Tag: career

Article Roundup: Burn Out

Article Roundup : Burn Out

Burn Out

I had a lot of really positive feedback from my friends and family after writing about my experiences of going through burn out. If you haven’t read the post, check it out here. I’ve done some article summaries on the topic of burn out before, but I feel like it’s probably a good topic to bring up again in light of my recent post.

For a bit of background, burn out is a process that can occur to an individual that’s dedicating too much time to a particular activity. It leads to an imbalance in terms of what his or her time is put towards and can result in a person feeling depressed without any energy. Wikipedia does a pretty good job of summarizing it in one quick sentence:

Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work.

With that said. please enjoy a couple of articles that I’ve surveyed from the web.

Articles

  • Job burnout: How to spot it and take action: This article is from a¬†clinic’s staff, so it has an interesting unbiased perspective. It talks about the lack of drive or interest that people might experience from burn out, which is interesting, because I personally never felt that I started to lack drive or interest in my work. Personally, it was more about losing interest/drive in other areas of my life. I also wanted to draw attention to one of the symptoms the article mentions: irritability with colleagues/clients. This one is pretty dangerous because you can actually cause some damage based on your inability to control emotions because of this. It’s worth noting that if you constantly find yourself irritated by colleagues and/or clients and have some of the other symptoms present, you might be on your way to burning out. If you’ve always been irritated by your colleagues/clients, maybe you’re just sour. ūüôā The list is pretty short, but the article does a good job of covering some of the common causes and symptoms, so it’s worth it for a quick read.
  • 10 Signs You’re Burning Out — And What To Do About It: This article by¬†Lisa M. Gerry speaks to a story very similar to my own. Our burn out experiences were really not something like working overtime for a couple weeks straight… it took years to happen, and that’s why it’s dangerous. Lisa lists several symptoms that should be familiar now if you’ve checked out Wikipedia and the previous article(s). ¬†Interpersonal problems come up again as a symptom and same with cynicism… They’re probably related. The interpersonal problems can come on multiple fronts too, whether it’s an individual removing his or herself from their friends and family, or finding that they’re getting in more arguments (or just plain not getting along) with their friends/family. Lisa goes on to list some ways to get back on track, including cultivating a rich non-work life (something I’m seriously lacking right now) and actually taking a break from work. Those are two really important things, but she lists a handful more.
  • I Came Undone: One Woman’s Horrifyingly Real Experience With Burnout: I¬†really loved this article by¬†Glynnis MacNicol because it felt like the same experience I was going through… Except I never got to the point where I quit my job. One thing I keep pointing out because I feel it’s a bit different is that most people¬†that go through burn out seem to resent their job… But I still love what I’m doing, and maybe that’s the only reason things didn’t go too far for me. Glynnis talks about being overly connected (thanks to¬†social media, smart phones, email, etc…) and how it’s a struggle to actually just go home and be away from work. Are you even able to do that in your career? I’ve always felt like I like being connected to work when I go home so I can help out when it’s necessary… but on days where I’m feeling burdened, I have to explicitly tell myself “Close Outlook. Only use your phone when you want to get a hold of someone. Close the work instant messenger.” It does the trick for me, but I suppose it’s unfortunate that “home time” doesn’t actually mean “time to not work”.
  • Burn out and chronic stress: This one is another sort of “fact sheet” on burn out and chronic stress. It re-iterates many of the same points regarding symptoms of being over-stressed and feeling burnt out, but I liked the latter portion of the listing. Specifically, the very last point on the page says to re-evaluate your priorities and goals. Many of the other posts suggest that taking time off and forcing yourself to slow down are necessary, but few of them actually say to re-evaluate your goals. I think that without re-evaluating, you’re setting yourself up for some difficult times… at least if you’re feeling like me. I know I’m starting to burn out. I know I should slow down… but if I don’t change my priorities around, taking that time off and disconnecting is going to feel like a mental burden to me. How could I remove myself from work if my goal was to get more work done? If I can re-evaluate my goals to say that spending more time with friends and family is important and that taking X amount of time off for myself is important, then it’s a lot easier to convince myself that I actually do need that time off.

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Migration – Weekly Article Dump

Migration - Weekly Article Dump

Migration: Bye to the Pi

Well… it happened. If you checked in earlier this week, you might have noticed Dev Leader was completely down on Thursday. Quite a bummer… but the show must go on. Migration to a new host was necessary, but that wasn’t without some hiccups.

