” books written each year where you will find many lists of key leadership traits and skills that will make you more successful.
An executive coach can help you set goals and choose key skills for the issues you may be facing. Over the last few decades, I’ve witnessed, first hand, many leaders successfully make these improvements. What I’d like for you to recognize is that your self-awareness is critical in accomplishing these goals!
Benefits of Self-Awareness in Leadership
According to Naz Beheshti, “the key to becoming agile is to be self-aware in order to innovate or risk becoming archaic.” The idea of starting with self-awareness to unlock your leadership potential is fairly new. Self-awareness is the foundation all leaders need in order to understand when change is needed and successfully make the transition. It is the ability to see oneself as others do, not just as you see yourself.
Chinwe Esimai says that self-awareness is the most important capability for leaders to develop. She cited an article published in the MIT Sloan Management Review titled, How To Become a Better Leader, which argues that self-awareness in leadership is paramount because it enables you to make better choices by recognizing and understanding the emotions in yourself and others. They also found that companies with strong financial performance tend to have employees with higher levels of self-awareness.
Growing Trend in Leadership Coaching
Not all executive coaches have this emphasis on self-awareness in leadership and management. When your leadership challenge requires more than learning a few new skills, it’s important to find an executive and leadership coach who will help you increase your self-awareness AND build new skills to support the leadership capabilities you need.
Let’s look at case study to see how this works.
This is an example of a successful performer who was promoted to Director. His name was Jim. This guy really got things done! He was likeable, analytical, strategic, could see big picture and details, and would get whatever he was assigned DONE.
So, what’s the problem?
You see, he had learned to get things done through other people by being authoritarian. His model was the military and he thought he was a “good leader” without many areas that needed improvement.
He wanted to learn how to communicate and engage his employees to have more initiative and more collaboration. Since he is pretty humble and doesn’t desire to take credit, he wants his people to get the credit. The problem, according to Jim is, “they wait for me to tell them what to do!”
He has created the monster he wants to slay!
Within his first few sessions, he developed enough self-awareness to see the direction he needed to take and the skills he needed to learn to change his (and in response, their) patterns. He is practicing new ways of approaching his direct reports and asking for their input. He is making progress.
Jim would not be making such progress if he had not begun to develop self-awareness. He would still be operating/acting in ways he learned in the military—focus on doing tasks… which is not working in his new context. Clearly, self-awareness in leadership is important as it opens the leader up to new points of view and is actually motivating!
As a leader, you can always learn how to be more influential, more authentic, more humble and more clear in your communication. And the focus on self-awareness and your leadership will allow you to learn efficient skills and become a leader who is authentic and effective.
Keep calm and carry on is what we’re all told to do, but it’s easier said than done. To give yourself the best possible chance of performing at your optimum take a look at the top 5 ways you can keep calm and reduce your stress. That way when the deadlines are looming you’ll have nothing to fear and plenty more energy to expend on the task at hand.
Never Worry About What You’re Not Doing
Something that we’ve all experienced is the feeling of being paralyzed by the sheer amount of stuff we have yet to do. Obsessing about everything on your to-do list may make it look like you’re abreast of all the fine details, but it will use up valuable time and energy that you simply cannot afford to waste.
If you want to be able to stay calm as your deadlines move ever closer, then you need to focus all of your efforts on living in the here and now. No matter what you have to get done you should only focus on one thing at a time. Simply by admitting that you can only do one thing at a time you will be able to focus your mind on the task at hand. Not only does this allow you to give everything your best. It also allows you to move through each step of the process without wasting time by going back and forth or jumping from one task to the next.
Keep Calm and Listen to What Your Body Tells You
The world of work is awash with productivity apps that try and schedule every second of your day for you, but there’s something more fundamental you need to pay attention to first.
Your body is what allows your mind to function at its optimum. If you don’t fuel yourself correctly and get sufficient rest then you’ll feel the downsides sooner rather than later. Everyone will pull the odd all-nighter at least once in their lifetime, and the day after is often not all that bad if you can nap. What you need to avoid though is letting these types of extended efforts become the norm or the done thing.
