We all know people who are brilliant but always seem to struggle at work. When it comes to educational qualification or subject matter knowledge, they excel almost effortlessly, but when it comes to taking up managerial or leadership roles they falter.
The truth is that your educational qualifications will only take you up to a certain level. Beyond that, you will need an arsenal of social and interpersonal skills to succeed. Basically, you need an engaging, confident and open personality!
What defines a personality? The American Psychological Association defines it as “Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.”
Over the last few decades, accurate measures have been developed to help us understand and analyse our personality traits and to change or improve them.
Here are some quick tips that you can start implementing from today to change the way you think and act.
Humans are not wired to live in isolation; it doesn’t matter if you are an extrovert or an introvert – we all need company. Personality is all about interpersonal skills and meeting and engaging with diverse groups of people will improve the entire spectrum of your social skills. So next time some acquaintances invite you to drop in don’t just blow it off – say yes and fix a date.
How you look has a lot to do with how you feel. It is the physical manifestation of your inner feelings. Which is why when we feel sad or depressed we tend to stay in our pyjamas all day! Start paying more attention to what you wear and how you take care of your body. When you put in the time to look good, you signal to yourself that you value yourself.
No one likes a wet blanket! Stop being a naysayer and start looking for positive options when confronted with a problem. It is not possible to become optimistic overnight but making the effort to always look on the bright side will eventually change ingrained mindsets.
Self-care is all about taking care of your body, soul, and mind. It’s not just about staying healthy; you also have to make sure that you keep yourself happy and satisfied by taking out time to do things that you enjoy. When we neglect taking care of ourselves holistically, it shows in many ways - sometimes physically and sometimes in our interactions.
Good communication skills are the foundation of all interpersonal relationships. While for many it seems that being able to communicate means articulating your thoughts clearly, in reality, communication is far more complex. To bring positive changes to your personality you need to communicate well, and the first step to that is active listening -this means that you are actually paying attention to what is being said to you and understanding it well.
Listening to someone and responding appropriately shows them that you care, that you are paying attention.
A large part of our communication happens through non-verbal means. It’s important that you become conscious of what your body language is projecting to others. A closed and hunched body posture indicates timidity or anxiety. Adopt a more expansive body language so that you project, and also feel more confident. When we are feeling powerful, we tend to expand and take up more space. Do the same when you are feeling a little nervous and see how much better you feel.
Happiness and positivity rub off on people – no one wants to be around someone angry, sad or negative all the time! Choose to be happy, smile often, talk politely, stay calm and try to see the bright side of every situation. When you consistently choose to turn your back on negative emotions, you will, with time, rewire your brain and behaviour pattern to stay on a positive path.
We often hear - I am who I am; I was born this way, or I am naturally shy. Of course, your nature, experiences, upbringing, and circumstances have made you the person you are today. But there is no reason you have to stay like that. Personality traits CAN be changed.
What we shared above are some things you can change slowly in your life, but if you need more help or a more structured approach then undertaking a personality development course is also a great way to bring about positive change.
If you want a tried and tested personal development approach, then its best to get some professional help. With thousands of hours of coaching and training sessions under our belt, we know how to help you become more positive and confident. Click on the Request Consultation button above.
I don’t know of a single person who gets up in the morning excited about making their resume! After all, it’s not an act that comes naturally, so we all tend to put it off till the last minute, and then most of us either end up rushing through it or worse send old, badly written versions.
This is terrible because a resume is the first thing the recruiter sees and without an impressive one you don’t even stand a chance to be considered for the job! So tie yourself to your chair, follow our tips and fix your resume once and for all – believe us, it will be worth it!
First off let’s clarify one point – What is the goal of a resume?
A resume has just one goal – to get the recruiter to speak with you! It is an advertisement for YOU. Its job is to sell YOUR capabilities to the recruiter.
You might wonder why we would start with something as mundane as formatting, but the fact is that most hiring managers just look at a CV for a few seconds (surveys say it’s less than 10 secs!). If your resume is nicely formatted, they will catch the main points quickly and are more likely to shortlist you.
So, you need to start with a bang which basically means that the main accomplishments or major skills should come right at the beginning.
You can choose from 3 main types of formats:
Reverse – Chronological – This is the most popular and is best if you have a linear and largely unbroken career progression.
Functional – This focuses more on your skills and is more useful if you want to shift career industry or profile or have large gaps in your employment history.
Combination – This uses a bit of both the other formats – it starts off by focusing on your main skills/qualifications but then also gives your work experience in a chronological format.
