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Want to Maximize Your Marketing? Use These Marketing Statistics

When you’re running a business or leading a team, it can be difficult to know where to focus your attention because everything feels important. That’s why making data-based decisions around where and how you spend your energy is important—it removes the guesswork. It creates clarity around where your time and energy will result in the biggest impact and generate the most value for your company.

In this blog, we’ll look at a few statistics and break down what we can take away from them so you can spend your precious time and energy where it counts the most.

  1. 54% of decision-makers say they spend more than one hour per week reading and reviewing thought-leadership content. (Edelman/LinkedIn 2021)

Creating content is time-consuming; thus, using data to help you make decisions around the most effective content to create is your best solution to optimizing your effort and time. This stat tells us that the people you care about the most (the decision makers behind who’s going to buy your product) are taking the time to read content that educates them. If you prioritize writing content, such as blogs, that focuses on educating people and solving their problems, you’re more likely to get your brand and organization in front of potential customers.

Thought leadership can sound scary, but you shouldn’t be in business if you’re not confident in what you’re selling or teaching people. So remind yourself that you’re the expert and focus on sharing your hard-earned knowledge in a format designed to help people and solve their problems. It’s great for building relationships, SEO, and establishing your brand.

  1. Virtual events, webinars, and online courses ranked first in the B2B content that yielded the best results in 2021. (Content Marketing Institute)

Another powerful way to generate leads and build engagement is by offering long-form educational content. Online courses and webinars are two great options if you’re trying to maximize the value of your time since they can be designed to be evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that will be available indefinitely, creating a pipeline that can generate leads well into the future.

Consider how you can offer a course or a webinar that solves your customers’ problems. Think ahead about where they’ll be in the buyer’s journey and consider how your content offer will meet their needs. Then you can design a follow-up strategy to capitalize on your now high-qualified marketing leads (or people who are more likely to buy your product because they are more educated about how it solves their problem).

  1. Email marketing has the highest return on investment for small businesses. (Campaign Monitor, 2019)

Email marketing is one of the top performing forms of marketing today. It’s a great way to maintain engagement with your contacts, gain helpful insight into your contact database using analytics, and move leads through the funnel.

But you shouldn’t email for the sake of emailing. As much as email can be a great tool for building relationships, it can also ruin relationships. Make sure your email content is relevant, useful, and timely. Over-sending emails can become a nuisance to your contacts and result in unsubscribes. It’s also critical to take the time to design and format your emails intentionally. Email design, like web design, will significantly impact whether your emails get read.

If you’re in doubt, ask the data

Time management and marketing go hand in hand. Make sure you’re paying attention to what’s working and what isn’t. Use defined metrics and goals to decipher what content generates the highest value for your business and make decisions around what you’ve learned.

It takes time to collect enough data to make these decisions, so stick with each activity for at least a few cycles so you can accumulate enough data to make qualified decisions – because data tells a much more accurate story than your gut does. Creating content and managing a brand online takes time and effort, so spending your time in the right place makes or breaks your success.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by milkos

5 Keys to Changing Your Company Culture

Is your company culture falling short of your original vision? Do you wish your organization was more exciting to current staff and enticing for future employees? 

Maybe you should do a little culture check-in.  

Here’s a five-step self-assessment exercise you can use to gauge the status of your current culture and what kind of work it will take to get it where you want it to be. 

Company values 

Values are one of those ideas that might make some people roll their eyes. But a company without values is a company with no soul. And no consistency. Having clearly defined values will help guide your organizational decision-making and behaviors in the right direction. 

Everyone has their own set of values they use to drive decision-making and behaviors. And regardless of how great your people are, if each person is using individual values to make decisions, you will create a disparate experience at best.  

Questions to ask: Have we defined our values as an organization? Are they documented and accessible? How often do we talk about them with the team? Does everyone understand what they are, why they’re important, and how to make decisions based on them?  

Organizational vision  

Owners and leaders need to have a detailed (and united!) vision of the company they strive to be. This is especially true during times of crisis and/or change. A vision isn’t a pretty statement to be framed and hung on the wall but a detailed description of the resources, skills, behaviors, and results necessary for success.  

But simply having a vision isn’t enough. There must also be a plan to achieve it. And everyone needs to understand the vision and the plan to create the culture reality.  

Questions to ask: What do we want our company to look like in three years? Have we documented this? What is our plan for executing these ideas? How are we communicating it to our team? Is everyone actively participating in helping achieve the vision? How often are we returning to review our plans?  

Performance coaching  

People will usually perform to the level of expectations you have for them. If you set mediocre standards, you’ll get mediocre results. But when you regularly work with people to strive for improvement and offer consistent coaching and mentoring, their level of performance will consistently rise. Look at your expectations and accountability levels and where they need to be.  

