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 Do You Feel Like Youre Always Putting Out Fires

 

Nearly every professional faces off against the occasional workplace crisis. At times, problems are going to arise; that’s just the nature of life. And, usually, the situations themselves are short-lived, ultimately not being nearly as problematic as they appeared to be on the surface.

 

But, if you feel like you are constantly putting out fires at work or that every issue is an unmitigated disaster, then something else may be the source of your troubles: you. Whether it is how you perceive the situations or the ways your choices influence your day, your habits play a critical role in your experience.

 

If you spend your day moving from one crisis to the next, here are some potential causes and what to do about them.

 

Procrastination is Your Middle Name

Waiting until the last minute to handle a task without just cause is a recipe for panic. By the time the deadline draws near, you aren’t sufficiently prepared and have to get the work handled while under the additional stress you put on yourself.

 

If you have a project coming up or a due date you need to adhere to, avoid procrastinating by scheduling various steps as firm appointments in your calendar. Brainstorm the entire process and then give each milestone an appointment, dedicating enough time to ensure it is complete. Make sure that the final deadline is actually before the due date. That way, if you run into trouble, you have an extra day or two to work through it.

 

Lack of Focus (or a Lack of Notes)

When you’re in the middle of a meeting that doesn’t have much to do with you, tuning out is a common reaction. However, not being present may mean you miss vital details that do connect to your work, and that comes with consequences.

 

Similarly, even if you are paying attention, failing to record critical information is a mistake. In the future, you may remember that you heard something relevant, but can’t recall what it is. Then, you’re stuck scrambling to figure out exactly what slipped your mind.

 

Luckily, both of these situations can be avoided with ease. When you are in a meeting, give the speaker your full attention. Silence your smartphone, turn off notifications, and otherwise eliminate unnecessary distractions.

 

If valuable information is shared, make sure to record it. Whether you opt for handwritten notes, a file on your computer, or even capturing the audio can work as long as you can easily review it should the need arise.

 

The Inability to Say “No”

At times, people are overloaded at work because of poor time management. However, in others, genuinely being overtasked can happen.

 

When professionals end up with a bigger workload than they can handle, they usually place blame on someone else, like their manager. But, if you aren’t saying “no” when people ask if you can take the work on, you’re responsible too.

 

Now, most professionals can’t say “no” in every situation, and that’s okay. When circumstances allow, make sure to set proper boundaries. And, if you genuinely can’t fit the assignment into your schedule without sacrificing the quality of your work, say so. By focusing on the fact that the increase in your workload harms the results, others are more likely to accept your answer.

 

Ready to Build a Better Team? Call the Experts at The Armada Group!

Ultimately, any of the tendencies above can make you feel like you’re always putting out fires. Luckily, most are easy to remedy with a little effort and diligence. If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members about your questions today and see how our workplace productivity and efficiency expertise can benefit you.

 

 

The Mindset Managers Need to Grow

 

For a company to remain successful, it needs to be prepared to evolve with the times. If managers don’t maintain the proper mindsets, they can easily become roadblocks to advancement instead of champions for it. If you want to reach new heights in 2019, here are the mindsets you need to embrace to make sure that forward progress is possible.

 

Connection

People have a fundamental need to connect with others, but many managers try to shut themselves off from their teams, fearing that getting to close would lead to consequences. Typically, this attitude is shortsighted, as it is costing you far more than you risk by forging these connections.

 

When you actively strive to connect with your employees, you allow relationships to form. This can breed loyalty and create a healthier culture, as everyone will feel like they belong.

 

Growth

You can’t improve the performance of your business without embracing growth, and this doesn’t just include the companies. Supporting your professional growth as well as that of your team is also critical, ensuring everyone has the proper knowledge and skills to be at their best.

 

Make your own development a priority as this ensures your employees will have a solid example to follow. Then, provide them with opportunities too to make sure everyone can take steps forward.

 

Trust

Without trust, no team can thrive. Managers often worry about providing their staff with too much autonomy, fearing that, by letting go, something will go awry. However, when you give your employees some degree of freedom, they typically rise to the occasion. Plus, it frees you up to focus on your own tasks, including those that can generate growth.

 

Often, leaders need to extend trust first and not wait for it to be earned. By embracing this approach, your team builds confidence quickly and will strive to meet your expectations. When trust is withheld initially, it can breed discontent and anxiety, especially if your workers don’t know what they need to do to make progress. While allowing yourself to give trust when you are uncertain is difficult, it’s usually worth the effort.

 

Purpose

Employees aren’t going to be at their best when the company’s core focus in on increasing profits. Often, workers feel little benefit from the organization improving their bottom line, so you need to give them something more if you want them to excel.

 

Instead of focusing on profit, adopt a purpose mindset. When professionals can work on something that is intrinsically meaningful and fulfilling, productivity and engagement rise. This can lead to growth and, subsequently, a higher level of profitability, all without making either of those a core focus.

