The Four Universal Traits We Want From Leaders During Crisis

In the midst of time tumultuous time, how can leaders bring out the best in those they’re charged to lead?

A good place to start is by looking backward; examining past crisis for the traits people sought out, and valued most, in their leaders.

Fortunately, Gallup Organization has done that. They studied the fears, concerns, and confidence of citizens from across the world through many of the biggest crisis of the past 80 years — including the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and World War II, Kennedy’s assassination, civil unrest in the 1960s, 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic.

As they did, one thing became clear. In the midst of crisis, people look to leaders to allay their fears and bolster their confidence; to reassure them that they’ll be okay, even if things will be rough in the short term.

It’s why in this period of intersecting crisis – employment, economic, social, political, public health – leaders must be even more intentional in how they ‘show up’ for others. Gallup’s study distilled the leadership attributes people are seeking into four core universal needs

Trust: Be predictable in an unpredictable time
That leaders should act with integrity and be trust-worthy is a given. In the midst of crisis, when so much is outside a leaders control, people also want to trust that leaders are at least in control of themselves. Sure much is uncertain, but at least they can be certain that their leader will do the right thing, even if it costs them.

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Being able to count on behavioral predictability is a lynchpin to sustaining this trust. Leaders who are inconsistent in their decision making, show a lack of emotional mastery or are prone to being reactive under pressure only stoke anxiety in their ranks. No-one does their best work when they’re afraid.

Where can you be more consistent and predictable between your values and actions?

Compassion: Show that you care about what they care about
The adage that people don’t care what you know until they know how much you care is never truer than in crisis. When people feel anxious about their future, demonstrating that you genuinely care about what they care about is imperative to keeping them engaged and focused on your team or organizations ‘mission critical’ priorities.

On the flipside, if people assess their manager really doesn’t care much about them personally, there’s little chance they’ll be fully engaged in their work, much less be willing to go the extra mile when it might matter most to the organization.

In turbulent times such as these, leaders must be deeply connected to the emotional landscape of those in their ranks. This is rarely comfortable work. At times, it can require immense vulnerability. Yet connecting from the heart, not just the head, lays at the heart of real leadership.

Are you regularly conveying to team members – through your words and small daily actions – that you truly care about what they care about?

Stability: Ensure everyone knows what to focus on and why
It’s part of the human condition to seek certainty. So when people feel their future is under threat, they crave frequent assurance and clear direction so they can prioritize effectively and avoid overwhelm. As people work remotely, it’s even more vital to ensure they’re clear about what ‘success’ should look like.

Gallup research found that only 39% of U.S. employees ‘strongly agree’ their employer communicated a clear plan of action in response to COVID-19. So it is better to risk over-communicating – using multiple mediums and touchpoints – than to risk under communicating. Unless people are clear about what leadership is thinking, doing and why, the communication vacuum will be filled with catastrophizing worst case scenarios and rumors running wild.

As you communicate plans and update progress, expand the context for those on the front line so they can see a higher purpose beyond their daily grind. People want to find meaning in hardships, to know that their ‘hard yards’ are contributing to a cause greater than themselves.

Link what you’re asking of them to what lays at stake, using accessible language they can adopt in their own conversations. Make it easy for them to answer for themselves ‘For the sake of what am I doing this?’ Doing activates the ‘rally effect’, getting everyone pulling together, and guarding against tunnel vision.

Is every single person in your team is clear about your plans, priorities, progress and the higher purpose your collectively working toward? If not, what other way can you communicate with them? Try talking more, texting less.

Hope: Fuel optimism for a future worth working toward
Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl observed that the deciding factor between those who survived the brutality of Nazi concentration camps came down to hope of future happiness. Those who could resist succumbing to despair, found that their hope “gave them courage” to press on even in the bleakest of times. Frankl among them.

Hope is a precious capital. Hopeful employees are more creative, courageous, agile and resilient. So as you share plans and progress, express your firm belief that the goals you’ve set are doable and that the vision you’re rallying people behind is achievable.

Hope isn’t about denying the harsh reality. Nor is about ‘toxic positivity’ and Pollyanna optimism. Rather it’s being able to confront the brutal reality of a situation while also keeping faith that you will ultimately prevail and better days lay ahead. To paraphrase Nelson Mandela, ‘May how you lead reflect your hopes, not your fears.’

Does your demeanor speak optimism? Do your conversations fuel a sense of hope for the future?

By spreading ‘positive emotional contagion’ – through trust, compassion, stability and hope – leaders foster the conditions for people to do their best work and bring their boldest thinking to the most pressing challenges at hand, particularly in the toughest of times.

In doing so, you leaders transform shared adversity into a catalyst for growth, for collaboration and for innovation toward stronger outcomes than would ever have been possible otherwise.

Drawing on what we can learn by looking backward, it’s now time to look forward, rallying all stakeholders behind a shared vision toward a better, brighter, future.

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What The U.S. Capitol Riot Can Teach Us About Toxic Organizations

The U.S. Capitol Riot of January 6 has been decried as an attack on democracy. Whether or not all agree with this, there is no question it was a most unfortunate event, leading to loss of life, injuries, and extensive property damage.

It was grounded in what many identify as a dysfunctional political system. There is no question that the polarization of American politics has had a role in increasing animosity between the parties. There is much work to be done to heal these differences to improve U.S. democracy.

What about the role of the leader? What does the head of an organization have to do with the level of toxicity in the organization?


As the world’s largest economy, one can also think of the United States as the world’s largest corporation – with the President as the head of that organization. When thinking about it this way, all the signs of a toxic organization have been visible for some time.

Toxic and dysfunctional organizations are identified through indicators such as low morale and low engagement. This leads to a high turnover of employees, managers, and executives. Ultimately, this leads to the organization not being successful at conducting its affairs.

