April 2016 - In This Issue:
We are thrilled to welcome our newest associate,  Kerry Sokol. Kerry brings extensive administrative and client relations experience to her position at Jeanne Reaves Consulting. 
Q&A:  Leadership
Q:  I am applying for a leadership role for a different company, and I have been told they are going to ask about my leadership skills. What are some questions I should be prepared to answer?

- Terry, Manufacturing Industry
A: Companies want to hire the best of the best, and get the right people on the bus. Your interviewer is tasked with confirming details about your background and applicable skills for the position. In other words, do you have what it takes to help lead their company into the future? 

In most job interviews, you will be competing against other qualified candidates, maybe even an internal candidate. In a competitive job market, it is essential to be more than qualified. You want to show the company you are a true leader and influencer.

Here are some questions you might be asked:

What would you say are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader?  Think of integrity, and how demonstrating honesty and trust in your actions help establish your credibility as a leader. Additionally, you can demonstrate how this creates an appreciation for every position on the team.

How have you gained a commitment from your team?    
You might have experienced team commitment by influencing and persuading them to set specific objectives as a team, and thinking collectively as a team versus competitive individual actions.

What is the difference between a leader and a manager?  A manager will work with staff to complete tasks and ensures others do their jobs. A leader; however, knows how to inspire and motivate their team to achieve their goals.

How often do you meet with your team?  Meeting with your team at least once a week on a set day and time is important. Communication among a team is critical, as this will give the team an opportunity to get together on a regular basis and talk about their challenges and best practices. Also, when the team reaches a milestone, receives a new project, or when there is a challenging situation, it is important to bring the team together. Everyone will hear the same message, and you can celebrate successes or come together in challenging times.

What sort of leader would your team say that you are? You may be the type that ensures you have the right amount of positive and constructive feedback to help the team perform effectively.

What is a difficult part of being a leader?  Although you are part of a group, you are also alone. It is a leader's responsibility to see the end goal and vision for the organization, and to lead others towards the goals desired. When one or more members of the team do not see it the same way, you have to be the lone voice to bring them together and work towards the common goal.

How important is verbal communication for a leader?  Effective communication is imperative, both in and out of the office. Great leaders make sure they are heard and understood, but they also know it's important to listen. Listening is the most important part of communication. To be an effective leader, you need to listen to what those around you are saying, and then make a decision on what you have heard. You listen, decode what is said, respond and then the person with whom you are speaking decodes to their understanding. Occasionally repeat what they have said to make sure you understand their point of view.

Do you feel emotion plays a part in leadership?  Although we are advised to keep emotions separate from business matters, business is about relationships between people. To create these relationships and retain them, you need to be emotionally intelligent and sensitive to different points of view and backgrounds. 

Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?  Knowing yourself makes it easier to know others. How can you do this effectively? Take a profile from a leadership coach so that you are aware of the things you do well, and the things you want to be aware of so you can improve upon your shortcomings in the future.

What is the best way to get cooperation from a team? It' s important that the team understands expectations and to give constructive criticism when results are less than expected. But it is also important to know when to say thank you for a job well done.

What does the word empower mean to you?  The more authority you give to your team, the more they take ownership. Coaching to ensure everyone on the team understands their job and wants to assist in taking on new tasks assigned, will help strengthen the team overall. It is also critical that team members receive on-going training to further hone their skills. 

When might you fire someone? 
It is a task to take the time to hire the right person for the right job. It is important to use personality testing to verify strengths and weaknesses. Leaders are looking for other leaders to help accomplish the goals set for the organization, help move the vision forward and have a personality that will get along with other team members. When the person is not meeting expectations, or cannot get along with the team, remove them quickly. Take your time to hire the right person, but release them when or if they continue not to meet expectations.
There are many more questions that you may be asked, but remember if you want to be a leader then you must lead the way both in words and actions. 
A company's success or failure is through the steps outlined by author Patrick Lencioni, in the Five Dysfunctions of a TeamThis book is a tremendous resource for those in a leadership role. My last few thoughts? Remember to have trust in one another, engage in healthy conflict, make decisions and commit to them, be accountable to your team's standards and be results oriented.

Need a helpful resource? Let Jeanne Reaves Consulting assist you with personality testing, leadership coaching and team training.

