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What separates great leaders from average leaders? Is it years of experience, a degree from a top-notch university, or an impressive title?

It’s none of these things.

Lead from Within

Lead from Within

The difference between average and great leaders begins long before they assume the mantle of leadership. In fact, you can be a great leader even if you do not have a leadership title or position.

How is that possible? Because great leadership begins from within. It begins with who you are. Who you are when no one else is looking. Your core values and how you act on those values will distinguish you as a leader—every single time.

How do you know if you have what it takes to be a great leader? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What do you value most about yourself?
  • Do you go along with the crowd—even when you know in your heart that you should choose differently?
  • Do you consistently look out for the best interests of others?

Great leaders have these things in common: self-awareness, core values that guide their choices and actions, and giving to others what they have received. Great leaders are also intentional. They look within first and are focused on living with purpose and passion.

So, ask yourself: What one thing can I do today to be more intentional?

May you enjoy the blessings of increasing your awareness each day… and reaching out to help someone else do the same—just a sampling of the many blessings of leadership.

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me about leaders you admire—in your family, in your community, or at work. Use the comment section below or let’s start a conversation on Twitter! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to continue the conversation! Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD. And feel free to learn more about me and Jazz, Inc. by checking out my website: http://gloriaburgess.com/index.html. Have a fantastic week!

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You get a call from your dream company. “We’ve reviewed your resume and would like for you to come in to speak with the interview team.” Your heart races with excitement. You’ve made it through the first hurdle!

Then your happy buzz fades as the sobering reality sets in: You now face a second and more challenging hurdle—the Interview.

What should you wear? WHAT questions will they ask? How should you respond to their questions? What questions should YOU ask? Your Career

As you sit down to sort through the varying outcomes of each of these questions, you start making lists of “Shoulds” and “Shouldn’ts,” of “Dos” and “Don’ts.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were lists already made for you? Lists you could mold to fit your particular needs? Lists that serve as starting points in your preparation?

I want to see you land your dream job! To make your life a little easier, I’ve compiled several lists to help you as you enter the land of The Job Interview. In Part 1, we’ll explore the things you should and should not ask once you step into that room.  I hope these guides serve you well.

Questions you SHOULD ask during your interview:

  • Can you describe the position in more detail? Even better: do some research on your own and preface this or any other question with information you’ve discovered about the company. For example, “I see that your company is rapidly expanding… I’m curious if the position I’m applying for is new or is it an existing position?”
  • Can you describe a typical day for the person in this position?
  • Would you provide an example or two of the types of projects I’ll be working on?
  • Will I be primarily working with a team or on my own?
  • Can you describe your ideal employee for this position?
  • What’s your company’s 3- or 5-year plan, and how does the department I’m applying for fit into that plan?
  • How does your company show that it values its employees?
  • Does your company offer professional training and development?
  • When do you hope to fill this position?
  • If I were to start tomorrow, what would my top priority be?

 

Questions you should NEVER ask during your interview:

  • Do you pay overtime?
  • When will I be eligible for a raise?
  • How often does the company give raises?
  • Will you check my Facebook page?
  • Do you do background checks?
  • Do you pay overtime?
  • Will I be able to work from home?
  • How much sick, holiday, and vacation time is allocated? Actually, it’s OK to ask this question, but MUCH later in the process after the company has expressed interest in you.
  • Avoid questions that start with “Why,” because they put people on the defensive.
  • Do not ask questions that you can easily find information about on your own with a quick Google search.

Interested in learning even more interview tips and tricks? Follow me on Pinterest, particularly my board I’ve dedicated to helping you “Ace That Interview.” http://www.pinterest.com/drgloriab/ace-that-interview/

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Care to chat more? Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to continue the conversation! Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD. And feel free to learn more about me and Jazz! Inc. by checking out my website: http://gloriaburgess.com/index.html.

Until next time… keep on keepin’ on. And let me know what’s happening with you.