If you repeatedly skip meals, eat poorly, and stay up late working on your latest project then you’ll quickly see a steep drop off in your productivity. Keep calm and take the time to rest and eat. It seems like it will slow things down because it removes you from the working environment, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Rest, sleep, eat, and the work will get done a lot more efficiently when you get back to work. Learn more with our 4 ways to deal with stress at work.
Focus On What You Can Do
Not every project or deadline is as achievable as you first thought, and there’s nothing wrong with being honest and transparent about that. By all means push a little harder and work a little longer than you otherwise would. But don’t drive yourself to the breaking point if doing so will still leave you a long way short of your deadline.
If you want to keep calm and stay grounded then focus on what you can do, and put what you can’t to one side. By taking a proactive approach to reporting to your superiors and delegating to your staff you’ll be able to keep everyone in the loop. That way you don’t have to run around at the last minute whilst everyone else acts surprised that a few little bits and pieces need some extra attention.
By concentrating on what you can do you’ll be able to give those parts of the project your full attention so that you can make some much-needed progress. Without this approach you’ll find that you won’t get anything done at all as the stress grows.
Be Realistic About What You Can Achieve
Realism is the name of the game when it comes to coping with stress and pressure. If you want to get things done, then you need to set yourself realistic goals for their completion times. Drawing up a to-do list or schedule is a great way to get started, but keep it realistic.
Setting time blocks allows you to focus your efforts when you need to. But remember that by setting unrealistically close completion dates you’re just adding to the pressure that will be mounting as the deadlines loom. A smart approach is to estimate how long you think you can do it if everything goes fine, and then add on half as much time again. That way you’ll have some built in contingency that will allow you to change things up as and when you need to.
The other thing that you may want to consider is whether or not you can do parts of certain overlapping tasks in parallel. Setting up your day so that you can work a little longer if it moves two things along in tandem can be a great way to make considerable progress. You may also find it quite refreshing to be able to focus on something a little different at the end of those kinds of days.
Break Things Up Into Manageable Tasks
The final stress-busting tip is all about moving things along in small manageable steps. If you constantly flip between the deadline and the final deliverable, then your stress is certain to grow and grow with every passing day. What you need to do is break things up, take it step by step, and celebrate the small wins along the way.
The great thing about this approach is that you can start to think about the big picture before you even get started. Figuring out what the intermediate steps are is a great way to flag up any potential bottlenecks well in advance so that you can plan accordingly. It will also allow you to feel in control because you’ll be doing something proactive to take command of the situation from the off. It will also allow you to have a clear plan of action that you can refer back to on those days when you feel stressed and in need of a little reassurance.
Small tasks are also quicker and easier to complete than huge tasks, this much we do know for certain. This means that you’ll be able to make more apparent progress by ticking off those small wins as you move closer to completion. You’ll keep calm and your confidence and motivation will increase as you see yourself making progress. The great thing about this is that your stress levels will drop without you even realizing it.
When you want to keep calm and take control, it’s all about keeping on top of your stress levels. You can do this by listening to your body and getting the rest and nutrition that you need to stay on top of things. Once you do that you’ll find it much easier to focus on what you can do, break things up into small manageable tasks, and stay living in the here and now.
Kristin Savage has graduated from Columbia University where she was majoring in Germanic Languages. Besides English as her mother tongue she also speaks German and Dutch fluently. Currently Kristin is studying Spanish and planning to obtain her PhD in Applied Linguistics since she is interested in how to use her to some extent practical knowledge of language processes in everyday life. She has been a writer at Pick Writers for a few years and is known for her thorough approach to all the tasks and aspiration to fulfill assignments with flying colors.
Guest blog with great ideas for how to be confident in a job interview and calm those interview nerves!
– Coach Wolfgang
After sending countless CVs, you finally got a call – the company of your dreams finds that you may be the next person to join their team. However, now comes the hardest part: the notorious interview!
