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Leadership & Career Management Blog

Professional Development, Leadership Skills, Career Management & Advice

This is a blog focused on professional development, leadership skills and career Management and it is written to help you on your leadership journey. You will find articles teaching essential leadership skills and discussing different aspects of the leadership work. Some articles will also dive deeper into leadership lessons and well-being of leaders in high-pressure jobs.

Another side of the blog focuses on career management topics and presents our popular full guides on how to ask for a raise, negotiating salary and how to ask for a promotion, among many other career advice articles.

Leadership Lessons - What leaders and managers actually do?

Become a Leader – What leaders and managers actually do?

Leadership lessons – What leaders and managers actually do?  ·  We have been talking lately a lot about leadership skills and abilities. I think it is time to spend a little time on what leaders and managers actually do in their work, so we have a bit of a clearer target to start aiming at as we develop our leadership and management skills and character.Below follows a short and simplified recap of the main differences between ICs and two different levels of leaders.  If you plan on advancing on your career, make sure you know what you are aiming at and what will change when you step up a level or two. If you have aspirations to move up, you should start to pay attention and start working (at least partially) on higher-level …
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10 top tips for job interviews

Career Management: 10 top tips for job interviews

Career management – 10 top tips for job interviews.Job interviews can be very stressful situations if you are not used to them. The worst part is that even if you are fully qualified for the position on paper, an unconfident or unorganised interview performance will effectively prevent you from getting the positions you apply for. With proper preparation and knowing what to do you have much better chances of making a good impression and getting the position you are applying for. Here are 10 top tips for job interviews from an executive coach & leadership author.Interviews are influencing situations, and as in most interactions, your behaviour and how you deliver your message can be more important as what you actually say. Even though many interviewers may claim to remain objective and focus …
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Essential Leadership skills

Essential Leadership Skills: Say “No” -even to your boss

Essential Leadership Skills: Say “No” – even to your boss  ·   To be a high performer at your work and advance quickly on your career, you have to be able to focus on things that matter. This means that you have to be able to focus on your high priority topics and have to be able to say “no” to the low-priority tasks that do not serve your purpose. This includes saying “no” to your bosses from time to time. As scary as it might seem to tell your boss that you will not take on any more tasks at the moment, it is absolutely necessary thing to do if you want to be a top performer and deliver high-value results consistently. Your manager should know your priorities and your workload, but sometimes …
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Become a Leader: 12 Most important leadership skills

Become a Leader: 12 Most important leadership skills

How to become a leader – 12 Most important leadership skills  · “What are the most important leadership skills and abilities?” “How can I become a leader?”  “What leadership skills should I learn to become a leader or manager?”  “What leadership skills and qualities should a good leader have?” I hear these questions quite often and here is my answer. This list might look a bit different than many others out there, as I aim to talk strictly about important leadership skills and leave out anything that I consider being, for example, business or management skills.  In this article I will introduce and explain the 12 most important leadership skills that you need to master at least on a basic level to become an effective leader. Once you get started with the basics and get your first chances to …
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Essential Leadership Skills: What are good leaders made of?

Essential Leadership Skills: What are good leaders made of?

What are good (business) leaders made of?  · There is a reason why good business leaders are relatively rare, sought after and well-paid. Being a truly competent, confident, credible, and strong leader goes much deeper and wider than learning a few leadership and management skills. It requires a complete package of identity, traits, character, mindset, knowledge, and several different skill sets. In this article I will give you one comprehensive way to look at the whole palette of leadership development. Hopefully this will help you to understand where to start and what to pick up on your journey to become a great leader (or an influencer). This article sheds light to the whole palette of skills, characteristics, attitudes, mindsets and traits that make great leaders. Read on and learn what really are the …
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Career Management - Job Interview Questions

Career Management: What questions to ask in a job Interview

Career Management: What questions to ask in a job interviewAsking relevant questions in a job interview can be as important as your answers to the interviewer’s questions. By asking questions you will demonstrate your interest, motivation and also preparation, as you can ask clarifications and additional details to information you have acquired before the interview. Asking questions also shows that you are not desperate for a job, but you have options and carefully evaluate who you want to work with. Job interview skills are an important part of your overall career management toolbox and training them is an integral part of your overall career planning and growth.Getting answers to these interview questions will also help you to evaluate if this is a good opportunity for you and your career plans. It is …
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Become a Leader: False beliefs and misconceptions about leaders and management careers

Leadership Lessons: False beliefs and misconceptions about leaders and management careers  ·There are many misconceptions about leaders, leadership, and building management careers. These misconceptions are very limiting and prevent too many people from even thinking about starting a management career or becoming a leader. I have listed and broken down the most common misconceptions below.”You need to have special traits or characteristics to lead.”Not true: Leaders come with a variety of traits and characteristics. They can be extroverts or introverts, be charismatic or less so. There are as many types of leaders as there are people leading, and there is no one set of character traits required of a leader. While it is true that some traits make it easier to succeed as a leader, none are absolutely required, and most of …
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Leadership Skills: Pursuing a leadership career - why should you lead?