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This week’s blog comes from my good friend and colleague, Adriana Girdler. We welcome her contribution. Thank you, Adriana!

Data and Intuition…the Perfect Business Partners

Have you ever been presented with so much data, graphs, chart, and numbers that instead of things starting to make sense it starts to become confusing?  In fact, more questions start to arise, your reasoning becomes cloudy and you become paralyzed by the data and are struggling to figure out what to do next? Adriana Girdler

Whether you’re a senior executive or an accountant, a sales representative or lawyer, we all want to move forward in business. The ultimate goal is to move your organization, department or career from good to great. Making the wrong decision can debilitate an organization and/or career as much as making a right decision can catapult it to the next level. But in the information society we live in today, sometimes too much information stops us from making decisions and moving forward. So how do we get over this issue in the business world? Try following your intuition along with your intellect. John Naisbitt, who invented the concept of “Megatrends” in 1980 and has been the world’s best known observer and analyst of global trends for more than 30 years,  suggests intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data.
What Is Intuition?

Intuition has been called many things: gut feeling, instant knowing, inner voice, and instinctive knowledge. Simply put, intuition is the ability to KNOW – beyond data, reason and logic – the truth of any question or situation. It’s available to everyone, an invisible, powerful intelligence free for the taking. Have you ever disregarded a ‘feeling’ or ‘sensation’ and regretted your decision? “I should have followed my gut.” That’s your intuition. Logic and analysis only provide partial answers. Intuition is our most reliable compass on life’s journey and everyone has it so why not use it, especially in business.

Intuition, when used with data, can confirm business direction, product ideas, new hires etc. As we know, a business decision is as much an art (intuition) as it’s a science (market research). Knowing how to use the two together is what distinguishes the good businesses from the great.

How Can You Use Intuition in Business?

  • Fine-tune your vision and mission statement and confirm that you’re on the right path
    • Intuition will allow you to tap into your feelings and confirm what truly resonates with you so you are motivated and passionate about what you do. This is critical to move yourself or an organization forward.
  • Evaluate team dynamics and find the most beneficial way to bring everyone together
    • Use intuition to guide you to find the right solution in bringing a team together and getting them to work cohesively. You can feel when something is off or when people are not feeling part of the team, don’t ignore this but use your intuition to fix it and get your team back in performance mode.
  • Create success through insightful hiring decisions
    • Ever hire someone that looked great on paper but you knew something was off and this feeling was confirmed the first few days at work? Stop the unnecessary task of hiring the wrong people which impacts your business negatively. Trust you intuition when something doesn’t feel right.
  • Identify areas and/or departments that need specialized assistance to ensure organizational goals remain on track
    • Why is it we can ‘see’ the solution to everyone else’s problems/issues but not our own. Your intuition can guide you in ‘seeing’ the issues before you. You need to be open to listening to the clues that are presented to you every day.
  • Establish and/or confirm business plans (Sales, Marketing etc.) content and strategies that will allow you to obtain the vision for your organization
    • Use intuition to confirm your plans. When revisiting ideas and examining them in a different light (via intuitive techniques) you will receive greater insight, allowing you to change direction which gives you that winning business idea.

When the top business leaders are asked what makes them successful, of course they answer the expected response, “hard work, great team, amazing idea, passion, long hours, but they also say they followed their intuition.  Something inside them was guiding them and they choose to listen to it. So if you don’t believe me that intuition is your best business ally, then maybe you will listen to the words of Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder:

I began to realize that an intuitive understanding and consciousness was more significant than abstract thinking and intellectual logical analysis. Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.

Stop relying on just one way to look at things. Using just the intellect in business will only get you so far. Combine and use the power of intuition along with intellect. This is key to moving your ideas, decisions and organization to the next level.

