Quick Tips To Effectively Work While Traveling

For some people, traveling does not really signal a time-off from the daily grind. Instead, the opportunity to visit new places comes with career related tasks and responsibilities. Juggling traveling and working is not unusual nowadays, as technology has made it possible to have remote jobs too. The idea of not being confined to a physical office in order to grow a career feels empowering. At the same time, knowing you don’t have the full liberty of just lazing around while in a new destination can be a burden. So how do you balance your schedule and personal time so you get the most out of your trip and still excel at your work? Keeping the following tips in mind can help you experience the best of both worlds:

Complete pending tasks.
One of the best things you can do to make your work trip as stress-free as possible is to finish all uncompleted tasks prior to your trip. Save yourself the burden of having pending work hanging over your head while traveling. To enjoy a lighter workload while out and about, you may want to devote extra effort to finish the work you can do in advance. Without pending tasks in the way, you can easily lay out an effective work plan and schedule.

Pack-up with necessary tools and gadgets.
If you are serious about getting jobs done while on the road, you have to be ready with tools that will help accomplish your tasks. Make a list of gadgets and devices you will need and be sure to pack them all in your bag. Some of the essentials are mobile phones, laptops and chargers. You may also want to bring extra headphones, portable keyboards and flash drives. It also pays to research if the gadgets and tools you will bring will work in your destination (or the configuration steps you may need to do for it to work).  Those who are concerned about security and privacy and do not want to connect to public Wi-Fi can set up a virtual private network (VPN). You can also prevent unexpected laptop troubles by deleting unnecessary files.

Have a contingency plan.
The perennial goal is to have a smooth, productive trip but you are out on an adventure where anything can happen. For your peace of mind, it pays to have a back-up plan in case something goes wrong. It can be as simple as saving your files in a hard drive in case your laptop refuses to boot up. A hard drive copy of the contact details of people at home or in the workplace may also come in handy, in case your cell phone starts acting up. You may also want to read up some information about the local emergency contact numbers in your current destination.

Study your destination.
Every traveler knows the importance of doing some research before a trip. Gaining valuable information about your local destination is doubly important when you have official work to do as well.  You do not want bad weather conditions to ruin your trip, so check out the best time of the year to visit a place. Most probably, you will need a Wi-Fi connection and a working space, so make sure to inquire whether the place you plan to stay offer those amenities. Moreover, reading about travel tips and recommendations will give insights about the best places to go to

Make good use of travel time.
Travel time can be long and direct flights are not always possible. Make good use of stop-overs and other free time while traveling, by finding a good spot where you can plug in your devices and do some quick work. You need sufficient rest to function at your best, so you may also want to steal some sleep while in transit. With proper rest, you will be more than ready to tackle work once you arrive at your destination.

Today, it is possible and easier to earn money while exploring amazing places. Though this great privilege continues to be just a dream for many. If you are one of the few who are lucky enough to get paid while traveling, savor the great chance to quench your wanderlust and advance your career at the same time!  

Brad and Julie DuncanQuick Tips To Effectively Work While Traveling
Read More

Four Ways To Genuinely Show Empathy In Leadership

Do you want to get a glimpse of the kind of leadership that makes an outstanding organization? You can by simply observing those in leadership roles. In a team headed by a great leader, people do their tasks with passion and commitment. If only all companies were driven by great leaders, the world would be a much better place. Too often we see people expressing discontentment over management styles. In this unfortunate scenario, people tend to be unmotivated and underachieve. This brings to mind the age-old question of what makes a good leader? However, with all the traits that differentiate a great leader from a bad one, empathy is certainly one of them. The ability to put oneself in another’s shoes is surely a trait that all leaders need to learn. In a way, good leadership without empathy seems impossible. The following four pointers will show how you as a leader can show empathy.

Display emotional intelligence.

Empathy is a trait that allows you to relate to the circumstances of others. It requires one to be patient, caring and kind. It is also something that is hard to fake. Leaders who want to show empathy have to start the process within themselves. The first step is to develop positive traits associated with emotional intelligence. Build a character that others would like to emulate and empathy will come naturally.

Truly listen.

It isn’t unusual for people to approach a leader for some wise words or advice. Sometimes the best support a leader can give is simply lending an open ear. Allot time to listen to what people on your team have to say about certain topics, projects or issues. Great leaders don’t just do all the talking. On the contrary, they continually encourage others to share their opinions or ideas.

