3 Ways to Effectively Communicate with Your Boss
Spencer Evans
July 14, 2020
3 Ways to Effectively Communicate with Your Boss
Looking at my watch, I anxiously pace back and forth in the hall. I was supposed to talk to my boss 10 minutes ago, but I was too nervous. I planned to discuss innovative ways to improve the office. I was intimidated and unsure of myself, but I pushed on.Many people struggle with talking to their bosses. Whether discussing time off, salary, or problems at work, everyone has to deal with these conversations at some point. To help you succeed, let me share with you three of the best ways you can effectively communicate with your boss.1. Be confident and have a plan.This should be self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. If you go to talk to your boss, they can tell if you're not confident. When you communicate with your boss, you should be confident in your speech, body language, and demeanor.Easier said than done, so how exactly do you become more confident? The best way to achieve this is to produce a plan. Before you go into the meeting, plan what you are going to talk about. More importantly, consider possible responses to what your boss might say.For example, let's say you talk to your boss about taking some days off for vacation. Before going in, you should have an idea of how many days you want to take off, what you have done to earn the days off, and what you will complete before you leave. This plan allows you to walk in with exactly what you are going to discuss and how you will respond to questions. This makes you look confident and makes it easier for your boss to say yes.2. Be solution oriented.When you communicate with your boss, make sure the discussion is solution oriented. People don't like listening to others complain or rant about their problems. This is especially true with your boss, whose time is limited. But, good bosses are always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the business.If you find something that is time consuming or causes problems for staff, try to figure out a solution to the problem. Anyone can present problems. You're hired to find solutions.Going in with this mindset will serve you well. Your boss will not only take you more seriously as an employee if your solutions work, but they will see you as a future leader.3. Be honest and know when to say no.Your boss wants honesty. Honesty builds trust, which you'll need to earn. Don't be the person who lies under pressure, or takes on too much because you're afraid to say you're overworked. You'll be respected all the more for prioritizing correctly and knowing your own limitations.For example, John is a new employee who enjoys his job. But, this past week, he was taking on too many assignments, to the point where it was too much. He couldn't say no to his new coworkers and bosses, because he wanted to make them happy. But he was lagging, and people were starting to take notice.His new boss called him in for a meeting to discuss what exactly was going on. John, after walking in, immediately started complaining about how they were issuing him too much work. How he had only just started, and they were forcing everything on him. How everyone else didn't have nearly as much work as he did.Do you see any problems with this? I hope so, because this is the opposite of what should have happened.From the beginning, John should communicate with coworkers, explain his current workload priorities, and establish healthy boundaries. Failing that, he should go to his boss with a plan and establish realistic deadlines. That way, he and his boss can look at his current work and reprioritize. If John waits until it's gotten out of hand and he's overwhelmed, he's already made a bad impression.Final Thoughts…Talking to your boss can be extremely difficult and nerve-racking. But if you approach with honesty, present a confident plan, and show your boss you are solution-oriented, you'll do great. Each and every one of us will have to talk to a boss at some point in our lives. When the day comes to take action, you'll be well prepared.
3 Steps to Effectively Juggle Work and School
Spencer Evans
June 12, 2020
3 Steps to Effectively Juggle Work and School
Hearts pounding, anxiety going through the roof; the whole room went quiet as the final results came in. I was six months into the Louisiana Gubernatorial Election, and we were going into a highly contested primary. I had spent countless hours at the office and in the field doing everything I could to win this election for my candidate. All the while, I was taking 18 hours of college classes. I had my fair share of challenges along the way to manage my time and balance both a rigorous workload and the demands of college classes. Let me share with you the three steps I used to successfully balance both a 3.9 GPA and win a primary election.1. Be a Master of Your TimeTo be a master of your time doesn't mean you have a crazy calendar and have everything preplanned and written down. It just means you effectively use the time you have to your advantage. In the middle of work and school, you have a lot of things flying at you at once -- like assignments, due dates, and personal life. It can seem very hectic at times, but don't panic. Instead, prioritize what you must get done first, then go from there. Often, people get overwhelmed with how much they have to do. Instead, you can focus on what needs to be done and do it effectively. The best thing I did was set a timer for myself. This did two things for me. It allowed me to dedicate a certain period of time to one particular project, then once the time was up, switch to the next item. It also pushed me to get the most work done in that time. I created a competition for myself. 2. Turn Off Your PhoneThis one should seem self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. I don't know how many times at work or during a school assignment I would take a “break” on my phone and it turn into a 30-minute Twitter scroll. Nothing is more distracting than seeing a notification, and not being able to answer it.Instead, just turn off your phone. I would say, “I'm not turning it back on ‘till I am done with this work project or school assignment.” You will be surprised how much time you will save and how much more work you will get done.3. Communicate with your boss and professors Probably the most used relationship advice phrase ever is, “communication is key.” This couldn't be any closer to the truth. Having a good relationship with your boss and professors is very important. You need to communicate with your boss often in order to establish that connection with them. A great way to establish that connection, is to prioritize their time. I'll give you an example. Let's say you have a school assignment due next week and you know it'll take a good chunk of your time to complete. Instead of telling your boss the week of, tell him, “Boss, I have a big school project coming up and it's going to take a lot of time. Is there anything I can do for you early, so I can have more time later in the week?” They love this, because it shows you care about their time and getting your work done. Likewise, the same goes for professors. They will appreciate you communicating with them, and you'll be surprised on how many professors will give you the homework early or give you an extended due date. Final Thoughts…Managing both a job and school is very tough; it is not for the faint hearted. You'll have to make many sacrifices to effectively get everything done. You have actively taken the first step in balancing your job and education. If you incorporate these small steps into your daily life, you will be well on your way to success.