About Adriana Girdler

Adriana Girdler is the President of CornerStone Dynamics Inc and an expert in business efficiency, helping leading corporations streamline internal processes to work smarter and improve productivity. Learn more about Adriana Girdler at: http://www.cornerstonedynamics.com/adriana-girdler/

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I want to see you land your dream job!

To make your life a little easier, I’ve compiled several lists to help you as you enter the land of The Job Interview. In Part I, we’ll explore tips to make your cover letter stand out from the rest. I hope these guides serve you well.

 Write an Effective Cover Letter

Think of your cover letter like a business card—it makes a first impression. It should pique a prospective employer’s interest in you. Be sure to highlight your skills and experience into the context of the position for which you’re applying. Another way to think of your cover letter is like a movie trailer. It provides a preview of coming attractions, so to speak, without revealing everything. Just enough to make you want to buy that ticket, right? Success or Failure

Tip #1: Keep It Brief

Your cover letter demonstrates that you are an effective communicator. Instead of elaborating what is already listed in your resume, highlight a few key points that will make a recruiter or hiring manager want to learn more about you. Write a brief introduction, then jump right into what you have to offer and why you should be hired for this position. Aim for three well-written paragraphs.

Tip #2: Keep It Relevant

In highlighting what you have to offer, focus on three key factors: what got you into this field, the accomplishments that exemplify why you are the best candidate, and why you are an excellent fit for their organization. Be sure to include a couple of sentences on what strikes you about their specific company.

Tip #3: Personalize

Make sure your cover letter speaks directly to the position for which you are applying. This means that you must write a new cover letter for each position for which you apply. An employer can spot a generic cover letter, so don’t do it or you will risk having your letter and resume tossed into the trash—the infamous File 13! Do not address your letter to “Whom It May Concern.” Do a little digging. A quick web search should surface the name of the person to send your cover letter to. If not–pick up the phone and call. Your prospective employer will appreciate your attention to detail.

Tip #4: Close Effectively

Be confident and assertive. Close your letter with something like this: “After you have reviewed my resume, please contact me to schedule an interview,” or, “I am excited about the prospect of working for you and would be pleased to discuss this opportunity at your earliest convenience. I will call next week to follow up with you.”

Closing comments, such as “I hope you enjoy my resume,” or “If you feel that I am a good fit, let me know” are weak. They don’t resonate with confidence. You know you’re a good fit, so SHOW it with a strong finish!

 Tip #5: Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

I cannot stress the importance of proofreading. Proofreading will ensure that your tone is appropriate. It will also ensure that you’ve touched on key aspects of your background and experience as they relate to the job position. Finally, proofreading will ensure that you catch silly grammatical errors and typos. After you’re satisfied with your letter, ask someone else to review it. Why? Because another person will often find things that you overlooked, such as missing words. Yes, missing words. When we proof our own work, we unconsciously “fill in” words as we read, because we know what we intended to write.

*  *  *  *  *

I hope these tips put you one step closer to landing your dream career. Do you have any tips you’d like to share, or would you like to keep talking about this topic? If so, please send me a note, using my comment section below or follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD

And stay tuned for Part II in the series. Now that you have a killer cover letter, will your resume match your expectations? I’ll help you make sure it does with my resume tips! Until then:  Walk worthy my friends!

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Leadership is difficult.

Contrary to popular belief, leaders aren’t born. They are made. You grow into leadership through the choices you make.

We stand in awe of leaders who can make tough decisions on a dime, especially when they say, “I just went with my ‘gut feeling’ on the matter.” What these leaders don’t say is that their gut feeling is honed through years of experience, learning through their personal and professional trials and challenges as well as through others’.