Most people claim that this is the most nerve-wracking part of the whole process, from searching for a job to working. The reason for that is that they don’t prepare themselves enough for what is to come.
All you need is to believe in yourself and appear confident, because if you don’t look like you think, this is the job for you, how could they? The following tips can help you to master the art of being confident, shaking off those interview nerves and finally sealing the deal.
Have a Strong Handshake
The first thing you’ll do when you come in is to shake the hands of the interviewers. This is the first impression they’ll have of you and it needs to be a good one.
A limp handshake can instantly reveal all your insecurities.
Try to be the first to extend your hand for a firm handshake, it will show you have initiative. While you shake the interviewers’ hand, smile and look them in the eyes. Smiling is not just a way to make you look more friendly, it will also help you to feel more relaxed.
Make Eye Contact
There is nothing that says “I have confidence” more, than not being afraid to make eye contact.
Eye contact can represent so many things, and it can show that you are present, a patient listener, and most importantly, that you have confidence.
Put yourself in the employer’s shoes; would you hire a person who is even scared to look somebody directly in the eyes? Interview nerves go away when you look them in the eye!
Inform Yourself & Say Bye to Interview Nerves
Prior to standing before the interviewer and trying to convince them that you are the right person for that job, you should collect enough information so that nothing can surprise you. It can help you feel calmer and shake those interview nerves when the time of the interview actually comes.
The insecurity usually comes from the fact that you are scared that they will ask questions to which you won’t have an answer, but if you check your facts, there is nothing to feel scared about.
The most important information you need before you head to the interview are:
The story behind the company – You will work there and you need to know everything that you can find about them. If you show that you are truly passionate about the work they do it will certainly provide you with some extra points.
What do you have to offer? – The question almost everybody asks is why are you the right person for this job? Prepare an answer that truly represents your strengths and what you can contribute to the company. A good interview preparation can take you a long way.
Speak with Conviction
It is not only about what you say, but how you say that is what will help your potential employers to form an opinion about you.
You need the right combination of strong voice and a friendly tone.
Also, don’t rush it. If you speak too fast it will only make them lose their focus and it is an instant sign of stage fright.
Speak slowly and clearly so that everyone can understand you. Don’t forget to look them in the eyes while doing so. If it helps, you can always practice the talk at home.
Be aware of your body language
Body language is the easiest tool you can use to showcase your confidence.
That is why you should sit upright and try to lean slightly forward. Nodding when appropriate is also a good way to show that you are paying attention and it gives them a sense of the agreement on your side.
Try to look relaxed and at ease.
Be the One Who Asks Questions
Step forward and ask the interviewers some meaningful questions.
This doesn’t mean that you should be arrogant and interrupt them, you just need to show that you have more to offer than just to listen and nod your head.
Some of the questions you can use in order to show interest and preparedness are:
What would be my main priority in this role?
What avenues are available within the company after this position?
How will my training look like?
What tasks will define success in this position?
What will the typical day look like?
Is there something I should do differently than the previous people who have held this job?
How does your company view creativity and individuality?
Some final thoughts
Feeling nervous about the interview is the most natural thing.
Simple tricks such as these can seem trivial, but they are of great importance in order for you to represent yourself as a competent person for the job.
The interview is the determining moment for every career and that is why it should be your time to shine and show your employers how well you perform under pressure.
Daniela McVicker is a freelance writer and editor for Top Writers Review. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in Psychological Science. Her fields of expertise are creative writing, fiction writing, and academic research.
Over the last few years, our website has received a little over 2,500 form submissions from people who were seeking help with their career. These submissions showed us some interesting trends about what career services people are seeking and consider engaging in. We found this data fascinating and want to share it with you.
2,500 form submissions!