Dealing with Stress in the Workplace | Lead Your Future Episode 5
Chris O'Neil
June 11, 2020
Dealing with Stress in the Workplace | Lead Your Future Episode 5
Do you ever struggle to stay focused? Does your to-do list ever look overwhelming? If so, you're far from alone. According to the American Psychological Association in 2017, more than 60% of Americans cite work as the highest source of stress in their lives.Stress can be a serious barrier to your progress in the workplace and life in general. Your health suffers, your productivity slips, and your happiness falls with everything else. Job stress is a set of harmful physical and psychological responses that can occur when the requirements of the job do not match your capabilities, resources, or needs. While it can manifest in many ways, the most common you'll recognize are inability to stay focused, inability to meet expectations, and money. It can often feel like a constant battle.But don't be discouraged! Your stress is not going to win. The Leadership Institute's Lead Your Future podcast addresses your stress in Episode 5.Here, you'll find three steps to reduce your stress.1. The Nose MethodDon't look further into the future than the end of your nose. Thinking about the future compounds stress, even if it's only 5 minutes in the future. “Taking the burden of the future and dumping it on today, makes today unnecessarily heavier.” “The future of our nation” is cited as the most common stressor in America today, according to the American Psychological Association.2. Replace ExpectationsOften, you and I can treat valuable ideals like being confident, relaxed, respected, or reciprocated as expectations. In cognitive behavioral therapy, they call this “shoulds” and “musts”. This phenomenon can be a serious source of stress, and when we expect them, we are not being fair to others or ourselves. Not only will you be happier, but also more likely to achieve them when you treat ideals in a much healthier way.3. AwarenessCognitive Clinician, Alicia Anderson, explains how being aware of your stressors is one of the most vital steps in solving them. There is even healthy, beneficial stress called eustress. Increasing your own self-awareness can help you make the most of it. The more self-aware you are, the more this enables you to get help when you really need it. Stress is corrosive. It damages your relationships, physical health, and even compromises your immune system and cognitive functions. Don't be discouraged though! With the right methods, you can overcome it.Listen to Episode 5 of the Lead Your Future Podcast to hear more about these tips from a cognitive behavioral expert. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: Youtube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Smallest Gestures Make the Biggest Impact – How Colleagues Pull Together
Ben Woodward
May 19, 2020
The Smallest Gestures Make the Biggest Impact – How Colleagues Pull Together
In years from now, when you think back to 2020 and your darkest periods in self-isolation, I'm willing to bet that your happiest memories will be the ones of individual people going out of their way for you.I have noticed people do incredible things in times of crisis - that is certainly true of my colleagues at Leadership Institute (LI). Here are my five favorite stories, and some touching takeaways.A new businessA colleague of mine, who happens to be one of the most talented cooks I know, launched his own bakery delivery service. He supplies bagels, English muffins, and bread to customers across much of Northern Virginia.If ever there were an example of making the best of a bad situation, this is it. Colleagues have shared his website on their social media and, of course, enjoyed their own purchases. Key Takeaway: Your colleagues have lives outside of work. They may play in bands, act, volunteer, and more. If you can support them by attending their events, sharing their content, and donating to their causes, please do! GraduationAnother colleague completed her Master's Degree in Communications -- years of hard work which she balanced with a full-time job at the Leadership Institute. Sadly, like so many students around the world, her graduation was canceled. Naturally, this wasn't going to fly with the staff at LI. One colleague took it upon herself to arrange a graduation celebration over Zoom. The colleague wore a graduation hat and ribbon, and celebrated with about 20 of her colleagues. Key Takeaway: Celebrate each other's successes. It might even give you an excuse for a staff party.Free t-shirtsAbout two weeks ago, I received a mysterious text from a colleague asking for my address so she could deliver a present. Wanting a present, I of course confirmed my address but after a few days, it slipped my mind. About a week later, a package arrived in the mail with a custom-made Leadership Institute Zoom University t-shirt inside. The t-shirt, given as a gift to colleagues who frequently present in webinars, is a perfect fit and you'll no doubt see it in a webinar very soon.Key Takeaway: Every organization should have a Chief Morale Officer. They are awesome, and company swag is a great idea. Sip and Chats On each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, several of my colleagues come together to drink coffee and eat breakfast. What initially started off as a replacement for ‘water cooler talk' has become a staple of our mornings, allowing colleagues to give updates on their lives and compare isolation weekend plans.Key Takeaway: Make sure you're keeping in regular contact with your colleagues, even if it's not about work. Having that interaction is an opportunity to bounce ideas around and it's also your chance to help others. A pick-me-upFinally, I couldn't write this blog without sharing my own story. A few weeks ago, a news announcement created uncertainty in my life. More information wasn't released for several days, but luckily the further information lifted the cloud.The worrying and the stress is behind me, but here's something I won't forget -- a large number of my colleagues, including senior executives, former interns, and friends collaborated to surprise me with a Zoom chat to remind me that I wasn't facing the uncertainty alone. It is my favorite memory of quarantine. Key Takeaway: Don't be afraid to reach out to your colleagues when you need them. Most of the time it'll be a work challenge, but you'll be surprised how much people care about you.
Do you know these work from home secrets?
Christopher Olson, Communications Training & Studios Intern
May 5, 2020
Do you know these work from home secrets?
Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say you are equally productive working from home as you were working in the office?If you're one of roughly 95% of Americans impacted by stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, odds are you've had to ask yourself this question.For some, the benefits are overwhelming. Eighty-five percent of businesses reported an increase in productivity since their staff began working from home. For others, working from home includes endless challenges that hinder your productivity.Working from home has turned me from an early riser who went to the gym before work, to someone who sleeps in and sits on the couch watching Netflix in my pajamas while trying to complete the workday.Luckily, on this episode of the Lead Your Future Podcast, Tiffany Roberts sat down with Leadership Institute's Director of Digital Training, Abigail Alger, to discuss some of her best advice for working from home.Here are three of her tips.Tip #1 -- Set a morning routine.Your morning routines are important. Most of us have a morning routine before a normal workday, but these routines tend to crumble when you work from home. Keeping your routines helps you to get started on work, and to work productivity. A routine is a way to get your mind in the right place, so you can perform the tasks required for your job to the best of your ability.Tip #2 -- Choose your workspace wisely.Set yourself up for success. Find a place or several places in your house where you are removed from distractions and can focus on work. This can be tough because, for many of us, our tendency is to sit on the couch and watch a show or movie while we try to work. We're at home, so we figure we might as well make ourselves comfy. If you notice you are struggling with productivity, think about changing your scenery and removing yourself from distractions.Tip #3 -- Maintain communication with work. Virtual meetings can take much longer than in-person meetings, and nobody likes long virtual meetings. To curb this, make sure you update your boss and supervisors by email to keep them in the loop. This is easy to forget because one of the benefits of working from home is not feeling like your boss is breathing down your neck. Keep your boss updated regularly, so you are still able to enjoy that freedom and not get tied down in virtual meetings.Don't wait! Listen to this new episode of the Lead Your Future Podcast and start working more effectively from home! Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Sound Cloud, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.
How to Succeed as an Intern
Christopher Olson, Communications Training & Studios Intern
May 5, 2020
How to Succeed as an Intern
If you're a young professional looking to enter the workforce, you probably know the importance of an internship all too well.You've probably been told multiple times the importance of an internship on your resume and the experience it brings. But has anyone ever given you the steps to make sure you are the best intern you can possibly be?Your internship is where you will make your first connections in that line of work. You don't want to just be good enough to put the internship on your resume, you want to have your supervisors so impressed that they can't wait to offer you a job, or help you find one elsewhere.Lucky for you, this week the Lead Your Future podcast gives you some tips and tricks on how to be a great intern. You'll hear from my fellow interns here at the Leadership Institute, so you can learn from their experiences.Here are three tips to succeed as an intern.Tip #1 – Be on time.This one is straightforward. Be on time. Do not be late. Try your best to be early, but if you can't be early, do not be late. Once your supervisor sees you come in late a few times, it's a trend, and they will start to assume you're unreliable. Supervisors understand interns are often young, but you want them to think of you as a young professional, not as a kid who's always late. So be on time.Tip #2 -- Don't treat it like a 9-5 job.Oftentimes putting in extra work requires getting in early and staying late. So, don't walk in at exactly nine o'clock and leave right at five. Stay late and come in early when needed. If nobody in your department needs extra help, then start volunteering your time to other departments. Whether it's a non-profit or for-profit, time is invaluable. Put in the extra time outside of the 9-5 hours, and it will go a long way.Tip #3 -- Discover what's inside your toolbox.Take the time while you're interning to navigate and discover your strengths and weaknesses. Your internship is the perfect time to identify your strengths and how to use them, while you work on your weaknesses. You may even discover that you hate the line of work you're doing or discover something you're passionate about.Listen to Episode 4 of the Lead Your Future Podcast to hear more about these tips and real intern experiences. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Sound Cloud, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.
Easy Guide to Professional Webinars and Online Meetings
Ben Woodward
April 21, 2020
Easy Guide to Professional Webinars and Online Meetings
I was catching up on Saturday Night Live yesterday evening and the show depicted the struggles of comedians as they attempted to hold meetings from their homes with hilarious consequences. One only has to take to YouTube to enjoy a long list of videos where professionals make the most embarrassing possible mistakes because they fail to realize their web cameras are switched on. Luckily, no such embarrassing moments have happened in Leadership Institute (LI) meetings or webinars yet. For years, Zoom, Teams, and other platforms have been an excellent tool to reach audiences who cannot attend LI training in person. During the pandemic, webinars are now critical to deliver LI training. This requires professionalism and high standards translated digitally. Here's how you can ensure – whether you're hosting or presenting a meeting or webinar – you make it as professional as possible.LightingIf possible, you should face natural light on camera. Your entire face should be illuminated. Failing that, order a simple ring light online, they're inexpensive and make a big difference. Remember, just like in a real meeting, people will respond to seeing your face and your expressions.You should always avoid light that shines behind you, which can overshadow your face. SoundTo avoid feedback and other distractions, use headphones and limit outside noise. You should also do a test of your microphone before your presentation to ensure the sound works and your computer is set up correctly. SpeakingIt is a good idea to write a script for you webinar or meeting introduction and sign off. What do you want to say? Is there anything you should advertise or someone to introduce? Keep notes by your side in case you lose your place.Be confident in your presentation style. Practice speaking and record yourself to pick up on any filler words or lack of eye contact. Always try to maintain eye contact with your camera (aka your audience). You can also ask your audience questions during the webinar. It's a great way to keep them engaged. DisplayPower points or other types of illustrations can be very helpful to the viewer, who might otherwise get distracted if you're reading from notes. Make your presentation easy to follow. Most of the information should come from you. Your presentation should simply act as a guide to your key points. Make sure you dress appropriately and hide anything unprofessional in your background. Custom backgrounds are a helpful tool. OtherKeep water on hand during your webinar in case you get a dry throat, and make sure you use the bathroom. Even if someone else is speaking, you may not be able to walk away from your screen once you start. Email instructions to your attendees at least half an hour before your webinar. I also recommend you email them upon registration so they know what to expect. Finally, security is important. As the demands on Zoom and other platforms increase, prevent unwanted attendees with password protection and by disabling guest screen sharing.If you follow these simple steps, you'll conduct webinars and meetings that demonstrate your professionalism and ensure they are as close to the in-person experience as possible. If you would like any further assistance with your webinar and meeting needs, you can attend the Leadership Institute's free webinar: Effective Communications in Business on April 29, 2020.
