The Surprising Secret to Interview Success—Just Be Yourself

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You put on that freshly-pressed outfit that you hardly ever wear, run through your answers to some commonly asked interview questions, and practice your friendly—yet professional—smile in the bathroom mirror. You have a job interview this afternoon, and you’re determined to knock it out of the park.

Preparing for an interview can often feel like getting ready for a theatre performance. It’s tempting to transform yourself into the person that you think the hiring manager wants you to be—whether that persona actually fits with yours or not.

Yes, you want the job—and ultimately there’s nothing wrong with adding a little polish in the attempt to impress the hiring manager. You should absolutely showcase your best self in a job interview. But, while it’s easy to think that best is the operative word in that sentence, you might want to place a little more emphasis on another: self.

Why Authenticity Matters

First things first, it’s important to recognize that “being yourself” doesn’t equate to showing up 10 minutes late and admitting that you didn’t have time to shower because you overslept. Remember, there’s a big difference between authentic and just plain unprofessional. But you shouldn’t feel overwhelming pressure to play a role.

There’s one big thing that both you and the employer are looking for during this process: a mutual fit. And, there’s no point in faking your way through a job interview only to land in a role that isn’t suited to your interests, skills, or passions. You’ll end up disappointed, and so will the company that hired you.

Being honest and letting snippets of your personality shine through—whether it’s a funny remark added to your “What’s your greatest strength” spiel or a genuine assessment of what you’re looking for in your next role—will allow both you and the employer to discern whether or not you’d make a decent match. Your authenticity will give you the opportunity to find a company and a position that falls in line with your values and goals, and vice versa.

Another reason that being up front is crucial? Put simply, the truth comes out eventually. So, if you paste on a smile and put on a show in the interest of just scoring an offer letter, you’re bound to be found out sooner rather than later.

How to Be Yourself in an Interview

You understand the importance of being yourself. But, you’re not quite sure where the line is—how personable can you be, without crossing over into unprofessional territory?

The first key is to avoid over-preparing. If you’re ready to go with dozens of canned responses in your head, you’ll run the risk of reciting them like a robot. While it’s a good idea to have a general idea of how you’d answer specific questions, there’s no need to memorize a script. Give yourself some flexibility so you can follow the flow of the conversation.

Secondly, when answering the hiring manager’s questions, work in personal anecdotes wherever possible. Whether you can mention a cause you volunteer for or even tie in a memory from your recent trip to Thailand, those little additions can reveal a lot about who you are and what you’re passionate about—without sounding like you’re blabbering about irrelevant personal factoids.

Finally, feel free to make small talk. Chat with the receptionist about the weather or strike up a friendly conversation with your interviewer while you stroll to the conference room. These sorts of pleasantries might seem insignificant, but they’re actually a great opportunity to establish rapport and loosen up a bit.

Plus, word spreads unbelievably fast in office environments. So, establishing a reputation as the candidate who held the elevator door and offered a friendly compliment will take you further than you might think.

Job interviews are nerve-wracking, and your uneasy feelings are usually enough to inspire you to take on a totally different identity—one that you’re confident will land you the job.

But, remember, holding back who you are or being dishonest about what you want out of your career won’t do you any favors in your job hunt.

So, take a deep breath and remind yourself that—as anxiety-inducing as it might seem—a job interview is really just a conversation. And, the most engaging and memorable conversations? They happen when you’re being yourself.

 

https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-surprising-secret-to-interview-successbe-yourself

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707  or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at  connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

 

What to Do When You’re Not Seeing Results Fast Enough (and the Deadline’s Approaching)

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ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707  or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at  connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

 

How to Stay Happy at Work

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Starting a good job is a little like entering a relationship.

During the honeymoon phase, you’re intoxicated. Everyone and everything is great. But the high wears off, and what follows is either a stable, happy groove or the axe—with some murky water until you get there. Sigh.

Needless to say, in work (and in love), you probably prefer the stable, happy route. The secret? Staying engaged in your job.

