3 Quick Ways To Become A Great Leader

Six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and MVP five times.  If there was ever a person with natural talent, Michael Jordan was it.  From the time he was a young boy, he never stopped pushing himself. His father said, “The person Michael tries to outdo most is himself.”

You may not be slam-dunk material, but as a manager you should never stop developing yourself.  Just like some athletes, many great leaders are born with a certain amount of natural talent.  And just like those athletes, they have to expand on that talent with continuous training and, in the field of management, education.  The responsibility falls on them to move forward with drive and desire.  If you want to become a great leader, be like Mike and take the bull by the horns.  In this game called life, it’s all up to your personal motivation.  Here are three quick ways to become a great leader.

Commitment To Growth

As a manager, set goals for yourself and your company.  Once the goals are set, you can begin establishing a plan to achieve them.  Without a plan, you’re like a player who dribbles and never shoots: up, down, up, down, with no momentum moving down the court.  Your company’s success depends on the growth of you and your team, so set clear and realistic goals and objectives for both.  Set milestones, and offer incentives.  The end goal should always be your objective, but the day-to-day goals are what will show your growth and progress.

Stand By Your Word

To be a great leader, you should understand that your word is everything.  The relationship you build with your team is based on trust.  If you want to earn and keep the respect of your team, them not being able to trust you is not an option.  The quickest way to lose that trust is to go back on your word.  If you promise a reward for a project successfully completed, make sure your team gets the reward.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Ask For Feedback

As a leader, your first role is to lead…  However, that does not mean that you should never stop and ask for feedback.  Whether it is guidance from a mentor, or suggestions from your team, you should welcome feedback.  You will never grow yourself without guidance at every level.  The only place for ego in business is at the door, so check it there.  You are human, and your team will respect the fact that you are including them in your growth.

As a manager it is easy to be a boss, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and drive to be a leader.  A leader needs to set the standards, from they way they dress to the effort they put forth.  Set your goals, keep your word, and ask for feedback.  Let your team know that you are there for them, as well as with them.

How To Create A Killer Twitter Profile For Professionals

Twitter is one of the top social media platforms for news, entertainment, and advice.  There are over 200 million users, and they are sending out over 400 million tweets per day.  Twitter is one of the best platforms to represent yourself as an expert in your field and build an industry related following.  Twitter is also one of the most simplistic networks to set-up and use, so let’s get started.

Twitter Handle

Your handle is the “@” symbol followed by the name you want to go by when on Twitter.  Think ahead when selecting your handle, and keep your other social media sites in mind.  Try to use the same handle for all of your sites.  Keep it simple and easy to remember.  Use your name if it’s available.  You should think of this as your signature.

Bio

This is where you need to stop and think.  You want to write a catchy bio which tells who you are and what you do.  You can also add a bit of personal information and some humor.  However, you should be strategic when writing your bio.  Think of how you want to be thought of or what people will be searching for.  Use industry-related key words.  You only have 160 characters, so make them count.

Location

Make sure you list the closest major city and state to you (this will allow you to show up in geo-searches).

Link

Include a link to your website or blog, but do not include the “http://www.”

Profile Picture

It is extremely important to select the right photo to use as your profile picture.  Make sure you use a professional photo, and it is a good idea to use the same photo from your LinkedIn profile.  It should be a clear head shot and depict your personality.  Yes, you should smile.  This image should be 81×81 px.

Profile Header

This is one of the most important steps in creating a Twitter Profile for business.  This image should be 520×260 px.  Note that your name, handle, and bio will be placed over this photo, so make sure  you will be able to read that text.  You can add some more custom information here, but don’t over do it.  A simple tag line or a note letting visitors know where else they may find you on the web will do.

Profile Background

Twitter allows you to add a background image to your profile.  Most people don’t add a background photo.  However, if you choose not to add one, you will be missing out on some valuable real-estate.  You can add a custom background and include any important information in the side bar.  This image should be centered, under 2MB, and not under 600 px  (1252×626 is recommended).

Photos

You should tweet relevant photos to engage your following.  The most recent 6 will show up in your side bar, so post 6 photos right away.

Lists

You can organize the accounts you follow into lists.  Twitter allows you to create up to 20 different lists, and you can add up to 500 accounts to each list.  This is not only a great way to stay organized, but it’s also a great way for you to see only what you want to see (without ads) when you are browsing your feed.  You can create a list of clients, potential clients, related companies, etc.  You can also make these lists public or private.  If you make them public, other people can follow your list.

Time

You want to post when your target audience is online.  If you are looking for maximum engagement and RT’s (Re-Tweets), then post late afternoon or early evening.  Unlike other networks, it is acceptable to post the same tweets at different times of the day.  Note: Twitter moves fast, so your tweet doesn’t spend much time in the feed of your followers.