New Lead Your Future Podcast
Christopher Olson
April 6, 2020
New Lead Your Future Podcast
Take the next step to take control of your future and achieve your goals with Leadership Institute's newest podcast series Lead Your Future.The Leadership Institute offers 47 different types of in-person and online trainings, and now you have another way to sharpen your skills while on the go, in your car, or from the comfort of your couch.Throughout the Lead Your Future series, you will learn the tips and tricks to up your career game.Plus, get exclusive content with experts from the conservative movement. These experts will offer their best practices and advice to equip you for your future.LI has already released the first three episodes for you to listen to and share with your friends, family, and fellow conservatives in the movement.Episode One – Business CardsBen Woodward of LI's Career Programs gives advice on all things involving Business Cards in this podcast. You'll learn about design, how to most effectively use your business card at your next networking event, and how to properly follow up with new contacts. Episode Two – Your Personal BrandStephen Rowe, Deputy Director of Digital Training at the Leadership Institute will give you the details on personal branding. You'll learn WHAT a personal brand is, WHY you should have one, and HOW to start building your own.Episode Three - How to be Productive Working from HomeAbigail Alger, Director of Digital Training at the Leadership Institute, talks through working from home. Working from home does not have to be a challenge. Two-thirds of managers report that employees who work from home increase their overall productivity. Learn from this advice how to be one of those high-performing employees.If you want to take the next step in taking control of your future, then the Lead Your Future podcast is just for you!Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Sound Cloud, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.
This is No Time to Rest
Christopher Olson
April 2, 2020
This is No Time to Rest
In this difficult time, businesses have slowed down, many schools have closed, and some elections have been pushed back. The economy is hurting, and travel is restricted.But this is no time to rest.You have an excellent opportunity to empower your principles and learn the tools to win.“You owe it to your philosophy to learn how to win." Leadership Institute President, Morton Blackwell, says that often.He goes on to say that if you don't take the time to learn how to win, and your opposition does, "they will beat you no matter how right you are — and you don't deserve to win."Those of us who have heard Morton Blackwell say these words know they ring true. They ring even truer today with the COVID-19 pandemic flooding our society.For those of us in the conservative movement, this is not time to stop. You and I must keep moving forward. Our work is never done.What are you doing during your quarantine time, and how are you preparing yourself for leadership?Thanks to our generous donors, the Leadership Institute is here for you during this difficult time.The Leadership Institute (LI) has moved trainings online and added many more. In April alone, you can participate in more than 35 elite online trainings and events. Learn to win from the comfort of your home while you practice social distancing.You cannot beat a plan with no plan. This pandemic too shall pass. When it does, businesses will reopen, the economy will begin it's comeback, and campaigns will kick into full speed.Are you prepared?You owe it to your philosophy to become a skilled and principled activist in the conservative movement. Don't let the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 affect your opportunity to become one of tomorrow's leaders.According to Forbes, great leaders are charismatic, empowering, and great communicators. Leadership Institute teaches these qualities and more in our communications workshops, including Debate, TV, Speechwriting, and more. Sharpen your communication skills at one of LI's six online workshops. Learn how you can make a difference as a conservative on a campaign, as an activist, and in your community at one of the Leadership Institute's more than 40 online trainings and events this month.
Full Circle – How Welcome to Washington Helped Me from Both Sides of the Stage
Ben Woodward
March 13, 2020
Full Circle – How Welcome to Washington Helped Me from Both Sides of the Stage
In 2015, an ill-experienced but enthusiastic professional, eager to succeed, attended Welcome to Washington. The event was hosted at the grand offices of the American Enterprise Institute in central Washington, DC, and organized by America's Future Foundation. This person was me, a 22 year old politico just a few weeks into an internship at the Leadership Institute. The internship would change my life, not least because I learned skills that would help me to succeed.Fast forward five years. I had the opportunity to sit on the other side of that stage as a panelist with the heavy responsibility to pass on these lessons, along with three other brilliant speakers. Washington, D.C. goes full-circle. Today's intern is tomorrow's panelist. So what are these lessons? What did I learn at Welcome to Washington and throughout my internship which would subsequently land me a job here? 1. You are only as employable as your reputationWashington, D.C. is the biggest small town you can imagine. It's a large city, but somehow everyone in D.C. seems to know each other. Forget six degrees of separation, more like one at most. Within your professional circle, reputations spread quickly. A foolish error as an intern will follow you around for a long time. On the reverse, a strong reputation among the right people will accelerate your career.2. There's a lot of job seekers to compete with, but it's easy to stand-outLet's start with your resume, which should be one side of regular 8.5 x 11 paper. There are few exceptions to this rule. The resume must be flawless in spelling, grammar, and consistency. In addition, your cover letter must explain why you want to work for the organization you're applying to.In preparing for interviews, make sure you know the organization inside and out. It's important that you not only demonstrate your motivation, but how your skills and accomplishments will allow you to succeed. 3. Networking is not a dirty word There's a right way and a wrong way to network. Ask any professional, and they've all met someone who showed no interest in them as a person at all, only in their job and the extent they can be used. If your interactions with someone aren't sincere, you're not likely to remember a person positively or want to work with them.The best networkers are sincere. They show a legitimate interest in the person they meet and exchange business cards at the end of the conversation. To continue building a connection, send a follow-up email within 48 hours. If you seek to build a strong professional relationship, ask them to coffee to learn more about their work. 4. You can lead without authorityMany of those attending Welcome to Washington were interns and students, so naturally the question arises – how can you stand out in your internship, despite the fact you're without much decision-making capacity?Lead without authority. The best interns are the ones who become a presence in the office. They help other departments in addition to their own. And they introduce themselves to as many people as possible. Within their department, they take the initiative by anticipating their boss's needs. They communicate their ambitions. And they have a commitment to excellence. 5. There's a life outside of your job Obsessive politicos become tiresome. Find passions outside of your work and politics that excite you and give depth to your character. Washington, D.C. has a rich culture and no shortage of wonderful opportunities. Go discover them!…And finally,If you haven't yet had the opportunity to attend Welcome to Washington, make sure you follow America's Future Foundation to find out the dates for 2020. There's also an abundance of opportunities to learn essential career skills. The Leadership Institute's Career Services are on hand to assist you with training, job recommendations, and free, personalized, one-on-one consultations.