Good news: If you’re willing to work at it, you can avoid the disengagement trap. Here’s how.

What Engagement Looks Like

Engaged employees are hard at work advancing their careers. Their commitment is self-evident and their forward inertia is palpable.

Above all their focus for themselves and their company is, in a word, progress.

A Harvard Business Review study found that making progress at work is the single biggest contributor to a positive “inner work life,” which refers to all the things we think and feel throughout the workday. A positive inner work life, it was found, breeds something incredibly valuable—creative productivity.

Translation: the outward signs of an engaged employee often go hand-in-hand with a fiery inside that’s deeply committed to and rewarded by work.

While it’s true that some things are out of your hands—a meddling boss; a dreary upholstered cube—you have more control over that inner flame than you know.

First, Know Thyself

Contrary to popular belief, a good, fulfilling job that makes you happy is not just a set of fortuitous circumstances you stumble into. It’s often the product of a set of core principles that empower you to weed out people and places that don’t suit you.

You should be able to cross-check any job, current or future, against a set of personal criteria. Thrive off a sense of autonomy? Don’t waste a second requesting a transfer to flee your micromanager. Like to work collaboratively? Decline the offer from that three-person company. Not sure what you value most?

Map Your Job to Your Success—and Your Company’s

It’s hard to feel good about work if you don’t know what you’re working toward. To that end, it’s helpful to put your job in perspective in two ways: where it’s taking you and where it’s taking your company. These answers are the anchor that can moor you during your this-can’t-be-my-life existential crisis on Monday morning.

So, on a personal level: If I stick around, what are my prospects? If I do well, what’s the reward? Where is this taking me?

On a company level: How does what I do contribute to the company’s success?

Employees who know their company vision and see themselves in it are often more engaged than their confused counterparts. If you’re struggling to link a project to a company’s vision, talk to your manager about where the company is going and how your role contributes to that future.

Learn the Upside of Being Challenged

If your job bores you, there’s no way you’ll be happy long term. The simplest way to avoid boredom is to switch things up by seeking new challenges and opportunities. Ask your boss for a big project to tackle, or start tinkering on the sidelines on one of your own.

If you view challenges as threatening, then it may be time to re-work your thinking. How? By adopting what’s called a growth mindset. With a growth mindset, setbacks are seen as opportunities to learn a new set of skills. Because when you’re looking to stretch yourself at work, you may make a mistake or two. Don’t let that hold you back.

The key to valuing the outcome of your next work hiccup is to remember that these mistakes don’t define you. Instead, they shape how you tackle similar problems in the future. As Carol Dweck puts it in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, “It’s not about immediate perfection, it’s about confronting challenge and making progress.”

Communicate

Forty-three percent of highly engaged employees receive feedback every week. How else do you know whether you’re tracking toward success?

Ask your boss for a weekly one-on-one, and make good use of it. Arrive with an agenda and make a point of extracting honest feedback. Speak openly and honestly about what you’re working toward and how your boss can help you get there.

Get Involved

Fact: work is not high school. Also fact: Who did the teachers love back then, the kids who lurked menacingly on the front steps after 3 PM, or the ones who stuck around for clubs, sports, band, and so forth? Yep—the latter.

Same principle applies to the workplace. Being involved is a sign of benevolence as much as ambition. Can’t go wrong.

Takeaway

Engaged isn’t something you wake up and decide to be. It’s an outlook and a set of habits cultivated with intention over time. These tips can get you started, but like any successful relationship, the one you have with work takes constant kindling.

 

 

 https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-stay-happy-at-work-we-promise-its-not-too-good-to-be-true

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707  or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at  connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

3 Science-Backed Reasons You Need to Take a 5-Minute Walk Today

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been participating in a pedometer challenge at work. My team has a lofty goal of 20,000 steps (or more) each day—per person. And while my urban location makes this challenge easier, it’s still hard sometimes. But, instead of providing reasons for why I won’t meet the goal, I make excuses to walk more instead.