Questions to ask: How are we managing the performance of each person on our team? What processes have we established? How consistently are we using our processes to help our team members improve their roles? Have we clearly defined roles and expectations? How are we measuring success and holding people accountable? What resources are we providing our employees to help them stay accountable? 

Personal development  

In high-performance organizations, having employees with the skills to innovate and lead is imperative. You can be on a merry-go-round of continuously hiring new people to fill in gaps you may have, or you take the time to identify the skills you need and train your current team to be prepared with new capabilities. One method will go a long way to developing a positive team culture. The other? Not so much.  

Questions to ask: What training and/or personal development are we providing our team members? For leadership? What future areas have we identified where we will need improved or different skills from what we currently have? How are we working to uncover potential and develop inside talent? 

Organizational trust  

When your employees truly believe in the sincerity of their leaders and trust your words and actions, the organizational culture you’ve built will be able to move and adapt more quickly. Organizations with high trust consistently outperform the competition because people don’t waste time questioning motivations and speculating about hidden agendas. Organizations with high trust also enjoy higher levels of employee engagement, productivity, and morale.  

Questions to ask: What is the level of trust among our team? Do they trust each other? Their supervisors? Company leaders? Do departments work together or in silos? Does management trust their teams and empower them to take ownership of their work? 

After the assessment 

Depending on how you answered the above questions, you could have a little or a lot of work to do moving forward.  

If your culture is mostly where you want it, look for ways to enhance and communicate what you already have. Complacency is the enemy of great culture. Ensure the vision and messages are clear and the commitment to them is evident. 

If your culture seems less than stellar, it’s time to get to work. Culture starts at the top, and so should you. Get your leadership team together to define what values drive your organizational beliefs. Then decide how you’re going to live those values through your behaviors.  

Once you’ve created the vision, start working on plans for communication and execution. This is one case where an outside expert can provide a lot of value. Being ingrained in your organization can color your vision and make these processes more difficult. Having a facilitator/mediator who can help you find clarity, stay focused, and keep things on track is also helpful. 

If you’ve done the exercise and feel tempted to simply ignore any red flags, you’re not alone. Many businesses are doing exactly that, despite knowing they have issues. But believe it or not, this is the more difficult route. Over time, your culture will deteriorate to the point where it will require exponentially more work to dig yourself out. And that’s no fun for anyone. 

Commit to creating the remarkable organization you envision. Your team, your business, and your customers will thank you for it.  

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by rawpixel

 

Balancing Generational Differences in the Workplace

The workplace is experiencing one of its biggest shifts as multiple generations come together in the workforce. Workplace formalities and dynamics are changing, and now we’re left asking ourselves how to best work together.

Understanding the similarities and differences in generational values and characteristics and the best practices for managing multi-generational teams encourages teamwork, shared respect, and positive communication in your organization.

Learn how Gen X and Baby Boomers, who hold the majority of leadership roles, can best lead and work with the workforce’s majority–Millennials.

Generational values and characteristics

Team members can tackle generational tension by building awareness around generational differences and recognizing their similarities and human needs. Learning the differences in values, characteristics, communication styles, and work styles can reveal the workplace views and expectations, leading to better communication and teamwork.

Baby Boomers

  • Characteristics: Competitive, disciplined, involved, and optimistic. They faced higher competition for jobs because of the rise in population, leading to a generation of determined workers who take pride in their careers. They fostered a youth culture that embraced reinvention, teamwork, and self-actualization.
  • Values: Personal growth, team involvement, strong work ethic, and making a difference. They are not afraid to question everything and care about equal rights and opportunities.
  • Communication and management styles: Team-oriented. Prefer face-to-face interactions, respect the chain of command, and expect leadership’s direction.

Gen X

  • Characteristics: Fiercely independent, flexible, pragmatic, resourceful, entrepreneurial, and transparent. They grew up without the intense supervision Millennials had and learned that “if you want something done right, you’d better do it yourself.”
  • Values: Personal growth, education, and a work-life balance. They are independent thinkers who see life as their full-time job and their job as their part-time gig.
  • Communication and management styles: Task-oriented, individually motivated, informal, independent, respond to direction and prefer email and direct communication.

Millennials

  • Characteristics: Natural networkers, friendly, and connected because they grew up with technology. They learned early on that “teamwork makes the dream work” and desire an environment where they can collaborate, problem solve and innovate with others. While they can be highly tolerant, optimistic, and adaptive to change, don’t be surprised by their impatience and competitiveness!
  • Values: Success, rewarding work, and close relationships. They value efficiency, speed, and timeliness and expect to move up the ladder quickly. They are environmentally conscious and eager to bring change to their organization.
  • Communication and management styles: Prefer leaders who coach rather than direct and enjoy continuous feedback. Their collaborative mindset helps them work well in teams, but they are easily annoyed by micromanagement. Similar to Gen Xers, they work hard for a work-life balance. They prefer online, text messaging, and social media communication.

