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Time to Move On?

In my line of work I speak with candidates on a daily basis who feel they are ready to leave their current role.  I also approach many candidates who find themselves unsure whether they want a new challenge or are genuinely contented in their role. 

It isn’t always easy to recognise when it’s time to move on from your current job and it can be difficult to determine the difference between simply lacking a little motivation (after perhaps being with an employer for several years) and knowing that you’ve become too content and complacent and are ready for the next step in your career. 

Generally speaking however, most of us know when it’s time to leave, our gut usually keeps us informed with feelings of dread or unhappiness which can hit on the drive into work in the mornings.   However before making any rash decisions it’s important to spend time assessing whether you are ready to move on. 

Leading different paths

 One of the most common reasons I hear from candidates is that their employer doesn’t share their ambition.  Many candidates are having considerable success in their role but find that their employer is putting restraints in place prohibiting candidates from reaching their full potential.  If you feel that you have more to offer but are unable to do so in your current organisation, it might be time to move on to a company more suited to your skills and that shares your mind-set and vision. 

Going nowhere 

Many complaints I hear from candidates who are unhappy in their jobs is to do with bosses who stand in the way of an employee’s development.  Whether the training opportunities aren’t available or their boss just isn’t as invested in their staff members; a lack of development can be incredibly frustrating.  Explore development opportunities with your employer before making the decision to leave. 

Politics 

Corporate politics can play a significant part when it comes to deciding whether it’s time to jump ship.  Quite often large corporate organisations breed an environment whereby employees feel they constantly have to justify or explain their actions which inhibits creativity and gets in the way of actually getting things done.  There’s not much that can be done about the overall office culture of an organisation – if you find this is stagnating your work and development, consider smaller companies or a leap into self-employment. 

New horizons 

If you are excited by the thought of a new job, find yourself day dreaming about other organisations you’d love to work for and constantly think ‘I can do more’ then it’s definitely time to go! 


What Makes a Great Leader

Author, scholar and pioneer of leadership studies Warren Bennis defined leadership as ‘the ability to turn vision into reality and sustain it.’ leader

This is certainly an accurate definition when it comes to defining what leaders do generally, however how leaders do this is the subject of endless debate.

There are two types of leaders – those who lead by instilling fear and those who encourage everyone to live up to and fulfil their potential.  Obviously the latter is the definition of a good leader and what you should be aspiring to do throughout your leadership. 

In my line of work, I am often tasked by multi-national companies to find high level executives for top positons in which the individual will be required to lead the company sometimes in a different direction or through particularly challenging times or perhaps throughout a period of great change.  Such leadership is no ill feat and education and work experience will only get you so far.  When I have a selection of potential candidates all with similar experience and qualifications, the next thing I look for is someone who can demonstrate great leadership qualities - but how do I identify a great leader?

Many people believe they are great leaders, however may find that a large proportion of their employees disagree – meaning they aren’t actually very accomplished leaders at all.  

Here are my tip five traits I identify as qualities that true leaders possess:

Influence

Great leaders don’t dictate, they have a strong ability to influence and inspire others.  No one likes a dictator and the truth is if you’re leading correctly you won’t need to.  It’s cliché but providing you have the right employees in place, then leading by example and encouraging your staff to fulfil their full potential as well as granting autonomy will result in developing a highly motivated team who want to prove their worth.  Motivation is the cheapest form of supervision. 

Skilled communicator

Sounds simple, but few people possess the excellent communication skills they boast of on their CV.  The ability to communicate well doesn’t just mean you are able to get your point across to a range of people and using a range of styles in a clear and concise way.  A key part of communication is listening.  Having a process in place to listen to your employees’ feedback is extremely beneficial.  The ability to really listen and understand is crucial to being an effective communicator.  

Tenacity

The most successful people in business don’t quit.  They are tenacious and ready to overcome all obstacles.  Good leaders involve their team when facing challenges head on.  Having the ability to bring together a collective wisdom to solve a problem usually solves the problem quicker and also helps to reunite and build a stronger team.

Address failure

It’s not pleasant addressing failure or shortcomings, particularly if the failure is a result of a poor performing employee.  Good leadership involves recognising and addressing the issue immediately and seeking to resolve it whether that requires more support, a frank discussion or requires you to be ruthless.

