Category Archives: Careers

How to Give Constructive Feedback to Your Boss… Without Risking Your Job

By Eva Wislow

Everyone has some remarks on the attitude and work of their boss. You’ll often hear these statements when talking about work:

  • “My boss is terrible. He’s completely out of touch with reality.”
  • “My boss is okay… He’s kind and all that, but he’s always late for work and he seems lazy.”
  • “Oh, she imposes impossible deadlines and expects us to be superheroes. She never pays for extra hours.”

It’s safe to say that every boss has negative qualities in their character. They are only human, after all. Sometimes you suck it up and bear with the pressure. Sometimes, however, you feel the need to speak up.

When your constructive feedback can make a real change in the organization, it’s important to speak up. In fact, most bosses are not okay with employees staying quiet when they know that things are taking the wrong turn.

But how do you do it? How do you give such constructive feedback without risking your job?

1. Do It One on One

At the end of a meeting, your boss usually asks: “Does anyone have something to say about this?” If you only plan to present few ideas, go ahead; this is the moment.

If you plan to criticize the boss, however, you should never do it in front of other people. “I believe you’re taking a completely wrong approach to this project” is something they don’t want to hear at in a crowded room.

It’s best to do this in private. Ask to see the boss in their office. If you make a case out of your critique, they will certainly take it into consideration. They will also appreciate the fact that you wanted to see them in private.

2. Mind the Timing

You can usually tell when your boss is having a really bad day. Even if they are usually grumpy, they will be even grumpier on a bad day. It’s important to watch them. You don’t want to tell your boss they are doing things wrong when they are in a really bad mood.

When you notice that your boss is okay, you can ask to see them. Needless to say, you won’t want to ruin their good day with your criticism. That’s why you’ll elaborate it in the right way. The remaining tips of this article cover that point.

3. Show Some Grace

You have to be polite and graceful. You’re not their superior. You still have the right to critique their steps and decisions, but you mustn’t do it from a viewpoint of a superior or someone who knows better than them.

When approaching your boss with a critique, make it friendly and conversational. Tell them you have some ideas you’d like them to consider. Then, present your critique in the form of ideas for improvement.

Instead of saying “I don’t think you’re doing social media marketing properly,” you can say “I think there’s a better way to do our social media marketing. I have few ideas I’d like to share with you.”

4. Make a Strong Case

Constructive criticism

Show them some data that will prove your opinions right.

The critique should not be based on mere personal opinions. “I don’t like how you’re approaching this project” is not an authoritative critique.

Always use strong arguments and support them with facts. Why do you think there’s room for improvement? How do you suggest them to make improvements? Show them some data that will prove your opinions right.

When you bring the facts on, the boss is highly likely to consider your idea. Even if they don’t, you’ll still know you did the right thing about warning them.

5. Know Your Limits

Starting to talk about the things you don’t like is the scariest part. When you go through that point, however, it’s easy to get carried away. You’ll start thinking: “I finally got the courage, so I’m gonna say everything I’ve been thinking all this time.”

Stop! You have to know your limits. You’re not trying to get fired, are you?

Do not make this personal. Be professional and focus on a specific project or aspect of work. Treat your boss with utmost respect and don’t heat up the discussion.

A Good Critique Is Worthy of Respect

When you manage to criticize your boss in the right way, you might even gain their respect. If you see them acting upon some of your suggestions, it means your critique yielded results. Be proud of that!

If you don’t see them improving anything although you’re convinced you were right, well… you did what you could do. From that point on, you can either stay to see how things evolve, or you can start looking for a position at an organization that provides a better working environment.

About the author:

Eva Wislow is a career coach and HR Executive at resume writing service CareersBooster. She is on a mission to help people find their true calling. She finds her inspiration in writing and peace of mind through yoga. Connect with Eva on Twitter.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Is it Critical for our Success in Today’s Competitive World?

Until recently, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Emotional Intelligence (EQ) was a term seldom used by companies, employees or job candidates. Now, it is one of the most common elements in evaluating employees and candidates. And, it is also viewed as an excellent predictor of company success.

Companies, particularly Tech companies, are focusing more on EQ. or Emotional Intelligence, than intellect when selecting or promoting employees. These companies have found that without high levels of Emotional Intelligence, employees are more likely to fail as productive, engaged workers. They also have learned that Leaders with high EQs make better leaders.

