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4 Ways to Become a More Effective Leader

 

Becoming a better leader increases your teammates’ engagement and performance. This elevates success for you, your team, and the organization.

Increasing your leadership effectiveness requires understanding your motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. It also involves openly communicating, promoting growth, and implementing feedback.

Elevating your impact as a leader increases your colleagues’ and coworkers’ productivity and connection to the organization. It also encourages them to develop their own leadership abilities. This positively impacts the bottom line.

Discover four ways to grow your impact as a leader at work.


1. Promote Communication

Engage in open communication with employees at all levels of the organization. Set honest, ethical, and transparent behavior as key values for others to demonstrate.

Tailor your communication styles and interactions to the situation and each person’s preferences. This includes whether the individual likes to talk in person, over the phone, or through email or text. It also involves actively listening to the person speaking.

Be genuine when talking with others. This helps build trust within your organization and increases employee morale.

2. Encourage Growth

Invest in your colleagues’ and coworkers’ personal and professional growth. This includes encouraging them to participate in in-person, virtual, and on-demand learning that promotes knowledge and skill development.

Inspire your colleagues and coworkers to request stretch assignments and cross-train in different roles. This helps them add more value to the organization.

Motivate others to take on challenges. This promotes satisfaction in solving problems and overcoming obstacles.

3. Stay Positive

Things will not always go smoothly each day. Mistakes and obstacles will come up.

Handle these adverse situations with a positive attitude. This includes finding the good in all circumstances.

For instance, look for three positives in each issue. This encourages others to interact more positively while resolving it.

Pointing out the parts of a problem you are happy about helps others work with you to more quickly find an answer. Everyone should think clearly and find a way to overcome the obstacle.

Maintaining positivity promotes engagement and productivity among your colleagues and coworkers. Displaying enthusiasm and confidence creates a work environment that encourages problem-solving.

4. Embrace Feedback

Encourage colleagues and coworkers to give, receive, and implement constructive feedback. Include what is being done well, what could improve, and specific steps to do better.

Promote honesty and clarity when providing feedback. This helps employees improve their performance.

Recognize colleagues and coworkers for their contributions and results. Include what they did, the steps they took, and something specific they achieved. Encourage your colleagues and coworkers to continue to perform their best.

Giving and receiving feedback helps guide employees in the preferred direction. This impacts how successful the company is in reaching its goals.

Land a Senior Role

Work with RightStone to find a senior position that lets you develop your leadership skills. Visit our job board or contact us today.


3 Tips for Getting Yourself Out of a Work Rut

 

If you have been in your job a while, you may be feeling stuck. You might feel like you follow the same routine and do the same things every day.

You may begin to feel like your work is disengaging and unfulfilling. This can lead to feelings of meaninglessness and unhappiness.

When you lack creativity and inspiration, you have no motivation to perform. This may lead to letting your work pile up and not caring whether it gets done on time.

If you are feeling this way, you need to find the energy to begin improving your circumstances. The sooner you start, the sooner you can feel better about yourself.

Implement these three tips to help find your way out of a work rut.


1. Identify the Cause

Think about what may be keeping you down. Perhaps you no longer feel challenged by your work. Or, you might not be able to move up within the organization.

Consider whether the source of your unhappiness is temporary or beyond your control. Determine whether there are steps you can take to make things better.

Focus on the parts of your job that bring you joy and the parts that bring you stress. Think about whether you still are in the role because you want to be or think you should be.

Determine whether your work relationships provide meaning and fulfillment. Uncover whether you remain in your job because you do not want to waste the time and effort already invested.

2. Make Small Changes

Make a list of the changes you can make to improve your situation. This may include establishing different habits or behaviors to bring the results you desire.

Choose one or two small modifications you can begin making now. You are more likely to be successful by focusing on incremental changes rather than modifying everything at once.

Implementing small modifications is easier to maintain than big modifications. The process of change typically seems less overwhelming when you break it down into manageable steps. This helps you quickly see results.

The faster you see your hard work pay off, the more inclined you will be to continue to change your habits and behaviors. Over time, this can create significant results. It also encourages you to implement other changes when the time is right.

3. Focus on Your Goals

Consider whether your job is helping you achieve your career goals. If so, you can use this as motivation to continue to make progress toward your objectives.

Having something tangible to work toward helps increase engagement. This can elevate your productivity as you move forward on your professional path.

Is It Time to Find a New Job?

If finding a new IT job would help you get out of a work rut, include RightStone in your search. Visit our job board today.


4 Ways to Advance Your Career by Embracing Your CIO’s Strategy

 

As an IT professional, advancement along your career path is important. One way to move forward is by helping the CIO attain their strategic goals for the company. Understanding the CIO’s overall mission and the role of technology to increase company performance demonstrates your own strategic thinking abilities. You can talk about your experiences in future interviews to set yourself apart from other candidates and potentially land a new job.