More alike than you think

All the generations are similar in certain ways. How can they not be when people pass down history, values, skills, and knowledge to their children and mentees? The similarities help teams share a common ground and foster empathy:

  • The values that matter most: Family, integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness.
  • Desire to be respected and important: Employees want to be heard, seen, and recognized for their contributions. They want to know they are not easily replaced and make a meaningful impact.
  • Trustworthy leaders: People want to trust and connect with their leaders. Without it, relationships falter, productivity is lost, and communication stops.
  • Loyalty: If someone works hard for the company, they expect the leaders to invest back in them. It’s a two-way street!
  • Desire to learn: People are willing to acquire new skills to do a good job and further their development.
  • Feedback: It’s important to know how they are doing comparatively – are they meeting or exceeding expectations?

Best practices for leading Millennials

Recognizing what makes each generation unique is the first step to cultivating a team that can work together in diversity. The second step is to create a work environment where everyone can thrive. Here are common practices and tips for effectively managing the Millennial generation:

Create opportunities for collaboration: Millennials crave a collaborative work environment and constantly reinvent what collaboration looks like with new technologies. As a manager, create opportunities for Millennials to work collaboratively. From the beginning of a project, be clear about when and how often you intend for everyone to collaborate.

Impactful feedback: Millennials gravitate more towards informal, frequent check-ins, and their morale and performance take a hit when they don’t receive quick, transparent feedback.

Motivating Millennials: Money doesn’t motivate this generation in the same way as others. They are driven by their close relationships and team interactions, and are known to blur the line between work and personal life. Helping them find their squad or “work family” is a point of retention for this generation. Also, understand their unique curiosity. If a Millennial asks you why something is done a certain way, they don’t intend to be disrespectful. They genuinely want to understand. Answering their questions motivates them to continue learning and understanding the organization.

Here are some additional suggestions to help you manage a Millennial:

  • Independent Gen Xers often get annoyed by Millennials’ constant need for feedback and recognition. Defuse the conflict by setting clear parameters about when, where, and how often they can and should check in for feedback.
  • Focus on your common values, such as transparency and efficiency, and use your different qualities to balance each other.
  • Millennials take feedback differently, and “no-nonsense,” direct communication styles are often misconstrued as a lack of support. When giving feedback, try to inspire Millennials and soften the blunt messaging.

Embrace the differences

Leaders must lead and develop their teams to achieve the company’s vision and aspirations. A great way to do this is by learning to lead and manage people from different generations based on their values, work styles, and characteristics. Once you recognize how different generations function, you can lead a diverse company that works great together and knows how to get the job done.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by rawpixel

Why Self-Reflection Matters in Leadership

Leadership comes with great responsibility, and great responsibility calls for regular reflection upon who you are as a leader, how you are developing, and your impact on the organization.

Regular periods of self-reflection are needed to ensure that you are heading in the right direction regarding empowering your people, making progress towards your vision, and creating a sustainable legacy over the long term.

Asking purposeful questions that challenge you and get to the heart of what it means to be a leader can uncover how well you measure up and highlight areas for self-improvement.

Has my “Why” evolved since I started?

Change is constant and inescapable. Processes, plans, goals, and even team members will change or evolve over time. Your ‘Why’ is what drives your emotions, actions, and behaviors. It’s the key to unlocking the purpose that leads your organization and the foundation upon which everything is built. Every decision you make is influenced by your purpose, which is why it’s crucial to reflect on it regularly.

Ask yourself, “Is the ‘why’ of what I’m doing the same as it was when I started?” If your ‘why’ has shifted, then you may have strayed from your values or vision. If that’s the case, it’s time to strategize to ensure a successful re-alignment, so your purpose continues to drive your organization. If you want to inspire people to get behind your purpose and vision, they need to believe in what you believe in.

Am I developing as a leader?

There are no perfect leaders. If there were, they wouldn’t need followers. So if you think you have it all figured out and that you’re at the pinnacle level of leadership, then reflect on how you’re developing. Leaders who value continuous development, and who remain agile and curious are capable of adapting to the most significant and unexpected challenges.

Contemplate how you’re developing. If your list is limited, explore opportunities that will help you grow and develop your skills as a leader in your organization.

Am I as accessible as I can be?

Take a moment to reflect on this question.

Did you think of physical availability? Perhaps, you considered yourself available because you have an “open-door policy” or a “virtual communication policy” if you’re remote. If so, you need to differentiate physical availability and accessibility.

Accessibility goes beyond physical availability because it’s everything that happens the moment someone walks in your door and your accountability that follows. Now reflect on this question again and ask yourself:

  • Does the culture I created encourage people to talk to me?
  • Am I providing enough support?
  • Am I actively listening to others’ input? 
  • Do I consistently follow up with people?
  • Do I show genuine appreciation and gratitude for my team members?

If you encourage your team to share their input and ideas because you read in an article that you should, ask yourself if you’re genuine. In the case of leadership, actions speak louder than words.