When the actions of the head of the organization demonstrate and reinforce toxic behaviors, it begins to appear throughout the organization.
It Starts at the Top
Egocentric leadership and confrontation versus cooperative behaviors at work often lead to toxic organizations. Productivity and creativity are replaced by inefficiency and a destructive culture motivated by self-interest and a lack of shared vision. As the number of disgruntled employees grows in relation to workplace stress, it is important for managers and decision makers to lead by example to avoid reinforcing dysfunctional work practices that foster a toxic environment.

For a short time, this can be tolerated – organizations are resilient. But if the behavior at the top continues, those who hold their ground against toxic behavior are punished, are fired, or choose to leave. Over time, increasing numbers of people in leadership roles begin to replicate and reinforce the toxic behavior of the top leader. It becomes ‘the way business is done’.
What is a Toxic Organization?
The “toxic organization” is essentially understood to mean an organization in which there is a negative spiral of dysfunctional working relationships. From key leadership down to frontline employees, the toxic workplace affects everyone. Egos may get in the way of sound decision making, power struggles and intense competition between individuals may stifle the pursuit of common goals, creating a negative spiral.

In the toxic organization, leadership tends to focus too much of their time on building their own self-interests, making interaction with subordinates unproductive. Departments are often at odds and recognition and appreciation are rare. Work-life balance is a concept acknowledged but not practiced. Generally, the emphasis is on what went wrong instead of what went right, which creates an environment that damages the emotional, physical, and financial well being of employees. Put simply, toxic leadership promotes a toxic culture.
Moving Towards A Healthy Organization
The importance of the right organizational framework
Healthy organizations have productive working relationships where work is conducted in an open and transparent way, inspired by a culture of trust. In other words, if someone says something will happen, it happens. There are well-defined frameworks in place defining the “rules of the road” so that everyone understands how to perform and how to relate effectively. Think of driving a vehicle, and the importance of understanding what a red light means or the purpose of a lane. Imagine how difficult it would be for vehicles to interact in a public street without rules – it would be sheer chaos. The same is true in organizations.

In the absence of a framework, individuals pursue self interest
In many modern organizations, there is no common framework consistent language about how work is delegated down the organization, or about how work-flows across the organization. As a result, people are left to their own devices to determine how best to carry out their work. For example, people in one part of an organization often depend on output from others for success in their own work. Yet if these two people have a different understanding of their roles with respect to each other, how can they be successful in their collaborative work? This common framework, or language of collaboration is critical for aligning organizational workflow, making it more likely that individuals will do and collaborate on work that is in the best interest of the organization overall.

Managers lead by example
Managers play a significant role in deterring or enabling the toxic organization through their behavior. For example, if subordinates are told that family and work-life balance is important, and yet the manager works a 60 to 80 hour week and through body language and innuendo appears to expect the same from the team, what is the message? If expectations are that employees are available during evenings and weekends, over time these expectations become part of the organization’s culture. Managers lead by example – whether positive or negative – and these behaviors, while not written down or formalized, become ingrained in the organization

Recognize and discourage dysfunctional work practices
Managers need to recognize and discourage dysfunctional and destructive work practices. People are not robots, and despite best efforts, will not be at their best if they are constantly overworked or under-valued. If dysfunctional work practices become standard operating procedure, people are apt to burn out. They will not be as responsive, and their creativity will wane. Over time, the organization will lose opportunities for building the business and improving workflow processes. As a result, overall operational performance declines, whether it’s to find that new product, reduce cost or most importantly, provide an opportunity for people to focus on the value-added work that is so critical to organizational success.

Toxic organizations can be avoided. In addition to recognizing when work practices or employees are becoming driven inappropriately, the most effective managers are cautious not to reinforce negative dynamics in the organization.
What if You are the Head of the Organization?
As the head of your organization, you may be setting a clear context for work, demonstrating the right example, and delegating appropriately. But beware! Toxic behavior can take root whether the leader is the Manager of a front line team, the Director of a function, or the Vice President of a Department.

Unfortunately, most organizational measurement systems are focused solely on results. Are the margins there, is the profit adequate, did we get the sales, are we at the right level of quality? Of course, these are important measures. But if that team leader is getting results at the expense of the team the results will be short term.

The results will not be sustainable. The stress on the team will lead to lower productivity. It can even lead to more severe consequences for the health and safety of team members.

As the head of the organization, you must also have good knowledge of the input measures. Measures such as manager effectiveness, employee engagement, support system effectiveness and managerial leadership need to be understood so you can identify those leaders that are not carrying out their duties appropriately. The members of each team know full well whether their leader is creating a toxic work environment. You need to ask the questions, preferably through anonymous, third party tools.

The bottom line is accountability in an organization. As the head of the organization, you are accountable for everything that happens in the organization. Results are not enough. You need to be sure that you are achieving the results in the right way. The bonus is that if toxic behavior is eliminated in your organization, you will create a dynamic that will result in increasingly improved performance.

With higher morale, more engaged employees, and everyone focused on the right work, even in turbulent times, you can grow and prosper.

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Why women leaders thrive during a crisis

Early on in the coronavirus pandemic it became apparent that countries led by women tended to handle the crisis better, but it wasn’t necessarily clear why.

After all, there aren’t that many countries with female leaders (19), and there are all sorts of other cultural, socio-economic and geographic factors that could influence Covid cases and deaths.

A recent study by academics from the Universities of Liverpool and Reading sought to clarify whether female leadership styles played a role. They found that, indeed, women-led nations had significantly fewer deaths (around 1,650 fewer on average) and cases than their closest similarly-sized neighbours.