Become a Leader – why should you lead?

Pursuing a leadership career – why should you lead?  ·  A bit more philosophical article today, as I am pondering the reasons for pursuing a leadership career despite all the challenges it brings to our lives. This article is all about your reasons to become a leader and why should you lead. Leadership and leading professionally is one career path that in my opinion stands apart from many of the other common paths, as it has one requirement and advantage over everything else: To be a true, authentic leader and excel at your work, you must be able to first lead yourself and your own life. Only when you have found your own principles, values, reasons, and balance, will you be able to pursue the highest levels of leadership. To grow as a leader …
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Essential Leadership Skills: Leading up

Essential Leadership Skills: Leading up

Essential Leadership Skills: Leading up  · The skill of leading up is important for efficient and smooth cooperation with your manager and upper management. In the article series of essential leadership skills, we now have a look at leading up, why it is important and how to do it. If you feel that your manager or other managers are constantly bothering you, or questioning your work and requiring more reports, this happens most likely because you do not provide enough information for them by yourself. When you start taking their information needs into account and into your action plan, and start providing correct and timely information and reporting on your progress and results, things will change. You will quickly notice that the requests from management will lessen as you gain their trust with constant usable …
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Leadership skills

Become a Leader: Your identity – you are not your title and position

Leadership lessons: Your identity – you are not your title and position  ·   When you ask people who they are, their answers are often something like project manager, developer, engineer, director, vice president, CEO etc., even outside the work environment. While your work and title are a part of your identity, you should not let them completely define who you are. The best reason not to is to think about what happens if you lose your job. If your identity is completely tied to your work title, what do you think happens to it when you suddenly lose the title? You guessed right; your whole identity is at risk of going up in flames and shattering. I don’t know if there are actual studies on this, but I would be ready to bet quite a …
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Essential leadership skills - How to lead remotely

Essential Leadership Skills: How To Lead Remotely

Essential Leadership Skills: How to Lead Remotely  ·  Current situation with COVID-19 and lockdowns have changed how we work (at least for a now), as many of us haven’t probably trained or even thought about long-time remote work and leading completely remote teams before. While many of us are already used to home office days every now and then, very few have been working completely with remote teams in a situation where no-one is actually in the regular office and everyone is locked down in some different remote location for the unknown future. As we add the additional stress resulted by the general world situation to the picture, leaders have their hands full trying to guide their teams to manage the situation and stay calm, motivated and engaged to the work. If ability …
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Essential Leadership skills: Act like a leader, talk like a leader, become a leader

Essential Leadership Skills: Act like a leader, become a leader

Essential Leadership skills: Act like a leader, talk like a leader, become a leader  · Once you start to act like a leader and talk like a leader, you are well on your way to becoming one. Here are just a few simple mindsets and patterns of behaviour that will set you on the right path. While these are by no means everything you need, they are good basics that will get you started, and will keep helping you throughout the whole leadership journey, no matter how far and high it will take you. Please also check out the previous article: Essential Leadership Skills: Influence from trust and respect. It will show you another essential aspect of leadership. Act like a leader, become a leader 1. Act like a leader and set an example: Once you …
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Essential Leadership Skills: Influence through trust and respect

Essential Leadership Skills: Leaders rely on trust and respect to wield influence  ·  Building trust between everyone you are working with is essential for every leader. This includes your colleagues, your manager and his peers, the higher management and especially the customers, if you are in contact with them. Without trust you won’t have much influence on anyone around you, and you can’t make much of an impact, no matter how hard you work. Trust is the capital for your influence, and the more people trust you, the more credibility you have in their eyes, and the more they will let you influence them. This is especially true if you don’t hold any formal authority or title over the people you are trying to influence to doing something: They will follow you only …
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Career Management: Choose your position wisely