Do I seek enough feedback?

Countless people avoid feedback because they worry it may bruise the ego or harm their self-confidence, but as the saying goes – no pain, no gain. One of the bravest acts you can perform is to explore honest and constructive feedback on your performance as a leader. You can do this during team performance reviews or one-to-one employee check-ins.

Embrace the discomfort and seek out suggestions on how you can improve and support your team. Just as you would follow up with someone on their need to be accessible, It’s critical you follow through and integrate feedback for it to make a meaningful impact. Take this feedback, reflect on it some more, and embrace how you can grow as a leader.

Self-reflection translates into a powerful organization

Just as leaders expect certain standards from their people, their role as a leader holds them to greater standards.

Dedicating time to self-reflection fosters self-awareness and helps leaders ensure they’re holding themselves to this greater standard and walking on the path they paved.

Regardless of whether you’re a leader, manager, or team member, asking these questions can help you boost your strengths, emotional intelligence, and integrity, and can make any necessary improvements that will enhance your ability to be of greater service and benefit to yourself as well as others.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by peshkov

What Behaviors Great Leaders Avoid

The saying goes “People don’t leave their jobs. They leave their bosses.” A survey given by BambooHR affirms that saying—44% of people said their boss was the primary reason for leaving their job. There are more job openings than there are people looking for jobs, and you want to be an employer of choice, rather than one frantically searching for employees to fill empty positions.

Look at the poor leadership and management behaviors you’ll want to avoid—and learn how to fix them.

Micromanagement

Micromanagement is a management pattern where there is excessive supervision, control over employees’ work and processes, and limited delegation of tasks. Imagine a helicopter, circling and hovering over the same spot—in this case, micromanagers are the helicopter, and the spots they’re hovering over? Their employees. Micromanagement, in the long run, leads to a lack of trust and slows a business down.

Does the above sound like you? – For your employees to excel, give them the freedom and flexibility to complete their tasks, based on objectives and deadlines you set. Trust your employees to complete their work—and then verify that it’s been done well. “Trust but verify” can be a great way to wean yourself off micromanaging.

One-size-fits-all management style

One-size-fits-all is good for hats, but not for managing a group of employees. The one-size-fits-all employer is stuck in their ways, wants all their employees to be like them, doesn’t want to learn, and won’t invest time in helping their employees improve. Great leadership is flexible and can respond to different needs and personalities in a positive, constructive way.

Does the above sound like you? – Every employee is different, so identify their strengths and put them in the best position to use those strengths. Consider how to remove rigidity around your approach to managing the different people on your team so you can take advantage of the diverse approaches and skills each team member can offer.

Not leading by example

A good leader listens to their employees’ challenges and leads by example because they know actions speak louder than words. Employees who see their leader acting in conflict with what they’re saying will feel confused and frustrated.

Does the above sound like you? – Your employees will have great respect for you if you choose to lead by example. If you want your team to use the database for tracking sales, be the first one to enter your leads. If you want them to hold one on one meetings with their direct reports, you need to hold one on one meetings with your direct reports.

Playing the blame game

Things go wrong—no business operates on 100% perfection all the time. But as a leader, if you choose to play the blame game, you use what goes wrong to deflect blame that might come your way, and you remove the opportunity for growth.

Does the above sound like you? – Instead of playing the blame game, help focus on solutions such as professional development, reviewing/changing strategies and goals, and improving business processes. This way, mistakes result in an improved system.

Taking all the credit

Employees help keep an organization running—and they want to feel valued and appreciated for their work. In fact, lack of appreciation is a top reason why employees leave their jobs, and when you show your employees a lack of appreciation by taking the credit for their work and using them to bolster your own advancement, you will experience turnover.

Does the above sound like you? – Praise your team often, individually and as a whole, for the work that they do. Make the feedback meaningful and intentional; for example, if an employee did a good job on a challenging project, tell them! Give specifics as to what they did well.

Lacking focus

It is good to have strategies, priorities, and goals. They keep everyone on the same page and let everyone know what direction to go in. But changing things up every day, or having a disorganized company vision and goals, will leave employees feeling confused and unmotivated.

Does the above sound like you? – Meet with other leaders in your department to establish a clear vision and clear goals for what you want to accomplish, whether it’s putting new opportunities into your pipeline or adding a certain amount of revenue to your book of business. Plan each day around moving closer to those goals.

Be a strong leader

If you’re in a leadership position, you’ll always have behaviors to improve upon. You have the power to turn around and change course when necessary. When you are open-minded and willing to learn, you’ll perform better, and your employees will perform better and become more engaged at work.

Don’t be the reason your employees leave. Be the reason they want to stay.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by milkos

Cultivate a Culture of Peer Recognition

Employee recognition is essential – true, but what about peer recognition?