From CPAC to DC Intern
Christopher Olson
February 25, 2020
From CPAC to DC Intern
The biggest conservative event of the year is coming up this week and the Leadership Institute will be there in full force!If you have never been to CPAC before, I highly recommend it!CPAC 2019 was when I was first introduced to Leadership Institute. Fast forward one year and I am interning in the Communications Department at LI.On top of all of the speakers and happy hours, CPAC really can open many doors for you. If you are looking to get involved politically or looking to further your political connections, CPAC is a great place to be.Leadership Institute will host One-on-One Career Consultations, co-hosts the CPAC Job and Internship Fair with the Heritage Foundation, and even has a Student Communicator Competition with the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform.Check out the details for CPAC 2020 here: www.LeadershipInstitute.org/CPACAnd watch this video for a throwback to CPAC 2019. Maybe you're in it!Hope to see many of you there! This really is a can't miss event!
The American Conservative Movement – An Outsider’s Perspective
Maguelonne DeGestas
February 14, 2020
The American Conservative Movement – An Outsider’s Perspective
As a French woman, before my arrival at the Leadership Institute I had rarely heard the word "conservatism" so much. Now, all the time I hear: this politician is a "conservative", this media outlet is "conservative", and this principle is "conservative". Not only does American conservatism exist, but it is firmly anchored in the political and social vocabulary of the country.In France, are we as comfortable with this word "conservatism"? I believe we are not. Conservatism as an ideological force lacks presence in France's political landscape, to the detriment of the public policy. For conservatives like me, it is difficult to practice conservative philosophy as a career as one can in the United States by working in the conservative movement.Unlike in the United States, in France we don't have a large political movement that unites conservatives and classical liberals. It seems indeed eminently difficult in France to maintain a conservative-classical liberal position and succeed in governing sustainably.On the other hand, the US experienced a "conservative boom" between the 1970s and 1980s. The American right gained ground, notably thanks to the emergence of conservative intellectuals who defined a political line and the momentum built by numerous organizations in the movement.In France, on the contrary, we experienced during this same period a left-wing emergence, which advocated the overthrow of the moral sense of French society.Sadly, French conservatism has not enjoyed the same enthusiasm as in the United States.But today, things are changing. More and more French people are trying to take root again, in a specific place and community, with their own way of life. Conservatism in France still has much to do to defend – a common heritage, future, and freedom in policy.Let's hope that the next municipal elections in March will be the occasion to elect candidates capable of bringing a real conservative line in the political field.
The Power of Campus Clubs
Christopher Olson
February 6, 2020
The Power of Campus Clubs
What happens on high school and college campuses today happens in Congress tomorrow. How does that make you feel?In a recent interview with the Leadership Institute, Representative David Schweikert of Arizona described his introduction into politics by joining a conservative group on campus, as well as his relationship with the Leadership Institute and Morton Blackwell.Rep. Schweikert, an elected member of the U.S. Congress, described his coming into politics as an “accident”. “In my high school, there was a Teenage Republicans Club, and I ended up accidently at one of the club meetings. The next thing I knew, I was the club treasurer.”That club membership “demystified” politics, he says, “and made it accessible. So, I ran for the state legislature my first time, when I was 26 years old.”I too accidentally found politics by engaging with Turning Point USA. Rep. Schweikert and I are not alone in this matter. A large percentage of my colleagues here at the Leadership Institute have similar stories and were engaged with the conservative groups on their campuses.From my time as a Field Representative with LI, I can tell you first-hand the chaos that is the modern-day college campus.Those of us engaged in politics know how crazy many campuses have become. They are now a breeding ground for socialism and leftism, without any regard for debate.As a result, many conservative organizations are now organizing on college campuses. These organizations, like the Leadership Institute, organize students and educate them on conservative principles such as free speech, free markets, and limited government.These conservative organizations offer an opportunity for students to be introduced to politics and conservative principles. They bring the battle of ideas straight to the students.Representative David Schweikert served in the Arizona House of Representatives for 4 years and is currently serving his 5thterm in the United States House of Representatives, representing Arizona's 6thCongressional District. He currently sits on the Ways and Means Committee and is the Senior House Republican Member on the Joint Economic Committee. Rep. Schweikert has also been a member of the House Freedom Caucus since its inception in 2015 and The Heritage Foundation gives him a generous 98% conservative approval rating based on his time in congress. Rep. Schweikert even helped teach some of Leadership Institute's trainings before he was an elected member of Congress.What happens on campuses today, happens in Congress tomorrow. How are you and I stacking up in the fight for our futures? Conservatives cannot afford to stay out of this battle.Click here to watch the full interview with Rep. David Schweikert.