That gut instinct is also honed through doing a few critical things every day. Things that over time become automatic, such as their ability to lead effortlessly under pressure. These learned characteristics mold leaders, transforming them from good to great, and they are characteristics that anyone anywhere can incorporate into their daily lives. Leaders Exude Positivity

They Exude Positivity and Energy

In any organization, there will be snags along the road to success. A great leader doesn’t allow those bumps in the road to disrupt positive momentum. The workplace they create is uplifting and inspiring, and they constantly seek new ways to generate positive attitudes among team members. Each morning, they set the tone for the rest of the day. Whether it’s simply saying good morning to everyone and asking if anyone needs any guidance on their work or if it’s organizing the occasional “company offsite” to boost camaraderie on their team, a great leader never lets the opportunity to lift the team spirits slip through their fingers.

They Speak Up

Great leaders are aware that if they wait for the perfect moment to bring up a concern, voice an opinion, or act decisively that moment may never come. They aren’t afraid to make themselves uncomfortable for the greater good. If they have a concern, they’ll surface it in order to rectify a situation before it snowballs into something bigger and, possibly, worse for themselves, their team, and their organization. Typically, they’re the first ones to say out loud what everyone else at the table is already thinking. What’s the difference between them and you? They took the chance to speak up.

They Communicate Their Expectations

Do mind readers exist? Great leaders don’t think so. They recognize the need to properly translate their vision and expectations to their team members so that their expectations will come to fruition. They keep an “open door,” encouraging team members to communicate directly with them and among themselves. After all, everyone needs to be on the same page if they’re all in the same organization working towards the same goals. Great leaders constantly remind their team of the standards they’ve set, making it easy for them to identify high-performers and those who are not.

What are some things YOU’VE seen great leaders do consistently? I’d love to hear from you. Tell me in the comment section below or let’s start a conversation on Twitter! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to continue the conversation! Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD. And feel free to learn more about me and Jazz, Inc. by checking out my website: http://gloriaburgess.com/index.html. Have an uplifting week!

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A Fortune 500 company, a small business, a start up, a volunteer association. No matter the size, there is something every successful organization has in common: Leadership.

Being a Better Leader

Being a Better Leader

But what separates a good leader from a poor one? Is it enough to have the title? You know as well as I do that the answer will always be, “Of course not!” Although every successful organization begins and ends with leadership, every organization does not necessarily require the same type of leadership. As an evolving leader, you should continually be aware of how your communication, direction, and attitudes impact those around you, and hone your approach to suit their needs.

To assist you as you navigate the path to becoming a better leader, I suggest the following:

Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of “Better”

As a leader, you certainly want your daily operations to run continuously without a hitch. But you know there will always be a few speed bumps along the way. How you handle a negative situation affects the way your team members react to you, and it also says a lot about your leadership skills.

So what to do? Always identify the positives of a situation first. Then discuss what could be improved. By focusing on what went well, those around you are more likely to react positively. And when a person’s mind isn’t clouded by things that did not go well, the more easily they can strategize about how to solve a problem. Try this tip: Before bringing up an issue you have with a team member, identify two or three things they did right in the situation. Start the conversation by singing their praises!

Be Authentic

Leaders are attuned to their inner selves. Being conscious of your strengths and weaknesses is an important part of leadership and your authenticity. Self-awareness is a powerful attribute, especially when you’re confident enough to acknowledge what you don’t know and you work diligently to find the answer! After all, we’re only human. Those around you will find comfort knowing that you are not so different from them. Try this tip: At your next group meeting, express how your employees or volunteers can help you achieve a common goal. List some of the qualities they have that you lack, highlighting how they add value to your team.

Identify Your Successors

As difficult as it is to give up control, there is no way for your organization to reach new heights without a cadre of leaders who will succeed you. In fact, identifying these leaders is key to your success! Why not identify them early on? You’ll relieve some of the pressure from yourself while strengthening your employees’ connection to the organization. Be a confident leader and show that you can put your trust in others without having to hover over their every move. Try this tip: On your next big project, delegate significant responsibility to an emerging leader. Let them take the reigns and let them know they have your support. Then find an opportunity to praise their efforts publicly.