The pattern of better health outcomes was still there even after controlling for health expenditure, and factoring out possible outliers like New Zealand (led by Jacinda Ardern) and Germany (led by Angela Merkel), in part because women PMs and presidents were generally quicker to lock down.

It would be a mistake just to draw the conclusion from this that ‘women are better leaders’ per se – leadership is individual, contextual and crucially can be learned – but it is telling to look at the behaviours that proved so effective.

For example, female leaders tend to be more sensitive to risk and to communicate in a more egalitarian way, a point highlighted by UCL professor of organisational behaviour Sunny Lee.

In a pre-pandemic analysis of nearly 9,000 leadership reviews US leadership consultancy Zenger/Folkman found that when rated by their direct reports, women outscored men on 17 of 19 leadership capabilities, significantly so when it came to relationship building, practising self-development, developing others and displaying integrity. There was less divergence on technical capabilities, strategic perspective or the frequency and power of communication. (When the study was repeated during the coronavirus pandemic women leaders outscored men on 13 of the 19 competencies.)

The critical leadership trait here is empathy, which increases awareness of the consequences of your own actions, your ability to build relationships with others, and indeed your willingness to put human beings ahead of hard economics. And it’s something all leaders would do well to cultivate.

“Countries that have handled this crisis better were ultra cautious, which led them to take big decisions early. They have usually been led by women,” says Rene Carayol, business coach and author. “But it’s not about gender, it’s about empathy. It’s the ability to feel the mood music.”

Being able to relate to the emotions of others and control your own is important not just in showing people that you care about them, but also to earn their trust and bring them along with you.

This is no more apparent than when we look at the bravado demonstrated by Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Britain’s Boris Johnson and America’s Donald Trump – all of whom at one stage or another refused to acknowledge the real threat of the virus (and therefore the risk to their people), or later to admit that they were wrong.

All three countries have significantly high death rates, and all three would have benefitted from a little more empathy, and a little more humility. Fortunately, for leaders in politics or business, men or women, these are things that can be learned.

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A window of opportunities: how leaders can harvest the good from the crisis

If and when vaccines effectively curb the spread of coronavirus, working patterns will surely change again. But rather than just waiting to see what happens, business leaders need to decide now what they want the new world of work to look like for their organizations. The pandemic has given employees an unprecedented opportunity to experience ways of working that are less structured and less limited. Many won’t want to turn back the clock.

Where people work, when they work, and how they work all have huge ramifications for a company’s development of both its physical and human resources, affecting everything from office space to employee development and team building. If companies don’t plan now, they’ll face significant risks as the pandemic subsides.

Chief among these is the danger that some employees continue to work from home while others make a full return to the office, potentially splintering teams and company cohesion. Some employees may seek to physically be in the workplace to build a relationship with their bosses and advance their careers, while others may believe they are more productive at home. If half a team works in the same room while the other half connects solely via video calls, team dynamics are sure to be disrupted.

From a real estate perspective, there’s a clear danger that a business will end up with too much (or too little) capacity, depending on whether it has retained or reduced its office space during the pandemic. If business leaves it up to individual employees to decide when and where to work, it’ll be very difficult for estate managers to ensure there’s enough suitable office space to accommodate seemingly random fluctuations in working patterns.

Where do your priorities lie?
Given these risks, it’s important to plan now for the aftermath of the pandemic. To do that, the senior management team needs to prioritize. Should the priority be making employees happy? If the company’s involved in a talent war this could be very important. Or should the focus be on improving the financial situation of the company, given the way in which the pandemic has ravaged the economy? Or should the company concentrate on making customers happy and winning market share, while rivals flounder? Or a combination of all three?

If used wisely, the current window of opportunity could allow businesses to significantly increase employee satisfaction (in terms of when and where they work), improve the customer experience (through greater agility and better collaboration), and realize significant savings for the organization. If working from home becomes the default, the cost of operating and maintaining facilities will drop, while greater use of remote training and events should improve efficiency. As employees commute less and can work more flexible hours, the business may also be able to spend less on payroll and incentives. Remote working has proved to be efficient during the pandemic and is becoming more broadly accepted by organizations and their leaders.

But working from home isn’t a panacea. Kearney’s experience of supporting clients during 2020, and conducting a comprehensive internal global study, suggests that the upsides of the new working patterns are counterbalanced by various downsides (see figure).

If people spend much of their working life away from the office, a key challenge for CEOs and CHROs will be to give them a sense of belonging and ensure they continue to develop. People who work predominantly from home won’t receive as much informal guidance from colleagues and managers. When everyone’s in the office, problems and solutions are discussed in the cafeteria, in the corridor, or even in a bar after work. It can be hard to replicate that dynamic in a remote working environment.

Companies will also need to consider how many of their staff have enough space at home in which to work effectively. Parents who have to work in their kitchen, for example, could be interrupted by children returning from school or their partner making a meal.

In reality, many businesses are likely to pursue a hybrid model in which about half of employees’ working time is in the office and the other half is at home or elsewhere. It could become customary, for example, to perform tasks that need full concentration at home, while projects that involve a high degree of personal interaction and collaboration might be conducted in offices or other shared working spaces where colleagues can gather together and have access to the necessary amenities. For many service and software companies, the bulk of work may be produced off-site and delivered electronically, blurring the conventional definition of the workplace. Freelancers and contractors from different organizations will work together in ad hoc teams that are assembled and disbanded as required.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
For most organizations this will represent a major shift in working patterns, so they need to prepare properly. Now’s the time to review and adjust elements of the operating model to take full advantage of the new ways of working.

