Category Archives: Employment

“Am I Management Material?”

Leadership-TraitsYou’ve been in the same position for years… not that it bothers you since you love the organization you work for, but you are beginning to naturally yearn for more challenge and responsibility. As you begin to look up the career ladder to plan out your next vertical promotion, you must first ask yourself: Am I management material?

This should not be an easy question to answer immediately; however Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative and author of The Purpose Economy, offers these questions to consider when trying to determine if you’re ready to make the leap into management: How does my boss define management, and how could promoting YOU better serve the organization’s needs?

Some bosses won’t explicitly list the traits he or she is looking for in a future manager, some haven’t even thought about it…so what can you do? First, you should determine your boss’s working definition of “management material” by observing what your organization looks for in a manager based off its hiring history and company climate. Hurst offers these questions to start your search:

·      Who have they promoted in the past and who has been passed over?

·      How do they seem to make decisions about promotions relative to other managers in the organization?

·      Do they promote, as they should, to balance their skills and capacity? What do they perceive as their skills and capacity gaps?

·      What threatens them and their security in their role? What would threaten them and make them biased in a promotion decision?

·      How can your promotion help them get promoted? What do they need to do to get promoted and how could you be part of that solution?

·      What parts of their job do they dislike that you could do? How could your promotion increase their job satisfaction?

·      What are you doing now that your boss values and might be afraid they would lose if you moved into management? How could you backfill your work?

The next step? Be honest with yourself.  Are you the right person for the situation? You could fit the definition of “management material” to a T, but might not ideal for the particular organizational challenges. Also ask yourself: Would I make effective leader in this position?  There’s a big difference between managers and leaders.

By incorporating this logical assessment of yourself and your organization, you can get a better idea if management could be the next step in your career path. Just ask yourself the right questions!

self-assessmentAdapted from “Am I Management Material?”

New Year, New You as a Boss

Welcome to 2013! As a leader in your company, you’ve most likely been busy during the past few weeks thinking about what your team or department can do in 2013 to take business to new heights in terms of production, customer service and innovation. But with a new year comes new opportunities for you to develop and grow as a leader and boss.

Here are just a few ideas for you to put into action in 2013 to be the best leader you can be for your organization.

Get Social Media Savvy

If you haven’t already come to the realization that social media is changing the way business is conducted, you’ll need to this year. According to VerticalResponse, a small business marketing company, nearly 90 percent of small businesses are on Facebook, while nearly 70 percent have a presence on Twitter. Those businesses are participating in networks with more than one billion and 140 million people respectively. People are no longer just talking about their experience with a business to a close circle of friends; they’re letting their entire social network know what happened. And if your business is great at customer service, engaging consumers online could lead to some great brand advocates for your company. However, customer loyalty can easily go in the other direction as well. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to research and find out where and how your company can be active in the growing social media space.

Read, Read and Read Some More

If you are not reading one book a month, whether it’s on business, leadership or your industry, you’re going to be left behind and possibly put your career or business at risk. Don’t let a lack of time be an excuse for you to miss out on the knowledge and opportunities that reading can provide. The leaders of some of the most successful companies today are avid readers. The late Steve Jobs of Apple had a collection that included Shakespeare and Plato, Phil Knight of Nike had a library of books behind his office and Microsoft’s Bill Gates lists Catcher in the Rye as one of his favorite books.

It’s quite simple: the better the leader, the more they typically read. Take advantage of a new year and new start by setting an achievable goal of reading a few books each quarter in 2013. No matter what format you prefer to read on, you can really read anywhere you go.

Be a Mentor, Get a Mentor

Think back to how you came into the leadership role you are in today. Who inspired, taught, counseled and listened to you? Now think about a person in your business or personal life that you could offer those same skills to. Not only will being a mentor to someone allow you to pass on your knowledge and advice to another generation of leaders, you will be challenged to learn more and grow more so you can offer more to your mentee.

The best leaders also know that having a mentor leads to more success and increased fulfillment in their work. A study by the American Society of Training and Development showed that 75 percent  of executives believed mentoring played a key role in their careers,  and companies reported that managerial productivity increased by 88 percent when mentoring was happening. Take some time and think about who’s around you that could be the person you learn and gain insight from.

2013 is full of opportunities and possibilities for you, including being proactive in becoming the best boss you can be. Take advantage of this fresh start and see what new business trends, good books and new learning relationships can offer you.

For More Information Contact:
Tim Tucker
(812) 333-6210

Are Millennials a Drawback or an Advantage?

Businesses are continually adapting to new technology. So, why not adapt to new generations of workers?

However, before I go into further deliberation on this question, I’ll provide brief descriptions on the generational workers one may find in the workplace today.

Millennials: Adults under 30 in the year 2011. Notable characteristics include goal oriented and proficient at multi-tasking.

Generation X: Age 30 to 50. They’re distinguished by their self-reliance and their concern for workplace rights and work skills.