For me, having a site hosted was still a pretty new process. I had tried it a couple of times before, but running a web server that I controlled always felt better. Just more control I suppose. Migration started off sort of sour where I was required to re-install WordPress on my host a few times due to some technical difficulties… And of course, it was hard to sit still while I knew my site was down. Once I finally had WordPress launched, the only part of the migration that went smooth was having a backup of my site four hours before it went down. Talk about timing!

There’s silver lining in everything though, and this little migration blip was no different. My Raspberry Pi was a fun little box, but it wasn’t fast by any stretch of the imagination. Page loading times were a bit slow, and serving images could sometimes be terrifyingly slow. Now that the site is hosted, there should be a very noticeable performance improvement. Additionally, with the new host comes some additional reliability! That’s always awesome.

See? Migration wasn’t so bad after all, I guess! My list of things for any WordPress user to be doing regularly:

  • Back up your posts
  • Back up your comments if your readers are actively engaged in discussions
  • Back up the media you use on your blog
  • Export your plugin settings
  • Keep a list of plugins you have running

Even if you don’t have a plan for host migration any time in the near future, it’s always good to have the “worst case scenario” covered. The plugin BackWPup covers basically everything I mentioned above, so I’d recommend getting that setup if you don’t have any backup plan currently in place!

Articles

  • Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions: 10 Tips for Doing it Right: Anyone in a leadership position knows just how valuable being able to provide feedback is. Heck, anyone who is driven to improve themself craves feedback.¬†Joel Peterson¬†provides an awesome list of tips for being able to provide feedback. I’d say frequency, positivity, and confidentiality are among the top take away points from his list.
  • 10 ways to make your .NET projects play nice with others: First programming article in the list this week. I thought this one stood out because I think anyone working in a team has either heard some (most) of these or is trying to work through them.¬†Troy Hunt¬†has put together a list of 10 things that any developer working in a team should be conscious of to make sure their code plays well with their teammates. Number one on the list is the same as my number one. “Works on my machine” carries no validity. Why? Your customers don’t have your computer. It’s a frequent thing when working with the QA team and developers want to cover their butts… But it won’t cut it!
  • Only 13 percent of people worldwide actually like going to work: Had to share this one, because if the stat is real, it’s scary. It’s scary to think that almost 90% of people that go to work don’t actually like going. In Jena McGregor‘s article, this low rate is attributed to poor working conditions, job availability, and job engagement. On the bright side for us North Americans, we’re a bit higher at just under 30%. That’s still far too low for something we spend a majority of our lives doing. It’s important to find a company you can get behind, and I definitely lucked out with Magnet.
  • The New Science of Who Sits Where at Work:¬†Rachel Feintzeig¬†shared an interesting article about seating in the workplace. I’ve shared some articles before about open concept offices and that I do enjoy working in them, but the seating perspective is pretty interesting. For example, changing your org hierarchy is one thing but unless people are changing their daily interactions, it won’t have that big of an effect. However, if seating arrangements are responsible for 40-60% of people’s daily interactions, simply moving people around will really stir the pot.
  • What is the Biggest Mistake Managers Make?: In¬†John Murphy‘s article, he points out something that is probably less obvious than it should be. The biggest mistake a manager can make is focusing on the wrong things. He provides some steps to help align managers with the goals of their company to ensure that focus is in the necessary areas.
  • 8 strategies for successful culture change: Culture is something that is dynamic and always evolving within a company, but often there are things that are core to the company culture. What happens when you need to make some work culture changes? Michelle Smith shares some tips on how to approach a work culture shift.
  • Why Inspiring Leaders Don’t Sweat: Here was an article that hit home with me because I’m guilty of it. Panicking. Why is it bad if you’re panicking in a leadership position? The biggest problem is that your teammates will pick up on it and switch to a panick state too. It’s incredibly demotivating, and it’s usually at a time when motivation and inspiration is truly needed. In¬†Steven Thompson‘s post, he talks about how and why to keep calm and lead on.
  • 3 Proven Ways to Make Tough Job Decisions: Jennifer Dulski¬†discusses three approaches for helping make tough life and career decisions. At some point or another, most of us will be faced with making a decision in our career path that’s going to be difficult–difficult for you to decide or difficult for you to explain to those you’re close to. I think the “Sit With” approach is my favourite of the three.
  • 4 Ways to Have a Life Outside Your Business: This one should probably hit home with anyone working in a startup or running a business. Alexa von Tobel¬†shares four tips for how to have a life outside of work and why having a life outside of work is necessary to be successful. I think something that’s often overlooked (somehow) is “me time”. I’m guilty of it too, but you get to a point when you’re not doing anything just for yourself. It’s great to be dedicated to your company and be passionate about your work, but it’s also importnt to step back, take a breath, and do something just for you.
  • 17 Things The Boss Should Never Say: Dave Kerpen¬†has another great article on what not to say–this time from the boss’s perspective. Some of the worst ones in my opinion? Telling your teammates it’s only their problem (or not yours, at least) or being adamant about not evolving your perspective/processes. Some gems in there from quite a few business owners.
  • 9 Lessons From the World‚Äôs Best Mentors: This one is pretty quick from¬†Chester Elton, but there’s a few different perspectives shared in here. Sone key points in my opinion are ensuring that you’re doing what you can to help others and not getting paralyzed by risk.
  • Key Reasons Delegating Is SO Difficult and What To Do About It: Most new managers and leaders have this problem. How do you delegate work? Perhaps you acquired your management or leadership position because you proved that technically you were very capable in your position. So how do you get others to do work you think you could be doing? Judith Sherven shares some insight on why being able to delegate is an incredibly important skill as a leader. After all, being able to grow as a leader means being able to effectively delegate responsibilities.
  • Want Greater Employee Engagement? Develop Intrapreneurs: In this article,¬†Larry Myler¬†talks about increasing employee engagement by developing intrapreneurs within your organization. It’s inline with what Tayun’s guest post was about the other week. Provide people autonomy and let them execute on their strengths. It’s a sure-fire way to increase engagement.