The first step is to define the ambition: draw up a people and real-estate strategy that includes targets in terms of where and when staff will work. The allocation of office space should reflect the different needs of different roles and job functions—someone in a back-office position may need less space than a project engineer but more than a salesperson. Whereas some employees may require a dedicated workspace, others may need to book before they visit the office. People performing back-office functions may be able to do most of their work at home, while a software engineer or graphic designer, for example, might need to be in the office to work on specific equipment or collaborate closely with colleagues.

To help clients revamp their working arrangements, Kearney typically develops between five and 10 archetypes of office-based employees who describe where they need to work (home or office?), when (traditional or flexible time model?), and the office layout they require. This analysis is based on an evaluation of how much time each archetype spends on the four Cs—concentration, collaboration, communication, and community. We also help identify the digital collaboration and productivity tools each archetype will need and whether employees have the necessary skills to use these tools effectively.

It may also make sense to provide staff with incentives (and the equipment they need) to work remotely, as the organization could benefit through a reduction in fixed and variable real estate/maintenance costs: tailoring office space to functions should reduce the amount of unutilized capacity and improve efficiency. Although flexible workspace will continue to be important for collaboration between teams, clients, and suppliers, this could be rented from private coworking facilities as the need arises.

Compressing and scattering time
One way to attract better staff and motivate existing staff is to give employees more ownership and control over their work-life balance. For example, allowing for flexible start and finish times will enable individuals to work when they’re most productive, or choose to commute outside peak hours. Some may wish to compress their working week into four days, putting in longer hours each day but gaining one or more extra free days to spend as they please. Others may want to scatter working time, fitting in their hours around childcare or other personal responsibilities. Short sabbaticals could become the norm, giving employees the opportunity to further their interests, such as spending more time with their families, advancing their education, travelling, taking part in charity or sporting events, or developing their entrepreneurial skills. If employees can achieve a better work-life balance, they’re more likely to stay with the organization.

Of course, giving employees flexibility on when they work can’t be allowed to compromise the business. The company will need to design mechanisms that enable compressed and scattered time models and other forms of flexible working, and can be implemented without weakening operating processes. In other words, the organization needs to proactively design rules and conditions, rather than simply allowing flexible working to take place. In practice, this could require a redefinition of roles and responsibilities and management models (for example, span of control) to make the organization more agile. New working models could call for fresh processes, a revamp of cross-functional interaction and collaboration, and even revised customer and employee satisfaction metrics. Indeed, it’ll be vital to ensure that managers throughout the organization are closely involved in designing new working models.

In terms of real estate, there may be a need to create flexible spaces that can be adapted to fit changing requirements, such as seasonal fluctuations or variations in the type of work being done. When people do come into the office, many will be looking for social interaction, so offices could be redesigned to provide space that allows people to meet and collaborate easily.

Finding the right formula
Clearly, there won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to post-pandemic working. Kearney is working with clients with very different priorities—one business is seeking to close one of its buildings in Paris to cut costs, while another is involved in a talent war and is focused on boosting employee satisfaction. A third client is based in a rural area, which has made it difficult to find good people. New ways of working can help overcome this challenge.

Still, almost all businesses have one thing in common: COVID-19 has opened minds by revealing how digital technologies can overcome many of the challenges related to remote working. The transformation in how, where, and when we work has just begun.

Beyond the pandemic, acute shifts in technology, demographics, the labor market, and the very nature of work itself could reshape the relationship between employers and employees. As remote working and virtual interactions become more accessible, location will matter less and less. Freed of this long-standing constraint, business leaders have a golden opportunity to shape working practices for the better. Now’s the time to act, to maintain your competitive edge.

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How Making Your Company Culture Can Be A Key Feature Of Your Talent Strategy

Every organization is bound by its employees. The efficiency of the organization is also determined by the efficiency of work laid down by them. There must be coherence and likeminded subject between the employers for the initiation of trust-based relationships. To strengthen the trust, there must be cultural-based collaboration in the organization to expose the talents of the participants or employees themselves. It is helpful for the workers to make their own decisions.

MBA students all over the world often have to complete and study their assignments based on the HR case studies. Moreover, these case studies are also used in real-time scenarios to support the theoretical concepts in interview aspects. The case studies have underlying importance in the MBA curriculum. The Business Case studies are used in theoretical and practical aspects such as in interviews and while conducting business. The business operations mentioned in the curriculum will have a calculated amount of work and research. It has to be done by students whenever they are assigned a new topic.
Now, the business case studies regarding HR handling and the reports are affluent and approached when it is used from a reading point of view. Imagine if the report and other studies were given as assignments, and the students were tricked into it by finishing the assignment. The students will have no other option than to complete the assignment. However, there are professionals at Expert Assignment Help to assist in the completion of assignments. The team of HR experts are here to assist students, and help reduce the burden by completing their assignments.

There are five key features in which an organization can be re-established and refreshed by implementing company culture. They are:

Every organization, to understand their employee’s behaviour, and to collaborate with the first needs to see-through its employees. The transparency character is meant to out-show everything to your accomplice. The nature of transparency is passed onto a task to gain the trust of the employees, which helps them understand their ideologies and problems. Moreover, nurturing your company culture is possible only if there is transparency among them. Apart from money, every employee looks to join a trusted organization, and trust can be earned if there is transparency within it.

In business studies, a 1subsequent amount of focus must also be laid on building leadership qualities. For effective leadership, a perfect leadership strategy must be followed to win the minds of the followers and the subordinates. With decision-making skills and strong determination, the business studies students have to decide for efficient functioning. Expert Assignment Help also provides information regarding leadership and how to become a great leader one day. Compelling leadership achieves shared objectives yet also causes individuals to associate with their enormous possibilities and empower them to get things done.