Integrity

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, being honest and having strong moral principles will set you in very good stead and earn the respect of your colleagues.  The respect of your employees is one of the most important assets you can possess if you want to be a successful leader.


Top Apps for Career Success

I’m a big believer in embracing technological advances.  The world is moving at a fast pace and modern technology is designed to help not hinder you.  It can be daunting to break old habits and embrace something which feels completely new and foreign to you, but if you work in a fast paced environment with a lot of meetings and responsibilities then I’ve found the below apps can help make things that bit easier.  Whether it’s through buying you time, helping to organise better while on the go or keeping in the loop with industry news, these are apps you should check out. apps sm

Evernote

A one stop shop for all your notes and documents needed both for your work life and personal life.  It organises your notes and web clippings into notebooks which you can access at any time.  I use this a lot. Whether it’s a quick note on the go or a draft report, you can find search for your work later and share anything with friends or colleagues. Syncs across all platforms as well. Type something at my desk before I leave for a meeting and seconds later it’s on my phone and with me on the move. 

Dropbox

Probably one of the most popular and widely used tools.  Dropbox allows you to upload photos, videos, documents which can be synced with your desktop and other team members’ desktops allowing your whole team to have access to a shared folder, great for SMEs in particular.  You can also share specific docs or folders with outside parties – a handy one if you want to send large files. 

Genius scan

Ever see something when you’re on the go that you’d love to have a copy of?  With genius scan you can make high res pdfs of anything you see through scanning it on your phone.  Extremely handy if you see something, perhaps in a newspaper or magazine that you want to share with your team or a client.  

Pocket

A great little app for busy people on the move.  If you see something interesting that you don’t have time to read, you can simply pocket it for later.  Once you’ve saved it, you don’t need internet access to read it.  Perfect for those times you’re stuck in transit without strong signal you can revisit those articles you’ve saved and read them undisturbed. 

Invoice 2 go

This is great for SMEs or freelancers.  Anyone who is running their own business understands the pressures of keeping on top of the finances while trying to actually do whatever it is your business does and what you likely do best.  With this app you can create invoices on the go. 

Linked in

Important for anyone who wants to build their network of contacts, keep in the loop with industry news by following relevant people, bodies or industry groups.  Or simply, just so you can be found and contacted directly. Anyone who is serious about their career progression should be making use of the benefits Linked In brings.

Follow Neal @NealLucasRec or connect with him on Linked In


Should Employers be more flexible?

A few years ago Netflix received worldwide attention when they announced they would be awarding employees with unlimited holidays.  Richard Branson was quick to follow suit last year instilling a similar policy within his Virgin empire.  Such policies sound like a huge risk for these multi-national companies, but the idea behind such a bold move was that the focus would be on what people get done as opposed to how many hours or days they had put in and in turn increase productivity. 

Whilst the above may seem a little extreme, more and more employers on a smaller and local level are looking at new ways to get the most out of their employees and maximise productivity.  Flexible working hours is becoming increasingly popular in the UK with more people working outside the regular hours of 9-5.  One of the reasons flexible working may be on the rise is due to the change in the law last year which grants any employee the right to ask their employer for changes to their working patterns (providing they have worked with the company for a minimum of 26 weeks).  Additionally, advances in technology also make it much more feasible to work not just from home, but anywhere.  With smart phones, tablet and wifi so readily available, you can easily create your own ‘pop up’ office on the go.  However, law and feasibility aside, there is obviously a more open attitude to adopting a flexible approach as employers are witnessing an improvement to staff productivity and as a result, are happy to grant more flexible working.

Yet, some employers may still be wary of flexible working.  Traditionally, many employers and employees deem the most valuable workers those that were ever present.  The first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave at night was the most acknowledged, or deemed the hardest working, regardless of productivity.  Moving away from this culture can only be a positive thing. 

One of the reasons some employers may not be happy to offer flexible working to staff is simply that they do not trust them to have the motivation and discipline to work if they are not under the boss’ glare.  That’s why it is crucial to employ the correct individuals at the recruitment stage.  If you employ highly skilled, talented and motivated individuals, then it goes without saying that these employees will make a valuable contribution regardless of their working environment. 

There is never a one size fits all solution for flexible working, it obviously depends on the job, the company and the individual but as with all good deals, both parties must derive benefits otherwise there’s no point to the arrangement. 


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