No matter what format you choose – your name and contact details come at the top and the name should be large and placed prominently.
It's not surprising that most hiring managers never go beyond the career summary, but what’s unfortunately really surprising is that most summaries are badly written and very dense. This is not a place to ask for what you want or to talk about your future aspirations or to fill up with important sounding jargon – it’s a short space that should advertise your experience in the best possible manner! It’s a tool to show recruiters the value you bring to their organisation.
A career objective/ summary/ profile should have just 3 main things – who you are, your accomplishments and your skills.
This is the meat of your resume. But here again, formatting plays a role. Remember managers are still scanning the document quickly – from reading your career summary, they have a sense of who you are, but now they want to quickly see where you have worked and how your career has progressed.
So, here you need to highlight the name of the company (add a one-line description of the company here as sometimes – unless it’s a very well known brand - recruiters might not be familiar with the organisation and what it does), your position and the duration of your time there.
Your specific responsibilities and highlights of your job come under that. When something catches their eye, they might go back and read in more detail, but your main goal should be to present your career progression clearly.
Similar to your work experience, this should also be in the reverse chronological order, with your college degrees coming on top and school at the bottom. List the name of the institution, its location, your degree or what you studied and the date of graduation.
This is a great place to showcase your personality or other skills/interests that might not fit into work sections such as volunteer activities, mentorship programmes, etc. I would recommend that you avoid simply stating your hobbies such as singing, reading or music and only include them if you have a specific achievement in the area – for example if you have completed your bachelor’s degree in dance or you play the violin as part of an orchestra.
At the end of the day, you have to step into the shoes of the hiring manager – they can’t see you or interact with you. All they have is a piece of paper, and your aim is to design a CV that makes them feel positive when they read it.
Searching for a job and preparing for interviews can be stressful – especially If you are just starting your career. Why not get some professional help? Click on the Request Consultation button above.
Key Takeaways of a Workshop on Personal Branding for Women by Soaring Eagles
We recently conducted an immersive workshop with a select group of women executives on the topic of Personal Branding for Women. The workshop was led by our CEO, Sonali Sinha.
Women, across companies and industries, thrashing through intense personal and professional issues resulted in a very productive 4-hour session! We discussed some unique challenges women professionals face and how they can overcome some of these through cultivating and projecting a strong personal brand.
After a fun icebreaker, Sonali introduced the concept of Personal Branding and the myths about it. Unlike what most people misunderstand it for in terms of external appearance and how one speaks and carries herself, Sonali clarified that real personal branding starts from inside. She highlighted the fact that as one moves up the corporate ladder, it becomes more and more important to be visible and be seen as a capable leader.
“Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.” – David McNally and Karl Speak, authors of ‘Be Your Own Brand’
For all professionals – and most especially for women – it is critical to start projecting themselves in a specific, well thought out manner. As careers advance beyond middle management, the challenges of the work are compounded by the cutthroat competition to advance up the ladder. This is when your personal brand could be the differentiator that keeps you moving up.
The workshop covered the 4 main aspects of building a personal brand – self-concept, communication style, visibility and networking.
Self-concept is our knowledge about ourselves, including our beliefs about our personality traits, physical characteristics, abilities, values, goals, and roles. As we grow up our self-concept becomes more abstract and complex.
Our self-concept very strongly affects the way that we process information relating to ourselves. The participants went through an assessment and came to understand their own self-concepts and how it is impacting their behaviour and choices. This whole exercise actually set the mood for the workshop and made the participants think deeply about themselves.
The discussion then turned to self-talk and core beliefs. Our core beliefs are the very essence of how we see ourselves, how we see others, the world and the future. These are rules that we take as a given. They colour our way of thinking in any given situation. If we believe that the world is not fair, we will look for signs that confirm this belief and we will question everyone’s agendas and actions. Similarly, if we believe that we are not smart (because we have been constantly told so), then we will not even try to make an effort to do better.
The discussion on the core beliefs gave immense insights to participants when they shared how being a perfectionist is taking a toll on them. Delegating work to others is hindered by their own ‘Must’ and ‘Should.’ One of the participants also shared her experience of when she was micromanaging a family picnic to the point that after the outing she was totally exhausted.
The participants also realised how their core beliefs were shaped during their childhood and how important it is as a parent to be careful about what messages we give our children all the time. Someone who is constantly held up to a higher standard of performance may actually develop a belief that they are not good enough in any situation. This can be debilitating, especially in the work environment.