Helping the CIO reach any of the following four priorities this year can aid in your career progression.


1. Data Analysis

Use your data literacy to address business needs and outcomes. This helps you transform the company to better carry out its mission. Understanding the analysis process, analytical tools, and how to work with data lets you collaborate with non-technical users and fill business needs through data and technology. This helps the organization become more inclusive, an issue that all stakeholders should be focused on.

2. Movement of Data to the Cloud

Most companies are moving their data to the cloud, adopting a software as a service (SaaS) solution, and increasing their cybersecurity. You can use your documentation, task delegation, and knowledge-sharing skills to facilitate and support these updates. Promotion of growth makes you a positive change agent in the organization.

3. Expansion of Self-Service Technologies

Many companies are looking for scalable, secure, and effective self-service solutions. This is because the pandemic continues to impact the way basic services are delivered to consumers. Demonstration of your knowledge and skills involving self-service technologies makes you an important team player. You can create practical roadmaps for adoption, transparency, and related issues.

4. Navigation of a Cultural Shift

Company culture is difficult to feel and maintain during times of significant change. This includes shifting from in-person work to remote or hybrid work and back again. Because working in silos is ineffective, you can break down the barriers by becoming a culture contributor. You can make it a goal to collaborate on projects to drive successful outcomes. This may include welcoming, training, and mentoring new team members, sharing knowledge and ideas, or boosting morale. Doing your part to contribute to a positive work environment and culture can lead to new opportunities within the organization.

Advance Your Career

Find a job with more responsibility with help from RightStone. Visit our job board today.


Successful Professionals: How to Improve Your Communication

 

Strong communication skills are necessary for career success. Because every job requires human interaction, the more easily you facilitate communication with others, the more efficient and effective your work will be. This is why developing your communication skills should be one of your top priorities.

Implement these five tips to improve your workplace communication.

1. Pay Attention to Communication Styles 

Knowing how others tend to communicate helps you effectively facilitate conversations. For instance, passive communicators typically act indifferent or agreeable to keep the peace. Aggressive communicators often freely express their emotions and can be intimidating. Passive-aggressive communicators may appear aloof when they are upset or annoyed. Assertive communicators usually are considerate and express themselves in a clear, direct manner. Careful observation of others’ verbal and nonverbal communication can help you adapt your own style to build a foundation for mutual understanding.

2. Actively Listen

Pay close attention to what others are saying. Ask clarifying questions to show interest and understanding. This builds respect for the people you communicate with and facilitates collaboration.

3. Show Empathy

Demonstrate a shared understanding of others’ emotions. Showing you can relate to how someone feels helps you more effectively communicate with them. You can determine an appropriate approach and exhibit the proper feelings toward what they are talking about.

4. Be Persuasive

Convincing others to complete a desired action or behave in a certain way is important. It can lead to increased productivity and help achieve a goal. The stronger your ability to influence others’ attitudes and behaviors, the stronger your impact within the organization.

5. Practice Public Speaking

Increase the effectiveness of your presentations by repeatedly practicing them. For instance, begin each talk with something that immediately engages your audience and holds their interest. Also, use notes to guide your presentations. Additionally, maintain eye contact with your audience. Plus, project your voice and pace your discussion so the information is easy to process. Further, use visual aids and end on a strong note to leave a lasting impression.

Looking for a New IT Role?

RightStone has a variety of IT roles that fit your skills, experience, and interests. Visit our job board today.


How to Create a Career Development Plan

Managing your IT career helps maximize your happiness and success. Because you invest so much of your adult life by working, you want to make the most of your time. Having a plan helps you set milestones and accomplish your professional goals.

Use these tips to develop a plan for your IT career.

Start with Your Current Role

Think about where you are now. For instance, make a list of your skills, strengths, and experience. Also, include what you enjoy doing most, what gives you energy, and what keeps you motivated. Additionally, focus on whether you prefer leading, collaborating, or working independently. Plus, consider whether you have finished your education or would like additional certifications or degrees.

Include Your Destination

Figure out where you want your career to lead. For instance, think about what you want to be doing in 5 to 10 years. Then, focus on where you want to be in shorter increments. Also, decide whether you will be with the same employer in a more senior role, at another company, or in an entirely new career. Be sure your goals align with what motivates you the most.

Analyze Your Gaps

Use your career goals for the next 2 to 5 years to find postings for the type of job you want. See whether you have the education, skills, experience, and requirements for each role. Next, rate your list of education, skills, and experience against the job requirements. Use 1 to indicate no match between yourself and the requirement and 5 to indicate an excellent match. The lower the rating, the more time and energy you will need to invest in improvement. Then, group together the common skills and experiences you have a solid background in and those that require additional development. This shows the type of education, skills, and experience you should focus on.