The employees in an organization are just like children who always look for praise. They are desperate to get motivated in their work. In a remote organization you can nurture your company’s culture by motivating your top employees and underperformers. Therefore, the top performers need to be praised in front of everyone and should be provided with rewards for their exemplary performance. As for the underperformers, they need to be given extra focus where the employer will coach them in private to perform well in the future. This is one of the benefits of making your company culture key to your talent strategy.

The field of management study is too long and has many departments to support it. And assignment services are thriving to help the students in all kinds of case studies and assist in the field of HR. The team helps with HR case studies by finding out the best possible studies within a short period. To equalize the time constraints, they provide a solution as soon as they find out through the research to safeguard the submission of the assignment before the deadline. They help with all kinds of categories including case studies on training, skill development, employee retention etc.

In every organization, the employees always look for recognition of their work. The reward program is not enough for them to escalate their life expectancy along with their financial package. There must be a fair screening system for remote employees to help them and to provide them with the necessary amenities to make them comfortable. It is also to recognize their importance in the company. The employees, apart from their rewards and recognition, can also be promoted for their project success, which helps improve your talent strategy using company culture. If there is a position for the promotion, that should be given to the employees based on the evaluation.

In cultural collaboration, the company key personnel play an important role in promoting the ultimate goal of leadership by their efficient functionality in the organization. They are the strongest advocates who always preach the right thing and motivate their employees to work efficiently so that there will be no problems. Moreover, they act as a leader by solving the company person’s requests and always make a bold decision to show their courage and determination for the company and the employees. This is why having perfect leadership is a great talent strategy for your company culture because there aren’t any disadvantages when having a good leader. By their exemplary act, the company key personnel and the authoritative heads remain as a source of inspiration for the employees.

The employees must have the habit of equal treatment for all of the staff irrespective of their position in the company. There must be equal access between the leader and the employer during the time of issues and work to help motivate remote employees as well. The efficient strategy to be implemented for the successful integration of a company’s cultural collaboration is by forming a team to carry out the work together. The teamwork and team strategy help break all kinds of chains in the managerial discrepancies.

The pandemic has forced institutions in many countries to switch on to the process of e-learning from traditional learning. The students are now attending classes in the field of a video platform. The assessment and evaluation methods have also gone into the hands of software entries. The assignments which are issued to the students are based on some paper evaluation, but the current situation has forced the assignment submission to be undertaken online. Platforms like Assignment Essay Help are here to assist students with their HR papers and essays on leadership.

Company Culture is now followed in many countries to reflect the employee’s true talents and to motivate them for higher work efficiency. The integrative collaboration helps in binding the employer and the employee to work as a team to achieve their goals.

Three Ways to Build Your Personal Brand from Home

There are dozens of ways to build your personal brand online and the first step is to find what works for you. Identify what you’d like to share with the world—is it your resume, portfolio of projects, presentation videos, original songs, writing samples, t-shirt designs, or blog posts on your passion? Then choose your platform that aligns with what you want to share.

The first and easiest platform to launch your personal brand is your LinkedIn profile. Simply start with a professional photo and resume. If you already have this step down, you could level up with a personal branded website or leverage platforms that already exist. Read on for three creative ways to build your brand on existing platforms and communicate your passion like a boss.

1. Pump up your IG

Let’s say you’re passionate about yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. You desire to work for a wellness organization. Consider curating an entire Instagram feed dedicated to this passion. For example, you could include a daily video of a new yoga pose, or feature an inspiring quote relating to mindfulness. You might read articles by experts and each week share what you’ve learned in a post and photo that reflects your learning.

Not sure where to get these images? Pull from your own life. Check out Unsplash for free-for-use photos. You can even design an image on a free tool like Canva—a tool I absolutely love for designing quote tiles to feature on my personal branded Instagram.

Your posts don’t have to be professional or perfect. As many personal brand experts will tell you, brands constantly evolve. Your personal brand will grow as your tastes evolve and as your industry changes.

It takes a lot of courage to put something out there, especially in the world of social media where some people receive thousands of likes and your fledgling account may not be super popular right away. When it comes to a professional career journey, everyone has to start somewhere. While it may be impressive to a yoga studio if your yoga Instagram page has a ton of followers, there are still plenty of studios that would be equally as interested in a passionate new teacher who is still creating their Insta page and keeps at it. At the end of the day, they will see your passion, and your passion shouldn’t be swayed by “likes.” Truly passionate people do what they love whether other people take notice or not.

Then imagine the impression you will make when you can share your Instagram page that demonstrates that passion. Fast forward to your interview for your dream career and your personal brand is your differentiator—especially if you’re competing for a job against someone with the exact same resume, strengths, and skill set.

2. Show off your videos

Let’s say your passion is music. You play an instrument and produce your own tracks. You’re interested in a career in music production and dream of working with stars like Beyoncé. At an event at the University of San Diego, I once had a student raise his hand and share this exact vision. I loved it—dream big! When it comes to building his personal brand, many great platforms already exist for the music industry—YouTube, Vimeo, even Facebook live.

Before you can start growing your platform, first things first, you need a video. You’ve chosen video as your medium because it doesn’t scare you, but it still takes guts to hit “record” that first time. After that, it gets easier.

For this first foray, keep it simple. Record yourself playing your instrument. Record a mix you made and set it to an image. Or record yourself talking about whatever it is that you are currently learning about in the music production world.

If you’re passionate about music technology or pro audio, you could take inspiration from a publication like CNET and make videos where you geek out over the latest technology. As you read articles and books about music production, share what you’ve learned in a video. Show us how you put your learning into action by creating your first track. Every day you’ll get better and your viewers will be along for the ride. Meanwhile, you’ll start to develop your personal brand.