When I get bored or frustrated, I take laps around the office building. Instead of binge-watching our current favorite show after dinner, my partner and I meander around the neighborhood. Some mornings, I even make my three-mile commute by foot instead of bus or bike.

I’m not saying you should do exactly what I’m doing. I really like being active and exploring my city, and my environment lends itself to these two things. I do realize that everyone and their lives are different than mine. (What? Shocking.)

What I am suggesting is that you make this physical activity a more intentional part of your day. After all, it’s almost always on the list of suggestions for what to do when you need a break.

Because even if you don’t have an office competition to motivate you, it’s really, really, good for you.

Here’s why:

1. It Gets You Thinking

A few months ago, I received a befuddling email right after I left work. I’d asked a co-worker a question, and the response I received was way different than I’d expected. I was confused and frustrated. By the time I trekked the 20 minutes from the bus stop to my apartment, though, I felt a lot better.

Over the course of those 10 blocks, I was able to untangle the mixed messages. Sure, I was still a little annoyed, but being able to think my way through it helped me realize it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d initially believed.

And it wasn’t just time that did the trick. It was the actual movement. “When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain,” explains Ferris Jabr, a science, health, and environmental journalist.

Oxygen is absolutely essential to optimum brain function, and better brain function means better thinking. So bring on the oxygen!

2. It Can Boost Creativity

In 2014, Stanford University researchers conducted a study comparing the ability to come up with ideas between walking subjects and sitting subjects. To do this, they presented each individual with the same objects and asked them to list different uses for the each one. Those who were moving produced 60% more than their inactive counterparts. 60%!

And here’s the even better news: The effects didn’t automatically stop when the active participants took a seat. “Walking markedly improved people’s ability to generate creative ideas, even [after] they sat down,” explainsGretchen Reynolds, author of The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer.

Don’t worry—if you can’t get outside for a stroll, it’s OK. The study concluded that there isn’t a huge difference between getting in activity outside or indoors. So, if taking laps around the building better suits you, follow your heart (and your feet).

3. It Can Make You Feel Better

At my previous workplace, my teammates and I dealt with a slew of frustrating situations. It quickly became our habit to get outside and vent as we looped around the block a few times.

We never really solved any of the problems—most of them were well above our pay grade—but I almost always returned to my desk feeling at least a little bit better.

“The mere act of putting one foot in front of the other for a few minutes,” explains Christian Jarrett, author of Great Myths of the Brain (Great Myths of Psychology) has a significant beneficial impact on our mood, regardless of where we do it, why we do it, or what effect we expect the walk to have.”

An Iowa State study confirms this. Researchers discovered that undergraduate students who took walking tours of campus (rather than looking at photos or watching a video) reported much higher rates of cheerfulness, energy, and confidence after the tour.

In other words, they proved Elle Woods right (not that I ever doubted her!).

It may seem easier to stay put sometimes. To power through the project in front of you and not move until you go home. But easier isn’t always better. And I’m not just saying this because a sedentary lifestyle is horrible for your health.

Increasing your step count each day can stimulate your brain to think better and be more creative, plus it can put you in a better mood. (Ugh, sounds horrible!)

So, next time you’re stumped or just feeling plain crabby, get moving. It’ll be a lot more beneficial than staying hunched over at your desk and giving your monitor the stink eye.

 

https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-sciencebacked-reasons-you-need-to-take-a-5minute-walk-today

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707  or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at  connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

3 Interview Mistakes You Probably Can’t Recover From

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Nervousness goes with interviewing like scrambled eggs goes with hash browns. You pretty much always find them together.

In other words, everyone I know—myself included—walks out of the conversation feeling a little iffy. Even if, one one level, you know you did a great job; there’s another part of you that’s questioning if you used that industry phrase correctly.

But, as the saying goes, we’re our own toughest critics. And while, reflecting and looking for areas for improvement can be worthwhile, beating yourself up over a comparatively small interview mistake is a waste of time.

