Own it! Tips to be an awesome boss without losing your authority

There’s a fine line between being a leader and a dictator. While you definitely don’t want to be channelling Hitler, being a buddy-boss won’t do you any favours either.

As a great leader, your employees should enjoy working under you, but that doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to laziness and throwing office parties every other day to gain their respect and loyalty.

Employees don’t want a buddy-boss; they have enough amigos! So the second you’re seen as an equal, you relinquish your rights to leadership.

As the commanding officer of your ship, your job is to lead your company and your employees to reach their highest potential. As part of this, you need to recognise and reward great work, and hold your employees accountable for their professional expectations and obligations.

If you find yourself at the helm of your company, follow these tips to be a cool boss (while avoiding the buddy-boss persona):

Be human:

You don’t have to search far to hear horror stories of bosses who make their employees use paid leave for a doctor’s appointment, even when they have time owning. Bad bosses tend to be inflexible clock-watchers with no sympathy for legitimate tardiness or illness. As long as the employee isn’t taking advantage, awesome bosses have open door policies and an understanding of life’s dilemmas.

Be encouraging:

Everyone likes to be told how awesome they are every once in a while. You know how it goes, pay credit where credit’s due. But in the interest of being liked, it’s tempting to shower you minions with praise and, as a consequence, gloss over the negatives. If you do this, you’re at-risk of becoming a buddy-boss. Being a good manager is about coaching your employees on areas of improvement, as much as it is for praising what they already do well.

Be an advocate:

As the chief problem-solver, it’s your job to stand up for your people and advocate for what they need, whether it’s more resources, professional development, or raises. Helping your team get the tools and support they need is part of your job description – even if it means standing up to your boss!

Be a kick-ass recruiter:

You can’t run a kick-ass team without having the best of the best behind you. When it comes to building your team, you have to hire people who have both the ability and the willingness to do the job well. Likewise, if you have a lazy, unmotivated employee, it’s your job to work with them to see if they can improve. If not, be prepared to give them the boot. The rest of the team will admire you for your tenacity and commitment to the team as a whole.

Be an expert:

You need to tune in to trends and shifts in your field. Network with thought leaders, attend key conferences and read industry news. By keeping abreast of what’s happening and who’s who in the zoo, you’ll be able to share the latest knowledge with your team to plan for the future.

Believe in yourself:

There’s no doubt about it, being a boss is a hard gig. But if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect your employees to? People often think being the boss is about having the corner office, the Porsche, the big house and the perks. In reality, real leadership is about creating a vision that others can see and believe in too. It’s not about how far you’ve gone and how many people you have under you – it’s about showing creativity, innovation, and integrity in what you do.

Job hopping: Why it’s not such a bad thing

Back in the day, a CV that jumped from job to job would raise the red flag to prospective employers about their candidates’ ability to commit.

While the notion of “job-hopping” was fiercely frowned upon not so long ago, a new generation of young professionals reckon job-hopping is a bona fide jump to the Next Big Thing – and we at the Institute of Careers agree.

According to research, the average employment tenure in Australia is 3.4 years. Leading the way are Gen Y professionals who view job-hopping as a way to gain broad skills and experience, improve salary and conditions, expand their networks and try different roles until they find the perfect professional and cultural fit, because… culture!

Most organisations will always place a high value on stability, loyalty and commitment, yet some employers are now starting to welcome the shift, viewing early-career mobility as a sign of ambition and enthusiasm.

In today’s competitive marketplace, employers who are set in their old school ways and rule out job-hoppers might be missing out on some serious talent.

Job-hoppers are often top performers who change jobs because they are; headhunted by other companies; want to work for a more prestigious or successful brand; learn new skills; climb the career ladder; earn more dosh or; align themselves with a company that offers a better cultural environment.

Here are two main reasons why job-hopping isn’t a bad thing:

Reason 1: You’ll learn more

A huge drawback of staying in the same job or company for too long is that you can begin to feel like you’re not growing or developing new skills. When you try something new, you experience and learn different skills that broaden your professional attributes, making you more attractive to employers.

Reason 2: Money, money, money

When people change jobs, one of their main motivators is a pay rise. When done right, job-hopping could help you earn more money as you climb up the career ladder. Just remember to factor in other aspects of the role, such as annual leave, benefits and flexible work hours.

Here are two reasons why employers value a job-hopper:

Reason 1: Industry knowledge

When an organisation employs a job-hopper, they usually have immediate access to a valuable source of accumulated industry knowledge, contacts and experience from working with a broad range of companies, and competitors, within the sector.

Reason 2: They make an effort

While employers are sometimes wary of hiring job-hoppers for fear they won’t stick around, job-hoppers are motivated and proactive self-starters who require little management. People who change jobs every few years tend to be conscious of their CV, wanting it to demonstrate new skills, performance and improved expertise. As a result, they’re always looking to value-add and do great work, which is obviously a benefit to the employer, even if they only stick around a couple of years.   

