Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

" There's a case for humility in high places"/ "Seven career building tips for new graduates"

Jun. 2, 2017 "There’s a case for humility in high places": Today I found this article by Guy Dixon in the Globe and Mail:


Humble leaders are best able to assess the strengths, weaknesses and contributions of the people around them, UBC professor finds

When we think about our bosses, we tend to be hypocrites.

Just as we want bosses to be humble and to be like us, we typically view ample humility in business leaders as a negative. Bosses who like the sound of their own voice turn us off (and those pushing aside Montenegrin leaders during photo ops do little to impress). But those prone to second-guessing and deference, somehow don’t seem to us as being boss material.

Yet, Michael Daniels, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business and a specialist in organizational behaviour, says that research shows the opposite: Humility is just as important in bosses as it is in friends and family, partners and parents and, yes, even politicians.

He points to certain leaders in business history widely seen as pillars of consistency and performance, and humility. Of course, they aren’t very well known to the general public.
Darwin Smith turned Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Kleenex, into a consumer-products leader. Colman Mockler did the same at Gillette. There’s even the argument that Steve Jobs had to take on some uncharacteristic humility, at least publicly, later in his career, while introducing iPods and iPhones to the world.

And then there’s Sunny Verghese, co-founder and chief executive of international agribusiness conglomerate Olam, based in Singapore. In a meeting, Mr. Verghese once asked staff to rate their recent performance. “And famously, when he got to himself, he graded himself a D,” Dr. Daniels recounted.

In studying business behaviour, most of Dr. Daniels’s research concerns leaders, “because that’s where humility seems to be needed the most, and where it’s most saliently missing,” he said. “In effect, most of my research ends up revolving around having humble leaders versus, well, whatever the opposite of that is, egotistical, prideful leaders.”

The problem is that humility at work is often seen as a lack of confidence. Yet, figures show the reverse is true.

This may be because humility, even when effective, is misunderstood. It isn’t necessarily about withdrawing or self-questioning, but about having “an accurate sense of who you are and your place in the world relative to others,” Dr. Daniels said. Researchers tend to view that as a defining characteristic.

Another is an awareness of the strengths and contribution of others.

“For example, if you win an award, or some new sales data comes out, and you had a really great quarter, rather than basking in the limelight and accepting all the praise, you pass that on to other people who were maybe a little more behind the scenes,” Dr. Daniels said.

This isn’t just about thanking people and copping humility at the awards podium. For truly humble leaders, it’s an ingrained work method. “They are able to pick out who is really capable in their team and capable in what. They have a really good idea of other people’s strengths. Whereas people who are really low on humility, they don’t really have a clue about the people around them and their strengths and abilities,” Dr. Daniels said.

Finally, there is a third characteristic referred to as teachability: How open is the leader to feedback, and does he or she use it to self-assess and improve?

A common approach is to interview middle managers and have them assess their higher-up bosses, yet who have mid-level leadership experience themselves. This avoids the obvious problem of directly asking a leader to self-report their own humility. Imagine the answer: How humble are you? Very.

“You don’t know how to take that. They are kind of bragging about their own humility. Somebody who is truly humble may actually say, I’m moderately humble, but I have some room to grow in that area,” Dr. Daniels said.

Yet, let’s also state the obvious. No one is perfectly humble, nor perfectly arrogant. Humility isn’t an absolute trait, but a muscle within us all, Dr. Daniels said. We can use and develop it, or allow it to atrophy.

Dr. Daniels became interested in the topic when doing postdoctoral work in Singapore, “and there was more of this discussion of humility that’s grounded in Buddhism and Confucian values. So there is a historical, philosophical approach to humility there,” he said.

Although applying tenets of humility to one’s business life of course exists in the West, “it seems to me there’s more of a push for it there in Asia,” he said.

Part of that may have to do with what’s known as power distance. In institutions perceived as highly hierarchical, the distance is large between worker and executives in power, whereas in the West, there’s at least the veneer that hierarchies these days are (or should be) flatter.

When leaders in a setting with rigid hierarchy, or power distance, act more humbly, it has a dramatic effect.