Learn and understand the work each person on your team does.

Problems are likely to arise on a team where leaders have little to no inkling about the job that each person on the team does. This stresses the importance of having a broad understanding of the work that everyone is doing, even if a certain skill is not part of your expertise. You should take time to understand the skills needed and challenges involved in each project. It can be done by studying the nature of your employee’s job or spending time with team members while they do the task. Aside from making it easier to show practice empathy to others, it can also raise the spirits of team members.

Show your vulnerable side.

It is important for leaders to appear strong. But no one said you can’t show vulnerability. In fact, leaders who are honest about their strengths and weaknesses can help others become more comfortable around them. Leaders who share how they overcome past difficulties with others makes it easy for people to share and bond over their own experiences as well.

Anyone who aspires to be a leader should understand the great challenges that come with the role. In fact, if you would ask someone to write down all the traits and attributes that an excellent leader should have, you may end up with a long, never-ending list. One trait that will always be present? Empathy. To aim to be empathetic is always a great idea; it will make you an exceptional leader and a better person, too.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Ways To Genuinely Show Empathy In Leadership
Read More

Love Traveling? Protect Your Health While Quenching Your Wanderlust

You travel to see new sights and experience unique things. Exploring unfamiliar places will enrich your mind and nourish your soul. This activity, though, will require you to be in the pinnacle of health. You need energy and stamina to be an adventurous and smart traveler. Ironically, traveling exposes you to situations that increases your chance of catching a disease. With viruses and germs everywhere it is easy to be paranoid about all sorts of sickness you can get.

Still, fear of getting sick should not stop you from satisfying your wanderlust. Instead of abandoning your travel plans altogether, you can observe some simple precautions to stay healthy while on the road. Check out some tips below to ensure you do not taint your travel memories and experiences with the unpleasant feeling of getting ill.

Stock up on liquids.

It is such a hassle to go thirsty while traveling. This is because your body needs an adequate amount of liquids to function at its best. So ensure that you are well hydrated while roaming around. You can avoid dehydration by packing a water bottle everywhere you go.

Protect your skin.

Outdoor time is good for your health as you can breathe in fresh air, soak in warm sunlight and feast on stunning sceneries. Just make sure you are not jeopardizing your health in the process. Harsh rays of the sun can cause skin cancer and damage, so always apply sunscreen before heading outdoors. Choose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 and apply as needed.

Take supplements.

A strong immune system will give your body the power to fight off all kinds of diseases. Of course, you need proper diet, regular exercise and enough rest to make your body stronger and healthier. You can further boost your body’s defenses by taking vitamins. Because you need to be extra healthy while traveling, make sure to pack your supplements before traveling.

Pack necessary medicines.

Traveling is an adventure so it is better to be prepared for any unexpected situations that you may encounter. It is a wise practice to pack medicines for common travel woes such as nausea, headaches or fever. You should also have a first-aid kit in your bag. To ensure you are fit to travel, you may want to visit a doctor (especially if you are going somewhere very far and for a long period of time) for a physical checkup before your trip.

Keep germs at bay.

As you visit various places, you will likely get dirty as well. Since cleanliness is a prerequisite to good health, strive to stay clean even while traveling. It won’t be a huge challenge as you can conveniently bring hand sanitizer or wipes. Wash your hands before eating a meal, too.

Keep your healthy routines.

Even if travel means a break from your usual routines, it is worth it to maintain daily activities that keep you healthy. Your body will thank you if you allot time for exercise and eat in moderation, even if you are not in the comfort of your home. Likewise, you should ensure that you get enough sleep. It is also a great idea to engage in healthy activities while traveling such as walking, running or biking.

Travel allows you to have fun and relax, but you should not sacrifice your health for it. If you follow the suggestions above, you will come back from your travel escapades stronger and healthier than ever.

Brad and Julie DuncanLove Traveling? Protect Your Health While Quenching Your Wanderlust
Read More

Leading with a Teacher’s Heart

Teachers spend their days imparting wisdom through lessons of love, compassion and inspiration. In turn, students grow into more capable, informed and mature versions of their former selves. They take their teachers’ guidance and go on to accomplish more than ever imagined. Entrepreneurial leaders can take those same methods and adapt them for the workplace and net similar results. Here’s how to lead with a teacher’s heart.