Tweets

Tweets, or Posts, are the way you get your message out.  Be strategic when it comes to the content and time of your posts.  Share breaking news, articles, and other industry related information.  Be the person whom others turn to for updates and questions.  Make sure your content is both engaging and valuable.  There are over 140 million tweets per day, so you will need to make yours stand out.

Tweet Format

There is a 140 character limit to your tweet, so you have to make every character count.  Lead off with your message, or call to action.  Next, include a shortened link to what you are referencing.  Finally, consider using one or two relevant hash tags.

#Hash Tags#

A hash tag is a way to link related information.  If you are sharing an article about social media, you may want to include the hash tag “socialmedia” (#socialmedia).  Then, anyone reading your post who would like to see more information regarding social media can simply click on the hash tag, and they will see a feed of social media related posts.  You can also use this to make a connection for company related events or products.

Respond

Make sure you monitor your communication and provide timely feedback.  Thank those who leave compliments, and respond to those who have complaints.  This is your chance to make it right, so take full advantage of it.

Engage

Show the love…  comment on posts, provide feedback, and add insight.  Re-Tweet if you feel the post adds value to your following.  If you do re-tweet, be sure to add some personal commentary.

Direct Message

If you follow a person and they follow you back, you will be able to send them a private direct message.  If there isn’t a mutual following, your messages will be as public tweets on their profile.

Now that you’ve set-up your account and have customized it to represent your brand, you can now start using it.  First things first, start following industry related people and companies.  You should follow at least 10-20 new people per day.  Once you start following other accounts, you will notice your followers building.  Follow those who engage with you.  Remember, follow mostly industry related accounts, and never purchase followers just to look popular.  Your followers will grow in time.

This is a social network, so be social.  Under your profile header, Twitter will display the number of accounts you follow and the number of accounts that follow you.  They will also display the number of tweets you have made and the number of posts you have liked.  It is important to stay active and give people a reason to follow you.  Remember Twitter moves fast, so share and share often.  Don’t be too pushy or over sell.  Actually, don’t sell much at all.  You should focus on sharing engaging content and developing meaningful relationships.

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How To Create An All-Star LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the source for more than 80% of business leads, more than all other social media platforms combined.  There is great value in creating an All-Star profile.  Over 75% of its users feel that LinkedIn has helped them research people, companies, and groups.  When creating your profile, you must be strategic.  Let’s take a look at how you can build the best one.

Smile!… For Your Picture

Your profile picture is your first impression, and gets you over ten times more views than not having one.  You want it to be eye-catching and to show your personality, yet it should be professional in appearance.  So ditch the selfie and use a photo that portrays you in a true manner.  Smile genuinely and people will be drawn to it, which will encourage them to continue reading your profile.  Your photo should be current, well cropped , and highlight your face.

What’s In a Name?

A rose by any other name… This is the time to use your given name, not a “screen name”.  Do not add keywords, key phrases, nicknames, humor, or anything else.  You might very well be a rock star, but if you were not given the name John “Rock Star” Doe, do not include it in your profile name.

Headline

By default, this is your company and your position, but make it more.  You have 120 characters to sell yourself, so use this opportunity to stand out.  Your headline needs to be catchy so people want to continue reading your profile.

Industry

When you set up your page, add an industry.  Profiles with industries get 15x more views, which converts to your business growing.

Contact Info

You must provide contact information if you expect anyone to contact you.  Yes, it is profile creating 101, but is often skipped.  In addition to the basics, add a professional email address.  BabyDaddy420@yomail.com is fine for your personal contacts, but the email associated with your profile should speak to your professionalism.  If you do not have one already, create a simple email using your first initial and your last name.  You can do this for free on Gmail or Yahoo.  Be sure to open (if you have not already) and list your professional Twitter account here.  Also include any other professional sites or blogs you may have, and customize your LinkedIn URL.

Anchor Text

LinkedIn allows you to customize your anchor text, so be sure to use keyword-rich titles.  This will make URLs easier to read, and help people find you in searches.  Making your anchor texts more engaging will lead to more click-throughs, which leads to more business.

Summary

This is the time to brag about yourself, so use the space wisely.  Deliver a great opening statement, enticing the person to continue reading.  Remember to use key words here so you come up in searches.  Your summary should be over 40 words in length; this will help you to appear in search results.  Write your summary in the first person (use the words “I” and “me”), and include any media to make yourself stand out.  You can also include your contact information here so viewers have a preferred way to reach out to you.

Experience

Obviously you list your employers here, past and present, along with your experience.  Be a bit more strategic than just listing them.  Add the company name as they have it listed in LinkedIn, so their logo appears.  This makes it look more professional, and also allows you to find coworkers more easily.  Next, add your title, but consider how it will appear to future employers.  Director Of First Impressions may be a clever title, but will people really search for that?  When adding the dates to your positions, include both the month and the year.  Feel free to add detail to your job description, especially if the position requires a special skill or certification.  Speak directly to your future employer and show them how well you meet their needs.  Finally, make yourself standout by adding rich media.