That’s it for this week! Hopefully there won’t be any more emergency host migrations any time in the near future (or ever again). Follow¬†Dev Leader¬†on social media outlets to get these updates through the week.

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PROFIT HOT 50 – Weekly Article Dump

Magnet Forensics - Ranked #7 in Profit Hot 50!

PROFIT HOT 50

It’s with great honour that I can say the company I’m part of, Magnet Forensics, has achieved the 7th place in the Profit Hot 50 rankings for 2013. Last year Magnet Forensics was also on the list ranked at number 16th, but we’ve shown ourselves up by moving a full 9 positions! Our ranking in the Profit Hot 50 is even more impressive considering we’re the only company from Kitchener-Waterloo region in Ontario–Known for it’s incredible startup community and success stories–that made the list. We’re excited and tremendously proud of our accomplishments, but it’s certainly going to be quite the challenge for us to move up in rank next year. It’s a challenge we’re all ready to take on though. You can check out the ranking over here¬†or at the official Profit Guide posting.

Articles

I’ll put the horn-tooting aside… even though it’s an incredible accomplishment (not sure that I mentioned that already).

  • Don‚Äôt Be A Perfectionist: Ilya Pozin¬†discusses the downsides to being a perfectionist. Often, people call themselves perfectionists when they can’t think of some other weakness they might have (you see it a lot in interviews) and because they think it’s a loop-hole in the question. I mean, if your weakness is that you’re perfect… how can that be a weakness, right?! Well in reality, aside form being a cheesy way to answer an otherwise good interview question, perfectionism can certainly be a problem. Especially in a fast-paced startup environment, we’re often not hunting for perfect. We’re hunting for 80% perfect with 20% of the effort. It’s the only way we can keep moving fast and get products or services to our customers. Besides, we don’t know what “perfect” actually is… Our customers do. And if we never get anything to them, how the heck can we ever know what perfect is?
  • How Goofing Off Can Make You More Successful: In this article, Adam Rifkin¬†discusses over work. It’s a great tie in to the articles I shared last week about burnout. Adam talks about why we often find ourselves in situations where we feel like we’re forced to over work to be successful and shared a handful of suggestions for how to avoid it. His top 3: Doing nothing. Socializing. Helping others. Sound counter-intuitive to your poor overworked soul? Well kick back, relax, and have a good read through his post ūüôā
  • The New Rules for Career Success: In¬†Dave Kerpen‘s article, he shares some answers from Dan¬†Schawbel¬†about what it means to have a successful career. Among the top points, Dan suggests looking inside your current company before looking for opportunities elsewhere. This is a a key point because instead of becoming a chronic company hopper you can actually look for other great opportunities in the company you’ve already invested yourself in. Additionally, Dan suggests acting like an entrepreneur at your current job. If you’ve already proven yourself successful at your role, look for side projects that can benefit your company.
  • The Part They Don‚Äôt Tell You About Startup Team Building: The end result of becoming a good leader is often that you obsolete yourself in your current job. It’s a strange truth about the position: You start off taking on a large workload and then lead others so that they can effectively take on your portion and more. Where does that put you as a leader though?¬†Tomasz Tunguz¬†discusses this leadership role evolution in his article.
  • Raspberry Pi + WordPress => PiPress: This is a bit of a shameless plug, but I thought it might be cool for any tech-savvy bloggers out there who are looking for a bit of a DIY. After reading all over The Internet for how I can use my Raspberry Pi, I discovered I could use it to host a blog. So, for what it’s worth, the text you’re reading right now is coming from a little computer just a tad bigger than a credit card.
  • The 7 Things That Will Stop You Getting Things Done: Do you find there are a lot of things throughout your day that cut into you working efficiently? Bernard Marr¬†has a nice list of things that are likely chewing up your time and a handful of solutions for how you can minimize the effect they have on your life.
  • Business is Over: My New Post-Workday Transition Routine:¬†Jeanine O‚ÄôDonnell¬†uses a BBB acronym for helping her transition from work-mode to home-mode. How do you handle separating your work-life from your home-life? Is there even a separation for you?
  • The Business World Can Tear You Apart ‚Äď If You Let It: Even after achieving financial success and success in your career, sometimes there’s just something missing. Joel Peterson shares some tips for how you can keep your career focus from taking away from the finer things in life.
  • 6 Ways to Put the Good (Bad and Ugly) in Goodbye‚ÄĒPart II: Last week I shared a post about a great example of how to say to goodbye to your employees when they’re leaving for other opportunities. This post by Chester Elton¬†builds on that with more positive examples, but he also shares some downright terrible ways that people have been “let go” by their employers.