When You’re Burnt Out
Ben Woodward
January 15, 2020
When You’re Burnt Out
As the resident Englishman in the office, many of my colleagues have stopped by my desk in recent days to ask my thoughts on the recent announcement by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex regarding their withdrawal as senior royals.I know what you are thinking; you clicked on this link looking for career advice, not to read more about Harry and Meghan.Though most of us will never have to deal with the intense public scrutiny the royals do, you may relate to the feeling of burn out at work. Recognizing it in yourself, your colleagues, and your subordinates is important.What is burnout?Not to be confused with the normal stresses of your day-to-day work, burnout results in a lack of motivation and deep sense of negativity at work.Your productivity declines and you find it difficult to become excited about your projects.How do I resolve burnout?Lighten your workloadThis is not to be confused with neglecting your essential projects. However, many people burn out because they take on too much responsibility and do not delegate work to those who should be responsible.Be stricter with your calendar and realistic about what you can accomplish that week. By saying yes to every favor your colleagues ask, you will load your plate too high. Focus on your priorities, and do not be afraid to delegate work to colleagues if it falls within their responsibility. If you are unclear about what your priorities are, talk to your supervisor.Take relaxation seriouslyKnow what you need to do during the day and in your personal time to relax. For me, I take my lunch hour every day without fail, and I leave the office. If I have to work late or come in early to complete my tasks I will, but my lunch hour is essential to keep myself motivated throughout the day.You may find you can work through your lunch hour and remain motivated throughout the day; however, when you get home and before you leave for work, make sure you are giving yourself time to unwind.Organize your personal lifeProfessionalism requires you to keep your personal life from affecting your work life. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, which requires an element of self-discipline. If you wake up tired and go to bed with too much energy, then you need to re-balance your sleep schedule.Likewise, money can often be a source of stress. Make sure your finances are under control; your payday should not come as a source of relief. Be in control of your spending and build a savings account that you can use to give yourself the occasional treat to relieve burnout.Be health consciousYour health has a tremendous effect on your work and your mental state. Staying hydrated throughout the day will prevent headaches. Excessive reliance on caffeine or sugar will cause fluctuations in your mood.In addition, it does not take a genius to work out that eating right and regular exercise will improve your state of mind and give you the self-confidence you need to excel. Know when it is time to move onBefore you consider moving on, talk to trusted colleagues and your supervisor about ways to improve your current work situation. If they do not know there's a problem, they won't find ways to help you. However, if you decide that enough is enough, it may be time to consider looking for a new opportunity. If that is the case, find a job that fulfills gaps in your existing work life that caused burnout. Make sure you leave your current job on good terms.Consider an internal transfer as your first option; if that does not help, or is not possible, look elsewhere. Make sure you retain your current job while you seek a new one.FinallyBurnout is a difficult challenge to overcome and there is no easy fix. If you are truly unhappy at work, find a way to resolve the problem. If you notice burnout in others, reach out, and offer help.
When the job market slows down for Christmas
Ben Woodward
December 16, 2019
When the job market slows down for Christmas
When the job market slows down for ChristmasIt's December, and for many recruiters the holiday season slows down their hiring process. Recruiters have just returned from Thanksgiving break and they are spending their days like most professionals; catching up on emails and other priorities before year-end. Combined with a feeling that they cannot train new hires until New Year, you have a perfect formula to dry up recruitment.As a jobseeker, applying in December can be incredibly frustrating. However, that does not mean you cannot find opportunities or even use the season productively.Here are three ways to make the most of your job search during the holiday season.Just because applications aren't being reviewed, doesn't mean you can't prepare them.Without the pressure of pending interviews, you have time to produce high quality applications. You can browse jobs and prepare thoroughly researched resumes and cover letters that articulate why you aspire to work for the organization.The pressure of a tight deadline can prevent applicants from taking the necessary time to proofread their work -- do not fall into this trap. Over the Christmas period, ask your friends to read your applications for quality control. Come January, you will have exceptional applications ready to go. Christmas is the period of holiday parties; get off your laptop and meet recruiters in person.You can do some of your best networking at Christmas. As the holiday parties begin, monitor social media events, newsletters, and organization events pages carefully to find opportunities for great networking. Everyone is in a good mood during their holiday party, so it is a good chance to get to know people.Make sure you remain professional, especially when there is an open bar. Follow-up with the people you meet within forty-eight hours of meeting them, though it is likely that networking coffee will not take place until New Year. Focus on your strategy for 2020.A New Year is often great inspiration for new beginnings. If you are considering a career change, use the break to consider your ambitions and make a plan for how you will hit the ground running come January.Your plan may include where you will apply, preparing your references, editing your resume, and talking to your network.Finally… Just because the Christmas period job market is slow does not mean you cannot use your time productively. Remember, ConservativeJobs.com is here to help.Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The Power of the Business Card
Dominick Porcella
October 21, 2019
The Power of the Business Card
Important new contact: “Do you have a business card?”You: “…erm, no, sorry.”Without a business card, even the most genuine promise to reconnect is offered in vain. That temporary power of influence one carefully builds in conversation, that power of visibility, power of impact, and power of reach, immediately disintegrates before your eyes as your interlocutor politely excuses himself to mingle with some slightly more serious company. Your name is as memorable to him as the name of the doorman who bid you goodnight is to you.Did you catch his name?No, of course you didn't. How could you, with so many prestigious guests to meet? But, as a matter of fact, many people do remember the doorman's name, typically their doorman, the gentleman who kindly greets them at eight o'clock each morning as they leave for work. When repeated physical interaction occurs, memories are reinforced and relationships are sustained.His name is Irving and each day for the past seven years, he dutifully operates his station at six o'clock sharp. His wife's birthday is next week, and he is very proud that his only daughter recently passed the New York State bar examination after studying at Columbia Law School, though she is still struggling to secure employment.But who are you, again?How can