Too many organizations rely on recognition to flow downwards, trusting their managers will see their employees’ accomplishments and voice appreciation. When leaders are the only ones practicing recognition, there’s a lot of great work that goes unnoticed. If appreciation is the most important job element for employees, why leave it to only the leaders? Peer recognition allows appreciation and gratitude to flow in all directions – across departments and locations, and even upwards.

Start cultivating a culture of peer recognition by understanding the importance, benefits, and tips to facilitate recognition in your organization.

Importance of peer recognition

There’s no need to abandon traditional top-down recognition – employees value appreciation from leadership. Instead, complement it with peer recognition because this newer, more collaborative approach has different benefits that help individuals and organizations thrive. The most common benefits are that peer recognition:

Strengthens teams and relationships

When people rely on top-down recognition, it creates a competitive environment. On the other hand, peer acknowledgment fosters a sense of team spirit and cooperation that increases the probability of a constructive team culture by 2.5x! The shared gratitude sets a positive attitude for the company culture, encouraging everyone to work together and achieve company goals.

Improves confidence and self-esteem

When employees receive feedback from a fellow team member, it holds an increased level of validation and pride. They recognize their worth and impact, boosting confidence and self-esteem in later projects. Public recognition also allows leaders to see what they may have been missing and enhance the value of each of their employees’ skills and abilities. The cycle of positivity sustains confidence and produces high-performance teams.

Increases positive emotions and well-being

Peer recognition and gratitude are regularly associated with happiness. So it makes sense that it’s one of the simplest ways to make employees happy, optimistic, and satisfied at work.

The positive emotions affect people’s work lives and also enhance their well-being because happiness increases health. You’ll notice employees have better physical health, sleep better, and feel less stressed.

These benefits help organizations thrive because employees become more engaged, productive, present, and efficient. Most importantly, peer recognition leads to satisfaction and can help reduce employee turnover, as 75% of people say that recognition makes them want to stay at their current job longer.

Create a culture of peer recognition

Companies need to cultivate a culture that values and encourages employees to practice peer recognition if they want to experience the benefits. First, consider setting guidelines for giving praise and then implement a peer recognition program that reflects these guidelines. This could be a platform, such as Slack or Teams, specifically designed to assist peers with giving and receiving recognition or feedback.

Companies can also encourage employees to recognize others through LinkedIn endorsements. Let’s say a team works well together; they can go to each other’s profiles and validate the skills listed by “endorsing,” writing a recommendation, or using the “Celebrate an occasion” option when creating a new post. These are quick and simple steps that show appreciation and can help an employee in their career path.

Leaders should also engage in the peer recognition program’s celebrations because they provide important validation and show that the company cares when they’re involved. Leaders’ involvement is a great way to remind team members of the value and impact they can make when they recognize their peers.

Tips to apply

Recognition and appreciation don’t come easily to everyone. Some people may be “recognition champions,” while others need to be coached on how to give recognition effectively. You can help guide your team by sharing and modeling these best practices for giving recognition:

Timely: One golden rule for recognition is to share appreciation as soon as possible. Effective recognizers don’t sit on it for weeks; they observe and congratulate others right away. Praising someone in the moment is powerful because it shows that you’re paying attention and care.

Genuine: Adding scheduled recognition to your calendar becomes a transaction or chore. Recognition should be authentically earned and given, not something to check off your to-do list. Genuine gratitude makes sharing more effortless, and people will notice your sincerity. 

Specific: A simple note saying, “Great job on that project!” can make a person smile. What if you were more specific and said how they did a great job? You’ll put a smile on their face for days! A helpful tip is to connect their success with why it matters to you, the team, and the organization. The more specific, the more impactful the message will be.

Public: Peer recognition is best when done publicly. You can do this within a department, team, or across the company. The public spotlight turns the moment into a heartfelt experience of gratitude and encourages others to hop on the bandwagon. It also helps leaders be aware of the great work they can’t see every day and shows others what the company values, inspiring them to do the same.

Help people and company culture thrive

Leaders cannot do and see everything, especially when the company is growing and expanding. This makes it even more important to emphasize peer recognition in their company cultures. Recognition is not only your responsibility—it’s a gift to share and encourage throughout an organization.

When companies practice peer recognition, everyone is more aware of the great work around them. Feedback starts to flow freely throughout the organization, and the atmosphere of gratitude and appreciation creates a transformation. People begin giving themselves wholeheartedly, freely, and cheerfully.

Consider finding ways to weave recognition into the fabric of your organization and be ready to see a snowball of benefits that help individuals and the organization thrive!

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes

Be A Self-Aware Leader in the Face of Stress

We’ve all felt the pressure of heavy deadlines and important projects pulling our attention in too many directions. An entirely stress-free workplace doesn’t exist, so how do we set our organizations up to best handle the inevitable stress that’s bound to affect your team? One of the biggest barriers that prevent regular stress from becoming a driver of burnout is company culture. A strong culture will subtly work to create an environment where employees can handle stress in a healthy, sustainable way.