I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates, and it’s true: The very best job applicants stood out, and I still remember them to this day. But, to be honest, I didn’t then (nor do I now) obsess over someone giving an answer or two that was “just OK.” I understood that it was an awkward situation, and sometimes, people needed to find their footing.

Now, with all of that said, there were also some answers that were shockingly, unforgivably bad. I like to think you already know not to say any of these things, and so, the point is for you to feel reassured that you steered clear of the memorable-for-the-wrong-reasons answers.

But if you happen to see yourself in any of the answers below, change it ASAP!

1. They Told Me They Never Got Something Wrong (Ever)

I’m a big fan of the classic: “Tell me about a time you failed.” In fact, I was most likely to ask it of very impressive candidates. That’s because if someone’s used to getting things right, I also want insight into how they’ll respond when things go wrong.

Well, to this day I still remember the person who could not think of one time—ever, in his entire life—that he’d failed. We sat there in silence, as he looked at me. I asked if, maybe he’d ever missed a deadline, taken a risk that hadn’t paid off, gotten a bad grade on a paper, missed making a sports team…anything. And his answer was no, he couldn’t think of a time he’d ever been anything but successful.

As far as my follow-up question, he’d also never once had to ask anyone for help.

Clearly, his goal was to put his best foot forward as someone who could be counted on to get things right. However, this lack of an answer is the worst response I’ve ever heard to this question.

I couldn’t move him forward in the process because one of two things was true: Either he really never had failed (in which case, who knows how he’d cope if he did in a new role), or more likely, he had at some point like everyone else, but he didn’t have the self-awareness to know or the self-confidence to know it didn’t define him.

(If you’re wondering, here’s a four-step plan to answering the question correctly.)

2. They Said Something Inappropriate

Have you ever heard the rule that you shouldn’t post anything on social media—unless you’d be OK with your boss and grandmother reading it? The same goes for interviews.

More than one candidate referred to people of a different race, gender, or background, in an offensive way or using inappropriate language, and they were all disqualified.

I think these appliants thought it would be OK, because they weren’t using the specific words that would get someone fired on the spot. But to be clear, no matter how casual the environment might be, or how comfortable you feel, do not say anything offensive or vulgar (even as a joke).

You’re signing up to represent their company, and they aren’t going to want someone who uses that language to speak for them. Plus, you run the risk of offending the person speaking to you.

3. They Acted Like They Were Better Than Everyone Else

One candidate rubbed me the wrong way, because though he was well-qualified, he was very pompous. In nearly every answer, he spoke poorly of others to lift himself up by comparison. This included other applicants as well the people he’d have been charged with helping in his role.

He acted like he had the role in the bag: not in a confident, I earned thisway; but with an You’d be an idiot not to hire me kind of arrogance. (If you struggle with this, here are great tips on looking confident, not cocky.)

I knew we’d made the right choice to pass him over when, afterwards, he came to our office demanding an explanation. He asserted: “I know for a fact I should’ve moved forward ahead of other people you chose.” This proved my point: Because he didn’t get his way, the only conclusion he could draw was that I must not be good at my job (and he wanted to tell me so). Clearly, not the kind of person people will line up to work with!

I don’t know if you’ve spotted it, but there’s one other thing all of these candidates had in common. They were all certain they were 100% in the right with their answers. So, the very fact that you’re reading an article about interview nerves and mistakes shows that you’re someone who reflects and cares.

And that right there tells me your interview went better than you think.

 

https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-interview-mistakes-you-probably-cant-recover-from

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707  or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at  connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

4 Ways Successful Leaders Encourage People to Get Stuff Done

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There’s a big difference between being in charge and being a good leader. You’ve seen the difference in others—and maybe you’ve seen it in yourself.

The bigger your dreams and goals, the more achieving them depends on you being an ever-better leader.