Now that you’ve created your first video, spruce it up with a thumbnail image (the first image that shows up and the one you can pin on YouTube to show for promotional efforts). Keep in mind there are free tools available, such as the free tool Canva, where they already have the YouTube dimensions and example template designs to choose from. No professional design skills needed here.

You’ll be surprised by how impressed other people will be by your free designed template and iPhone-filmed one–minute video talking about a new pro audio tool you’ve tried out. The fact that you put in the effort to do this courageous yet small act sets you apart from everyone else who is too afraid to put their passion out into the universe.

3. Start podcasting stat

Did you know that 14 million new people have become podcast listeners in the last year?* It’s my favorite way to build your brand because it’s a fantastic excuse to make courageous connections with people you admire in your industry, by asking them for interviews. Another advantage is that you can repurpose the video interview for YouTube, the audio for a blog post, and pull your favorite quotes for your Instagram. You don’t need any tech experience to get started; just a smartphone.

I believe anyone can start a podcast. Like uploading your videos to YouTube, creating a podcast is free and open to all. Keep in mind that Apple Podcast does require a submission and approval process, but you can easily stream your podcast on Libsyn, Spotify, or other platforms that have little or no barrier to entry. Not to mention, there’s very little overhead cost to get started. You can get started with virtually zero tools other than your smartphone.

You can edit your podcast using iMovie, which is free on Apple iPads or computers, or you can leave your podcast unedited and just go with it!

I can’t tell you how many people I know who have told me they would love to start a podcast. Set yourself apart by making moves. I promise you, if you set aside the time, you can make a podcast. It does not require a diploma, expertise, or experience. It only requires passion to fuel your creation.

Similar to video, podcasts range in format. Consider which of the formats works best for your goals: Interview or Q&A, Conversational, Educational, Storytelling. The interview format makes for a great excuse to make courageous connections with thought leaders in your field. Start with one fifteen-minute podcast and share it with the world.

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Why Are You Still Working? Finding The Passion And Purpose That Fuels Your Career

This has been an extremely challenging year. My colleagues and I have spoken with many who feel disconnected and discouraged. They lament that their current work has begun to feel stale. Yes, social isolation has compounded that. Working from home, while it has some benefits, also has many challenges. The spark has dimmed for many people. How can that be remedied?

Work is an essential dimension in most people’s lives. It is where we spend most of our waking hours. If work loses its meaning, purpose, and excitement, then life itself is in danger of losing those elements as well.

This message is about making a fresh start in a position you have had for quite some time. It will invite you to take a new look at your job and what you might do to hit the “refresh” button in a manner that will produce positive results.

First, I acknowledge that being in the middle of a pandemic has many miserable elements. Chances are, you have your list. Many of your list factors are probably on mine as well, but yours is still somewhat unique to you. Some that we probably have in common are:

1. Work has been redefined. For most of us, it used to be that work was a place to which we commuted. In times past, only 16% of the workforce spent much of their workweek at home. Today, that number is close to 60%.

2. We’ve learned that work is outcomes that need to be produced. It isn’t a place we commute to, as it was in the past.

3. In decades past, many employees longed for greater autonomy and self-direction. Now, suddenly, employees are on their own. No supervisor is watching them. No one dictates their daily schedule. Like the freshman college student, they now have a great deal of freedom; but this came without warning or deliberate preparation.

4. Social isolation is hard for most people. While some thrive amid functioning alone, the number of people who voluntarily choose to be hermits is relatively small.

On the plus side, however, this pandemic has, for most people, brought some opportunity. For those no longer commuting, the best estimates are that you’ve been given the equivalent of 11 extra days in the year on average. If a significant portion of that time is devoted to your personal development, that is a meaningful gift and a valuable opportunity.

Where is the refresh button?

Each person needs to create their own mechanism for refreshing their job. Here are some thoughts about how you might go about that.

1. In times past, work was often defined by a set of minimum expectations or standards. For example, it could be claims processed, lines of code written, number of calls handled by a customer service specialist per hour, sales revenue produced — and other definable outcomes. For a “refresh” button, one opportunity is to think about the outer or upper limit for someone in your position, rather than the minimum. What could be possible?

2. How could I deliberately develop myself to move to the next level? This is a topic to which we have given some thought. The formula we would suggest has the acronym CPO. This stands for:

· Competence. What is my current skill level? What are my strengths? What do I do today at a “B” level that I could move to an “A” level?

· Passion. What elements of my job am I most excited and passionate about? Chances are there are some parts of your job that you do because they need to be done. Other features are genuinely exciting and appealing. These are activities in which you lose all sense of time. They seem more like play than work.

· Organizational need. Finally, as you take an “eagle’s eye” view of your job, there are some outcomes that the organization really needs you to produce. These are outcomes that would dramatically move the needle that describes the overall performance of your group. If you are not sure about what those elements are, a conversation with your boss might shed some light on that question.

It is the intersection of those three elements that creates the ideal opportunity. Find where they overlap, and you are likely to find the perfect development opportunity for yourself.

Personal reflections:

A personal note. I just turned 89 and I am frequently asked, “Why are you still working?” While I could make up a long list of specific reasons, I am convinced that there is something extremely fundamental about work that fulfills my basic motivations.

Philosophers, neuroscientists, social scientists, and popular business writers have largely come to the same conclusions about human motivation. It seems to boil down to the desire for autonomy, competence (mastery), relatedness, and purpose. We value activities that make us feel good as we attain them.

Paul Thagard, a philosopher and neuroscientist, argued that three activities or behaviors generally create positive feelings within most of us. They are love, work, and play. Work, for me, links to most of my human motivations.

· It feeds my desire for autonomy. (Undoubtedly, I have more of that now than I did 50 years ago and being the CEO of a company helps.) My daily work is a stream of interesting problems to solve or try to resolve. I’m pushed outside my comfort zone.