This type of company culture comes directly from leadership and is nurtured, maintained, and fiercely protected by everyone in a leadership position. Without leaders’ support and constant attention, the culture will waver and fade. It’s not that individual employees don’t play significant roles in protecting, promoting, and creating a positive culture, but their tone and approach only affect them and those closest to them—not an entire team or organization.

Leaders must be especially aware of their responses to stress because their reactions and approach will set the tone for everything.

The attitude trickle-down effect

 

Whether we like to admit it or not, employees must be constantly attuned to their direct manager—interpreting signals, communication, and behavior to ensure they’re meeting expectations. It isn’t the most comfortable thing to admit, but it’s true. It’s built into the social structure of our organizations. Whether they like it or not, leaders within organizations have a much more significant impact than simply helping their team meet deadlines.

The way leaders manage stress will be directly reflected in their team’s behavior. We naturally pick up on the energy of those leading us—it tells us whether we need to be rushing or taking our time. It sets the tone for how we feel about our tasks and how we approach them.

If leaders are responding to stress by:

  • Becoming accusatory and looking to place blame on others
  • Cutting people off and rushing communication
  • Micromanaging other peoples’ responsibilities
  • Working extreme hours
  • Becoming scattered and disorganized

Then their team will begin to respond to stress in the same way.

The harder it is to do, the more important it is to do it


No one is perfect, and leaders are no exception. They must learn to navigate their own unhealthy tendencies while continuing to be strong leaders for their teams. That means cultivating self-awareness and tools and resources to lean on to help them maintain a healthy leadership style in stressful situations.

The harder it is to maintain healthy responses to stress, the more critical it is to do so. Because if it’s stressful for the leader, you had better believe it’s stressful for the team. And when a leader poorly responds to stress, the team is forced to deal with the added and unnecessary burden of their leader’s stress on top of what stress is already there.

As leaders—and anyone for that matter—it can be helpful to practice some techniques to help catch themselves before they fall into unhealthy stress responses.

  • Check in with yourself. Use a mindfulness practice like journaling or daily self check-ins to keep track of your emotional pulse. The faster you can identify that you’re feeling stressed, the easier it is to remind yourself of the tools and resources you have access to.
  • Communicate with consistency. Set boundaries around how and when you communicate. Avoid communicating in the middle of the night and during personal time. If you find that you’re compelled to do so, ask yourself if it’s going to help or if it’s just your stress making you feel like it will help.
  • Pause before getting involved. If you feel compelled to check over someone’s work or ask them how things are going, slow down and ask yourself if it’s for a good reason. Stress can often trigger us to want to control or take over a situation, even if capable people are already on it.

Be consistent

As leaders, it is crucial to have the self-awareness to realize when we are exhibiting signs of stress and take steps to manage it appropriately. Sometimes we make mistakes, and it’s just as important to take responsibility for them after the fact as trying to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Knowing yourself and your tendencies is the first step to appropriately responding to stress. A cool, calm, and collected leader generates a balanced and sustainable workplace that can handle obstacles and challenges with confidence.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by ammentorp

Why Employee Benefits Are Important

Employees are the backbone of your organization, the people that keep things running smoothly and keep your clients happy—and a generous benefits package goes a long way toward keeping employees happy. But long gone are the days when only employee compensation, free lunches, foosball tables, and nap rooms met people’s needs.

The pandemic happened. And with it came the Great Resignation, where 4.5 million US workers left their jobs voluntarily in 2021. Wanting a different lifestyle, high healthcare costs, rising inflation, the financial challenges posed by the pandemic, and needing to feel rewarded and appreciated for their work are a few reasons people left their previous positions.

People want and expect more from their position and employee benefits and believe they can get more, so they are. It’s time to start paying attention to the current feelings behind employee benefits—and why you should offer not just good but great benefits.

Employee attraction and retention

Let’s throw some percentages up in the air: 49%, 78%, and 40%.

  • 49% of your employees will start looking for new work in the next 12 months if they aren’t happy with their job or benefits.
  • 78% of them will stay with your company if your benefits package is attractive.
  • 40% of potential new employees will seriously consider your company if your benefits package addresses their wants and needs.

Employees want to work in a caring company culture where they get more from their job than a place to work and a paycheck. With excellent benefits, you show you value people, and you will not only attract new employees but also retain your current ones.

Work/life balance

Blending the demands of work and life can leave employees feeling frazzled at the end of the day. There are projects to finish, deadlines to meet, dinner to make, sick kids to take to the doctor —all these demands can feel like balancing a wobbly stack of plates ready to crash.

With the rise in remote work, people are spending more time working than ever; nearly 70% say they are spending more time working on the weekends because of the pandemic and the transition to remote work. Also, 45% of people now spend more time at work than ever before because of remote work. Providing substantial employee benefits like flexible schedules and paid time off gives them the support needed to help build the bridge between work and life.