  • Adventures in Cat (and Dog) Sitting: What I Learned about Managing People: If you don’t know what your pets have in common with your employees, Whitney Johnson can help you out with that. Why is this comparison necessary? Well if you think about how some people treat their pets (letting them out for walks, feeding them when they need it, belly rubs, petting, etc…) there are a lot of parallels with your employees… Well, there should be. Your employees deserve a good environment to work in, being acknowledged for their hard work, and having engaging work.

That’s it for this week! I hope you checked out the Profit Hot 50 article¬†I mentioned above. Follow Dev Leader on popular social media outlets to get these updates through the week!

Nick Cosentino – LinkedIn
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Burnout – Weekly Article Dump

Burnout - Image Provided By Stock.XCHNG

Burnout

The trend in the articles this week is all about burnout. Burnout is a serious issue that can affect a wide variety of people. When an individual becomes so dedicated to something and starts devoting all of their time to accomplish a goal, burnout can set in. This is especially noticeable in startup companies where it’s typical to work longer-than normal hours. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with loving the work you do and wanting to put in more time! The problem ends up being when all of your waking time is geared toward one thing and everything else (including sleep!) starts to take the back seat. This is where burnout can set in.

Articles

  • The Six Deadly Sins of Leadership: Leadership isn’t always easy, but there’s definitely a few things you should avoid doing as a leader. Jack Welch and his wife Suzy do an excellent job of describing six things you should not do. Ignoring values for the sake of results and forgetting to have fun along the way are two of my favourite points.
  • 11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader: Having lists makes for having good references, and Dave Kerpen certainly has a great list for leadership tips. Number one on his list is of course listening. It’s that thing that every good leader should be doing more of. Being a team player, being passionate, and being adaptive are also up there on the list.
  • 3 Key Reasons to be Optimistic Like Steve Case: Julia Boorstin¬†touches on an excellent point in her article: by remaining optimistic, you can view all of your challenges as opportunities to get better. Leaders need to learn from their mistakes (and we all make them) but those challenges are really just self-improvement opportunities.
  • Avoiding Burnout: Take it from an entrepreneur, burnout is serious business. Andrew Dumont talks about his experiences as an entrepreneur and how burnout set in. The best part of Andrew’s post is that in the end he gives a great list of tips for how you can help avoid burnout in your own work/life. Highly recommended read!
  • How to Prevent Employee Burnout: KISSmetrics has a huge list of tips for how you can help keep employees from running into burnout problems. They start off by defining what burnout is and how you can detect it among your employees. By knowing what causes burnout, it’s a lot easier to try and address solutions for it.
  • It’s Time to Dream for a Living: Whitney Johnson¬†talks about how being a dreamer lets you achieve a psychological pay-off similar to a well designed game. Be social, go above and beyond by tackling things that aren’t always necessary, and immerse yourself in epic scale.
  • 6 Ways to Put the ‚ÄėGood‚Äô in Goodbye: Read this article by Chester Elton that gives an awesome example of how you should treat departures of good employees from your company. When a good employee leaves your company, it’s probably for a good reason. Try to celebrate their work and encourage success for them when they’re leaving. There’s not much worse than trying to spin things around and make a potentially great opportunity for them a poisonous experience.
  • Burnout: The Disease of Our Civilization: Arianna Huffington¬†put’s it elegantly that most of us have ¬†“the misguided belief that overwork is the route to high performance and great results”. It’s exactly why many people fall into the doom that is burnout. It’s a longer read than some of the articles I’ve shared, but I do recommend it!
  • Find Leadership Inspiration in Your Everyday Encounters: You don’t need to look much further than ever-day life to be able to pick up on some great examples of inspiration for leadership. Simply work on rule #1: Listen. John Ryan (and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t stop thinking of Wedding Crashers when I read his name) details his experience on a plane and how he was able to draw inspiration from one of the passengers he was sitting with. Always try to learn something from the situations you find yourself in–It’s an excellent way to develop yourself.
  • Want to Save Your Life?: “Rest is not a luxury. It’s part of survival” are some powerful words from Erica Fox. She discusses what the effects of overwork are on our mind and body and in the end offers up lots of great examples for how you can avoid burnout. Another solid read.