· It affords the opportunity and motivation to learn, which feeds my desire for mastery. While I do not think I’m as fast at doing some things as I used to be, I attempt to make up for that by being wiser.

· Having colleagues at work fills a basic human need for connections, relatedness and contact.

· Finally, work satisfies my need for purpose. Our firm is focused on helping people become better leaders, which I believe to be a noble cause.

In Dickens classic book, A Christmas Carol, Jacob Marley’s ghost visited Scrooge to warn him of the consequences of the path he was on. Scrooge reminds Marley that “he was a man of business,” to which Marley replies, “Business? Mankind was my business.” That sums up why I keep working.

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Fifteen Human Resources Goals Every Company Should Set For Q1 2021

A company’s culture directly impacts how they do business, but many managers forget to look inward when evaluating their businesses. As the calendar turns and gives us time to reflect on the past year, business leaders should meet with their HR departments to set new goals and expectations for their employees and themselves.

To help you and your HR department get ready for what lies ahead, we spoke with members of Forbes Human Resources Council about the best ways to plan for Q1. Here are 15 HR-related goals to think about setting in the new year.

1. Organizational Adaptability

It may sound counterintuitive to goal setting, but one big lesson from Covid-19 is that we need more adaptable organizations. Given this, I would challenge HR leaders to consider how they can build adjustable plans and strategies. Long-term tactical planning does not have the same value it once did. For instance, in my organization, we have moved from long-range planning to 90-day sprints. – Ciela Hartanov, Google

Every company is still going to be mired in varying stages of the remote work experiment. Therefore, a reasonable goal should be to maximize the ability of the organization’s technology to support the remote worker. That stretches from the HCM systems that take people from candidate to termination to those systems that make working productively from home a possibility. – Jeremy Ames, Workforce Insight

3. Reducing Attrition

Attrition goals are important right now. Despite a poor economy, attrition is high in certain industries. Employees feel less engaged, have time to interview for new jobs and are benefiting from flexible working arrangements. Goals that target attrition will also focus on company culture and wellbeing—equally important things! – Karla Reffold, Orpheus Cyber

4. Defining And Communicating Objectives And Key Results

It is essential to have clear OKRs across all levels of the organization. These should be communicated, clearly tied to performance and reviewed quarterly. – Olga Sanchez, GFR Services

5. Employee Wellness

People need to heal—mentally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. HR should play a major role in providing tools and techniques to ensure that health and wellness lead 2021 activities. – Tina R. Walker, California Community Foundation

6. Hybrid Workforce Management Preparation

As we prepare for the return of some employees to the office, companies must focus on change management as it relates to hybrid workforces. Remote work was an equalizer, but a hybrid workforce will present new challenges. Companies must think about how to reinstate onsite offerings while ensuring the experiences of those at home are equitable to those in the office. – Kristina Johnson, Okta

7. Performing A 2020 Retrospective

The first thing HR leaders and business leaders need to do is to perform a retrospective and see what people processes and tools worked well and what can be improved. This is an important exercise for an organization that is focused on effective innovation. – Srikant Chellappa, Engagedly | Mentoring Complete

Forbes Human Resources Council is an invitation-only organization for HR executives across all industries. Do I qualify?

8. Improving Employee Engagement And Connection

Companies should set a goal related to employee engagement and connection. This past year has been incredibly challenging for all employees and in 2021, we will likely still be in uncertain territory when it comes to a physical workplace. As such, it’s very important to ensure that HR is doing everything they can to engage their remote workforces and maintain connections in the digital ecosystem. – Jennifer Reimert, Workhuman

9. Understanding Employee Burnout

Every company should have a goal of understanding the degree of employee burnout that they are facing heading into Q1 of the new year. Given the personal and professional challenges that workers in every sector have faced in 2020, it’s not a matter of “if” your employees are feeling burned out. It is a matter of “to what extent” and “how can we support you.” – Pari Becker, Titan Machinery

10. Prioritizing Employee Mental Health

In 2021, HR should make it a goal to prioritize employees’ mental health. One in five American adults experiences some form of mental illness, and though it’s been a frequently avoided topic in the past, Covid-19 has brought it to the forefront. Employers should be sensitive to mental health issues in the workplace and consider providing employee counseling and manager training in the new year. – John Feldmann, Insperity

11. Tracking Your Business’s Carbon Footprint

Understand what your carbon footprint looks like. Setting a goal to calculate this metric will hold you accountable for identifying areas of focus and tracking how much impact your business has. Identifying this at the start of the year makes finding data that much easier. And with it, you will be better able to understand what this looks like, why it’s important and when you can take action. – Jessica Adams, Brad’s Deals

12. Creating A Historical Improvement Index On All Processes

While each HR team may have their own goals and create new projects, it is important to see it as a journey, even if there is a new way or system of doing things. This not only provides a context and purpose on why we changed something but also helps recognize when the new is not creating the impact needed—which sometimes is hard to see. – Hafiza Gujaran, AlixPartners

13. Including A ‘People’ Component In Each Strategic Goal

While planning for Q1 of the new year, ensure that there is a “people” component to any strategic goal. Preparing your people for the new strategy and developing them to take on the new challenge needs to be the most important “people” goal when preparing for the challenges and business focus in the new year. – Rajeswari Ramanan, United Health Services

14. Ensuring Each Employee Has A Great Manager

Companies expect a lot of employees, and employees should expect to be led and managed by someone skilled and trained to do it well. With the pace of change we are experiencing and all the uncertainty around us, companies should put a lot of focus on their leaders and give them the tools to be great. – Ben DeSpain, Velocity, a Managed Services Company

15. Reviewing Employee Perks

With so many more people working remotely, it’s especially important for companies to review employee perks for the upcoming year. Employees need benefits they can access from home and that cater to their mental health and wellness. HR personnel should do a deep dive in Q1 to find out what employees need to keep their morale and productivity at peak levels in 2021. – Laura Spawn, Virtual Vocations, Inc.