Overall mental health and wellness

One in five adults will have mental health issues, but only one in three who need help will get it. And when employees don’t get the help they need, their work suffers: The World Health Organization estimates that mental health issues cost companies $1 trillion a year in lost productivity, but prioritizing employees’ mental health gives a return of $4 per person in improved health and productivity.

Despite money lost or money gained, people want a more open culture surrounding mental health and training on where to find assistance or resources. Focusing on overall mental health and wellbeing helps with overall morale.

Increased productivity

When employees wake up and come to work each day, you want them to feel fulfilled and ready to tackle any projects and challenges that come their way. When there is a robust benefits package to take care of employees, they will feel that they’re taken care of and will give back to you by being productive in their roles, providing excellent customer service, and being more engaged.

Improved financial security

Whether your employees are just starting their career or thinking about retirement, they want to have their immediate, short-term, and long-term financial security assured.

  • Immediate: Vital parts of immediate financial security are an employee’s paycheck, tuition reimbursement for their learning and education, monthly stipend reimbursements, and quality health insurance. Providing these immediate financial needs pushes worries to the back of your employees’ minds and gives them comfort and focus.
  • Short-term: This kind of security comes with offering a disability and life insurance plan. If your employees have family and the unexpected happens, the ability to earn income will be stalled or lost entirely. A disability and life insurance plan is important for when life, well…happens.
  • Long-term: Employees will, in the years ahead, want to fully retire or work part-time, which naturally leads to a reduction in income. Offering a good retirement plan (either a 401(k) or an IRA) builds up an employee’s net worth and gives them a solid nest egg to fall back on.

Giving employees assurance that these three forms of security will be taken care of is important—employees bring their home life with them to work, along with their worries. Alleviating those worries goes a long way.

Show them you care

Actions speak louder than words. A company should have values written down and also put those values into practice to show employees they care about them and their wellbeing. Giving employees a robust benefits package complements those values, leading to a positive culture and a pleasant workplace for all.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes

 

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace

70% of people will experience imposter syndrome – the gut-wrenching feeling of self-doubt and belief that they are not as competent as others believe them to be despite their experience, education, and accomplishments. They feel like a fraud and await the moment they are “caught” or found out. Even when others praise their talents, they still cannot shake their feelings and write off achievements as “dumb luck.”

People will pressure themselves to work harder and strive for perfection to avoid getting caught as an imposter. What if, instead of coping with imposter syndrome, people learned how to put an end to it?

Take the first step in ending imposter syndrome (IS) in the workplace by understanding the types of IS and implementing strategies to help others overcome the phenomenon.

Five types of imposter syndrome

IS is not “one size fits all”—it can appear in several interconnected ways. The five most common types are:

  1. The perfectionist: Perfectionists are never satisfied. They always believe they can be better and do better. Since perfection isn’t always realistic, they start fixating on their mistakes rather than their strengths. Even minor errors reinforce their belief that they’re putting on a facade.
  2. The superhero: These people link competence to success and commonly feel inadequate. So, what do they do? Push themselves to the limit. All the hard work and effort still do not resolve their feelings of “imposterism.”
  3. The expert: Experts always underestimate their expertise. Since they are never satisfied with their level of intelligence, they want to learn everything there is to know on a topic. These people may devote more time to a task because they spent too much time on their quest to “know it all.”
  4. The natural genius: These individuals pick up new skills with little effort and believe they should understand new information and processes right away. Their belief that competency equates to picking things up naturally makes them feel like a fraud when they face an obstacle.
  5. The soloist: These people are very individualistic. Their self-worth stems from productivity, and they tend to see asking for help as a sign of weakness. In their eyes, if they can’t succeed solo, they’re unworthy. If they accept help, they’re showing others they’re phony or inadequate.

 Do any of these sound like you or someone you know?

Overcome imposter syndrome head-on

Both leaders and team members can experience imposter syndrome and the negative feelings that impact their work and environment. Fortunately, you can implement strategies to help overcome IS.

Share your feelings

Talking to someone about your distress can help you get outside context on the situation. Maybe you’ll find someone you can overcome IS with as you share strategies and challenges you encounter.

Build connections

Avoid the urge to do everything solo. Turn to your peers to create a network of mutual support, and you’ll find your network can offer guidance, validate your strengths, and encourage your growth efforts.

Assess your abilities

Make a realistic assessment of your abilities in social and performance situations. Write down your accomplishments and skills, then compare that with your self-assessment (what you think about yourself). You’ll find that the realistic assessment of yourself is the one that shines!

Challenge your doubts

Ask yourself, “Are my thoughts rational?” Does it make sense to believe that you are a fraud, given everything you know is true about yourself? When IS feelings emerge, consider whether the facts support your beliefs.

