5 Questions to Ask When Starting a New Job

Professional transitions | Employment | Success in the workplace  |Career advice

by Michael D. Watkins | April 09, 2019

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Peter Cade/Getty Images

The actions you take during your first few months in a new job have a major impact on your success or failure. Build positive momentum early on and it will propel you through your tenure. Make some early missteps and you could face an uphill battle for the rest of your time in the job.

The biggest challenge leaders face during these periods is staying focused on the right things. You are drinking from the proverbial fire hose while trying to get settled and figure out how to start to have an impact. It’s easy to take on too much or to waste your precious time. So, it helps to have a set of questions to guide you. Here are the five most important ones to ask…and keep on asking on a regular basis:

How will I create value?

This is the single most important question. Why were you put in this role? What do key stakeholders expect you to accomplish? In what timeframe? How will your progress be assessed? As you seek to answer this question, keep in mind that the real answer may not be what you were told when you were appointed or recruited for the job; it may also evolve as things progress and you learn more. Remember, too, that you will probably have multiple stakeholders to satisfy, not just your boss, and that they may have divergent views of what constitutes “success.” It’s essential to understand the full set of expectations so you can reconcile and satisfy them to the greatest degree possible. Read more…

Leaders Keep Learning | Leading from the Library

Leadership | Continuing Education | Professional Development | Influencers

by Steven Bell | Mar 20, 2019 | Filed in Opinion
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If leadership is mostly learned rather than an innate ability, then continuous learning is a vital contributor to leadership growth. “Never stop learning” is good advice, but it is one of those tasks that’s easier said than done.

This column is predicated on the idea that no library leader is fully formed, possessing all the skills required for success. Rather, the path to leadership is one of continuous learning. I routinely see library literature and social media posts about low library worker morale and toxic leaders, leading me to question how it is that our profession has so many awful leaders. We have an abundance of leadership development programs. Many academic institutions have internal management and leadership programs. There is no dearth of opportunities to develop and improve as a leader. Possible causes for this failure are many, from library leaders simply not giving a damn to a total absence of self-awareness. For those leaders who do care about staff morale and strive for a workplace where staff want to be, constant learning is a must. So allow me to share some ideas that I’ve recently come across for making a stronger commitment to learning to be a better leader.  Read more…

Getting these 5 questions wrong can ruin your chances in a job interview

Interviewing | Job search | Employment |Career Advice |Mentoring

03.19.19 | Fast Company

Making a good impression at a job interview involves a lot more than just dressing appropriately, being on time, and researching the company. Here are five key questions to answer for yourself if you want to make it to the next round.

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[Photo: jacoblund/iStock]

1. How will I strike a balance between selling myself and praising the company?

Everyone knows that pitching yourself is key, but overdo it and you’ll turn the interviewer off. You need to strike the right balance between talking about the company you’re interviewing with and talking about yourself. Suppose you start off with, “Here’s why I’d be great for this job. Here are my accomplishments.” You’ve just dug a hole for yourself, because you’re making the interview all about you.

Instead, start with explaining how you admire the company, its accomplishments, and leadership. If you can, show you know something about the person interviewing you. Express your excitement about that particular position. In short, talk about the opportunity–and then show why your qualifications make you such a good fit. Your interviewers will be impressed. You’ve made the connection between the job and your abilities, and so will they. Read more…

What Nobody Tells You About Finding Mentors

Mentoring | Leadership | Career advice | Professional development | Success

by Ryan Holiday | Feb 16, 2018

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httpE://upspalsh.com/photos/3N5ccOEwGg

After getting a million earnest but confused emails about it, I thought I had the perfect idea for a course or program I could teach. Since I’ve had success with it in my own life, I thought, why not teach teach people how to find mentors, how to successfully apprentice under one to learn a skill or craft and then, ideally, how to return the favor to other people down the line.

Of course, I ran the idea by a friend who is much more successful than me and has an enormous business coaching people about finance, negotiation and stuff like that. He pointed out the obvious flaw in my concept: “Ryan,” he said, “you’re picking a market who by definition can’t really afford to pay for it. You should just give the stuff away for free.”

He’s right. So below are some thoughts on mentorships–why its the future of learning, the surest path to success and skills, how to find the right one, how to keep it and how to make the most of it.  Read more…

How to Disagree with Someone More Powerful than You | HBR

Negotiation skills | Workplace |Success  | Career advice

by Amy Gallo | March 17, 2016

Originally appeared in Harvard Business Review

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Your boss proposes a new initiative you think won’t work. Your senior colleague outlines a project timeline you think is unrealistic. What do you say when you disagree with someone who has more power than you do? How do you decide whether it’s worth speaking up? And if you do, what exactly should you say?

What the Experts Say
It’s a natural human reaction to shy away from disagreeing with a superior. “Our bodies specialize in survival, so we have a natural bias to avoid situations that might harm us,” says Joseph Grenny, the coauthor of Crucial Conversations and the cofounder of VitalSmarts, a corporate training company. “The heart of the anxiety is that there will be negative implications,” adds Holly Weeks, the author of Failure to Communicate. We immediately think, “He’s not going to like me,” “She’s going to think I’m a pain,” or maybe even “I’ll get fired.” Although “it’s just plain easier to agree,” Weeks says that’s not always the right thing to do. Here’s how to disagree with someone more powerful than you.

Be realistic about the risks
Most people tend to overplay the risks involved in speaking up. “Our natural bias is to start by imagining all the things that will go horribly wrong,” Grenny says. Yes, your counterpart might be surprised and a little upset at first. But chances are you’re not going to get fired or make a lifelong enemy. He suggests you first consider “the risks of not speaking up” — perhaps the project will be derailed or you’ll lose the team’s trust — then realistically weigh those against the potential consequences of taking action.

Read more…