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Ask Anna: Life Choice Q & A

It’s a Thursday in May – which means Life Choice Radio listeners Q & A. I am loving this series and offering leadership and career advice to these awesome folks! So here goes…

Question 1: Ms. Anna, how do I organize my work and all of the projects my supervisor assign to me? Linda

Great question, Linda! Organizing and prioritizing comes more natural to some of us than others. I fall in the not so organized by default category… So, here are some of the things that have worked for me and also some of the tools that I have used to keep myself on track.

If these projects are coming from your boss, you need to ask him or her what the priorities are in order of importance and ask for specific deadlines. This will help you organize and plan your time out accordingly. Once you know what is coming up, spending time to map out your week/day by moving backwards from when it is due and how long it will take you should help you organize your time better.

Since things inevitable come up – you or your kid gets sick, a car breaks down, an emergency project pops up…you know, life happens, go ahead and built in some cushion time within your schedule. To create this schedule you can use a regular online calendar like Outlook or Google, or a paper calendar and there are some apps that have more advanced project management and timeline features. Your company may even have this software available already.

If new things are coming at you constantly from you boss while you haven’t finished the last item they asked for, this is where you need to remind them of what you have on your plate, where you are on that project and ask if this is more important so you can prioritize it and reorganize your schedule.

If you tend to be a person who has trouble focusing, there are some online tools to help you and some internal rules you can set up for yourself to keep on track. For example, only checking email at certain times per day – usually emails can wait to be answered at set intervals and don’t need to be constantly interrupting your work flow, stealing 5 and 10 minutes all day long. Also, start on your most important task first thing in the morning and work on it and nothing else for the first hour of the day. You will feel soooo much more accomplished by doing this one thing!

If a wandering attention span is something you struggle with, you may set a timer, like the 30/30 app to time yourself to do just that one thing in that timeframe. There are also websites like rescue time that you can set up that will block you from certain websites for a specified amount of time to reduce distractions *cough* facebook *cough*…

Basically, get clear on how long things will take, allow for some wiggle room, schedule EVERYTHING out and make sure you and your boss are on the same page with what you have to complete and in what order!

Question 2: How often should I update my resume? Should I have a bio too? Jeff

Hi Jeff, I’m glad you are thinking ahead about how you show up ‘on paper’ to potential employers and the best way to promote yourself.

I believe you should update your resume once a year unless you are actively looking for a job, then do it before you begin applying. But for regular updates I think once a year is a good time for adding any new accomplishments, promotions, new skills and knowledge.

Resumes used to be about what jobs you had and what you did in those jobs. However, now I believe employers are looking for people to highlight accomplishments, overall contributions and skills they bring to the table that will benefit their organization. When talking about past experience it is all in the phrasing. You can say something like I analyzed current processes and made recommendations for improvements OR I led the team responsible for reducing overhead costs by 15% in one year and increased revenue by 10% for a total 25% increase through processes improvement initiatives.

Now about the bio – I say definitely create a bio and I recommend having it on your LinkedIn profile in the summary section. Everyone is online now and you should be too if you are not already. LinkedIn is the place professionals go to do their research on candidates, so make sure you profile is filled out completely and that you have a professional looking profile pic (no selfies or group photos or me and my dog hiking) listed all your previous experience, education, awards, certifications and have a few recommendations on there.

Good luck on the job hunting, Jeff!

These were some great questions and I hope they were helpful to others as well as Linda and Jeff. You can tune in tonight at 7pm CST on www.lifechoiceradio.com to hear my on air discussion about how to get promoted and make more money in response to Kim’s question.

Life Choice Radio Leadership Q & A

Today on the blog I am answering two questions from the listeners over at Life Choice Radio! I am happy to be able to add value to this audience and help them on their leadership growth journey. Every Thursday in May, I will be answering one question live on the show and a few on the blog. Please write in your questions to anna@annamarieolson.com and tune in tonight at 7pm for the live segment on www.lifechoiceradio.com.

Question #1

From Ishea – She just received a promotion and she has to supervise people she used to hang out with. What should be her first step when she starts? 

Great question, Ishea, and one that I hear a lot! First of all, congratulations on your promotion!! Whoop whoop!

