Your Career Retainer is a monthly career column written for Drexel alumni by Chris Bilotta '77, '84. Chris is co-owner of the Resource Development Company, Inc., is a Certified Public Accountant, and is recognized as a Certified Professional Résumé Writer.
Alumni are encouraged to send comments, questions or suggestions for future column topics to email@example.com.
Leaders spend a lot of time honing their style and ensuring their teams are motivated to work with them. While there are countless resources to improve on the various attributes you utilize both in and out of the office, you also need to pay attention to the pitfalls that may undermine your effectiveness. Josh Linkner, the CEO/managing partner of Detroit Venture Partners and a regular contributor to Inc. Magazine and Forbes offers 8 things to avoid.
This goes beyond straightforward lying, which should be a fairly obvious point. You can lose all-important team members' trust by not doing what you say. Don't make promises you can't keep – big or small.
Be selfish instead of a servant leader.
You must elevate your team and celebrate each person's victories, not your own. Put employees' needs before your own and do everything in your power to help them help themselves.
Lack focus and flip-flop on priorities.
Your mission should be simple and straightforward for your team to follow and accomplish. If you're not clear on goals and a clear-cut, prioritized path to complete them, how should you expect anyone to achieve anything?
Be user "unfriendly."
If you're not accessible or kindhearted, or if people have to jump through hoops to reach you for a brief moment, it's inevitable that you'll leave a bad taste with someone. When you're a user-friendly leader, you'll constantly surprise people and leave them with a positive impression.
Deal in fantasy instead of science.
You need to have vision and an end goal in sight. However, vision requires execution to make it a reality. You need to track progress obsessively with metrics, so you're able to make real-time adjustments and course changes.
Lack passion and creativity.
If you expect your team members to be inspired about what you've set out to achieve, you need to be passionate. If you want your team members to think outside the box, don't just color inside the lines. If you're ho-hum, your team will generate equally ho-hum results. Allow them to unleash their own creativity by setting yours free.
Play checkers instead of chess.
As a leader, you need to think a few moves down the board, just like a chess player. Help your team members decipher a sales strategy or what the board of directors will say at the next proposal. Continuously drive the group forward and do so yourself – otherwise you're just playing checkers, which you probably can do in your sleep.
Act as if it's just about what you say.
This is the easiest method of all in a downward spiral toward undermining yourself. This is a trap – by phrasing things nicely you might think it's enough. However, in reality, it's really about how you make other people feel. In ten years nobody will remember what you said day to day, but rather the overall impression you left on someone.
What will you do today, this week, or this month to make sure you avoid these pitfalls? What leadership legacy are you preparing to leave?
Christopher Bilotta '77, '84, has extensive experience in talent acquisition and management, recruiting, human resources, finance, accounting and systems. His specific expertise lies in providing customized retained search services to corporate clients and career management, coaching and job search assistance to individuals. Chris is a sought after advisor and mentor dedicated to building high performance organizations and helping people realize their professional goals.
He joined Resource Development Company, Inc. (RDC), a privately held Human Resource consulting firm in 1994 and became a co-owner in 2001. He directed and managed the firm’s retained search practice and helped establish the company as one of the top 20 recruiting firms in the Philadelphia area as ranked by the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists.
Chris’ educational background includes a BS in Business Administration with a major in Accounting and MBA from Drexel University. He is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant and recognized as a Certified Professional Résumé Writer.
He has also been a member of Drexel’s LeBow College of Business MBA Career Services Advisory Council since its inception in 2004 and was named the Chair in 2006. In addition, Chris serves on the Board of Trustees for Saint Basil Academy, a Philadelphia area private high school and is a member on the Board of Advisors for two early-stage companies involved in college athletic recruiting and Web site development.
For more of Chris' columns on leadership and management, visit www.rdcinc.com/RDCRetainer.asp. For his columns on job searching, online branding and other topics, visit www.jobmetrx.com/blog/blog.asp.
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