The discussion then veered to the fact that a lot of women do not aspire for leadership roles as their belief is that a leader needs to authoritative and aggressive and that they do not want to be that kind of a person. Sonali highlighted that the traits of successful leaders in the current age are very different from this age-old image of a dominating and aggressive leader. She urged the women to take on leadership roles as they have the capability to thrive in such roles.
Our communication style also plays a huge role in how people perceive us. This point was driven through roles plays. Given our socialisation, women tend to be more passive or passive-aggressive. Sonali underlined the need to be assertive, especially in the work environment and while dealing with demanding and aggressive colleagues.
Women tend to feel embarrassed to say NO in many situations because of their conditioning. This self-effacing behaviour is especially obvious when personal issues crop up. They frequently feel – and are told so by colleagues and bosses – that the right to prioritise a personal life is not something career women have. This makes them feel very guilty and pressurised.
Participants were asked to reflect and identify which areas in their lives they needed to be more assertive in. They then discussed their rights and correlated them with the situations in which they need to be more assertive. Participants share that this is one area where they really need to improve as not being assertive can take a big toll on their health and personal life.
Sonali highlighted that to get ahead in the workplace, you have to be seen. Being visible at work allows employees to demonstrate their skills, land prominent assignments, and build strategic relationships.
Studies have shown that women’s contributions are systematically overlooked at work, especially if they are not visible and assertive. This limits their professional advancement and explains why the senior levels of organizations remain overwhelmingly male-dominated. Yet when women try to make themselves more visible, they tend to face backlash for violating expectations about how women should behave. This fear of backlash leads women to believe that if they try to be more visible they may even risk losing their hard-won career gains.
Many women shared how they struggle in their own organisation; they routinely deal with comments on their leaving on time, not being available late at night or for extra projects. They constantly tried to fit in and keep their heads down so as to fit in better and not create a stir. In fact, many even distanced themselves from other women who were perceived as aggressive!
Sonali shared the concept of Intentional Invisibility – how women tend to intentionally become invisible. This was something that almost all participants could relate to their behaviour. Women leaders also realised the important role they can play in support other women in the organisation by giving them the opportunity to speak up and share their ideas and in general be more supportive.
Sonali outlined several ways in which the women leaders can improve their visibility at work without feeling like there are being too aggressive or a show-off.
Networking touched off a debate where women opened up about the challenges they face on the ground trying to create work relationships. Many felt that networking was either unnecessary or sometimes sleazy (this was an important issue in a male-dominated workplace). They also felt that the whole process of networking is inauthentic in some way. It tends to also make demands on their personal time and hence women tend to avoid networking.
Sonali introduced the core concept of networking and clarified the myths the participants had about networking. She showed them how they can do networking without feeling inauthentic and pushy. She also shared how anyone can become a great conversationalist and leverage that ability to get better at networking.
The participants understood that lack of networking was keeping them stuck in their current roles. They needed to build relationships outside their department and organisations to establish themselves as thought leaders and get more opportunities to work on exciting projects.
The whole workshop was intense and made the participants realise how their own thoughts and beliefs may be holding them back. Generational conditioning is a big part of this internal roadblock which promotes a workaholic, aggressive image of a leader that most women can’t seem to align with. Now, of course, the millennial workforce requires a softer touch and organisations are rapidly reassessing the role of a leader – AND women with their heightened emotional intelligence and social skills are perfectly placed to approach leadership roles, which makes this a great time to be women at work!
The participants also realised that the power is within them to make a name and space for themselves and also help other women in their journey. All of them went away greatly motivated to start implementing the learnings of the workshop, and we wish them all the very best!
If you would like to know more about building your personal brand or if your organisation would like to encourage women leaders to grow, then do get in touch.
For a woman to be successful at work, she needs the right combination of luck, grit, and intelligence to make it to the top.
You need to be born in a family that provided good educational opportunities, you have to battle numerous social and familial expectations and objections to continue working, you must excel at your work AND manage male-dominated office politics – and all this is just enough to get you to middle management.
The last decade has seen so much corporate commitment to diversity; more and more women are being given a chance to climb higher. But still so many great women leaders just never make it to the top!
One of the reasons is that they don’t have the social skills to play in the big boy’s club. It’s no secret that beyond a certain level, promotions don’t happen based on CVs. Rapport, networking, and reputation play a pivotal role in opening exciting new doors.