you acquire Irving's level of memorability? How can you gain the power inherent to physical presence without possessing the quality of physical presence itself?The business card is a small, 3.5 x 2 inch ticket that may transport you to such power. It is the only tangible piece on your person that may be politely gifted to another professional as a visible reminder of your importance.The following is a list of helpful tips on how to wield the power of the business card:1. Be sure that your business card is as ordered, attractive, and clean looking as you are.If you think of your business card as an extension of yourself, surely you would want it to make as good an impression as you did in conversation the night you gave it out. Be sure the font is legible, the text well organized, the designs and images cleanly printed, important information prominently presented, and superfluous information stricken (especially misattributed quotations). Just as your tie complements your shirt, or your clutch purse matches your dress, be sure your business card matches your resume.2. Always carry a business card on your person.Some events are just made for networking. You can quickly recognize the importance of carrying a set of business cards with you when you attend them. But always keep a deck on you, should you find other players outside such events. You never know who you might bump into on the subway, at the coffee shop, or at an informal gathering.3. Assess the appropriateness of business card exchange on a case by case basis.Take care not to go hog wild in distributing your business card. Liberality is a virtue, but wastefulness is a vice, and your business card is a limited resource with only one's time being more valuable. Offer it only when a genuine mutual connection has been established or when an opportunity reveals itself. Handing a business card to someone is a gesture that says, “I am willing to invest some time and speak with you again, here is my contact information should you need it.” It is not advisable to promise this to every Tom, Dick, and Harry you meet. Think strategically.4. Hand business cards without expecting anything in return, but hand a business card should you be given one. Should you succeed in establishing a strong basis for furthering dialogue, do not shy away from offering your business card. But give without expecting something in return, for there are no obligations for the other party tied to your generous act. At the same time, it is merely polite to hand a business card to someone who offers one to you, but essential to do so if you want a chance to solidify that connection.5. Handwrite a note on the back of all business cards you receive.Upon receiving a business card, quickly jot down notable facts about the person that were brought up in conversation on the back of the business card once you find privacy and still have a working memory. Such information might include expressed interests, past positions they've held, persons or organizations within their network, and so on. In addition to the business card, you'll discover latent power in the pen. Always carry a writing utensil on your person as well.6. Follow-up immediately with newfound acquaintances with whom you intend to maintain a professional relationship.Message your newfound acquaintance within a 24-hour period. A prompt, thankful email or invitation to coffee might solidify a connection that would otherwise dissolve in the sea of competition for attention.7. Diligently organize all acquired business cards and produce a detailed catalog of your activity.Collect your cards like precious jewels. How will you keep record of them? You might want to organize them alphabetically, by date acquired, or by personal value to you. Your grandfather's Rolodex might come in handy. Finally, catalog who you met, at what event, where that event took place, and when that event happened.8. Do not fear handing your business card out vertically as well as horizontally.It is quite easy and natural to mingle horizontally to peers of similar station. How much in common you have! It is less natural, yet no less important, to mingle vertically as well – upwards and downwards. Do not feel shy approaching persons of higher station than you, and likewise do not be so haughty and arrogant when someone of lower station approaches you. You will not know what potential they might have, positions they have open, where they will be in the near future, or who they know. Keep your ears open, and a little generosity and humility can go a long way.Remember what the doorman said!
The Office Walls Are Closing In
Ben Woodward
September 27, 2019
The Office Walls Are Closing In
If you are a Star Wars fan, you will remember the classic scene when Chewie, Hans, Leia, and Luke were trapped in the trash compactor on the Death Star. As they hid from the Storm Troopers, the walls began to close in.Does your office ever start to feel that way? By the end of the workday, I am far more productive if I leave the building.By leaving, there is less risk of interruption from phone calls and colleagues stopping by, but more importantly, it is an opportunity to clear your head and work in a new environment. Where do you like to work, if not in the office? Here are the advantages and disadvantages of some of the most common choices. HomeAdvantages: Working from home is many people's favorite alternative. You have access to everything you need: a charging station, optional background noise, food and drink, and it comes at no cost. You also have more control over your environment, meaning you can avoid distractions or seek them out should you require a break.Disadvantages: You will likely find working from home a huge test of will power. Your home is where you relax; it is where you escape from work, which is why motivating yourself to work from home is very difficult. In addition, if you live with family, spouse, or roommates it can be difficult to work if they seek out your attention. Coffee ShopsAdvantages: The change of scenery can be helpful to productivity, and a certain amount of background noise is usually preferable to total silence. In addition, coffee shops can often give you the chance to work outside, unlike the office, and access to beverages and snacks if required. Disadvantages: You do not have control of your environment, which means if someone starts speaking loudly on the phone, the location becomes very busy, or there are no charging ports, you will have to adapt. In addition, you pay for the privilege of working there, which can add up. LibraryAdvantages: If distractions detract from your ability to work, there is no better place than a library. It costs nothing and you will have access to a comfortable environment. The Library also has the advantage of being a new environment; the mere act of going out of your way to the library could focus your attention. Disadvantages: Trapping yourself in an environment where all you can do is focus on your work can be difficult; there may be little opportunity to grab coffee, or use the bathroom, etc. unless you are willing to pack up your laptop.Transportation Advantages: This is a great use of your time. If you are on a train, plane, or automobile, you have little else to do besides entertain yourself or work. It can also give you something on which to focus besides the monotony of travel.Disadvantages: Access to internet or charging stations will likely be your biggest challenge working on transportation. In addition, the cramped space and constant interruptions will make for difficult working environment.Wherever you choose to work, ultimately it is a question of what works best for you and your boss. Personally, I am a coffee shop worker and do so regularly. If you can work late into the night or early on a Saturday morning with the TV on and in the comfort of your bed, go for it!