Baby Boomers:  Age 51to 68. This age group is predominantly characterized in the workplace as workaholics and they view that employment is for life.

As I continue with my college education, my professors frequently express that finding a job following graduation will be challenging.  My job search will not only be difficult because of the current state of the economy, but also because I am of the generation of workers referred to as Millennials.  Millennials present new challenges to companies because of their key differences that differentiate them from senior employees classified as Generation X and Baby Boomers.  While I tried to deny that the studies my professors referred to only stereotype my generation, I admit my inclination was I encompass many of the characteristics detailed in the studies.

Soon, Millennials will comprise the majority of in the workforce and therefore businesses will have to accept the inevitable differences between generations, understand why they arise, and how to use them to their advantage.

Therefore, it only seems fitting, to detail the key characteristics of the immerging Millenials workforce and how businesses can adapt to these new generational workers.

Set up benchmarks. Millennials are inherent planners and therefore want an employer to take an interest in their future. Millennials have had much more time to practice time management and adhering to a schedule compared to Baby Boomers and Generation X.  Setting up benchmarks will allow you to gauge your employees’ accomplishments and progress while simultaneously helping them plan their future.

Provide guidance. Millenials want direction and like feedback. When assigning Millennials tasks, they prefer short-term, specific activities which provide them with direction so they can gage when they’re off track. Employers can use this to their advantage in prioritizing objectives to accomplish.

Offer hands-on-guidance. Millennials, unlike Boomers, trust authority figures and look towards them for guidance in the workplace. Although, employers may see this as a misuse of valuable time, smart employers will realize Millennials need for direction helps minimize errors.

Encourage informal socializing.  Millennails love to stay connected with a large group of people. They want constant interaction and collaboration with their bosses and co-workers. This may seem as a dilemma to employers who associate socializing with unproductivity. However, top-rated employers such a Google encourage informal socializing amongst the staff.

Emphasize positive impact. Millennials want to contribute to causes they see as ethically and socially important.  They want to feel connection with the community and want that connection to be reflected of their place of work. Employers can encourage Millennials to arrange innovative philanthropic events that can help broaden the face of the business within the community.

Incorporate advanced technology.  Young adults are always ‘wired’. Therefore; it’s not hard to guess that Millennials like to work for a business which uses cutting-edge technology. They value technology because it allows them to stay connected with their colleagues.  Employers need to integrate technology into their daily business operations not just to stay ahead of competitors but to gain bright new workers.

Adapted from “Why Generations Matter,” by LifeCourse Associates,


The Biggest Advantage You Have Over Your Competitors: Your Employees

They keep your business running. They keep you motivated. They help you achieve success and they are constantly being looked at by your competition. Your employees are your most valuable asset, and if they aren’t engaged in their work with the company, they may be looking for the next job opportunity elsewhere. Competition has leveled the playing field, and investing your time and resources into making building a focused workforce that is enthusiastic about working for your company is an investment in making sure your business survives and thrives.

If your business is filled with disengaged employees, who do their eight to five but are “checked out” mentally from their work, you’re losing money.

In a recent Gallup employee survey, it’s estimated that employee disengagement costs businesses $328 billion every year, with national trends estimating that an employee’s lost productivity could cost 34 percent per $10,000 of their salary.

The implication of employees becoming disengaged in their work has far reaching affects that should cause concern for business leaders. Engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, and more likely to stay longer with your company. So what can business leaders do to make sure they aren’t losing ground, and potentially profit, by having a company full of employees who have “checked out”?

Encourage Learning
Employees are looking to grow their knowledge and understanding of their industry or field, and an employer who fosters an environment of learning means employees are likely to stay. According to the Corporate Executive Board, a research and business consultation company, employees who are engaged are 87 percent less likely to leave their companies than disengaged employees. With a job market that is beginning to rebound, it’s likely that your top employees will receive interest from other businesses. When your organization offers opportunities for employees to participate in industry-related associations, attend conferences to add to their skill sets, or encourages further education with incentives, you’re building a company for the future. Mentor and future leadership programs are also a great way to create loyalty among workers.

Live Your Values
Companies that lack a set of clearly defined values that are lived and breathed by the entire organization are missing out on a facet of business that can attract, and keep, the most talented and dedicated employees. This type of organizational culture must start at the top and be present in every level of leadership down the chain of command for it to make a significant impact. The next generation of workers is looking for employers who are not only passionate about their business, but who also clearly live the values they have defined as important to them. Recruiting and keeping the youngest and brightest minds in your field will take more than just an attractive salary and benefits package. It will mean holding your co-workers and yourself accountable for living up to the values laid out by the leaders of the company.

Recognize and Reward
Studies have consistently shown that turnover is hurting small businesses, costing as much as 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary according to the Society for Human Resource Management, and when employees aren’t feeling recognized for their work, they are prone to leave. You can battle this common business cost by implementing a system that promotes frequent employee recognition with verbal and written communications, as well as rewards that will show your gratitude for a job well done. Businesses should also take advantage of performance reviews and provide regular feedback to employees as they make improvements on their past reviews.