Hope you enjoyed! It’s great to be driven to accomplish your goals, but don’t become so narrow sighted that you lose track of the rest of the things that matter. Remember to follow on popular social media outlets to get these updates through the week!

Nick Cosentino – LinkedIn
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Failure – Weekly Article Dump

Failure: Weekly Article Dump (Image provided by http://www.stockfreeimages.com/)

Failure: Should You Fear It?

Thanks for checking out this weekly article dump, and sorry it didn’t make it out on Friday. I was out visiting family in Alberta and I didn’t have enough time to get this post all set up. Better late than never!

The theme for this past week seemed to be articles about failure. Not all of them, of course, but a lot of authors are writing about what it means to fail and why that’s not always such a bad thing. Do we need to avoid all failures in order to be successful?

Articles

  • Stepping Away, So Others Can Step Up: In this article, Jonathan Bush¬†discusses something that’s often hard for leaders to do… Step away. It’s difficult for many people to disconnect and have trust in their team to get things done. Trust should be at the center of any highly functional team. At Magnet Forensics, we embrace trust as our core value because we know we’re working with talented people we can rely on. It’s crucial for ensuring that people can operate effectively to the best of their ability.
  • HELP! I Hired the Wrong Guy: In this article, an individual has written in and gets some advice on how to handle a bad hire. Liz Ryan¬†makes some great points on how to address the issue, including a nice segue for the person that wasn’t such a great fit. This first example of “failure” to hire properly offers a lot of learning. Know what warning signs you ignored this time around. Know how you can detect it before the hire happens and worse case, how you can detect a bad fit early on.
  • Negotiate Great Deals, Without a Fight: Firstly, I’m sharing this not because it might be a good sales tactic or business tactic in the perspective of making money. Forget that for now. In my opinion, this is a great tactic for you to take when you’re trying to pitch your idea. Next time you’re working in your team and analyzing the pros and cons of some decision, remember that you’re not out to make your opinion the only one and everyone else a loser in the outcome. Fight for the win-win, which is often a combination of multiple perspectives. Great article, Joel Peterson.
  • Why We Should All Embrace the F-Word (Failure): Arguably the article with the most eye-catching title this time around, Amy Chen¬†discusses failure and why so many people fear it.
  • Vulnerability Makes You a Better Leader: This article by Brad Smith discusses why a perfect leader is actually less than ideal. In order to make people really look up to you, it’s important to show them that what you’re modelling is attainable for them. Chasing perfection isn’t realistic, but chasing awesome certainly is.
  • 7 Signs You’re Working in a Toxic Office: Definitely one of my favourites this week, this article addresses some key signs that your place of work is a crappy place to work, from a work culture perspective. Not only that, the author discusses how to go about solving the problem if you’re the victim or if you’re the perpetrator! Great stuff.
  • Don’t Write Off the Coaching Leadership Style: Daniel Goleman discusses why leaders that act as coaches shouldn’t be forgotten. A leader that can coach is familiar with their teammates’ individual strengths and weaknesses. This let’s them delegate effectively and help address the weak areas of their team.