What steps have you taken as a leader or seen other leaders take to improve the culture of their organization? Tell me about it in the comment section below. And as always—have a blessed week!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Care to chat more? Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to continue the conversation! Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriaburgess Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drgloriaburgessPhD. And feel free to learn more about me and Jazz, Inc. by checking out my website: http://gloriaburgess.com/index.html.

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To Celebrate Life, Love, Moms, Motherhood, & Valentine’s Day

Letter to My Mom, Mildred Blackmon McEwen

Give her roses while she can still enjoy them. ~ Earnest McEwen, Jr. (my father)

Dear Mama ~

It isn’t your birthday or Mother’s Day. Christmas is over. Epiphany, too. It’s the beginning of a glorious New Year… and I’m writing this letter to honor you. I want to thank you for the singular blessing you’ve poured and continue to pour into my life: you!

You are that blessing. Your life is a poem, a mighty spiritual, a testimony of gratitude, faith, and love. And this letter is a celebration of you.

Your road has been long; your journey has not been easy. Bigotry and prejudice fortified you, teaching you how to love even more deeply and how to see not just with your anatomical eyes, but also to see with the eyes of your heart. Greatest of all, you relied on God’s love and strength rather than your own. In this you gave me the gift of faith and unconditional love for myself and others.

You also gave me what my sister-friend and fellow poet Nikky Finney would say is the gift of being “a woman with keys.” A woman with keys moves in a particular way and she has a responsibility, an obligation to help others find theirs, help them move through their rooms, cross their thresholds, unlock their windows and doors on the journey to claim their promise.

I remember as a little girl, you gave me the precious gift of encouragement. When you said over and again, “Be all that God intended you to be—no matter what, come what may.” I now offer that gift back to my daughter, other family members, my students, clients, and friends.

I remember your humility and sacrifice. For many long years you and Daddy toiled and sacrificed so that my sisters and I could have a better life than the ones you’d known. I remember your and Dad’s Mississippi stories of struggle and strife, of Dad’s deep longing to go to college to better himself and improve our lot, of him working as a janitor at Ole Miss and there, by the grace of God, William Faulkner came into his life and paid for Dad to attend Alcorn A&M College, with no strings attached. I remember you working as a teacher and cook in the nursery school to help make ends meet, Dad’s working at low-paying jobs even with his college degree. I remember you both standing on your rock-solid values of hard work, gratitude, faith, love, and integrity.

I also remember the profound lessons you taught me—to lend others a helping hand, to be of service to others… your constant reminders to do something with my time, to make myself useful. Even if I was already occupied doing something! Today your words echo in my soul as the voice of legacy. Early on, you taught me, Doris, Annie, Debbie, and Vera that you make a living by what you choose as your work, and you make a life by what you do for others.

I remember when I asked what compelled you to go along with Daddy’s “impossible” dreams, you said, “I loved your father and I believed in him. More importantly, we had an abiding faith in Almighty God, and He never gave us more than we could handle, and His grace always saw us through.” Even when you didn’t have any idea of how our family would make it, your love and faith sustained you.

Thank you for giving me a legacy that values education, character, as well as loving, lifting up, and helping others with no strings attached. Thank you for painting on the canvas of eternity with your unshakable belief in the nobility of the human spirit, for painting with a palette imbued with the qualities of humility, faith, love, triumph, and the capacity to treat every human being with dignity and respect. Through you, I have a small glimpse of God’s magnificence, devotion, and triumph.

Because of you, I know—deep in my bones—a few things: if you want change, you must stir the waters and be willing to get out of the boat. If you want change, then you have to invest your heart and soul in the generations to come. I also know that each person must live the legacy that God has intended just for him or her, which means that you can’t hide your light under a bushel. You have to dare to wear your soul on the outside, and keep on keeping on—no matter what, and we have to pass it on by building sturdy bridges for others to cross.

Mother, thank you for being a diva in my life, for not merely talking about blessings… but for being the blessing, and for passing it on!

Love and honor, your daughter Gloria

Pass It On!

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