Professional Tips When Starting A New Job

Not too long ago I read a Forbes article, which truly outlined my feelings on the topic of starting a new job, and how to successfully navigate that transition. Whether you are starting a new job as a supervisor, manager or executive, all three essentially share the same levels of optimism and concern.
Optimism is high when starting a new job. In front of you is pure potential, with excitement about things said in the interview process still ringing in your ears.
The first few days can be an exhilarating rush of excitement and engagement, but also disorientation. Changing jobs is ranked among the highest stressors in a person's life. Forward-thinking companies are going to great lengths during the onboarding process to make those early days on the job comfortable, dynamic and even fun. The idea is to give new hires a strong first impression of the organization, inspiring loyalty and passion from the start.
During the first few weeks, both the new hire and the company are assessing one another. Many people choose to leave a new job after only a few months, and employers generally know even sooner whether their candidate will live up to their expectations. The adage, "hire slow and fire fast", is a well-worn piece of management advice.
For new employees in a management position, it can be extremely overwhelming to step into a new job with a team to corral, and expectations for immediate delivery. New leaders are often brought in to affect change, and all eyes are on them to see if they can handle the challenge.
Michael Watkins, author of the preeminent guide,  The First 90 Days, calls the first three months in a new job the time most "fraught with peril and loaded with opportunity". His wisdom and research, have helped many masterfully onboard into new positions. Consider the following advice inspired by Watkins to help you make a successful transition.
Tip 1: Go in Ready to Learn
You may be going into a position driven to do something, but first spend time educating yourself so you can understand the organization's culture. If you have a few weeks before starting your new job, use it wisely. Read up on the company, and if appropriate, invite your future colleagues to lunch. Learn the names of key influencers and direct reports, and what their areas of focus are.  Ask others on the outside that know the company - such as consultants or business partners - for their perspectives.
Then, spend your first week on the job as if you were a journalist conducting interviews; asking more and telling less. Watkins suggests that failing to understand the culture is a major risk factor for early derailment. You need to get a feel for your new company's unique political currents, so that you'll fit into the system and know how to use it to your advantage.
Tip 2: Understand the Strategy Behind your Efforts
If you'll be leading a team, or even an entire organization, you have to recognize early on how to approach the challenges you'll be facing. Watkins categorizes businesses into four main types: startup, turnaround, realignment and sustaining success. Each type has unique issues and demands different strategies. 
As Watkins describes, "In a startup, the new leader is charged with assembling the capabilities (people, funding and technology) to get a new business, product or project off the ground. In a turnaround, the new leader takes on a unit or group that is recognized to be in trouble and works to get it back on track. In realignment, the challenge is to revitalize a unit, product, process, or project that is drifting into trouble. In a sustaining success situation, the new leader is shouldering responsibility for preserving the vitality of a successful organization and taking it to the next level."
Whether you use Watkins' classifications or your own, the important thing to remember is that not all organizations have the same problems, or the same solutions to those problems. What worked at your last company may not be suitable in your new one. Meet the organization where it is, and only then can you move forward successfully.
Tip 3: Get Early Wins
Watkins talks extensively about the need to secure early achievements. Those first impressions matter and are highly visible. Early wins get you the political capital you'll need to further your future goals. Consider it like perception bias - if you're viewed favorably early, then the rose-colored glasses come out and you can enjoy a honeymoon period.
However, not all early wins are equal. Watkins suggests narrowly focusing on what is achievable, and to be mindful not to spread yourself too thin. He warns to take the culture into careful account so you don't appear to be pushing through your priorities at the expense of others. And finally, he advises to select wins that matter to your boss and the CEO. After all, it's the CEO's job to communicate with their board chair (if there is a board in place). It's one thing to pick your own pet projects, and an entirely different strategy to hit the issues your boss or board cares about. When you do the latter, you build credibility and show that you get the bigger picture.
Tip 4: Build a Network of Trusted Colleagues
One of the most difficult aspects of being new is that you lack contest, and don't yet have the feedback channels to provide guidance. No matter your level of position, you need others who can give you the straight scoop. So start working on developing your network of trusted sources immediately, or even before you start.
When you're new at a job you can tend to play your cards close to the vest. Get in front of others and start forming relationships. Look for ways to extend offers or favors to others. While strong relationships are helpful to understand the culture and get your job done, they also increase your satisfaction.
The early months can sometimes be tough, and a social network can alleviate the stress. According to a Randstad survey, 67% of employees report that having friends at work makes their job more fun and enjoyable, and 55% feel that these relationships make their job more worthwhile and satisfying.
It is; however, critically important to understand and practice work friendship vs. social friendship when working together.

Notable Nonprofits
Supporting Sacramento's Nonprofits is important to us.

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Sacramento and Northern California provides children and adults with developmental disabilities the tools and support to live a life without limits. UCP works with 4,775 people a month in our eight-county area, empowering children and adults who - without support - would be isolated from the community. Through UCP programs and services, children and adults with all types of developmental disabilities are provided the opportunity to grow, build confidence, thrive and feel included.

We hope you'll consider joining UCP in honoring Henry Wirz on May 12, as the 2016 Humanitarian of the Year. Sponsorships at this annual award dinner makes it possible for UCP to continue improving the lives of people with disabilities in our community.
We would invite you to learn more about UCP and their impact in the Sacramento community by visiting: http://www.ucpsacto.org .

To learn more about Jeanne Reaves Consulting's community involvement and how we support nonprofit organizations, visit our website.

Jeanne Reaves

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