Projects

This is like an online portfolio of your work.  Add anything relevant, and include links so viewers can find more information.  And be sure to share the love by listing any team members who have contributed to the project.  This boosts them up and shows future employers you are a team player.

Honors & Awards

List any and all relevant honors or awards you received.  This is about two things: adding more credibility and having another chance at bonding with future employers who may have received the same award.  Common ground is a great way to get the attention of a potential employer.

Education

Your education gets noticed and gets you ten times more views.  Be specific and only add education that is relevant to the field you are in.  Pottery in high school was a blast, I’m sure, but unless you are planning a career in ceramics you can omit it.  List the name of your school, the way they have it listed.  Again, this will get the logo and the networking opportunities.  The credential earned and the area of focus should be listed, followed by the dates attended.  You can list the month and year, or just the year.  This is also an area to brag a little if you graduated with any special certificates or with awards.  List any activities or societies you were involved with.  You will be surprised how valuable a connection here would be.  It can create an instant bond with a potential employer who might have been a part of the same fraternity or organization.

Certificates

Here you can list any relevant certificates you may have received, including any continuing education certificates.  This is a great way to show potential employers that you are dedicated to the advancement of your career.

Skills & Endorsements

This section may not seem to be all that important, but it is.  You are ten times more likely to get viewed if you include relevant skills.  Again, you want to be strategic when selecting your skills, and rearrange the order so they appear in the most relevant way.  The most important skill should be at the top.  People are more likely to endorse your skills in the order you list them.  Endorsements will also help your search ranking.

Recommendations

You want at least 5 recommendations from current and past leadership, coworkers, and team members.  These recommendations will appear in the order they are received, and the 2 most recent will be displayed under the corresponding position.  You can ask for recommendations, but do not overdo it.  If someone is not comfortable giving you one, do not take it personally.  Many people are just not good at writing recommendations and would be worried they might do you more harm than good.

Volunteer Experience

This section can be every bit as important as the others, so take the time to fill it out.  Employers have said they view volunteer experience equal to educational experience.  Add the charity’s name as they have it listed so you get their logo and connections.  Really think through what you have done.  Even if there is not a charity name associated, you may still have volunteered.  Did you coach Little League on Saturdays?  Put it here.  Keeping a team together, being organized, developing a practice schedule… these are all applicable in terms of searching so do not sell yourself short.

Organizations

List any relevant organizations you belong to and actively participate in.  This is a great way to show your commitment to your career and another bonding opportunity.

Groups 

When joining groups, they should be relevant to your field.  You can only join 50 groups, so make them count.  This is not the site to join groups you like on a personal level so keep it professional.  Join as many groups as you can, only 16% of users have joined all 50 allowed.  When requesting to join a group, be sure to customize the message.  Do not just use the default message.

Following

Follow all relevant news channels and companies you can.  This will help you stay up to date with your industry, as well as add additional networking possibilities.

Interests 

You can add interests, activities, and hobbies to your profile.  This is another area to add keywords.  I know these are your activities and hobbies, still, you want to keep them relevant.

Publications

A great way to boost your credibility is to add relevant articles you have written.  This also allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your field.  Include a link so others can read your articles.

Posts

This is your chance to get noticed.  You should post an update a day.  LinkedIn’s news feed is not as active as some other social platforms, so one post a day is enough to keep yourself in front of your contacts.  It will take at least 20 posts a month to reach 60% of your audience.  The optimum time to post is Tuesdays between 10-11am EST, so keep this in mind when posting.  Share engaging content such as relevant news, relevant articles, relevant tips, etc.  Also note that visitors can view your previous posts, likes, and shares in your Activity, so keep it professional.

Activity

Every time you make a change to your profile, it gets broadcasted to your connections and will appear in their feed.  You can control this in your Profile Settings under Notify Your Network.  I recommend that you normally leave this on, as it keeps you in front of your contacts.  However, if you are going to be making a lot of changes, you may want to be considerate of your contact’s news feed and temporarily shut it off.  Just remember to turn it back on when you are finished with your edits.

Search

You can search for colleagues, hiring managers, jobs, and so much more.  You can use this tool to research and grow your network.  Using the advance features will allow you to be more targeted in your search.  This can be helpful when researching company pages, as well as future employers.  Use a variety of key words to bring up even more results.

In Closing…

Remember this is a community like any other, so be active.  The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.  Provide relevant engaging content, and network, network, network.  Leverage other social platforms and cross promote.  List your URL on other sites and blogs, and even print your URL on your business cards and promotional material.  You want at least 500 contacts, but you want them to be relevant contacts, those which engage with your posts and assist you in your career.  As you expand your network, be sure to keep detailed notes and update your calendar with any meetings or calls.  Stay organized and let LinkedIn work for you!

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