Career Management: Choose your position wisely  ·  When choosing a new place to work (see this article), you should also carefully evaluate your potential position and how it will fit into your overall career vision, goals and life situation. The compensation and the title are of course essential parts of the decision, but don’t let them overshadow everything else. On top of those, the ideal job should offer you at least: Meaningful, interesting and challenging enough work, that you can fully commit to. A possibility to use your strengths. Enough freedom and responsibility for your liking. Clear step to the right direction towards your career goals. Possibility to grow and gain beneficial skills and experience for your career plans. A chance to advance to the next level positions inside the company. Adequate work/life-balance …
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Career Management: Choose your company wisely

Career Management: Choose your company wisely  ·  Working for the right company is essential for your career development possibilities. The optimal company should have a healthy level of growth that results in an upward motion of the managers through different levels as the company evolves. The growth also expands the operations, which again creates completely new higher positions to be filled. Here is a list of the things you should at minimum evaluate when choosing the company: Is the company growing, and how fast? Is the company making profit, or if not, does it have a solid backing from investors? How is the company’s liquidity in general? Does the company offer services and products that are in demand also in the future? Are there any major re-constructions or other disrupting events, such as …
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Essential Leadership Skills: Decision-making

Decision making is one of the defining skills and responsibilities of all the successful leaders. It is an essential ability through your whole career, as the decisions you make (or don’t make) in your work and in your personal life will in the end define who you are, and what you will achieve.
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Career Management: Career changes to different industries or areas of expertise

Career changes to different industries or areas of expertise Career Management: Career changes to different industries or areas of expertise Complete career changes in general can set your advancement back quite a bit. However, they can also be the one key thing that will get you moving and get you out of a job and career that does not offer any further possibilities for yourself to grow and advance on your career. Well planned and executed career change with synergies between old and new careers can expand your expertise and can catapult you on a fast track to success after years of stagnation. These linked career changes offer some unique opportunities, if you manage them so that your previous career supports your new career, and in best case, gives you an additional deep …
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Extreme morning routine for extraordinary results

Extreme morning routine for extraordinary results  ·  Morning routines have been a hot topic for the past years, and every successful high-performer seems to have one. Hype or not, it is not a coincidence that so many people swear by them. I am currently also in the group of having quite extreme morning routine to start my days, and I feel that it is absolutely essential for my performance, productivity, health and life quality in general.  In the past year I wrote a comprehensive leadership and career development book, 7 Principles of Becoming a Leader in a record time and the whole creation process was powered by this extreme morning routine. I firmly believe that without it I would have never been able to complete the enormous amount of mental and physical effort that went into …
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How to ask for a raise and negotiate salary – complete guide

How to ask for a raise and negotiate salary – complete guide  ·  Asking for a raise can feel quite a scary situation: You are putting yourself and your value to the company up for evaluation, and there is always a chance that you don’t like the answer you will get. Many people also don’t feel comfortable to ask for more in general, and thus might think that they are maybe doing something wrong and are seen as greedy, if they ask for more salary. However, the first thing to understand about salary raises, is that they are regular business events and decisions, and there is nothing wrong in asking for one, especially when you prepare and time your request well, and know that you are more valuable to your company, than your …
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Essential Leadership Skills: Delegating

Essential Leadership Skills: Delegating  ·  The higher position you work in, the more you will need to delegate the hands-on work to other people. This skill is something that especially the new managers will need to learn quickly to be able to let go of their old tasks, and to get a solid grasp of what it means to drive results through a team, instead of creating them alone.   Once you step into a role where you can delegate, you must start doing it, no matter how much you would like to do the things by yourself. Delegating is essential for building trust between you and your team, and it is also only way that the team will feel ownership of their work, learn and improve its performance. Delegating work and responsibilities also …
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Essential Leadership Skills: Employee Engagement

Essential Leadership Skills: Employee Engagement  · Do you know how engaged your employees are? These statistics tell that you probably don’t. While doing some research on productivity and high performance in the workplaces, I came across some very interesting stats about employee engagement, and how massive impact it (or rather the lack of it) can have on the bottom line of the company. When you talk with leaders of different companies and ask what is their company’s greatest asset, the answer, “employees”, “team” or “people” comes up almost without exception. The other top 2 asset most often seems to be “products” or “services”, which are off course built and delivered by the people of the company. This is especially true on modern high tech and high skill industries that don’t need to rely on massive …
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How to ask for a promotion – complete guide - How to get promoted at work