Take a look at your current workforce. Is your business filled with employees who will work hard to see the company succeed even in difficult economic or uncertain times? If you haven’t considered the cost of disengaged employees, don’t go another day without considering how you can make sure it doesn’t negatively impact your business.

For More Info:
Tim Tucker, franchise owner
Express Employment Professionals

Back to Basics: How Your Leadership Style Can Fit Any Team

The following is a guest blog from Tim Tucker, a Chamber member and franchise owner of Express Employment Professionals. All of the views and opinions expressed in this post are solely Tim Tucker’s and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. To submit a guest blog e-mail DeJohn Rose for more information.

Employees often have similar objectives: career growth, fulfillment, getting the job done. But achieving optimal results in a way that’s agreeable to everyone can be a major challenge. Goals may align, but their successful completion is partially determined by the day-to-day interactions that form individual leadership styles.

What makes a leader?

You’ve heard the saying that leaders are born, not made, but that’s only partially true. Integrity and intuition may be inherent, but people skills are sharpened through experience.

Establishing trust, resolving conflict, and being an effective listener are just a few of the many traits that can be developed through time and teambuilding. While some people’s skill sets are simply better suited for dealing with certain challenges, being able to handle diverse situations and personalities is part of most job descriptions.

Identifying your leadership style and understanding its strengths and weaknesses can help you decide what’s working and what needs improvement.

What’s your leadership style?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) identifies three common styles: authoritarian, democratic, delegative. Beyond employee productivity, these varied approaches affect workplace ambience and morale.


Strengths: Organization is the main skill of the authoritarian leader. His or her priorities are clear and employees are fully informed of expectations. These leaders work best with passive co-workers.

Weaknesses: Authoritarian leaders can be seen as micromanagers instead of team players. Neglecting to seek feedback and collaborate in a personable way can isolate peers and conflict tends to arise with differing opinions.


Strengths: Communication and creativity are this leader’s strengths. The democratic leader wants to hear others’ perspectives and welcomes a variety of solutions. Their sense of priority allows them to focus on the details without losing sight of the main objective.

Weaknesses: Decision-making is sometimes problematic for the democratic leader. Too many viewpoints, heightened by a desire to please all parties, can complicate the process. Impartiality may also waiver as the employee becomes more emotionally connected to individual co-workers.


Strengths: Delegative leaders instill confidence by allowing others to manage their respective tasks with minimal input. Their leniency allows for creativity and work best with those that are highly motivated.

Weaknesses: Priorities sometimes seem unclear to others, as the delegative leader is often more focused on the big picture than the details of how to accomplish it. The tendency to shirk from responsibility sometimes gives co-workers the impression that they are “on their own.” Delegative leaders can seem disengaged, which contributes to a sense of chaos.

Back to basics

Managing employees is a process unique to every organization and its corporate culture, but here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Be flexible: Capitalize on your strengths, but be aware of others’ needs. Although you should strive to be consistent, tailor your approach in response to each employee and his or her personality.
  • Focus on the person, not the issue: Respect is the foundation of every great relationship. No matter what your management style, basic civility is always imperative. Remember that every employee is a human who deserves your respect; you are working with someone’s wife, father, daughter, or friend.
  • Find out what motivates your co-workers: Show genuine interest. Find out what they’re seeking in their current position and do what you can to facilitate their goals, whether you’re a supervisor or a peer.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your leadership style will help your team achieve optimal results. True leaders recognize that communication is a two-way street. Seek dialogue with the people around you to find out what’s working and what you can improve. Ask for pointers from a mentor and accept that all change takes time. Work on issues gradually to become the leader your team trusts.

Getting Back in the Job Market

The following is a guest blog from Tim Tucker, a Chamber member and franchise owner of Express Employment Professionals. All of the views and opinions expressed in this post are solely Tim Tucker’s and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. To submit a guest blog e-mail DeJohn Rose for more information.

There’s no time like the present to lay the groundwork, start networking, and update your résumé to get back in the job market.

Research indicates that hiring trends are on the upswing. A national hiring trends survey of employers conducted by Express Employment Professionals shows commercial and clerical positions will likely see continued hiring increases for the third quarter. Express surveyed 10,181 current and former clients across the company’s more than 550 locations in the United States and Canada. Thirty-four percent of respondents plan to hire full-time light industrial positions in the third quarter, while 28% plan to hire for administrative positions. The survey also reveals that 13% of respondents plan to hire for engineering positions and 11% plan to hire for information technology positions.

According to CareerBuilder and USA Today’s latest nationwide survey of employers, 41% of hiring managers plan to hire between July and December. One in five managers plan to hire full-time employees in the third quarter. The survey showed that employers are primarily focused on recruiting for customer service, sales, and information technology positions. Continue reading