So much has been discussed about building a personal brand, that I doubt there is anyone in the corporate world who doesn’t understand and acknowledge its importance.
But what does it entail exactly? And why do women need it to break the glass ceiling?
Simply put, marketing yourself and your career as a brand is personal branding. It’s promoting yourself and establishing a certain reputation for yourself.
But building a brand is a delicate and long process. Unlike big organisations, you can’t just hire a PR agency to do it for you. While there are professionals who can help you acquire the right skills to take on your self-branding exercise, the actual work has to be done by you yourself.
Let’s look at some essentials you need to keep in mind.
When you think of a well-known brand, there is always a tagline attached to it. You have to find yours. Well, it doesn’t have to be a tagline, rather a story that you want people around you to associate with you. This is the essence of who you are, and you need to put careful thought into coming up with the right perspective.
We recommend you write down a short paragraph about who you are and how you would like to be introduced. This should not be more than 100 words and must include your professional experiences and personal ideology.
In this context, style doesn’t just refer to what you wear and your appearance. Here we are talking about an overall impression you would want to create which interacting with people.
For example, do you want to come across as thoughtful and academic or are you more comfortable with displaying an aggressive leadership style? Your appearance and how you conduct yourself is a huge part of how you communicate with others around you, however going against your true nature won’t really work in the long run as you might come across as inauthentic.
We recommend you aim for cultivating a style that comes naturally; after all, you cannot pretend to be something you are not for the next couple of decades.
You need to start making connections and communicating with people both inside and outside your organisation. You should also spread yourself to other areas, don’t just meet and cultivate new relationship within your specific department but also explore meeting new people through your hobbies or at non-work events. The idea is to become a part of large communities that can help you in times of need and also promote you and your brand.
Speaking at conferences and participating in events are two great ways to network effectively.
Social media has now become a huge part of our personal and professional lives. For working women trying to establish their personal brand platforms such as LinkedIn provide an excellent opportunity to showcase their talents to exactly the right type of people. Here you can control your narrative and gently push the right messaging through your posts and writings.
Apart from posting on the platform, conducting webinars, online workshops and collaborations with other leaders in your industry are some ways to grow your social credentials.
Many of us feel that self-promotion is a bit fake, some of us are just too shy, and some just don’t know where to start. But, the reality is that you might be great at work and be extremely talented but if no one except your boss and colleagues knows this, then you will always be limited to that circle.
To really break into the big league, you need to create a reputation and the right perception. So that when management is discussing promotions, your name shines through.
If you are one the many who don’t know how to start building your personal brand, then we strongly recommend you give us a call. We are happy to help!
Request for a free consultation by clicking the button above.
ACs and fans whirring in a calm office, people hunched over their computers and working on their own or attending meetings – Some of us older lot might remember what work used to be like before mobile phones and Internet took over. It seemed everything still got done without the rush and chaos that seemed to be the hallmark of modern offices. It was an era of reasonable deadlines!
But times have changed, the digital age has made everything faster – you get information faster, you can get things done more quickly, but you also have to produce results more speedily! Naturally, this next-gen workplace also needs different skills. Is HR managing to cope? Well, they certainly understand the changing scenarios and are tweaking training programmes to serve the employees better. However, L&D needs to transform more quickly and completely – there seems to be a tendency to use a band-aid approach to training; keeping old methods and content and adding new patchy updates. What is needed is a complete revamp of how we approach L&D altogether.
The traditional classroom learning is on its way out even in schools, so it’s high time we stopped using it for adults at work!
We need to ensure training is developed in collaboration with the employees, manager and the HR team; learning can no longer be a one-way process where one department decides what to teach and the learners passively take in what’s presented to them.
It’s time employees were put in charge of their own learning requirements. Making the training process collaborative not only empowers the learner to choose what he/she wants to learn but also puts the onus of learning on to the employee.
There is no doubt that digital technology will need to be incorporated in a significant manner in L&D. This can be done in two different layers – firstly, as a medium of learning such as using mobile learning to deliver training on the go. And secondly as content such as reskilling or upskilling employees to become comfortable with new digital trends and tools like mining Big Data or handling AI based modules or learning new automation driven skills.
While many younger employees come with updated technical skills, they often require some handholding in other areas such as interpersonal or communication skills. For older employees, there is an urgent requirement to help them develop a resilient mindset. The quicker pace of work along with the long-ranging effects of digital transformation has proved to be exceedingly hard for many people to manage. It’s crucial to incorporate these indirect and non-technical needs of employees into the L&D programmes as well.