And to answer your question, it will be awkward at first. It just will. Once you transition to the supervisor of people who you used to be at the same level with, things will change. But the secret to making it go better is to acknowledge the awkward. Just lay it out there and say I know this is going to be a transition, but I am here to support you and lead you the best I can and I value you as my team and want to make this transition as easy as I can for all of us.

I suggest spending some time in the beginning with your team as the new leader establishing the expectations, setting boundaries. If you had a BFF on the team before, be super aware that you don’t show them preferential treatment and if you’re still friends outside of work, keep that relationship out of the office as much as possible.

I also recommend having regular meetings with them as a group and one on one to keep up with what their needs are, struggles, lack of resources, concerns and issues. As the leader it is our job to serve our team in order for them to become the best at what they do! When you approach it with that mindset, I think your team will embrace you as their leader.

Question #2

From Savana – How can I show my new supervisor I am trust worthy and a leader?

Hi Savanna, I really believe that one of the best ways to show that you are a leader is to add value to other people. Leadership is all about influence, so if you can find ways to positively influence and impact the people on your team, your customers or clients and even those who are leading you, then you will definitely stand out as a leader!

Showing signs of initiative and going the extra mile at work, asking for more responsibility, helping others, and engaging with your boss and seeking out information on the bigger picture of the organization as a whole are ways to show you are a leader and go getter. Leaders are learners. If you want to be a good leader, always be learning, improving yourself and growing personally and professionally.

You’re not doing this just for your organization, you’re doing this for you! To advance as a leader in all areas of your life, to add value to people all around you, to create better experiences for yourself and others. To gain additional skills and knowledge.

And the last thing I will say on showing your boss you are trustworthy…Do what you say you will do!! Keep your commitments. If for some reason you cannot meet a deadline, make it in on time or complete a task, let your leader know as soon as you know. Finding out after the fact is more disappointing and looks like you are not dependable. Be someone they can count on to be impeccable with your word. Be authentic, transparent and honest.

Best of luck to Ishea and Savanna as you grow yourselves in your leadership capacity. I look forward to hearing about your future successes!

On the live radio show tonight, I am answering the question from Matt: I am having trouble leading my team who are complainers and low performers. What do you suggest? Tune in at 7pm CST on www.lifechoiceradio.com to hear my response to Matt.

Update: here is the recording from the radio show on 5-14-2015

To your success!


Law of Empowerment

Today’s video is about the Law of Empowerment which says that only a secure leader gives power to others. Most people don’t like being micromanaged, and if you’re doing that to the people on your team, please stop! If you feel like you have to because otherwise they won’t do their work, then you might need to re-evaluate their place in the organization.

As the leader it’s your job to hire really well, get the right people on the bus, provide the vision, training, resources and support and then let them do their thing!

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Law of the Inner Circle

Law #11 of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is the Law of the Inner Circle. This law says that a leader’s potential is determined by who they keep close to them. So who do you have in your inner circle on your team in business? Do they belong there? Are they adding value? Do they bring skills, perspective, wisdom to the table that you don’t have? What about your inner circle in your personal life? Are you surrounding yourself with people who lift you up or pull you down?
Choose your inner circle wisely! I’ve learned a LOT of lessons in this department and still am. It doesn’t make you mean to be selective about who you allow in your inner circle, you can still be kind to people without sharing all of the intimate details of your life and business, listening to everyone’s advice. My lovely stylist of 18 years has had this quote in his salon forever: “Love all, trust few.” It’s a journey, ya’ll…



The Law of Connection

I recorded this video on Good Friday which was quite fitting for the  video on the Law of Connection. I can’t think of a better leader than Jesus Christ, who was masterful at connecting with people, he loved and valued people so much that he was willing to be tortured and die on a cross for us!

That, to me, was the utmost act of servant leadership. He did not discriminate against who He loved and served and died for, He just did it.

In this video I talk about how he practiced the Law of Connection in his time here on earth. I’m not here to preach or push a doctrine on anyone. But I do believe the lessons he lived and taught are applicable to us still today, especially when it comes to loving and serving people by connecting with them.

As a lover of Jesus, acceptance, love and equality, I really kind of agree with Ghandi…“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” As Christians we must do better to actually live up to the name we claim. (Here’s a hint, I don’t think being Christlike involves discrimination laws veiled as religious freedom as Indiana and my home state of Arkansas are passing.)