On our website, we have a pretty simple form for people to request a free one-on-one career consultation – you can see it on the right. The last question on that form is, “How can we help you?” The responses we get are very genuine and thoughtful. They are also very insightful. We can see things like:
when people come to a career coach
what career services they want
what their current struggle is
what their goals are
Top career services
We read every comment on these 2,500 form submissions. It has helped us understand the career challenges people are experiencing and how we may be able to help. Sometimes, particular career services were asked for, but most times people wrote their challenges, described their symptoms or listed the things they wanted to achieve. We removed any identifying information and categorized the answers. Many submissions counted towards two or even three services! We were able to identify 6 career services that garnered 80% of the data points. Here they are:
Resume Writing 27.0%
Career Exploration 26.9%
Career Transition 19.6%
Job Search 18.4%
Interview Preparation 11.7%
Career Development 11.2%
We let the words people put in our website form define the categories as well as the number of categories. We then gave them names which, as you’d expect, match career services we offer on our website. Curiously, the definitions from the data were slightly different than how we defined them! We’re now updating those web pages.
Career services definitions
The key to drawing insights from this data is understanding the definitions. Below are definitions derived from the data as well as unedited samples:
Resume Services: inquiries who specifically mentioned needing assistance in reviewing or writing a Resume and/or LinkedIn profile.
need help rewriting my resume
You helped me re-do my resume in the past. I’ve had a new position in the last year and need your help including it in my resume (and maybe changing the focus).
Career Exploration: you need help determining what jobs/careers would fit you best. You don’t know what career is right for you but you feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled in your current job and career path. You don’t know what it is but you’re ready to explore who you are and find a better career fit that will result in a great job you love.
I’m in a “good” job that’s very comfortable, but I don’t enjoy the work and I don’t feel like I’m growing or doing what I want to do in life but I also don’t know what that may be.
I need to find out how to best utilize my skills and background to find a fulfilling career that I love.
Career Transition: There are two common transition scenarios. 1) You’ve had a big change at your employer or in your life and your career needs to change too. 2) You know what you want to do or what industry you want to be in and need assistance figuring out how to make that move. In both of these scenarios, you need help leveraging your existing experience, branding yourself properly and then figuring out how to successfully land the right job.
I need consultation regarding a career shift from the tech industry to starting a non-profit.
I am recently divorced and transitioning into a full-time career. My pre-mom years in the workforce were spent as a successful recruiter and recruiting manager.
Job Search: inquiries who were actively trying to find a job but expressed challenges getting job offers. They are looking for strategies around applying for job openings, networking, and professional branding.
I am looking for assistance in resume preparation, job search, interviewing, and salary negotiations.
Getting interviews but not offers.
Interview Preparation: inquiries who were getting interviews but not many offers and wanted an objective assessment of their interviewing ability as well as how to get better.
Looking to identify a new fulfilling career path, position my skills and transition into that career. Possibly also interested in resume/LinkedIn review and interview coaching. Just took MBTI / Strong assessment and would like help with the next steps.
I am struggling with my interview skills. I need professional help.
Career Development: it’s about the future and looking ahead. You want to either 1) proactively develop a long-term career plan, 2) develop existing skills, address a skill gap, or overcome a current obstacle or 3) prepare yourself for an upcoming opportunity. You have a vision of where you want to be and need a deliberate plan and be held accountable to reach your goal.
I am looking for help on communication, getting what I need from coworkers and feeling confident in making decisions.
I am interested in professional coaching. I need to improve my self-confidence and presence with executive leadership. I would also like to explore career goals and a possible shift.
Key observations and takeaways
One of our key takeaways was that career coaches and career counselors need to do a better job of defining common terms and broadcasting their meanings. This will help individuals find the right professional to work with more easily and quickly. It also helps people communicate what they are experiencing and feeling which is easier said than done!
Many clients come in asking us for one thing but really need something else. As individuals, we look to what the most pressing need is (e.g. a resume) but aren’t able to see the deeper challenge (e.g. what their best career options are). Please read our post titled, A New Resume is Not the Answer, for more on this.
The terms counseling, consulting and coaching are used interchangeably but often meant the same thing to those seeking a career shift or tactical help. The training needed for career counseling, career consulting and career coaching are different. Individuals need to ensure they are getting the right assistance from the professional who can most help them.