In today’s highly competitive world, productive, engaged and high performing employees are critical to company success. These elements of success comprise the basics of EQ, so it’s understandable that a company’s employees have high levels of EQ.

Most successful companies now require a standard of EQ for both job candidates and employees. Since statistics indicate that maximized EQ results in greater company and employee success, it’s now critical that employees attain higher levels of EQ as they progress in their careers.

EQ on-line testing is now standard in most tech companies, with many non-tech companies utilizing ‘’behavioral-based questions’’ and competency analysis to determine the most critical elements of overall job competence, work ethics and emotional intelligence of all employees and job candidates.

Almost 50% of today’s employees are millennials. This group of young employees and job candidates do not tolerate a lack of EQ, especially from their managers or leaders. Millennials generally have achieved at least basic levels of EQ and expect their leadership to be excellent examples of EQ. They are intolerant of old style managers who believe ‘’do as your told’’ is more than adequate for successful employee management.

Millennials are demanding more EQ from their companies, while companies are demanding the same from their employees? Will this create even more confusion or greater results in our economy as it struggles with worldwide competition?  To find out more, read Pierce Ivory’s article on Emotional Intelligence and the Future of Work.

How to Get Up Pumped and Ready to Achieve Your Goals

By Lucy Benton 

Achieving your goals in life requires a great deal of motivation, we all know that. But, it is difficult to be motivated in the morning when all you want to do is to get more sleep. I have always struggled with getting up in the morning and would hit the snooze button as soon as the alarm clock on my phone went off. When I finally got up, I wasn’t in the mood for anything; it killed my productivity.

That was when I realized achieving goals also depends on the way I handle mornings. Once I made a few changes to wake up motivated with a desire to move one step closer to accomplishing my goals, my productivity increased significantly. It made me feel so much better and now you can feel the same with the following useful tips that helped me.

Keep your goals written where you can see them

Business writing skills

Never underestimate the power of writing things down.

Never underestimate the power of writing things down. Why? Because your brain needs a reminder of what you want to achieve in your career or personal life. Also, the method of writing down your goals creates a shift in your mind, makes your dreams more tangible and achievable. It’s not imagination any longer, but a clear and vivid goal.

I have a big whiteboard right next to my desk and use it to write down not only my goals but some motivational quotes as well. Also, I write those goals on my phone and keep them as wallpaper. That way, they are the first thing I see every morning after waking up. Suddenly, you don’t want to be in bed anymore, you want to get up and achieve those goals.

Focus on today only

While it’s always practical to have the big picture in your mind, try focusing on today only. It’s easy to dwell on the past or frustrate over the future, but this can be overwhelming and you don’t want to leave your bed. Remember, while you’re worrying about these things, someone else is working and achieving his/her goals and you could be doing the same.

While I’m having my morning coffee, I tend to think about my current projects and things I have to do that day. Focusing on daily tasks relieves stress and allows me to finalize them successfully. You should try the same.

Remember, every task or project you complete that day brings you one step closer to the main goal. Needless to say, you won’t feel overwhelmed in the morning, but motivated.

Exercise

Regular physical activity isn’t just beneficial for your waistline and health, it makes you feel better and more energized from the minute you wake up. Sports coach Thomas S. Dunigan once said in an interview that exercise relieves stress, improves concentration and memory, enhances your creativity, and allows you to learn faster. Plus, it improves your mood which is also important for productivity. All these things make you want to get pumped up and put all that energy into good use. I strive to go to the gym two-three times a week, but every morning after waking up I do some simple stretching exercises.

Create a morning playlist

Music is the best way to beat a grumpy attitude and say hello to a new, productive day. It’s practical (and incredibly fun) to create a morning playlist that you can listen to while getting ready. The choice of songs depends on you and your preferences, of course. Ideally, you should opt for happy, upbeat songs that will induce the same mood. Ballads would just make you sad, which isn’t the goal here.

Prepare everything the night before

The sheer idea that I would have to leave my bed, figure out what to wear, then prepare my work files and other things in the morning made me very lazy. I didn’t want to deal with those things and, of course, getting up would take me ages. Needless to say, I was often grumpy, not organized properly, and I got behind with everything.