 

Are You Looking For the Most-Talented Tech Candidates?

By adopting the mindsets above, your company can grow in 2019. If you’d like to learn more, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with questions today and see how our growth mindset expertise can benefit you.

 

 

5 Things Developers Should Never Say During a Job Interview

 

When you head into an interview, your goal is typically to make a great impression on the hiring manager. While many developers are well-intentioned when they share information, saying certain things during the meeting can cost you valuable opportunities. With that in mind, here are five things you should never say during an interview, even if the statements are true.

 

  1. I Don’t Like…

During a meeting with a hiring manager, you should never say that there is a language, framework, or library you don’t like. While your intention may be to be honest about your preferences, you end up coming off as inflexible or that you may be unwilling to deviate from your usual routine or learn new technologies.

 

Additionally, in the eyes of the hiring manager, it automatically limits your potential and, subsequently, your value. They may fear that you wouldn’t be able or willing to take certain projects on, making you a less than ideal choice.

 

  1. At My Last/Current Job, the Problem Was/Is…

Regardless of how your team or manager at your current or last job performed, bad-mouthing them during an interview is never a smart move. Even if what you are saying is true, you risk coming off as an ineffective collaborator and as a person with a poor attitude.

 

  1. After Starting in This Role, I Want to Move Forward to…

Having ambition is rarely a bad thing. However, if you express a goal that is beyond the role that you are interviewing for and suggest that you want to get there fast, the hiring manager may consider this a red flag.

 

Ultimately, the hiring manager is concerned about filling a specific role, not the one above it. Even if you want to have opportunities to move forward, making it sound like it is a requirement or expectation that you be given a specific kind of project that is above that position, it suggests you aren’t ideal for the company’s current needs.

 

  1. I Would Estimate That Amount to Be Around…

If you are faced with a question involving numbers, hedging your response isn’t a good choice. Phrases like “around,” “approximately,” or “about” suggest that you don’t know the right answer, which doesn’t make a positive impression if they are figures that you should be familiar with and work with consistently.

 

Unless the hiring manager requests an approximation, be specific with your numbers. Otherwise, you might not come off as competent as you actually are, and that can hurt your chances of landing the job.

 

  1. I Don’t Know.

When you are asked a question and legitimately don’t know the answer, never end your response with “I don’t know.” Instead, make sure to add that you’ll find out or give the hiring manager a description of the actions you would take to get the answer.

 

Hiring managers don’t expect you to know everything. However, if you don’t follow up your “I don’t know” with something that shows you are willing to learn more and find the answer, they may doubt your commitment to doing what it takes to excel.

 

Want More Tips on How to Ace Your Job Interview?

Ultimately, it’s best to avoid all of the statements above during your developer interview, especially if you want to be seen as a top candidate for the role. If you’d like to know more about successful interviewing, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our team members today and see how our interviewing expertise can benefit you.

 

 

How to Show Gratitude to Your IT Team

 

As the holiday season approaches, many managers look for ways to express their appreciation to their IT team. However, if you want your employees to genuinely feel valued, you have to look beyond the acknowledgements that you typically dole out this time of year.

 

Often, to show your staff that you value them, you need to make an effort to ensure they feel heard, and this can’t be accomplished if you only focus on it during the holidays. If you want to make sure your IT team knows they are valued, here’s what you need to do.

 

Say “Thank You” Often

Managers are typically overtasked. This means it is easy to forget how your team keeps projects and daily activities moving forward, as it’s just part of the day-to-day. However, by actively trying to remember to thank them for their contributions, you demonstrate that you value what they have to offer. Plus, it shows that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed and that they are appreciated.

 

It also helps to extend your thanks beyond yourself. Let your team know when stakeholders appreciate the results of their efforts as well, especially if they don’t have an opportunity to interact directly with other leaders or customers.

 

Be an Active Listener

You can’t make your IT team feel heard if you spend the entire conversation merely waiting for your chance to speak. While you plan your response, you miss critical details in the discussion, and this can cause your employees to become frustrated if their input was ignored, even if it was unintentional.

 

When your employees speak, make sure to focus solely on listening. Take in every word and wait for a natural pause before you even begin to formulate a response. That way, you won’t miss a vital part of the conversation and your reply can be more meaningful.

 

Give Them Challenges

While every IT role comes with a certain level of monotony, giving your employees a chance to stretch outside of their comfort zones or take on a challenge can actually show that you value them. By allowing them to use their unique talents to take on something new, you demonstrate your trust in their abilities and interest in helping them grow.

 

See Them as Individuals

In IT, functioning as part of a team is the norm. This makes praising the group more common when a job is well done since multiple people were critical to the overall success of the project.

 

While recognizing the team’s efforts is wise, you also want to see them as individuals. Highlight each person’s achievements to make them feel seen and single them out if they truly went above and beyond. This ensures that every employee understands that they are valued for what they bring to the table and not just what they can accomplish together.