The Pandemic Is Bringing Out The Best In CHROs Today For A Better Tomorrow

During the last 10 months, I have been actively keeping in touch with many high-performing CHROs across the United States and Europe from a variety of sectors. And while the pandemic has produced a significant amount of hardships for businesses in general, the current Covid-19 landscape has presented human resources leaders with the opportunity to show their stuff, and in most cases, they’ve done that very well. In many companies, these important leaders are not just creating the systems to manage through a crisis and to take care of their employees, but also influencing their chief executive officers to be proactive and helping them understand the need for higher levels of empathy, communication, and transparency with the employees.

Companies quickly adjusted to having more meaningful virtual town halls and creative ways to communicate that dig deeper into the humanity of employees and demonstrate an understanding from leaders that may not have been evident beforehand. This is a journey that many HR leaders are helping their internal clients successfully navigate.

Now that we are starting to think about post-pandemic – timing TBD – the bar has been set to a higher level in some of those areas that CHROs need to think about. For instance, once leaders improve the quality of communications, as well as the frequency of communications, employees will naturally expect both to continue. HR pros need to ensure the C-Suite maintains this when we get back to “normal.” We cannot backslide to vague and infrequent interactions between leadership and employees. This will likely take some prodding and nudging of the CEOs to make sure that happens.

As the pandemic intensified, several companies were setting up crisis funds to help employees in need and I strongly recommend to clients, and any leaders reading this article, to continue setting aside money in the budget to assist workers that have a personal crisis. HR leaders are going to play a crucial role in persuading CEOs to keep on with this practice. There is a great deal of fatigue in the workforce at all levels. Best-in-class companies are revisiting their EAP plans to ensure they have the capabilities to manage through the mental, physical and economic impact of the last 10 months.

There is another crucial element that CHROs need to be thinking about: Talent Management. Tied into this are questions about what the company is going to look like coming out of the pandemic. Everything is going to change and there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. One thing HR people know for sure is the question of how to best collaborate between employees staying home and employees going to office need to be addressed almost immediately. But that is not the only change. HR leaders can help the company think about what will be needed to prepare and execute strategies for the changing consumer and customer.

To be sure, all of these unknowns can be unsettling, but at the same time, we are also presented with an exciting opportunity to create a future that requires a different type of talent. If you are not sure of the future, create it! That means, human capital and performance tomorrow will not be the same as it was yesterday.

We often talk about seeing around corners. Well, I think now we need to be able to see through walls, create the future, and then make sure that we have the talent that will then drive us forward and make companies successful in the future.

Do Professional Women Over 50 Have An Expiration Date? How Gendered Ageism Sabotages Women’s Careers

“Men age on TV with a sense of gravitas, and we as women have an expiration date,” Roma Torre, 61, stated after her departure as anchor on NY1. Torre, along with four of her female colleagues, recently settled an age and gender discrimination law suit against the New York cable network, Charter Communications. In the suit, Torre and her co-plaintiffs, Amanda Farinacci, Vivian Lee, Jeanine Ramirez and Kristen Shaughnessy, claimed that their anchor airtime had been reduced and they were excluded from promotional campaigns due to their gender and age.

Why is this not surprising? History has repeatedly demonstrated that women, especially those in the public eye, face the consequences of aging. As a result, actors like Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Cher, and scores of others, have felt compelled to alter or enhance their appearance. You may dismiss this as vanity, but that dismissal negates a much more important point. They need to look young and pretty to compete and stay marketable. Their career success and financial security depends on their appearance.

The impact of gendered ageism is not limited to celebrities. In our youth-tilted culture, professional women over 50 face gendered ageism every day. According to a 2018 AARP report, 64 percent of women say they’ve been the target of or witnessed age discrimination. It’s important to note that’s just a tip of the iceberg. It’s estimated that only 3 percent of older workers have ever made an official complaint. Many professional women are afraid to complain about ageist behavior for fear they’ll lose their jobs. And then what? It’s almost impossible to get rehired as a woman over 50.


This fear is justified. In a recent EEOC study, economists sent about 40,000 invented resumes to employers who’d advertised jobs, then analyzed which applicants got callbacks. “The callback rate declined with age. But the age factor proved even stronger for women.”

Researchers have come to the conclusion that aging is a gendered process and that women face grave challenges and discrimination during the aging process especially when it comes to financial and work-related matters. Professional women over 50 are keenly aware that they lose respect as they show visible signs of aging. Despite years of great performance, they are subjected to demeaning ageist remarks, often marginalized and pushed out the door before their male counterparts, who don’t feel the effects of this bias as early.

Let’s be clear. Roma Torre and her co-anchors were not pushed out because they weren’t good at their jobs. They were pushed out because they no longer looked 20. They were pushed out because in the eyes of TV executives who believe that high TV rankings depend on having anchors who are young and pretty, they have an expiration date.

The expiration date for women may be unconscious and unintentional, but it is a reality that professional women face as they age in the workforce. Women over 50 feel the pressure to hide their age as long as possible in hopes of hanging on to their jobs, acutely aware that their appearance can influence their career trajectory; acutely aware that they have an impending end date that is creeping up with every new wrinkle.

It’s vitally important for women to own the power of their age and lead with their talent and ambition. It’s vitally important that women over 50 believe in the value of their wisdom and experience and not retreat to the shadows of irrelevance. They need to stand up for themselves and demonstrate their continued contribution. They need to show up because they’re not done yet!

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