“It’s less expected. You expect your leaders to be at a higher level. They don’t need to be humble and ask for your feedback and opinion. And so when they do, there’s a much stronger effect,” Dr. Daniels said. In environments with a flatter hierarchy and lower power distance, humility in a leader doesn’t seem so extraordinary.

Yet what of false humility? There’s not a lot of research on that so far, but Dr. Daniels has a hunch. False humility likely gets exposed in the end, given the amount of energy the leader has to put into constructing a modest front. Instead, humility has to match competency.

“If you’re not a capable leader, or people are skeptical, what they want to see is that at least you’re humble, and at least willing to grow and develop. Maybe you’ll develop that capability later. But somebody who is really arrogant and incapable, we think they’re a lost cause.”



"Seven career building tips for new graduates": Today I found this article by Derek Ting in the Globe and Mail:

Derek Ting is co-founder and CEO of TextNow, a mobile phone service with more than 10 million monthly active users.

You’re graduating. Well done. So now what?

Finding a job is probably top of mind, and as you join the throng of graduates looking for that perfect balance of high pay and meaningful work, try not to sweat the long-term.

Instead, focus on the here and now.

And whether you’re thinking of going corporate, joining a startup or starting something on your own, these seven secrets will help set you on the right path.

Don’t over-invest in what may not be the right fit

The Lean Startup principle can work for you too. The Lean Startup principle suggests startups should spend as little time as possible validating what the customer wants and not over-invest in an idea that may not work. In this case, that’s you – you’re the customer.

Think about what you want to validate in terms of fit at a given opportunity. If something doesn’t feel like the right fit, pivot to something else. Don’t invest further when a situation isn’t the right fit for you.

Network

It is important to start building your network early, both professionally and personally. It doesn’t matter if it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, make connections with people and remember the old (but true) saying: it’s not just what you know, but also who you know.

Networking and connections have always mattered, but in a global world fierce with competition, they matter more than ever. Shamelessly tap into your network and see where it leads you.

Always learn

You have learned a lot already, but you have not learned everything. The most successful people know what they don’t know and always continue learning. Just because you’ve finished school doesn’t mean the learning ends. It’s a forever thing.

Use every opportunity and every job you have to learn something new or how to do something better.

Love what you do

A job should never be a means to an end. You should always love what you do, and what you do should always lead you to something else more interesting. That matters more than anything, because if you enjoy what you do, then it no longer is work.

Find what you’re passionate about doing and learning. It makes getting up Monday-to-Friday a lot easier.

Find your perfect fit

Not all companies are created equal. Different companies have different cultures, missions, size, teams, and products. Think about what kind of culture, mission, team and product you want to be part of.

(”You" is key here. Remember lesson 1: You’re the customer). If the company culture isn’t the right fit for you, you’re not going to last. Pick a company where the culture, mission and team are a perfect fit.

Find the diamond in the rough

Most people only submit their resumés to the most well-known companies like Google and Facebook. However, the best opportunities lie in companies you have never heard of. The best way to learn is to join a small company where you can do a range of different things and where there’s room to grow.

Look for a company that empowers you to not just do your job but grow into a new one by allowing you to increase your responsibilities and expand your opportunities.

Many doors will shut before one opens

You’ll hear no and no thanks, and you’ll fall, and you’ll fail. That’s okay. Don’t get discouraged. It takes quite a few nos to get a yes. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback when someone says no. Think of those times as opportunities to learn. Then take those lessons to improve your next attempt. You’ll win. You’ll see.

TextNow a mobile phone services with more than 10-million users and I found success by following these principles, and I am sure you will find success as well if you enjoy what you’re doing and you believe in yourself.

Perseverance, grit, determination and commitment are critical. And whether you’re seeking a job or building a company, remember you have to create or find a mission that makes you feel passionate about your work and a company that cares about its culture and about encouraging you to learn and grow. When you’re feeling valued, you’ll do valuable work.

Executives, educators and human resources experts contribute to the ongoing Leadership Lab series.




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