Here are some ways to be an effective manager who supports your team’s success (and ultimately, yours, too):

1. Use the 1/3–2/3 Rule

No one likes getting handed a project someone’s been sitting on until the last minute. The 1/3–2/3 rule states that you should give your team 2/3 of the time allotted for the project to complete it.

For example, if you have 10 working days to complete a project, you should have the rough details of the project in their hands within two working days. You can’t always do this—urgency strikes and things have to happen now—but it’s a good rule to work by.

Many leaders resist this because they want to give the full plan all at once or have all the details worked out. In reality, this is more about the leader’s lack of confidence in themselves and trust in their team.

If you have the right people on your team and you’ve done some work defining procedures and workflows, they can start the necessary preparation and planning to do the work earlier, avoiding the last minute oh craps! that lead to poor performance.

But the only way you can actually use this strategy is to…

2. Tell Them What to Do, not How to Do It

If you try to plan everything down to the minute detail, you’re wrongly allocating your time and taking time away from your team.

To be an effective leader, focus on giving your team the guidance they need, and leave it up to them to figure out how to do it. You’ve already set your vision and approved SOPs, so all they need is the critical requirements to get the job done.

An easy way to ask yourself whether you’re giving them too much information is to ask yourself if you’re telling them what to do or if you’re telling them how to do it. If you’re telling them how, either they aren’t trained for the job or you’re wasting everyone’s time.

If they don’t know how to do it, get them trained. If they already know how to do it, get out of the way and let them do it. The goal is to get your people better at doing their jobs than you are—you make the big decisions, they do what it takes to see those decisions through, including making certain types of decisions on their own.

In my experience, you help develop better, more adaptable teammates by giving them as much latitude as possible, and they often do a better job than you could have estimated if you leave them alone.

This is hard to do, however, because you have to also learn to…

3. Be Open to Their Way Being Better

You can’t do everything, and it’s not your job to. Learn to accept that people are going to do things differently than you would, and focus instead on the end result.

As long as they’re doing the job within legal, ethical, and procedural parameters, they’re getting the job done. If they go outside of those parameters, it’s your job to push them back into them.

The key thing here is for you to take note of the process. Their way may be significantly slower than your way, in which case you’ll probably want to step in and show them a more efficient technique.

Or, their way may be significantly faster than your way, in which case you’ll need to learn from them, praise them for their efforts, and make their strategy part of your organization’s standard procedures.

4. Use Their Time Wisely

People hate to have their time wasted, and as their leader, you’re responsible for ensuring that people have enough to do to justify their being away from their families and free time.

As a general rule, give them more than you think they can do—people complain more fervently about not having anything to do than having too much. There’s always stuff that isn’t being done, so don’t waste their time with made-up work, either. You can always triage tasks for them if they need it, but it’s pretty apparent when you’re just trying to find something for them just to fill time.

If you’ve set the vision for the organization and you encourage initiative, your junior leaders will start to make things happen.

You’ve probably noticed that I continually use the words “guide” and “lead” rather than stronger words like “direct.”

This is intentional: People don’t like having someone looking over their shoulders while they work and constantly telling them how to do things. It’s unproductive and generally demoralizing—they’re trained adults, and they’ll show up to do what they know how to do.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-ways-successful-leaders-encourage-people-to-get-stuff-done

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707  or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at  connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

7 Ways You Can Keep Everyone’s Spirits Up During Tough Times at the Office

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In times of stress, nurturing team culture can feel like work you don’t have time for. But I’d argue that during times of uncertainty, being intentional about it is vital—because your team culture can determine how you and your crew weather the storm. Last summer, we learned this lesson the hard way.

In August of 2016, Moz laid off roughly 28% of their staff. This was an emotional time for the folks we lost, and for those of us who remained after the dust settled. While we’d weathered challenges before, we’d never experienced anything at this scale.

Looking back on the past several months, I’ve distilled our hard-earned learnings into seven tactics anyone can use to maintain their team culture when the going gets tough.