Affective Filter

In the teaching world, instructors are aware of a concept called the affective filter. This phrase describes an abstract boundary that plays a hand in a student’s ability to acquire a second language. A high affective filter means the student may feel a combination of self-consciousness, anxiety and tension. Contrarily, a low affective filter is marked by confidence, comfort, assurance and a willingness to take risks. Affective filters can be affected by intrinsic factors but can also change due to the environment or interpersonal interactions. Teachers work to control the second two.

Great teachers foster environments of inclusivity, affirmation and acceptance. They rebuke damaging responses when student mistakes are made and respect each pupil’s preference that affect their ability to process information. Amazing leaders can do the same. Earn your employees’ trust,

New Slate Every Day

Teachers understand that their students are in a constant state of learning, which means they will make plenty of mistakes. When children are in school, they are faced with new challenges every day, some of which causes them frustration and stress. When students feel these negative emotions, they sometimes act out in ways that are not ideal. As humans, instructors naturally feel disappointment and frustration in response, but they habitually try to understand the perspective of their students and offer new mercies every morning. They have high standards and expect the best, but reserve plenty of room for grace.

As a leader of adults in a work environment, your standards will undoubtedly include a smaller margin or error, but that doesn’t cancel out the necessity for patience altogether. Follow the example that teachers set and try to start each day with patience and understanding. Remember that your employees are trying their best and want to perform just as well as you’d want them to. However, everyone has the occasional off-day or noticeable mistake.   

Specialized to Each learner  

In many of today’s schools, teachers are presented with a class of unique learners. No two students have the exact same personality, preferences or learning style. To account for those differences, great teachers individualize instruction. Adept instructors constantly assess and reassess students’ needs and progress, then do what’s best to maintain a balance of challenge and accomplishment. They also make small changes to each lesson to help students thrive. For shy students, they may only call on them when their hand is raised. For active students, they may teach a lesson that intertwines exercise with the academic concept. However they can best serve each student, they do.

On the job, leaders too can specialize tasks. Distribute  a communication style assessment and personality test to figure out how each employee works best, then adapt their environment to fit their needs. Pay attention to their communication style, then converse with them using their favorite methods.

Teachers earn their students’ trust and inspire their best work by remaining attentive and sharing information in a kind and effective way. They pour their hearts into every student, every day, without cease. You too can yield the same results with daily practice. Leading with the heart of teacher is bound to help your employees feel secure and valued, giving them the confidence to outperform even your expectations.

Brad and Julie DuncanLeading with a Teacher’s Heart
Read More

Can Negative Feedback Boost A Team’s Growth? Check Out These Tips!

As a leader, you want to be a helpful mentor to the people under your care. To guide a team to excellence you must make an effort to be with them every step of the way. You have to be present to recognize the achievements of a team. Of course, you should also be ready to give constructive criticism when team members are not performing to the best of their abilities. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, a good leader surely has the best intentions of the team and the members in mind.

However, while giving compliments can be as easy as pie, making negative comments can be a bit stressful and complicated. It is like walking on a tightrope as a slight misstep can drastically send a team’s spirit spiraling downwards. You need to carefully and consciously apply management strategies to ensure that honest criticism will have a motivating rather than disheartening effect on your team. The following reminders can help you elicit a positive outcome from a negative feedback.

Explain the reason for giving feedback.

The reason for giving feedback may be self-explanatory but it still pays to discuss it with your team. Good communication is essential to build a thriving team, so it is best that you explain why you want to bring attention to the weaknesses of the team. It greatly helps if everyone understands that even if feedback may not be pleasant to hear, it has to be discussed because it plays a crucial role in the the growth and development of the team. This is also one way to ensure that negative feedback is not meant to malign or hurt anyone. To prove this point, research done by the Center for Creative Leadership reveals that giving feedback regardless if it is positive or negative is effective in motivating employees.

Allow the team members to assess themselves.

A team’s inability to deliver excellent performance can probably be felt by all members, not just the leader. In the same way, teammates who are not contributing as much as they should probably know it too. So you can talk to the team (or to a difficult teammate) right away to voice your concerns. Or give your team members time to do some self-reflection and evaluate themselves. The latter is a better option because the task of identifying the wrong things in a team becomes a collaborative effort rather than an individual task. By asking your team members to rate themselves in terms of work performance, you can smoothly proceed to discuss ways on how they can improve themselves.