4 Ways to Overcome a Mistake in the Workplace
Ben Woodward
September 9, 2019
4 Ways to Overcome a Mistake in the Workplace
Whether due to poor communication, an overbearing work schedule, or forgetfulness, mistakes happen in the workplace. For the strongest employees, it's not a common occurrence, but it is a certainty.For the most part, mistakes like forgetting to send an email or double booking yourself are easily fixed and there is no need to trouble your boss with the issue.Other mistakes, like the ones I will focus on in this blog, require you to repair the damage. They happen, and the way you go about managing the situation will say more about you as an employee than most of what you get right. Here is how you can handle mistakes like a true professional.1. Assess the damage and develop a plan of actionHow bad is the mistake? What are the overall consequences? Think about how much time you require to fix it and whom you should notify. Give yourself a moment to calm down; when you discover a big mistake it can be easy to panic – that will not help anyone.via GIPHY The next and most important step is that you have a plan of action before going to your boss. Start brainstorming how you intend to fix the problem; think about the best possible solutions and some of the questions your boss is likely to ask you when you present them. It is important that you know how you are going to fix it before you go in.2. Meet with your bossThis is the hard part -- telling your boss about the mistake. The key here is to explain exactly what happened. I recommend you do not omit any information and you ensure that you are humble and apologetic – do not lay blame, just tell the facts.Immediately present to your boss how you intend to fix the problem and answer any questions they might have. Following your meeting, you should also follow up with your boss on any unanswered questions. It is likely that your recommendation, if well thought out, will be adopted. Be prepared however for your boss to propose an alternative solution and if that is the decided upon option, run with it.via GIPHY3. Implement the solution Keep your boss up to date on the important steps to fixing your mistake and alert everyone who may be impacted. Be strategic and have confidence that your plan of action is the right one. After a bruising mistake, it can be easy to question yourself. 4. Learn from the experienceAs I said at the beginning, mistakes are inevitable, even the ones that require a lot of work to fix. For the most part, assuming your mistake is one of human error and not a breach of moral code, they are forgivable. Any organization seeking staff who never make mistakes will find themselves with an empty office. The key is to learn; ask yourself what you could have done differently. While others may be at fault, the most successful employees are those who are self-critical and learn ways to avoid mistakes in future, whether it's your own mistake or if you must figure out who you need to stay on top of. If you come away from your mistake a better employee, it'll be forgotten in no time. via GIPHY
Putting the Business in Business Casual
Sheridan Nolen
August 19, 2019
Putting the Business in Business Casual
If you're like me and always doubt what business casual means, here's a quick tutorial. Business Casual: a style of clothing less formal than traditional business wear, but still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression. It typically includes slacks or khakis, a dress shirt or polo shirt, blouses, dresses or skirts at knee-length or longer, and dress shoes. During cold weather, knit sweaters and vests are also acceptable. Business casual outfits provide a more relaxed look but still indicate professionalism. It can be hard to develop a clear understanding of business casual expectations if you have just started a new job or if it's your first time attending an event. Different employers and groups have a variety of expectations for business casual, but common denominators exist among them. Here are some general tricks to mastering business casual attire.1. Jackets and blazers are optional. Unlike business formal attire, business casual outfits can be worn with or without a suit jacket or blazer. It is entirely optional! You are not expected to wear a jacket or blazer in a business casual setting. via GIPHY2. If you'd wear it to the gym, leave it at home. Sorry ladies, but leggings aren't pants in the business world. They belong underneath dresses and skirts. Gentlemen, windbreakers and track jackets shouldn't be worn in a business casual setting either. Business casual does not include athletic wear. If you'd wear it to the gym, just leave it at home. via GIPHY3. Jeans are hit or miss. In general, avoid jeans in a business casual wardrobe. Some offices permit jeans as acceptable business casual clothing, but you should still avoid light-washed or ripped jeans to maintain a professional look. Pair your jeans with a button-up or dress shirt, a jacket, a good quality belt, and neat shoes. If you are wearing a button-up shirt, adding a tie is up to you. via GIPHY4. Dress up.The stress of feeling under-dressed is far worse than showing up overdressed for work or an event. For this reason, always dress up if you are unsure of business casual expectations. For example, many companies consider polo shirts part of the business-casual spectrum. If you are unsure whether this is the case with your current job or an event you are attending, go with a button-up shirt and a tie. Always dressing up does not mean wearing a three-piece suit as business casual – it means wear a jacket and tie, even if you're not sure if others will. via GIPHY5. Observe other employees.Your easiest tool to decoding what your office considers business casually is looking at your colleagues. Making observations about what people around you wear is the perfect way to gauge what your employer expects you to wear when they say business casual.
Beyond Your Job Description
Sheridan Nolen
August 5, 2019
Beyond Your Job Description
Good employees always complete their assigned tasks and duties on time and do them thoroughly. The work they present is up to the standard their boss expects. However, doing the minimum does not advance a good employee's career. What should you do to level-up? What does it take to become an exceptional employee? Going beyond your expected job responsibilities paves the way for advancing your career. Whether you're looking to move up in your current office or want a strong recommendation for another position elsewhere, here are some ways you can become an exceptional employee. An exceptional employee has a two-job mindset. Your first job is the one you were hired to do. The second job you decide for yourself. As an exceptional employee, you'll look for ways you can help different departments or people around you, even if you do not normally interact with each other. You'll help others with projects or tasks that you otherwise might not have done if you had not asked. By doing this, you demonstrate your commitment to the organization, company, or office. Exceptional employees are those who demonstrate that they are dynamic, collaborative members in the workplace. via GIPHYAn exceptional employee is open to developing new skills.You were hired because you have the necessary skills and qualifications to complete the basic description on the job application. Take it a step further. As an exceptional employee, you'll take initiative by challenging yourself to develop new skills, even if they are difficult and take a long time to learn. Exceptional employees know that stepping out of their comfort zones will not go unnoticed by their boss. Not only is learning new skills indicative of your desire to learn, but demonstrates your commitment to challenge yourself on behalf of the company. Reading a book by an expert in your field or taking extra certification courses are two great examples of going beyond your job description to enhance the work you are assigned to do. This behavior also sets a new standard for who is hired for your current position in the future. via GIPHYAn exceptional employee asks for more responsibilities, but doesn't drown. Your boss might be pleased with your performance at work, but they will be impressed if you have a chance to help alleviate their workload. It might not seem like it on the surface, but they can almost always use an extra hand. As an exceptional employee, you won't be afraid to ask your boss or supervisor for more responsibilities. Perhaps you want more challenging tasks or a larger quantity of the type of work you are already doing. You might even get a chance to work on a higher-ranking project if you simply ask for more work. Asking for more responsibilities is a testament to your diligence at work. It is important not to overload yourself while you're asking for more work. Know your personal limits and capabilities. Do not take on additional responsibilities if it is going to interfere with your ability to complete your basic job description duties. via GIPHY
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