Know Your Strengths

I read a great blog over at Outspoken Media by the great Lisa Barone on how the power of competition can be a great motivator to start laying out a game plan. Lisa freely admits that she is a fierce competitor, but not in the crazy way – in a way that has made her a better business woman.  In order to win on the web, you must be competitive. 

Lisa talked about many aspects that your competitive sprit can help you come out swinging and kick some butt, but the two that I think are the most important are to know your strength and know your team. Since I’ve never been competitive in the traditional sense, I’ll give you a different scenario – Intercollegiate Debate. We fought with words and quick wit, thinking on our toes. So, with Lisa’s thoughts in mind, how can I define my strengths and my team in terms of what I learned in debate. 


In debate, everyone you could go up against more than likely has the exact same facts and words ready to twist the tables around on your argument. (Remember 8Mile when B-Rabbit said all the things the other rapper could say about him and completely threw him off – yeah, it’s a lot like that.) We all had words – we couldn’t use those right out of the gate, and what I learned was my strength was to wait for the right time.  I knew when to make those twists and I have been told that I never looked like I was that “fierce” of a debater.  Many of them ignored the pant suit clad, glasses wearing nerdy looking girl who was sitting at her desk, prepping. By being surprising, I knew I had an edge. 

Here I like to keep the element of surprise in how I do things. I’m dealing in another world where everyone has the same words, and it’s just going to take something to flip it around. I always liked being that something.

My Team 

Before rounds, there were piles of college students with laptops and books (yes books) looking up information regarding various topics. Those who were seasoned debaters were with the novice kids, teaching them how to prep fast and go into what could be their first ever round to compete. Our team never had any drama and we always had a great time on tournaments. There was always something to celebrate, even if we didn’t break out into out rounds, we were proud of the work we had done that day. 

Now, in the working world, I feel like our team does the same thing. If I have a question, there are a number of people I can ask, and if there’s something I can’t fully explain, someone will teach me how to explain it. And when that doesn’t work, I can transfer the customer to speak to the person who handles the question. Not only will the customer be happy, but he will also come out and show me what he sent to the customer, so I can understand it better, should the issue ever arise again. 

That’s back up right there. For me, that’s the strongest part of any company – your people know their strengths, and the higher ups are willing to get involved in order to have our backs. So now I ask you – are you putting your own strengths and teams to work to get the best out of them and the best out of business?

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AccuConference | Management Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

Management Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

You're climbing the corporate ladder. You've just landed your dream job or maybe you've been tagged for that management position you've been angling for. You're anxious to impress your boss with your leadership capabilities and earn your colleagues' respect. This is the opportunity that could send your career skyrocketing!

So what's the catch? Many new managers make the mistake of assuming that their previous work habits will continue to gain them success in their new position. It's a common mistake says Michael Watkins, a former Harvard Business School professor and author of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders At All Levels. In fact, though managers come from different backgrounds and possess different characteristics, they often make the same common mistakes.

Top 10 Management Mistakes

  1. Rigid policies. While policies need to be followed, some flexibility must be afforded employees and customers, particularly in small companies. Before you act, weigh the importance of the policy against the good will of a loyal customer or employee.
  2. Lack of communication. Communication is the key to being a good manager. Employees need to know what is expected of them and when projects or tasks are due.
  3. Failing to listen. A good manager listens to what his employees have to say and hears the needs and concerns behind the words.
  4. My way or the highway. A good manager doesn't try to solve every problem or pretend he has every answer. He knows when to seek help and realizes that there's more than one way to accomplish a task.
  5. The half empty glass. Don't always focus on what went wrong. Recognizing achievements and employee accomplishments builds morale and creates a positive work environment.
  6. The buck stops here. As a manager, you can't delegate blame. If you're in charge, you're responsible for the actions of the employees you manage.
  7. Favoritism. Showing favoritism is a fast track to poor morale. You lose credibility and the respect of your team when you play favorites.
  8. Just do it. You can't expect your team to blindly plow ahead if they don't understand the project. Take time to explain the project and how it fits into the larger plan. A team that is invested in a project will work harder and produce better results.
  9. Too much technology. Don't hide behind emails. You must embrace and practice your people skills too.
  10. Never change. In the rapidly changing business environment, you must be open to change. There is a place for tried-and-true methods, but there must also be room for new ideas and practices. Be flexible.
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