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Archive for April, 2013
Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

On Thursday, April 25, 2013, millions of workplaces, employees, parents and children will celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day program. Take our Daughters and Sons to Work encourages girls and boys across the country to think imaginatively about their family, work and community lives.  This program connects what children learn at school with the actual working world.   Ultimately, the program helps girls and boys discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life.

The theme for this year’s event is “Work in Progress”.  Designed to be more than a career day, the Take our Daughters and Sons to Work program goes beyond the practice of “shadowing” an adult.  Exposing girls and boys to what a parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important.  However, the program also shows children the value of their education, gives them an opportunity to share how they envision the future, and allows them to take steps toward their future goal.

How can you make the most of this year’s event?  Here are some tips.

  • Find out if your workplace is hosting a special program for Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.  If so, take advantage of it.
  • Invite your daughter and/or son to participate.
  • Download the Activity Guide from the Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation website.  The activities help your children envision their future work and home lives.
  • Allow your daughter/son to “shadow” you on the job.  Get her/him involved in age-appropriate tasks to assist you on the job – for example, making photocopies, assembling print materials, etc.
  • If your daughter/son is interested in a career other than yours, connect them with someone in their field of interest to arrange a job shadow.

For more information on Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, visit www.daughtersandsonstowork.org.

 
3 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Business success extends beyond having extraordinary ambition and drive for success. For an individual to exceed expectations and accomplish goals, he or she must not only act as a manager but as a leader. A leader possesses characteristics that inspires others and creates an environment of innovation, respect and openness.

Evaluate your leadership characteristics to see if you possess the following traits:

Creativity

A leader that possesses creative ideals positively influences a team and encourages individuals to think freely outside of their comfort zone. Whether a workflow process needs to be updated for efficiency or a newly developed product needs an innovative design, creativity is at the core of achieving goals. Creativity is a step toward innovation and innovation leads to market breakthroughs, which equates to success.

Author Ed Young of “The Creative Leader: Unleashing the Power of Your Creative Potential” explains that even in religious environments, leaders with a focus on creativity generate flowing ideas, avoid burnout, overcome obstacles and keep audiences engaged. Pastor Young also points out that humility and the ability to admit error also define creative leadership.

Forbes.com contributor Doug Guthrie, Dean of the George Washington University School of Business, explains that to be a leader of a successful organization, embracing humility, recognizing failure and exemplifying modesty prompts authenticity and opportunity. Self-aware creative leaders who welcome outside input can be more open minded, inspirational and empowering.

Integrity

A successful leader is respected by his or her colleagues. Integrity is essential for acquiring self-respect and respect from your employees. With mutual esteem between a leader and his team, the organization has a solid foundation for achieving goals and reaching success. Booher Consultants CEO Dianna Booher tells CNN.com that to act with integrity, tell the truth and practice the principles you preach. People want to work hard for someone who’s genuine and sincere.

Leadership blog Changing Winds offers the following ways that individuals can lead with integrity:

  • Be consistent with your words, actions and ideals
  • Avoid cynicism and negativity
  • Embrace ongoing personal growth and change
  • Seek and be receptive to outside perspectives and ideas
  • Admit mistakes and take responsibility as an individual
  • Celebrate achievements as a team
  • Approach situations and people with empathy

Commitment & Follow-Through

Employees and advocates trust leaders who are committed and follow through. A superior leader will keep their word and fulfill promises. For example, Booher says that if you tell a colleague that you’ll introduce them to a potential new client, make the introduction. Did you tell someone that you’d be a reference? Then make sure you provide your contact information or write a letter of recommendation. Being a leader of his or her word and following through on projects, assignments and tasks solidifies your credibility as a leader and imparts trust in your professional relationships.

Also, make a commitment to your employees. Take time to create a positive and non-hostile working environment and go above and beyond to ensure that your employees are happy in their roles and with company objectives.

 
How to Finally Manage the Mail Pile

Are you tired of looking at the stack of mail that’s piled high on your kitchen counter?  Then when you need to locate a piece of paper, it takes undue time sorting through the pile to find it.  Or worse yet, you can’t find it at all!  If you don’t have a system at home for managing paper, this is the result.

Here are tips to help you whittle down your mail pile to nothing.  By following the FAT system, you can sort through your mail in short order.  Use the FAT system to either File, Act on, or Toss mail.

File – When sorting mail, if you come across anything you need to reference later, file it.  I use hanging file folders in a bin in the kitchen where I sort my mail.  I have file folders labeled To Do, Pending, To File, and To Read.  In addition, I have file folders for coupons that I want to save, my kids’ school (notices, calendars, etc.), and church (directory, upcoming events, etc.).

Act – If I come across anything that will take me three minutes or less, then I’ll take action immediately.  For example, a short notice that needs my signature.  Also, be sure to put meetings, appointments or other important dates on your calendar.  If it’s something that will take longer than three minutes, and I need to address it later, then I put it in my To Do file.  I address things in my To Do file on a weekly basis.

Toss – Immediately toss junk mail or catalogs (that you don’t read) into the wastebasket.  In fact, when I sort my mail, I sort it over the wastebasket!  I get more junk mail than you can imagine.

You can use the same technique for emptying out school backpacks.  My kids brought home papers from school on a daily basis.  Once school calendars came home, I’d put important dates on my calendar, and then file the school calendar in the School file.  If I needed to review school notices, sign and return them to school, I’d put it in my To Do file to complete when I had time.  When the kids brought their school work home, we’d review it together, and then I’d decide which papers or artwork would be displayed on the refrigerator, which were to be saved in the kids’ school file, and then tossed the rest.

By following the FAT system, you can easily manage paper at home, and be rid of the mail pile once and for all!