Challenges hit at all ages, all positions, all management levels and in all types of organizations. They hit at all times of the year. Our data proved this, however, see the notes below.
The “corporate world” is the biggest source of inquiries and it’s mostly people who are close to a major metropolitan area.
“Challenges” are rarely just about career. They are usually sparked by changes in your life which then manifest as challenges with your job.
While every situation is unique and every individual is unique, most career challenges fit into a limited number of categories.
We know that you may feel alone in your career challenges, but know that you aren’t alone! While our clients’ challenges are all highly personalized, there are many others who are experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed, lost, stuck, or even discouraged about a future career journey. Know that you can realize your potential, find the right career path, and experience connectedness and fulfillment in your career!
Please note the following about this data and the insights we are drawing…
Many of these form submissions came from our services pages. Undoubtedly, this influenced the terms people used and symptoms that they listed.
We believe these 6 career services are representative of the United States, as a whole, however, our data primarily came from residents in the 4 major metropolitan areas in Texas.
There are other career services (e.g. executive coaching) that would probably be in the top 6 but didn’t get included because of the demographic we target. Soon, we’ll have similar data from our parent executive coaching company, Coaching 4 Good that focuses on executive coaching, leadership development and career advancement.
“The perfect boss”, you say? There’s no such thing!
When we think of a “boss”, we think of someone who yells at you when you’re late, doesn’t solicit your opinions and isn’t very sensitive to your personal issues. Decades ago, this was the predominant management style.
Today, things are starting to change. We’ve realized that engaged employees are motivated and highly productive. People managers, now, need to be supportive, exhibit patience, give constructive feedback and make a genuine connection with his/her employees.
We often don’t use the word “boss” to describe that person. Rather, we say “leader”. So how can a boss make the transition to leader? To see how, just look at how Executive Coaching has changed over the years.
Brief history of Executive Coaching
In the beginning of my career as an Executive Coach, senior members of staff would be sent to coaching for “remedial” behaviors, what was derisively called “charm school”.
These were bosses that needed better communication skills. At that time, professional communication was called “soft skills” (and some call it that to this day!)
In the early 90s, the introduction of such people-centered models, such as Emotional Intelligence (EQ), changed the reputation of Executive Coaching and the desire for these services. EQ was one of the first models to respect how a leader was being, not only what they accomplished.
Today, Executive Coaching is a respected field in which bosses can learn more effective behaviors of a leader. People want to be treated with respect; not ordered around. Workers who are respected are invited into the conversation instead of just being given a task. This leads to workers who are significantly more engaged and, in turn, happier and more productive.
Similarly, my clients who are managers want to learn how to be more influential, authentic and inspiring. These leaders need and want to learn to “let go of control” and support people in doing their jobs. Some bosses are concerned that they might lose their “power” if they considered their people’s ideas and built relationships with them.
What the perfect boss looks like
Many of my Executive clients realize they need to be better leaders and have influence beyond their titles. Personally influential. They need to be self-aware and have the ability to read people, empathize and draw the best out of their people. I call this, the perfect boss.
A great example of a leader putting his trust in his employees comes from the CBS history of Ken Chenault, 17-year CEO of American Express. Here’s my own recent example of a blossoming client, I will call Phil, and his transition to the perfect boss… well, his journey there!
The not-so-perfect boss
When I first met Phil and he described why he was “sent” to Executive Coaching, I was shocked at the blame he focused on his direct reports for his problems. He was trying his best to “tell them” what they needed to do and he had nothing but resistance. This Senior VP was very clear and specific how reports and proposals and anything else should be done.
“Why can’t they get it?”, he barked!
Phil had no awareness of the fact that his behavior was provoking the resistance of his people. When they brought him a project that didn’t meet his expectations, he would ask “Why did you…” or “You should have…” They wanted to be independent thinkers, share their ideas, and contribute; not just be “worker bees”. His questions made them feel belittled. Even if he just said, “Ok, well, it would be better if…” his comments felt negative and critical.