Develop Your Career Plan

Use your list of the education, skills, and experience you need to develop to create your career goals for the next few years. Start by creating tasks related to each item and how you will achieve it. For instance, if you want to learn specific software, you could ask a colleague to show you or take a class. Then, organize a timeline for a logical direction in which to reach your goals. Begin with the short-term tasks you can quickly achieve, such as reading a book, before moving to the long-term goals, such as earning a master’s degree. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Give yourself start and end dates with milestones in between.

Measure Your Progress

Hold yourself accountable for making progress toward your goals. For instance, keep track of how your results align with your deadlines. Also, find ways to get back on course when needed. Additionally, revise your deadlines accordingly. Plus, celebrate your successes along the way.

Advance Your IT Career

Move forward in your IT career with help from RightStone. Visit our job board today.


5 Tips to Get Yourself Organized at Work

If you struggle to stay organized at the office, know that you are not alone. Many employees have this challenge. Fortunately, there are simple ways to overcome this obstacle.

Choose among these five ways to stay organized at the office.

1. Declutter Your Workspace

Keep only what you need in your work area. Maintaining adequate space helps you focus and be productive. For instance, move, discard, or donate what you do not need or regularly use. Also, make it a habit to keep things where they belong unless they are being used. Plus, clean up your desk before you leave for the day.

2. Maintain Your Inbox

Check your email three times a day: morning, afternoon, and before you leave work for the day. Maintain folders for urgent, important, informational, or other types of messages. Be sure to respond as needed or delete when appropriate. Also, unsubscribe to the newsletters and other emails you lack the time or interest to go through. Plus, when possible, use the phone or a chat app to convey information rather than send an email. Then, you will receive fewer emails in response.

3. Avoid Multitasking

Focus on completing one activity at a time. This results in increased efficiency and accuracy. When you try to accomplish more than one thing at a time, the brain has trouble switching among tasks. This makes it harder to concentrate and make decisions, which reduces the quality of work.

4. Take Breaks

Step away from your desk at regular times throughout the day. Use these breaks to take a walk, read a book, or meditate. Also, use your lunch hour to fuel your body with healthy foods and talk with coworkers in the breakroom. You should return to your desk refreshed and focused.

5. Plan Your Week

At the end of each workweek, plan what you want to accomplish the following week. For instance, keep a broad overview of your meetings and the tasks you need to handle or delegate. Use this information to plan each workday the night before. Include the activities you want to finish and the times you will work on them.

Find a New IT Job

When the time comes to find a new IT role, include RightStone in your search. Follow this link to our job board.


Why a Work-Life Balance Is Important

 

Like many employees, you might have difficulty separating your personal and professional time. This may be especially true if you work from home and have a family. The desire to spend more time completing work or being with your loved ones means having less time for other activities. As a result, maintaining sufficient time to fulfill your most important work responsibilities each day while participating in family activities is important. This helps you feel personally and professionally engaged and fulfilled.

Apply these strategies to help maintain a work-life balance that is right for you.

Set Limits

Because there are only 24 hours in each day, carefully plan how you want to spend them. For instance, schedule a realistic amount of time for the tasks you have to get done. This may include checking email only three times throughout the day. Cut or delegate the activities you do not like or cannot handle. Also, put family events on a weekly calendar. Include these activities in your daily action plan. Additionally, learn to say “no” to requests that do not fit your schedule or interests. You need to maintain time for what matters most to you. Plus, take breaks throughout the day. The brain needs rest in order to retain information and function. Further, leave your work at work. Your personal time is for family activities.

Prioritize Self-Care

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps you reduce your stress level and accomplish more. For instance, focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats when planning your meals. These foods help you retain knowledge and build stamina. Also, set aside time each day for yoga, hiking, meditation, dancing, reading, or other activities you enjoy. Plus, make sure you get enough sleep at night. Put away personal electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime to avoid interference with your melatonin level that stimulates sleep. Additionally, schedule time to volunteer with a local charity once per month. This can increase your emotional and social well-being. Further, partner with colleagues to cover for each other’s work absences. Ask family and friends to help with childcare and household responsibilities when you work overtime or travel.

Find a Job Encouraging Work-Life Balance

Work with a recruiter from RightStone to find an IT job that promotes work-life balance. Start by visiting our job board today.


How to Avoid Distractions When Working Remotely

The option for remote working promised us more freedom and greater productivity. Yet, what many didn’t realize is that working from home (or elsewhere outside the office) requires new ways of working.