Oops, I just got kinda political on here too. If you comment, you don’t have to agree with me, but play nice with each other please!

The Law of Magnetism

Remember when your momma told you that you are who you hang with? Well, turns out she was right! Today’s video is on law # 9 from the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, the Law of Magnetism.

It says that who you are is who you attract. Getting more intentional about what kind of person you want to be, what your values are, what your goals are, and how you want to behave will help you seek out and attract people who are like minded.

So, who do you want to be?

The Law of Intuition

Today’s video is about the Law of Intuition. This is a tricky one as some of us have a strong sense of intuition more naturally than others. But the good news is you can develop it.

You can develop your intuition in how you use the facts, context and the feeling you have in your gut and your own core values to make good decisions. Over time and with practice, you can begin to make the best decisions for you much easier and more quickly.

Slowing down, getting still, meditating and listening within is a good practice to help you make solid decisions. “If prayer is us talking to God, intuition is God talking to us.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

The Law of Respect

R~E~S~P~E~C~T find out what it means to me… Todays video on our 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership series is on the Law of Respect. This law says that people will naturally respect and follow someone who has a higher leadership capability than them.

So how can you gain respect? Here’s a hint, you can’t demand it! People have to willingly respect you. I give some tips in the video and talk about the most respected man I’ve ever met, my dad! He was an amazing leader in all areas of his life and I hope I can be like him when I grow up.


The Law of Solid Ground

Happy Monday, friends! I love not dreading Mondays anymore because I love my life and my work. Today on our 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership series of videos, I’m talking about law #6, The Law of Solid Ground. This law is all about trust. It says that character makes trust possible and trust makes leadership possible.

Building trust as a leader is crucial to be able to lead others well. There are a few resources that I like to use for team building and building trust that I’d like to recommend.

The first is the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. In Pat’s book he tell a fictional fable about a new leader coming into a company and overcoming these five dysfunctions in order to build a solid team. I love the simplicity and practicality of these concepts. That being said, while the concepts are simple, implementing them is not that easy.

I also encourage people to read The Speed of Trust by Steven Covey. It is a great book fully devoted to how to build trust.

And finally, Bréne Brown’s TED talk about vulnerability is one that I recommend and I watch over and over because it is something I constantly need to work on. Getting vulnerable and open and authentic with others is how we can really build trust. I also recommend her book Daring Greatly which was written after such overwhelming response to her TED talk.

So, here’s my video on the Law of Solid Ground. I’d love to know what you think in the comments! How do you build and maintain trust?

If you’re interested in creating a more cohesive team and working on building trust as a leader, I’d love to talk with you about my small group retreats for corporate teams and one on one coaching/mentoring to help you navigate your relationships as a leader more effectively. Just shoot me an email at anna@annamarieolson.com.

The Law of Addition

Today’s video is all about the Law of Addition. This says that the bottom line in leadership is not about how far we advance ourselves, but how far we advance others. This law is all about adding value and serving people.

There is no one I know who does this better than my mother! I am so grateful to have her as an example of how to love and serve. She continues to amaze me at how she is always looking for ways to help and be of service. She stays late and cleans up after every single party she ever attends. She cooks lunch for the volunteers at her work, even on her days off! She literally has given away the clothes and jewelry she is wearing if someone compliments them, even the check out girls at the grocery store. And the way she supports and loves and serves us kids is just humbling. 

Here is an activity for you to use to help you get more intentional about adding value to the people in your life:

  • Name 5 people in your personal life closest to you.
  • Next to each name, write 3 ways you show them you care. If you can’t write 3 ways you already show them you care daily, come up with 3 ways you are willing to do so.
  • Now, name 5 people in your business life that you lead. (You don’t have to be the direct supervisor, but people you interact with and influence daily.)
  • Next to each name, write 3 ways that you display actions every day of caring, sharing and lifting. Again, if you don’t already, how can you?
  • Now, ask yourself – are you willing to do this without recognition? Adding value to others is about them and not you. You are not giving to receive, but giving to add value, so even if no one notices, will you still do it?

My video here goes into more detail about this law: