Category Archives: freelance

Is Your Leadership Showing?

Most members of a team know when they’re doing their work well. They often have a particular area of expertise, and they have deadlines and deliverables.

For leaders, it’s a bit different. How do you show that you’re leading? Here are five competencies that good leaders demonstrate. They are related to one another, and each is framed with a question to help you think about opportunities to display leadership.

1. Visibility – We know that leaders need to be seen by followers–from formal presentations and announcements, to a crisis, to simple “managing by walking around.” The less-obvious occasions, however, are easily overlooked. They can be lost opportunities, or powerful expressions of leadership.

As a leader, when do you feel out of your comfort zone? Maybe it’s when you have to deliver bad or unpopular news, or mediate a conflict between direct reports, or perform a necessary task that you just don’t like. One CEO client told me that he found it hard to celebrate the “small to medium wins” that his team wanted acknowledged. He considered these victories just part of doing business. His solution was to ask his executives to publicize accomplishments up to a certain level, allowing him to save his praise for the really big achievements.

Ask yourself, “How am I visible to others when I don’t want to be?” The answer is not to pretend to like being visible–far from it. Instead, ask yourself this question prior to an uncomfortable event, and use it to help you prepare. Consider some behavioral options, and put yourself in a different mental space. Then you’ll be able to be visible in a more productive, less stressful manner.

2. Preparation – Many leaders are great at preparing the logistics of leadership (the facts and figures in a plan, or the pitch for a presentation). Too many leaders, however, don’t prepare regularly for the deeper daily requirements of leadership. This is a shame, because most leaders face complex challenges, relentless claims on their time, and increasing pressures to deliver on goals over which they don’t have direct control. A bit of regular preparation goes a long way.

Just as athletic activities involve physical, mental, and emotional energies, leadership is a “whole-body practice” and requires preparation of the whole person. The next time you are running through your checklist prior to a leadership event, ask yourself, “How have I prepared my whole self for this?”

3. Comfort – This is closely related to preparation, because leadership discomfort is greatly enhanced by a lack of preparation. In order to be more comfortable as a leader and to appear that way to other people, you need to practice (which is simple preparation repeated). By “comfortable,” I don’t mean perpetually happy or even relaxed–I mean grounded in your complete embodiment of leadership.

Ask yourself, “How do I display that I am comfortable with the responsibilities and demands of leadership?” Look for nagging doubts in the back of your mind; or instincts that need to be surfaced around what you feel should be happening instead of what is happening, or that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach about an issue not faced. This is valuable data, and if you do not address your lack of grounding and comfort, others will certainly sense it for you.

4. Listening – One reason that modern leadership is hard is because an effective modern leader must listen to others. Though few people manage to do it, this may be one of the easiest competencies to demonstrate–provided you can resist the urge to talk.

Ask yourself, “What one thing can I tell myself as a reminder to listen more?” It’s vitally important that you think up an effective cue. If you can’t come up with one, that in itself could indicate a deeper internal misalignment.

5. Blend – This list started with visibility. When the opposite is required, a leader must blend in. Otherwise, he or she risks drawing attention away from the people and issues at hand. When you pull back, it makes it easier for other people to bring you hard problems, bad news, and perspectives that challenge the status quo.

As a leader, it’s not all about you. The clearest way to demonstrate this is to find the right moments to step out of the spotlight so that other people get the attention they need. Ask yourself, “When necessary, how do I lower the volume of my leadership presence?”

Though leadership can be hard to demonstrate at times, regularly questioning how you embody your role will serve your leadership well.

Read full article: Is Your Leadership Showing? »

5 best reasons to recruit with Facebook Ads

It’s no coincidence that Ford and Coca-Cola have stepped up praise of Facebook ads in recent weeks. Despite initial skepticism resulting from both the novelty of the platform and the inaccurate comparisons to Google AdWords, big-ticket advertisers are beginning to realize Facebook ads’ ability to drive sales.

But Facebook ads aren’t just good for sales. They also represent a tremendous opportunity in the field of recruitment because they can essentially target and attract candidates who are unreachable through traditional channels. If you want to know why your recruitment efforts need Facebook ads, here’s why.