Avoid a “comparison competition”

Whenever you compare yourself to others in social situations, it can turn into a “comparison competition” where you will find issues that fuel feelings of inadequacy. Everyone has unique abilities. You are where you are because someone recognized your talents and your potential.

Be a mentor and help others

It’s hard to encourage someone to see their unique talent, achievement, and creativity when it doesn’t align with their self-perceptions. Here are several strategies for mentorship that can help:

  • Normalize imposter feelings: If someone confesses feelings of IS, welcome them to the club! Feeling like a fraud at times is normal. Remind them it’s okay to say “I don’t know” and ask for help.
  • Be relatable: Go a step further and share your imposter stories (if you have them). It goes a long way for a mentee to discover that their mentor has also tackled the feelings of IS and pushed through.
  • Positive affirmation goes a long way: Affirm and encourage your employees. The key here is to affirm the individual as a human being by acknowledging their inherent worth and then affirm them as professionals. Persistently call out their achievements and celebrate them.
  • Counteract stereotype threats: Stereotype threats are when a person feels at risk of conforming to negative stereotypes about their race or gender. Marginalization can make people feel like imposters, regardless of how self-assured, smart, and confident they are. These feelings can be mitigated by reminding the mentee that their role is not affected by race or gender and never will be.
  • Give and take credit when deserved: People with IS are more likely to attribute their success to luck or give credit to someone else. You may even notice them downplaying their talent and achievement. If you find someone doing this, give them the recognition they deserve and explain why!

Be who you’re meant to be

If you’re in the 70% of people with IS, remember your accomplishments are not a product of dumb luck or efforts to maintain the “illusion” of your success. Genuinely recognize and acknowledge where you are today, not how you think you got there. That was all you!

Don’t stop your journey there. You can always become an excellent leader and mentor who helps others overcome their IS feelings. With warmth, affirmation, and patience, you can help your team members see themselves through your eyes!

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by airdone

Power Your Business, Empower Your People

The world of business is changing—and changing quickly. Whether in the form of marketing, sales and prospecting, company culture, or employee satisfaction, new solutions and practices are sprouting up everywhere. Competition has always been at the heart of company culture but keeping up with many moving parts can be a challenge.

So how do you keep your business moving and growing in a constantly changing environment without breaking the bank? You take full advantage of the resources already available to you: your employees.

Your greatest resource, driving force, and differentiator—each of your employees, have their own set of experiences and tools they bring to the table. By developing a company culture that enables employees to expand to their fullest potential, the pool of resources you have access to grows larger and more readily available. And in doing so, you invest in the future of your employees, enabling them to grow farther in their careers while building strong, mutually beneficial relationships.

So how do you design a company that can tap into the greatest potential of their employees, and thus the company itself?

Here’s where to start:

1. Fail with grace

Creating an environment where failure isn’t discouraged, but celebrated, is key to making people feel comfortable trying new things. Failure is a symptom of having tried something, which is in itself a success. Teach your employees not to fear retaliation for trying something new. Instead, celebrate their initiative and use it as an opportunity to learn how to do better next time.

The more people feel free to try out new things without negative repercussions, the more willing they will be to give their ideas a shot. And the more opportunity you all have to develop ideas and practices that create wins.

2. Embrace change

Embracing innovation means there will be change. It’s core to the definition of change itself. Consider the many roles of your employees. Have you structured your company to keep people in place or created a more fluid organization that allows for the flexibility and movement of your employees?

When you bring people onto your team, do you talk about how their roles might change, or do you simply give them their handbook and leave them to it?

If you allow your employees to get too comfortable doing the same thing over and over again, they will resist change. It makes sense, right? Change is difficult and takes work. If employees aren’t used to being asked to adjust to new ways of doing things, they’ll get frustrated and push back.

Train your employees to expect change from the get-go. Get them excited about how their roles may develop and evolve and encourage them to think critically about how things might be improved.

That way, you have a team full of people who aren’t afraid to go ahead with new initiatives, technologies, and systems. You’ll also attract employees who are big thinkers and value a rich, ever-evolving office discourse.

Does that sound like the people you want working for you?

3. Lead with purpose

You probably know that company culture comes from the top down. It isn’t enough to expect your employees to come up with new ideas. Leadership also needs to devote time and energy to thinking critically and looking for new solutions and opportunities for growth.

Without the motivation of leadership, the energy and momentum needed for innovation will dwindle. There’s no problem solidifying what you’ve already got—especially if it works. But it’s just as essential to keep your eye on the future. How will your company stand out from the crowd? What can you do to optimize your processes, expand your audience, and grow your business? What big new idea are you bringing to the table?

The long-term outcome

An innovative company can keep up with changing markets and evolving competitors. Investing in practices that cultivate and nurture innovation in your company is investing in your company’s present and future.

 

People want to be a part of something engaging and are inspired by a company that values a healthy exchange of ideas. You never know what you can accomplish if you design a company with an open mind: flexible, open to new ideas, and poised for growth.

 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by langstrup