Be specific and honest.

The last thing you want to do is confuse your people by giving vague feedback. Explain in detail the issues you notice and specifically point them out. Team members who cannot understand what they did wrong are likely to feel upset over the feedback. To make your message clear, do not forget to be honest when talking with your team. Do not try to sugarcoat your message with false praises just to soften the blow of a criticism. According to an article that appeared in Harvard Business Review, leaders who deliver negative feedback by starting and ending it with positive comments risk losing the trust of their staff. Another thing, a leader is unlikely to see favorable improvements since positive comments are the ones that will stick out in the mind of the team or the concerned individual.

Create an environment that welcomes discussion and feedback.

To prevent ill feelings about negative feedback, give your team a chance to explain their actions or behavior. It is also important that you are ready to take back negative comments if you realize that you have made a wrong judgment.You also want to improve your leadership style, so allow your team to evaluate your skills as well. If everybody on the team is helping each other to improve, your road to success will be shorter and faster.

Leadership is never an easy role. One of the most difficult aspects of heading a team is when you need to discuss their mistakes. It may be a situation that everyone wants to avoid, but it is necessary. Just like growing pains, negative feedback can hurt, but it can turn your group into a power team!

Brad and Julie DuncanCan Negative Feedback Boost A Team’s Growth? Check Out These Tips!
Read More

Easing The Transition To Leadership: Survival Tips For New Leaders

If you consistently excel in your line of work, you will surely be a top choice for a leadership post. There is no question that you deserve that most coveted promotion. No one else in the team deserves it more than you..But how certain are you that being a top achiever and a great team player will adequately prepare you to be an effective leader?

Leadership will bring in new tasks and more responsibilities. Thus, it is not unusual to feel anxious when stepping up to a higher post. Loads of worries may pop into your mind. Am I capable enough to guide a team? How can I motivate the people under me? What should do I to earn their respect and trust? Your new role will surely not be easy, but the transition to a managerial position does not have to be difficult either. Read on for strategies you can use to quickly adjust and adapt to leadership.   

Make an effort to get to know everyone.

One of the first things you should do upon accepting an offer to lead is to get to know the people in the entire organization. Especially the people that will be under your wing. You want to observe their work ethics and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Adequate information about the background of each of your staff will help you come up with effective management strategies. You can only do this by spending time and closely working with your team. This will be time well-spent because as you get closer to your team, you can also build trust and camaraderie.

Clearly relay your expectations.

Good communication is always a two-way relationship. So just as you know your team, you also want the staff to get to know you as well. You want to carve a clear direction for the team to follow and you can start by letting them know your expectations from each one of them. Aside from avoiding confusion within the team, it is also a gentle reminder of their duties and responsibilities. You can also establish accountability in the group.

Strengthen teamwork.

Instead of focusing on personal growth, your goal as leader will now shift to the development of a team. You want to build a team where the members support each other and diligently contribute to the betterment of the group.You may discover past issues and conflicts as a new leader, but it should not stop you from resolving to create a high-performance team. As the head of an organization, one of your duties is to inspire and motivate everyone to do their best. Setting achievable goals for the whole team to accomplish is one way to do that. You also want to boost the morale of your staff by encouraging them to share insights and ideas.

Take care of yourself.

You need to build stamina in order to cope with the demands of your new position. Take care of yourself by staying healthy. You can easily maintain a positive mindset and be a good example to your staff if you see to it that you get enough rest and exercise. To gain confidence in your new role, you may also want to invest time in self-improvement. You can start by enhancing your look, outfit and style.

Widen your knowledge.

Your scope of work is no longer limited to a specific task or area and this implies a greater challenge. Your desire to rise above competitors and succeed in the industry you are in should also be stronger. So find ways to gain more knowledge by attending training or seminars. You can also join organizations to grow your network and enhance your skills.

Encourage feedback.

The best way to know if your leadership style is working is by directly asking the opinions of your staff. So encourage the team to share their feedback or ask questions. It is important to let them know that you are open to any criticisms because this will help you become a better leader. You can also welcome suggestions and discuss it with the team.

Brad and Julie DuncanEasing The Transition To Leadership: Survival Tips For New Leaders
Read More