 

If you would like to know about how you can show your IT team you value them this season and beyond, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions or thoughts today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Onboarding a New Employee

 

As a manager, it’s often your duty to ensure the success of your team. However, when many companies bring on IT contractors, they don’t take as much time and attention with them as they do with their regular new hires.

 

While it’s true the company’s relationship with a contractor does differ from the one they maintain with their permanent staff, that doesn’t mean you should forgo certain steps. When you properly onboard an IT contractor, you give them the tools they need to excel in their role, increasing productivity, the quality of their outputs, and even their level of job satisfaction.

 

If you are getting ready to bring on an IT contractor, here is some important advice for their onboarding.

 

Build a Relationship

Even though a contractor may only be with your company for a short time, that doesn’t mean you should avoid making a connection. By getting to know your IT contractor, you help turn a transactional relationship into a meaningful one.

 

Not only can this help them feel more welcome and integrated with your organization, fostering positive feelings and potentially a greater sense of loyalty, it can also help you stay ahead in the talent war. A happy contractor is more likely to accept a position with you in the future should you have a similar project or require someone with their skill set down the road, making it easier for you to secure reliable top talent when the need arises.

 

Plus, if your IT contractor genuinely feels like part of your team, they are more invested in the project’s success as well as the success of everyone involved. When there is a sense of connection, most employees, whether short or long term, are more likely to go the extra mile for their co-workers and managers, enhancing productivity and the quality of their outcome.

 

Set Clear Expectations

When you bring in an IT contractor, you usually have a solid idea of how you want them to contribute to the organization. However, if you don’t clearly define your expectations during the onboarding process, your new IT contractor might struggle to meet or exceed these requirements simply because they weren’t aware of them.

 

To ensure your IT contractor is set up for success, take some time during the onboarding process to fully outline what needs to be handled and when. Create a calendar with all relevant deadlines and let them know precisely when and how they need to provide you with status updates.

 

Typically, a contractor isn’t fully aware of any operational standards or office norms in your organization. Additionally, they weren’t exposed to the weeks or months of planning phases that took place before their arrival, so they didn’t have a chance to glean this information over time. This means it is always best to spell everything out clearly, ensuring they understand your expectations, goals, and how their contributions align with the big picture.

 

If you would like to learn more or are seeking an IT contractor for your next project, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our skilled team today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Workplace Retaliation

 

Retaliation in the workplace can involve a wide range of scenarios. For example, if an employee files a complaint about a coworker or manager and is subsequently given a bad performance review that isn’t justified, transferred to another department, subjected to verbal or physical abuse, became targeted by workplace rumors, or otherwise had their work life made intentionally harder, that could be retaliation.

 

Often, retaliation is much more prevalent than many managers realize, and it can be seriously damaging to a company’s culture. Additionally, many skilled professionals won’t tolerate environments where retaliation is common, leading them to seek out opportunities with competitors instead of remaining in a hostile workplace.

 

One survey indicated that one-third of IT professionals at large tech firms witnessed or experienced retaliation after they or another employee reported an issue. If you are wondering whether your workplace is affected by retaliation, here are some signs that may be the case.

 

Criticism and Scrutiny

If an employee is subjected to increased criticism and scrutiny after filing a complaint or reporting an issue, that could be a sign of retaliation. Whether it involves inaccurately measuring their performance, being overly critical, or simply questioning their judgment more often, treating the employee differently after they report a problem are troubling signs of workplace retaliation.

 

This is especially true if any negative feedback is being discussed in front of others, such as their coworkers, employees and managers in other departments, or members of the leadership team. Criticizing someone publicly could be seen as an attempt to harm their reputation with others, something that can be detrimental to their working relationships and their career, which can be a form of retaliation.

 

Limiting Access

After an employee reports a problem, if they are suddenly being removed from critical meetings, denied feedback or guidance, removed from training plans, or otherwise having opportunities eliminated, this could be retaliation.

 

Similarly, removing enjoyable job duties and replacing them with less desirable tasks could also be an indication of an issue, as it limits the worker's ability to derive satisfaction from their role.

 

Department, Location, and Schedule Changes

Relocating a worker to a different department, office, or cubicle could be viewed as retaliation if the employee did not express a desire for the change. Similarly, changing their schedule against their wishes could also be seen as punishing the person for filing a complaint or bringing up an issue.

 

Such changes disrupt the worker’s life and could harm their career, which qualifies them as potential forms of retaliation. However, if such changes are made at the employee’s request, they typically don’t fall into that category.

 

Ultimately, retaliation in the workplace is incredibly damaging, and not just to the person who reported a problem. The culture of the organization is negatively affected, creating an environment full of hostility and stress.

 

Managers should actively strive to eliminate retaliation in the workplace. Otherwise, the company will suffer. If you are interested in learning more, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our experienced team members today and see how our services can benefit you.