Not anymore!

Every night before I go to bed, I plan my outfit for tomorrow and prepare all my files so that after waking up, I don’t have to stress about those things. Life is much easier that way.

There’s no hassle.

And the best thing of all, I don’t have to hurry up or wonder whether I will be late. This is also a major timesaver! It’s easier to focus on your goals and stay motivated on achieving them when you eliminate things that drain your energy or affect your mood.

Have goals you’re excited about

Be passionate about your goals

When you’re not passionate about something, you’ll find any excuse you can not to work towards achieving that goal.

If you really want to get up pumped to achieve great things, then have goals you’re excited about. What I learned from my experience is that sometimes we have certain goals only because of assumptions that we should have them, not because we really want to achieve them. These goals are usually associated with things that society expects from us.

But let me tell you something.  When you’re not passionate about something, you’ll find any excuse you can not to work towards achieving that goal. Take a few moments to think about goals you have now. Are you really passionate about them?

If the answer is yes, then divide that goal into smaller, easily achievable milestones. Why? Because completing one milestone will motivate you to do the same with the next one and so on.

You’ll wake up in the morning ready and willing to do your best and make a progress.

If the answer is no, then think about different ways to make that goal more exciting or create a new goal, something you’re passionate about. It is never too late to set out goals that you really want.

This way, you won’t keep finding excuses to stay in bed.  Instead you’ll feel like your life got its purpose once again and your entire perspective of productivity, mornings, and motivation will change too.

Conclusion

Although we realize that motivation is important, it’s difficult to be motivated in the morning. Staying in bed seems like a brilliant idea, but there are many ways you can get pumped up to achieve your goals from the moment you wake up. These tips helped me and I advise you to try them and they may help you too. Keep trying different things and, soon, you’ll find your own winning formula for an instant motivation boost to get up, work hard, and achieve your goals.

Author Bio:  Lucy Benton is a writing coach and an editor who finds her passion in expressing her own thoughts as a blogger. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. Also Lucy has her own blog ProWritingPartner where you can check her last publications. If you’re interested in working with Lucy , you can find her on FaceBook and Twitter.

Starting Your Own Business After a Career Setback: Why the Decision is a Great Idea and How to Get Started

By Larry Mager

Common career setbacks include being fired or laid off, being demoted, being stagnant (no way to move up in current position or career), or becoming bored with your current position or career. Any of these situations can cause you to feel upset, angry, or full of self-doubt. Instead of moping about, focus on moving forward and consider making a change. While you can dive back into the same career in which you’ve been working, you can also take a leap and start your own business.

Coming Up with a Business Idea

Coming up with a business idea

Many successful entrepreneurs found a way to turn a hobby, side job, or passion into a career.

One of the most important (if not the most important) decisions involved in starting a business is coming up with a business idea and choosing the type of business to run. There are several ways you can come up with a business idea. For example, think of your biggest frustration and find a solution for it. You can also think bigger and try to imagine what the world’s biggest challenge will be in 15 years.

On the flipside, people who offer career advice often say to find something you enjoy doing and something that you’re good at doing. Your business is much more likely to succeed if you follow this advice. Think about what gives you fulfillment and satisfaction. Many successful entrepreneurs found a way to turn a hobby, side job, or passion into a career. Find a way to monetize what you love. For example, if you love dogs, start a dog walking business.

Don’t give up hope if your first brainstorming attempt yields no results. You may have to try several times. Sometimes you need a spark in creativity. Try to take a vacation or just take a day to do something new like hiking on a new trail or attending an art show. These new experiences can spark new ideas.

Planning and Financing

Now that you have your idea in place, you need to create a well-written business plan, which will serve as a guide through each stage of starting and managing your business. Think of it as a manual for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. Business plans are also important because they show investors and potential business partners why they should believe in your ideas.

When you start a business, it comes at a price. While many entrepreneurs put their own money into starting their business, they also typically need financial assistance. Although hard to obtain, you can get a commercial loan through a bank or a small business loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) or an alternative lender. If you require a large amount of funding up front, you may want to consider an investor or a crowdfunding campaign.