I asked Phil if he ever asked his people, “what do you think?” or “what other options are there?” He seemed shocked that those types of questions could work to get a different outcome that suited him more! I recommended my favorite “text book” for communication, Smart Work: The Syntax Guide to Influence. The structure of communication in Smart Work aligns with Emotional Intelligence. The approach for professional communicators is that the meaning of your communication is the response you get or the effect it has. This means you may no longer blame others, when your communication doesn’t get you the outcome you wanted. You must be more creative and flexible.
Over the next few sessions, Phil devoured the book. We made a plan that he would write down what new behaviors and questions he tried, what worked and what didn’t seem to work when dealing with one of his more “difficult” and “grumpy” reports, in particular. Phil was diligent and candid in reporting his work, even when he wasn’t as successful as he would like. He still “unlearned and learned.”
Change your connection to your people
The truth is that sometimes people are “difficult” and “grumpy” but you can’t change them. You can only change your approach and see what happens to move toward your goals. What surprised Phil the most is that if he doesn’t get caught up in the “attitude” and keeps his eye on the goal, asking useful, not blaming questions, his employees started to change! One employee said, “Wow! We never expected this result from Phil!”
He feels the difference between his “boss self” and his leader behaviors now. He’s striving to be the perfect boss – that leader who is capable of so much more. And his grumpy employee is bringing initiative to his projects, while Phil is accepting his ideas often and they have conversations that move toward their mutual goals. That’s how you get work done—through people! Bosses don’t think that way… but leaders do.
Thanks to Grace for an excellent guest post on twelve solid proofreading resume tips. Her bio is below. – Coach Wolfgang
Your resume is the first impression you make on a company and one of the most important parts of applying for a job. That means your resume should be proofread thoroughly. Often a single mistake or typo can cost you the job of your dreams, so don’t rush through this process. Mistakes in a resume can signal to a hiring manager that you are careless and not someone they want to bring into the company. Use these twelve proofreading resume tips to write a great resume!
Spellcheck your resume
Before you do anything else, make sure you have your word processor’s spellcheck function turned on. Also make sure have the setting on American English, or British English, whichev-er is applicable. If you’re in the U.S., but applying to a job in Britain then you should switch your spellchecker to British English. But don’t blindly put your trust in Spellcheck, since it can produce errors by trying to autocorrect your typing. Look over your resume for mistakes that it missed, or caused by trying to correct something.
Prepare yourself to proofread
Set yourself up for success by finding a quiet place where you can concentrate, and set aside at least an hour to proofread your resume. Do your editing while you’re alert and refreshed. If you finish writing your resume in the evening, it’s best to proofread the next morning after getting a good sleep. Use a font you can clearly read such as Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, or Helvetica. Don’t use stylized fonts like Papyrus; not only will doing this make it harder to read and edit your resume, it will also annoy the hiring manager looking at it.
Switch up your fonts
After spending a few hours working away on your resume, you’ve grown accustomed to the font you’ve been using. This is particularly true if you use this font for writing in general. Shelly Fulcher, editor at Elite Assignment Help, recommends the following:
Your familiarity with the font can make it easier for you to miss mistakes. Before you start proofreading, switch the font, this change will make it easier for you to focus on looking for errors. The more distinct the font change is, the better.
This is probably the only time when it’s useful to use Comic Sans, just don’t forget to switch back to a more professional choice before you print or submit your resume.
Get help from a friend
It’s easy to become biased towards what you’ve written and not realize that it has a poor flow or is phrased awkwardly. Sometimes all you need is a fresh pair of eyes to spot those last few mistakes, so get a friend to look at your resume before sending it off. They can also give you suggestions about flow and structure. Your friend can enable the ‘Track Changes’ function so you can see what they change. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback, it will im-prove your resume and your chances of getting an interview. Be open-minded to your friend’s proofreading resume tips!