So what’s the optimal time to stay? The ideal time to stay at any one job is approximately two years. By that time you will have developed indepth knowledge and skills. Frequently ask yourself, am I still learning and growing? If the answer’s no, it may be time to move on.

Category: 
Job Search, Resume

Keep calm and (don’t) kill your boss! What to do when you lose your job

Whether you saw it coming or it knocked you for six, losing you job sucks. Aside from sending your stress levels off the Richter, suddenly finding yourself unemployed can significantly affect your finances, your confidence and your personal relationships.

While you could be forgiven for wanting to whittle away your days binge-watching Netflix, now is the time to dust yourself off and start again.

If you’ve just lost your job, here are some essentials to help you overcome this period of uncertainty and find yourself in a new and rewarding role – long before you get through a series of Suits!

Tip 1: Laugh, cry and get over it

Suffice to say, you’re probably feeling a whirlwind of emotions right now. The only way forward from here is to allow yourself a brief period of self-pity, but don’t dwell on it. Getting the boot can be demoralizing, but you can bounce back. Just ask the late Steve Jobs – you know, the guy who got fired from Apple, the company he co-founded? During his hiatus from Apple, Jobs co-founded computer company NeXT and launched Pixar Animation Studios. When he returned to Apple nearly a decade later, he brought the innovation of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Take a leaf from Jobs’ book and reflect on what you liked and didn’t like about your previous role, and where you want to go from here. While the financial strain of unemployment will no doubt be front and centre in your mind, try to use this time to figure out what you really want to do, whether it be a similar role for a different company or a total career change. Once you’ve got a bit of direction, you can put the wheels in motion to get there.

Tip 2: Be a tight-ass (for now!)

Even if you received a redundancy payout, it’s a wise move to reassess your budget and make cutbacks so you can stay on top of your bills while you’re looking for a new job. Curbing your spending will undoubtedly mean changing your habits and plans. You might have to postpone that trip to Bali, cut down on your morning latte and forgo eating out, but remember, it’s only temporary. Resist the temptation to use your credit card to cover shortfalls. The interest you'll have to pay will only add to your financial woes in the long run. If you have a serious budget deficit, contact your bank ASAP to discuss repayment options.

Tip 3: Talk it out

Research shows that job or financial loss can increase the risk of health problems such as anxiety and depression. Talk about issues with your family and friends, don’t bottle it up. If you have emotional support, you’ll be in a better place to deal with the financial ramifications of unemployment. Beyond Blue has put together a downloadable booklet, Taking care of yourself after retrenchment or financial loss, which is a great source of knowledge and support.

Tip 4: Keep up appearances

As tempting as it might be to lounge around in your jim-jams all day, set your alarm for the usual time you’d get up for work, shower and get dressed in your usual work attire. Mentally, the structure of a routine will make you more motivated to get back into the workforce ASAP. It’s also important to exercise and eat well; this will ensure you look and feel your best when embarking on the next chapter in your life.

Tip 5: Revamp your CV and LinkedIn profile

Before you start applying for new opportunities, polish your resume and ensure it includes your most recent role and responsibilities.  If you’re applying for professional positions, you’re going to be checked out on LinkedIn. Use this time to update your profile, making sure the information matches your resume. While you’re at it, reach out to your LinkedIn network and ask your connections to let you know if they come across jobs that would be a good fit. Lastly, line up a few referees now, so they can expect a call when you start interviewing.

Tip 6: Make yourself more marketable

Now that you have some time on your hands, read blogs, listen to podcasts and tune in to webinars to update your skills. For example, you might like to take a social media marketing class to build a stronger online presence. You could also consider volunteering for a board or not-for-profit organisation. The benefits of this are twofold – it keeps your skills fresh and makes you more lucrative to potential employers. Remember, it’s always easier to get a job when you’re in a job.

Tip 7: Keep on keeping on

After the crushing blow of being fired, it can seem like another kick in the guts to apply for job after job with no luck. You probably expected to hear back from more employers, and chances are you certainly didn’t expect the interview process to take so damn long! Try not to feel down if you don’t find a new job straight away because these things take time. To help you stay positive and keep your professional momentum, try to do a few work-related activities every day. Even if it’s just a call to a recruitment agency or a few tweaks to your CV, each move will be a step closer to your next role.

 

Category: 
Interview, Job Search, Resume

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About Us

The Institute of Careers is a leading career development and advisory support service, equipping Australian job-seekers and employees with the know-how to supercharge their careers. We offer a wide range of resources, including cheat sheets, FAQs and customisable templates, covering all aspects of professional development – from writing a cracking cover letter, searching for a job and selling yourself in an interview, to landing a promotion and becoming a great manager.