While there are many distractions at the office, there is also an equal number outside it. And there’s no one to catch you staring at your phone, browsing the internet, or giving in to other distractions.

Do you find yourself fighting an uphill distraction battle? Use these tips to avoid distractions wherever you work now.

Four Ways To Focus When Working Remotely

Use Background Noise

Many of us long to work in a quiet space when in a busy office, but working in a quiet room can make you hyper-aware of distractions.

You may find it easier to focus by using background noise to simulate the outside world or increase your focus. Music or the radio can do the trick for some, but you may also find it smart to try options like Brain.FM, which drives your brain to focus on the task at hand. 

Even background noise like a video of coffee shop background noise on YouTube or from Coffivity could get the creative juices flowing.

Find a Rhythm for New Modes of Work

Whether you now work from home, a co-working space, or your car while running errands, your workflow will differ compared to the office. For many people, sitting down for three solid hours of uninterrupted work is not a possibility outside the confines of HQ. If that’s you, don’t try to force it.

If you have the flexibility, try a new rhythm for work. You might change the hours you work during the day, break the day up into chunks, or even reduce your daily hours and spread them over the whole week.

Play around and find what works for you.

Stand Up and Take Breaks

You stare at your screen blankly and then give up and divert yourself away from the task at hand in favor of reading the news, responding to messages, or online shopping. All of a sudden, six hours have passed, and you still can’t get back to work.

In 2020, a study found that 95% of employees no longer take as many breaks, despite having more freedom when working from home.

Make it a point to stand up and take a short break. Set a timer or use a method like the Pomodoro technique. Taking more breaks leaves you feeling refreshed and helps you avoid distractions.

Turn on Anti-Distraction Mode on Your Phone

Do you ever pick up your phone and find 20 minutes passed without you noticing? Without anyone to stop you, it’s easy to find yourself scrolling through Twitter for hours on end.

Anti-distraction mode helps protect you from notifications, and for most, it’s built right into your phone. If you need an extra hand, try an app like Freedom or RescueTime to lock you out of the biggest time-sucks on your phone.

Remote work is here to stay, but you may need to find new productivity hacks that reflect your new environment.

Trouble Finding Work Remotely? RightStone can help!

Are you looking for your next remote role? Get in touch to learn more about the jobs coming up in 2021.


Best Practices When Working Remotely

Remote work was once considered a perk, but it’s now becoming more than ‘desirable.’ For many businesses around the world, it’s essential. In 2019, 3.4% of U.S. workers skipped the office and worked from an off-site location. It goes without saying that the figure is much higher in 2020. Facebook and Google just extended their work-from-home policies until the end of 2020.

Working remotely is a big change, and while there are many benefits, adjustments must be made to succeed. Because so many jobs in IT and tech cater well to remote working, employers are looking for candidates who bring remote work skills to the table.

To help you out, we put together some of the best practices candidates and employees can use when making the transition to remote work.

Choose Your Working Hours Carefully

Finding the right hours requires some careful experimentation. Because whether you’re easily distracted or tend towards workaholic tendencies, working from home (or a coffee shop) requires you to know what you want to accomplish and when.

If your company doesn’t require you to track your time and has flexible hours, start by playing around with your most productive working hours. For some people, prime time starts at 7 AM. For others, nothing gets done before lunch.

Don’t try to force yourself into the typical 9-5 at home unless it’s required by your employer. By giving yourself space to find your most productive periods, you can then create a structure that allows you to be productive and consistent and say “pencils down” at the end of the day.

Find a Work Station 

The first big wave of remote workers started in March, and about two weeks in, they all realized that working on your computer from your sofa or kitchen table is fairly untenable. 

It’s important to find a space in your home where you can work that’s not only private but also not in a space where you otherwise spend your time.

One of the biggest problems remote workers have isn’t being productive but switching off at the end of the day. Working from your sofa makes that much harder.

Make finding a place to work each day a priority, and if that means getting out of the house when things reopen, don’t be afraid of that either!

Play with Task Management Methodologies

Because you’re not physically at work, it can be difficult to prioritize or manage tasks. Ideally, you’re working with a project management app or channel, but even then, it’s easy to look at the long list and not get anything done.

Consider adding other methodologies like the Pomodoro technique to help you complete tasks and refocus when you need to. Other apps and techniques you can try include:

  • Flowtime
  • Cowrkr
  • Swiff

Are You Ready for Remote Work?

Remote work was already a force to be reckoned with, but the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed it from an experiment in employee perks to a way of life. It’s very likely that even when businesses can return to work as normal, many will still seek to keep certain staff working off-site.

Learn more

Are you on the hunt for your next role? Get in touch to learn more about how we place consultants like you with projects that match your skills and work-style.


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