How to ask for a promotion – complete guide

How to ask for a promotion – complete guide  ·  Asking for a promotion is often seen as a scary situation, as it puts us in the position to reveal our ambitions and dreams, and then be judged and possibly rejected by our superiors. However, it is the best way to advance your career and efficiently get into higher-level positions, so you should be ready to do it without hesitation whenever it is necessary. Here is eotsc’s complete guide on how to ask for a promotion – and get the best results. Like anything else, asking for a promotion gets much easier when you know how you should do it, how to prepare properly and what to expect in the process. Also, knowing that you have positioned yourself well and proven your value already …
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Crisis management

Essential Leadership Skills: Crisis Management

Essential Leadership Skills: Crisis Management ·  Crisis situations will raise now and then in your own work, and within your team or the whole company. They often hit due to the occurrence of some unseen events or nasty surprises, or they can be raised by some oversights or mistakes in our work or planning. No matter what the cause, they pose a significant threat to our goals and results. Crisis Management is an extremely important leadership skill and you will learn the basics in this article. The ability to stay calm in the middle of crisis is one of the defining traits of the great leaders. When everyone is panicking, a leader controls his emotions and thoughts and takes control of the situation. Sometimes it seems that a leader is standing in the eye …
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Do you know how amazingly costly it can be to deny a salary raise?

Do you know how amazingly costly it can be to deny a salary raise?  ·  While writing an article about asking a salary raise, I came upon very interesting statistics of the costs of employee turnover for companies. I have been part of a few hundred salary negotiations, decisions, approvals and review rounds on my career, and I have always wondered, why it is so hard for companies’ decision makers to pay well for the good people, and especially approve significant raises, when they would make sure that company would keep its top talent. It is amazing, that by rule, most companies generally “reward” their loyal and often essential employees with 3-5% yearly salary increases, while changing companies usually earns 10-20% bump in salary. The numbers behind salary raises and why people leave their …
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How to get promoted quickly at work – 13 easy steps

How to get promoted quickly at work – 13 easy steps

13 steps how to get promoted quickly to your first management position · Getting promoted to your first manager position can be a difficult task, and it may prove impossible if you don’t know the correct tactics and don’t prepare properly. It is important to understand that it is not a game of luck or even patience. If you do not take decisive action by yourself, you might be in for a very long wait. This is especially true, if there are other people in your company who know what they are doing and are intentionally planning their actions and preparing to take the next possible promotions. In general, promotions are not given, they are taken by those who are prepared, put in the work and have the needed knowledge and skills. Read …
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Why some people get promoted fast and often

10 reasons why some people get promoted fast and often

10 reasons why and how some people get promoted fast and often  · Some people seem to be on a fast track on their career, collecting promotions at work and taking up greater responsibilities on a pace that most people can just dream of. When you look at them going from the sidelines, it seems that they must have found some secret formula of skills, connections, mindset and pure luck to pull off their quick ascend towards the top. And you are not so far away from the truth. There is definitely something going on with these high achievers that enables them to pull of these feats and secure their quick promotions: They actually know how to get promoted fast.  Here are 10 reasons for quick promotions at work that I figured out …
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Take ownership of your work – Troubleshooting, Part 2

Take ownership of your work – Troubleshooting, Part 2  ·  This is the second part of the article, Take ownership of your work, and start to lead: Troubleshooting. The First part is here. In theory, taking ownership of your work and starting to lead doesn’t sound too hard to do, right? Why then isn’t everyone working this way and reaping the rewards in salary raises and promotion offers while enjoying the feeling of achievement and true engagement in their work? There are many reasons why it may feel difficult to take full ownership of your work. Common reasons are, for example, misinformation, or completely missing information, bad practices and habits, complacency, lack of interest, value conflicts, lack of direction and leadership, lack of opportunities, general dissatisfaction towards work or the company, and so on. …
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Take ownership of your work and start to lead, Part 1

Become a Leader: Take ownership of your work and start to lead  ·  So, you have found your workplace, or you have been there for a while already, and now you want to kick it up to a new level. The first thing to do is to show yourself and everyone else around you that you own your position and everything that belongs to it. You do not need a title to be a leader and take responsibility. First rule for being truly successful at work and in your career: You must own your work completely. And when I say completely, I really mean everything that it involves; the good, the bad, and the ugly – and everything around it. Let me tell you why and how. Why ownership? Varying levels of employee disengagement plagues most companies. …
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If you enjoy the articles, please also check my book, 7 Principles of Becoming a Leader – The definitive guide for starting and building your management career at Amazon!