It can feel a bit strange to reading out loud, but as long as you’re on your own then it shouldn’t be too embarrassing. Reading your resume out loud will help you pick out problems in sentence structure and wording that just sounds awkward. You’re forced to focus on how the words sound together and that means you’re more likely to catch an error. Reading silently in your head is not as effective because your brain can ‘auto-correct’ what it’s reading.
Print out your resume
You’ll have an easier time spotting and marking grammar and spelling mistakes if you print out your resume to edit. According to Kimberly Carraway, author of Transforming Your Teaching, when reading a screen your brain is more focused on skimming and searching for keywords than it is on analyzing the text and constructing meaning. Use a red pen to make your corrections; red stands out from the text more than blue or black and you’re less likely to overlook it.
Proofreading resume tips for pros
Use your finger and point at every word as you read it, you’ll be forced to think about each word. Use a ruler or blank sheet of paper to cover up the text you haven’t proofread yet to help you concentrate on what you’re reading. Start at the end of your resume and read every sentence in reverse order. Interrupting the flow this way makes it easier for you to catch errors. Look especially closely at short words like ‘it’ and ‘is’ that are often accidentally interchanged. Look over your copy for verb tense errors, make sure you’ve used the present tense for your current job. If you have included any links, click on them to make sure they are working. Double check your contact information, headings, and proper nouns. Watch out for homophones. Homophones are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings, such as their/there, accept/except, and role/roll. Check even little details, such as the abbreviation of a state, missing these things can make you seem careless and unprofessional.
Focus on certain types of errors
Rather than reading your resume from start to finish, looking for everything, focus on one type of mistake at a time. This will be tedious and time consuming, but it also guarantees you will catch everything. Go over once for spelling, then tenses, then grammar, and so on. Also go over for accuracy, make sure the dates you list for employment are accurate, for example. If the hiring manager does a background check and notices you have made a mistake it will reflect poorly on you.
Use Online Tools to Help Write the Perfect Resume
Writing doesn’t come easily for everyone, so don’t hesitate to get some proofreading resume tips from the professionals. Here are some good resources to get you started:
ViaWriting offers grammar guides for assistance checking over your resume for grammatical errors. Don’t take any chances with your resume, get some help from the experts.
Check out StateofWriting for a list of online proofreading tools you can access to make sure your resume is polished and free of errors. A single missed typo can be the difference between getting the interview and getting your resume thrown in the trash!
These helpful writing resources can improve the quality of your resume. Even an experienced writer can benefit from some extra help now and then, especially when it comes to a resume!
Edit on the go
You’ll make your proofreading process easier if you edit your resume as you go. Look over each sentence after you write it for errors. Your proofreading will take less time and the mate-rial will still be fresh in your head. Read your sentences back to yourself as you write them and rewrite it until you’re satisfied.
This advice comes from Freddie Torres, writer at UKTopWriters. You will still likely miss a few things, so don’t forget to proofread even if you think you got everything.
Consider Hiring an Editor
It’s not always necessary, but if you’re applying for a very important position, consider hiring a professional editor. By doing this you’ll be ensuring that you’re sending out the best version of your resume possible. Look for an editor with experience editing resumes for best results. If you can’t afford to hire someone, at least up your proofreading game by familiarizing yourself with and using professional proofreading symbols.
Once you’ve finished writing, take a break from it for an hour or two. If it’s late, come back to it in the morning. After working on your resume for a while your brain has become accustomed to your writing and is in a poor condition to find errors and deficiencies. Come back to it with a fresh set of eyes so you can spot the mistakes you’ve made. This is why it’s important to plan ahead to get working on your resume well before the application deadline; you don’t want to be scrambling to finish writing and editing the day it needs to be submitted.
In conclusion, your resume is the first impression you make on a hiring manager, but don’t let it be your last as well. A single mistake on your resume can cost you the job. Proofreading is a vital part of creating a solid resume, but it’s not something you can rush through and expect good results. Follow these twelve proofreading resume tips to write a great resume.
Grace Carter is a proofreader at Boomessays service. She teaches new colleagues grammar and editing techniques. Also, Grace develops writing courses at UK Writings, academic service.