The age of the one-size-fits-all approach has now truly ended. As business models and customer service models become personalised, it is being recognised that the workforce also needs personalised attention.
To make sure people remain productive in this fast-paced modern workplace, it is crucial to ensure each person has his/her exact requirement mapped and fulfilled. Training now must be tailored to individual needs, and huge generic workshops for the whole office are out of the door!
Lastly, L&D is now moving towards the long-term goal of creating a new mindset – one of continuous learning. Till now there was a definitive end to education; we finished college, and it was assumed that we have all the skills that we need to manage the next 20 years of work (sure there was training etc. in the middle but nothing too disruptive). Now, as the world changes quickly around us we can no longer afford to sit back with our initial educational qualifications, we need to constantly update and stay ahead of the curve.
A training programme that helps people understand and leverage this new normal is going to be useful in the long run!
That L&D is playing catch up to the modern workplace is not news to HR teams. Industry 4.0 and digital transformation has thrown up new challenges for HR as well. What’s encouraging is that most HR teams understand the new landscape and are looking for answers. Whether they succeed will depend entirely on how much time, effort and money they and their organisations are willing to spend in finding new solutions.
If you are wondering how to upgrade your training programmes, then do give us a call. At SoaringEagles we have been working for years with hundreds of clients which give us unique insights of what your employees need and what works best.
Talk to us!
Wondering what you need to succeed as a leader? Here are some MUST-HAVE leadership competencies you need to know about.
Everyone in middle or senior management rungs of their corporate career think a LOT about how to be a good and effective leader! As you rise higher you WILL have individuals and teams reporting to you and managing them will be the MOST important part of your job!
So, no wonder leadership dilemmas keep many awake at night! How do you know if you are a good leader? What makes a good leader and what do you need to do to become one?
So, let’s start at the beginning with a list of some leadership competencies that most agree are absolutely critical for a leader.
These are two competencies rolled into one! A leader must be able to see the big picture and plan for it. It’s almost like a game of chess. You have to predict at least 7 moves ahead to cover all contingencies and get to your final goal!
But that’s not enough – all this strategy has to be executed as well. So, a good leader should also know how to get his/her hands dirty. They need to ensure that an actionable plan is created and people are put in place to carry out the whole thing. AND they need to able to step in when things go south.
The biggest job of a leader is to create an environment where his/her team feels safe and well cared for. When you, as the boss, ensure that everyone follows the same rules, you instil a sense of fairness. An employee knows what to expect, and this gives them the stability to relax and focus on performing well rather than cover their backside.
With seniority, workload increases and becomes more complex, and at this point, it becomes obvious that the most successful leaders are the ones who can empower others around them to do their work. Delegation can be difficult for managers stepping into new leadership roles - but finding the right person and then giving them the freedom and the power to do their work is one the key competencies of a leader.
Leaders are role models and its vital that their team sees them sticking up for what’s right! To succeed as a leader, you cannot be someone who doesn’t stand up for what you believe in. Not standing by your principals, is a sure-fire way of losing the respect of your team.
A confident leader nurtures his/her team. They have a growth mindset which allows team members to develop both personally and professionally. Listening to what they say, letting them take ownership of projects and providing them with valuable L&D training opportunities are some of the things a leader should promote.
A leader may not have all the answers all the time, and yet they are expected to lead others towards the corporate goals. This requires being able to understand themselves better and manage their own emotions. Understanding what drives them, how they react in various situations and how to keep themselves motivated in all situations are some of the key things leaders need to know about themselves. Unless they are able to do this with themselves, how can they be expected to manage others?
At its core, leadership is about influencing others, so a good leader needs to be a master of social influence. Especially in this age, throwing your weight around or being bossy will not get you the desired results. Seeing things from another's perspective can help you understand what they want and allows you to focus on win-win situations and present your points in a way that it is well accepted.
Naturally, there are many more qualities that a leader needs to have – highly developed social skills is one – but the ones listed above are some of the most essential. As you can see, they are connected to developing a mindset, not a skill so, if you are wondering if these competencies can be developed then yes it's possible.
Coaching and training are ways to ensure that individuals become successful leaders. The most successful training interventions are the ones that give the manager/leader actual opportunities to implement what they have learned and to get regular feedback on how they are doing.
A failure to invest in this training and development means that most companies will struggle with leadership issues, as they continue to place unprepared managers into leadership roles.
Interested? Want to know more? Click on the Request Consultation button above.
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