1. Fish Where the Fish Are – To say that Facebook is the world’s largest social network is to miss half the picture. It’s not just that Facebook has more monthly active users than Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace combined. The site has also achieved an unprecedented level of integration into the lives of its users. Each day, 526 million people log into Facebook, with 398 million of those individuals logging in six out of seven days a week.

What does this mean for recruiters? Well, Facebook is where you’ll likely find your candidates hanging out. But posting a job is not enough. You need to drive targeted traffic to your Facebook page with Facebook ads, which lets you turn the network’s 900 million users into the world’s largest talent pool.

2. Target Your Ideal Candidates – You can target your ads with a wide range of criteria including location, education, work history, and interests. Your campaign can be as specific as targeting only recent graduates of U.C. Berkeley with degrees in computer science living within 25 miles of San Fransisco (800 users on Facebook), or as broad as anyone in the United States who “likes” music and graduated from high school (25 million users).

Regardless of education level, skill set, or geographic location, Facebook’s targeting mechanism makes it easy to find the right person. What’s more, by targeting only those people who are likely to be interested in a given position, you effectively focus on just high-interest candidates. Contrast this with online job boards, where recruiters can get flooded with irrelevant or unqualified applicants. Targeting through Facebook ads means that a greater proportion of the applications you receive will be from qualified, interested candidates who are more likely to accept an offer than those recruited through traditional channels.

3. Recruit at Low Cost and High Value – Like most online advertising platforms, Facebook charges on a pay-per-click basis. This means that you’re not going to be throwing money out the window on uninterested users. You’ll only be charged if someone takes the initiative to click on your job ad in order to explore the opportunity further.

4. Attract Passive Candidates – It is one of the great challenges of recruitment — particularly social recruitment — to grab the attention of the ever-elusive passive candidate. This cohort is neither thrilled with their current employment, nor active in the job hunt. Yet, passive candidates are often the most qualified, especially for mid- and senior-level positions.

Fortunately, Facebook ads catch the attention of passive candidates by presenting them with career opportunities while they’re perusing Facebook. As a result, passive candidates will be exposed to your targeted job openings.

5. Build a Facebook Talent Community – One of the most powerful functions of Facebook ads is to drive traffic to your Facebook page. This traffic — if met with engaging and relevant content — can be converted into likes. That, in turn, becomes your talent community.

People who like your page are often those who match your company culture and have the kinds of interests that make them high-quality candidates. As fans, they will receive updates from your careers page, including notifications of new job postings, making them the ideal talent community. The gist is that Facebook ads give you the chance to put the world’s largest social network to work for your recruitment efforts. The network’s enormous membership and precise targeting mechanism allows you to pinpoint your ideal candidates and leverage them to build an online talent community. The result is a low-cost, high-effect recruitment campaign.

Whereas job boards charge a fixed fee that is entirely irrespective of performance, Facebook ads only cost you when high-interest candidates explore the positions you post. And while LinkedIn’s membership is disproportionately white-collar, Facebook’s demographics closely mirror the general population. As such, it is possible to recruit in any industry and at any level.

Read the full article: 5 Best Reasons to Recruit With Facebook Ads »

A Business Of One: 5 Strategies For Successful Freelancing

Freelancers used to rely on exchanging business cards at networking events, putting up flyers at local shops and sending out postcards to nearby businesses. “Freelancers 1.0” marketed themselves locally and their reach was limited to how far they could drive in a day. Workflow could be inconsistent, and billing was a constant nightmare. The risk/reward profile of leaving steady employment kept all but the most intrepid workers from striking out on their own.

Today, the opportunities for independent workers have exploded. With a few keystrokes, freelancers can build a professional online presence and connect with business opportunities anywhere, at any time. Contractors can set up virtual storefronts and “offices” that impress potential clients with project portfolios and enthusiastic reviews from satisfied customers, even if their real office is a spare bedroom or local coffee shop. And all the paperwork and red tape that used to give freelancers fits is now handled automatically by many online services, freeing contractors up to focus on growing their businesses.

But as with new companies of all sizes, building a successful “business of one” takes time and careful planning. Relying on the Internet for business leads opens contractors up to a world of opportunity, but also a world of competition. The most successful freelancers are the ones who stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips if you’re looking to get started.

A Business Of One: 5 Strategies For Successful Freelancing »