1. Ask Yourself, “How Am I Showing Up Today?”

The attitude you choose to bring to a messy situation will affect you and the people around you, so make it count.

Asking yourself how you’re showing up is fairly easy, but doing something productive with the answer can be tricky. One of the most important lessons we learned is that it’s OK to take space to be upset. If a situation has you feeling discouraged, talk to someone you trust about it. If you’re feeling inspired, share that with your team—you might inspire them, too!

And if you bring a negative attitude to a situation, it’s likely that you’ll get nothing but negativity in return. Instead, try to see the positive, even if the positive is this can’t last forever.

2. Take Breaks

We’ve all had those moments where we’ve stared at something for so long we convince ourselves we’ll never have a creative thought or clever response again. Those feelings are signs it’s time to take a break.

Step away from what you’re working on and grab coffee or lunch with your team. Take a walk. Find a space to go offline for a while.

It might feel like you’re too busy swimming just to keep your head above water, but that’s usually a perception in our own heads. That lunch, coffee, or walk might inspire a creative solution you couldn’t see before. Even if that break just reminds you that there’s a life outside of the challenge you’re facing, take it. Encourage and support those around you to do the same.

3. Leave Space for Fun

It’s OK to acknowledge that sometimes work is hard, but it’s important to still find moments to have fun. Maybe you and your team need to work through lunch to get through a backlog. What if you moved to a conference room for a change of scenery and ordered pizza? What if you all agreed to work a little late and regardless of what you finish, end the night with a quick board game to lighten the mood?

Making time for fun can save you and your team from hating everything. It can also dramatically change your answer to the question, “How was your day?”

4. Remember Your Self-Care

Self-care, like breaks and fun, can feel like something we just don’t have time for when we’re busy, but this is when it’s most important. Self-care doesn’t have to be a whole spa day or expensive vacation. It can be reading your Kindle on your commute, binge watching Netflix, a delightfully early bedtime, knitting, a long run, or dinner with people you love.

Neglecting to care for yourself is a recipe for burnout. If you aren’t taking care of you, how do you expect to support those around you?

5. Tear Down and Rebuild Your Processes

Your team will change and evolve every day. Remember that what worked for you a year ago might not make any sense now. Even if a process used to be fantastic, don’t cling to it if it doesn’t work for your team anymore.

Instead, acknowledge that process for how it helped your team, set it to pasture, and create a new one that works for you today. Taking a little time to make a workflow more efficient now can save you some time (and energy) tomorrow.

6. Don’t Get Stuck in the Weeds

I’ve had moments in my career where I’ve been so focused on the fire that’s in front of my face, I’ve completely dismissed my long-term growth and career goals. Sure, we all have moments where we need to focus on the present rather than thinking toward the future, but make sure you don’t stay so zoomed in to the problem at hand that you don’t give enough attention to the long term.

After the layoffs, our team members became experts at giving each other tactical, day-to-day feedback, but we stopped having meaningful check-ins around career growth and development. Once we realized it, we went into high gear to write new documentation on career growth and re-invigorate our check-ins. Now even when times are hectic, we still have ways to keep the big picture in mind.

7. Have Honest Conversations, Even When They’re Hard

I get worried if I see my team make similar mistakes over and over again. Talk with your team, and ask yourselves questions like, “How did we get into this situation?” “Given what we know now, would we handle things the same way?” “What did we do well?” “What could we have done better?” “How can we avoid these pain points down the line?”

It’s OK to acknowledge that as a group you’re going into a difficult conversation. What’s important is that you stay honest in those conversations. Tell your truths, and take the time to hear others. Apply what you’ve learned the next time things get tough. Sometimes the hardest conversations build the most trust.

Last summer reminded me that it’s impossible to control most situations—all you can control is how you react, where you put your energy, and the intention you bring to your work. At the end of the day, team culture begins with you. Do your best to keep it awesome.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-ways-you-can-keep-everyones-spirits-up-during-tough-times-at-the-office

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