Handling Legalities

Handling the legalities is critical. You must register with the government to become incorporated and trademark your company’s name, and you’ll need to obtain an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS. Some businesses may also require federal or state licenses and permits in order to operate. Also, before you open your doors, you should purchase insurance for your business. “Dealing with incidents like property damage, theft or even a customer lawsuit can be costly, and you need to be sure that you’re properly protected,” says Business News Daily.

You’ll also need to build up your brand and get people intrigued about your product or service before you open your doors. For starters, create a logo so people can easily identify your brand. Social media is a vital promotional tool that can spread the word about your new business. Use it to offer coupons and discounts to your first customers, to share your story, to draw people to your site, and more. Be sure to keep social media pages up to date with relevant and interesting content about your business and industry.

Starting your own business requires a lot of time, effort, and hard work. But putting in the time to properly prepare helps increase your chance of success, and once you’ve experienced the rewards of being your own boss, you’ll see the effort was well worth it. Take your career setback and turn into a positive by becoming an entrepreneur.

Author Bio:  Larry Mager created ReadyBrain.net to help give people the mental workout they need to have a healthy brain.

6 Tips for Managing the Work-Life Balance

By Harper Brenning

To many people, it may seem like a challenge to properly manage a work-life balance, especially with everything that occurs in our everyday life. Managing a well-balanced work-life situation includes doing your best at your job while still taking time for yourself, your family, and friends.

Experiencing complete happiness all at once may seem far-fetched for many. But, if you know how to balance your job and personal life correctly, you will have no problem achieving the fulfilling life you desire. In order to help you reach the goal of balancing both work and life, we have 6 great tips for you to follow.

1.  Prioritize Your Time

If you work in finance you already know how to budget money and how to spend what you earn. But do you know how to budget your time in order to be able to spend more time with you loved ones after work? A proper work-life management will allow you to spend more time with the people that matter most in life – your family.  Try going to work sooner (be it just an hour earlier) and you’ll soon realize you will have much time in the evening to spend with your family or friends.

2.  Make Sure Your Personal Life Doesn’t Get Neglected

It’s important that you take care of your personal life while working full time.  In order to have a fulfilling career, you’ll need to make sure you are happy with your personal life too, as the two of them go hand in hand towards a good work/life balance.  One way to achieve this would be via telecommuting if your job allows it. Telecommuting will enable you to work from home allowing you to more easily get the job completed in a timely manner. Spending more time at home will also put less constraints on your relationship or marriage.

3.  Try to Avoid Staying Late at Work

It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time when you think of what might happen if you have to stay late at work.  The truth is,  you may not necessarily have to. Of course, if it is critical to your job, then you should definitely stay a little late.   One saving grace is that staying late may allow you to leave work early on another day during the week.  If you decide to take off early, be sure you to get permission from your boss and don’t be surprised if he or she agrees. A majority of businesses don’t like to pay for overtime if it’s not truly necessary. So why would you worry about taking off early?

4.  Decide What Matters the Most

If you don’t know what is the most important thing in your life, maybe it’s time to start thinking about it. Would you choose work over your personal life? Being bogged down with work can take a toll on your personal life and in the long run may even tear a family apart. At the same time, if you’re unable to provide for your family, this could lower your self-esteem and consequently,  you will not be able to work properly. Either way, remember that you should choose what matters the most for you. So, if you choose family, when your wife asks you to pick something up from the Kroger deli and you promise to do so, make sure that you know what the Kroger deli hours of operation are. At the same time, if work takes priority, when your boss asks you to solve an urgent task, make sure you take care of it promptly.

5. Give More by Working Less Hours

Nobody likes to feel stressed, and working more than being at home can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. Your personal life may be sacrificed because of the work stress. But, if you give higher-quality work in a shorter amount of time during your 8-hour shift, you will probably be less stressed when at home. Avoid distractions at work and focus on getting the job done in a more timely and efficient manner.  Plus, your boss might even take notice and allow you to leave work early because of completing a project more efficiently.

6.  Utilize the Open-door Policy

Maintaining a strong relationship with your employer can play a big role in balancing your work and life outside of work. There’s nothing wrong with approaching your boss to have your hours lowered or having your workload shared among co-workers. He might agree once you tell him you are afraid of feeling burned-out.

Author bio: Harper Brenning is a Customer Support Specialist with a two-year experience in coordinating internal and external parties. She provides the user with up-to-date working hours information about different companies.