Hope you enjoyed, and remember that failure isn’t always a bad thing! Remember to follow on popular social media outlets to get these updates through the week!

Nick Cosentino – LinkedIn
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Leadership Reads – Weekly Article Dump

Leadership Reading - Provided by Stock Free Images

Great Leadership Reads

Here’s a collection of articles I’ve shared over the past week on social media outlets. There’s a lot of great leadership reads this time around!

  • If You Don’t Treat Your Interns Right, You are Mean…and Stupid: This is a great post by¬†Nancy Lublin¬†that talks about something many full-time people share a common (and usually lousy) perspective on: interns. In my opinion, if you aren’t going to treat your interns well, you shouldn’t be hiring them. One key take away point from the article is ensuring that you treat your internship programs as something real and meaningful. Now, as a computer engineering graduate from the University of Waterloo and from being part of the leadership staff at Magnet Forensics, I’ve seen both sides of the story. Companies should treat their interns well, but interns should also realize companies are giving them the opportunity to be part of something great. It can be a win-win situation if both sides put in the time, effort, and dedication… but it can also be a lose-lose if approached poorly.
  • Does your company culture resemble jungle warfare?: Barry Salzberg¬†talks about office politics in this article. Key take away points? Be aware of the politics but don’t participate. Work together as a company toward your mission and embrace your company values. There’s no room for politics if you want your company to achieve greatness. Politics only interfere and hinder the business.
  • At Home This Weekend? Try This!: Presenting… The Weekend CEO Challenge from¬†Steve Tappin! I thought this article was a pretty cool perspective on how some top CEOs are spending their weeekends. Interested in doing any of these things over the weekend? Do you already do some of these things?
  • Resist the “Us vs. Them” Mindset: Daniel Goleman¬†shares a quote about embracing an “us” vs “them” mindset. Look for the common goals you share with others and embrace them together. Work together and stop viewing others as enemies. It’s hard to be successful if you’re always worrying about thwarting your enemies, so why not rally your friends and work as a team?
  • It’s Time to Change Your Outlook on Change: Change isn’t a problem, according to¬†Daniel Burrus. The problem is the fact that we sometimes fear change despite the fact that we’re built for it. In order to handle change well and be able to embrace it, we need to practice anticipating it. Stop leading blindly and acting surprised when things don’t go as planned… Start being proactive and paying attention to warning signs.
  • The Great Office Space Debate Rages On: Jennifer Merritt¬†talks about a topic that’s been going back and forth for some time now: office layouts. It used to be the norm for companies to have cubicles and offices on the peripherals of a floor. Now the open concept offices have gained tons of traction and companies are even going to extremes and not having fixed work placements. What’s your opinion on office layout?
  • Four Things to Ask Yourself Before Arguing: Rita King¬†addresses four really good things to ask yourself before you consider getting heated over what someone’s said or done. We’ve all been in a situation where someone’s done something to get us fired up, but is it really worth it? If you can manage it, try asking yourself the questions Rita discusses (are you listening? are you repeating patterns? do you understand the other person’s perspective? is there anything to be gained?) and perhaps you can cool yourself off before ruining your own day/week/month.
  • Change Your Habits with a Good Checklist: Habits aren’t easy to change.¬†John Ryan¬†writes about how you can use checklists to start enforcing good habits! Worth a shot at least, right? ūüôā
  • Culture Quartet: 4 Steps to Unify Your Company: In this article,¬†Dan Khabie¬†talks about the merger of two companies and how culture played a large role in the success of the merger. Your workplace culture is essential for creating the right atmosphere for people to be productive and work well together. Teams thrive when the culture in the workplace is positive and places value on the employees.
  • The Truth About Best Practices: Liz Ryan¬†discusses the how best practices can be like falling into a trap. Just because there is a best practice or certain metrics are a some sort of golden standard, it doesn’t mean you should blindly follow along. Does the process make sense for your company? Your team? Do the metrics make sense for your industry? Your market? At this current time? Focus on what matters and don’t get distracted.
  • Did You Make The Most of Your Mid-Year Review?: What makes a mid-year review useful?¬†Linda Descano¬†discusses four major points that include having an engaged conversation between both leader/manager and employee, constructive feedback for the employee to work on, and what goals are and how they can be accomplished. If you find reviews to be a time waster, is it because they’re not being conducted well? Are they a waste because nobody is engaged? Or are there other reasons that mid-year reviews feel like they aren’t useful?
  • Do You Find It Difficult to Claim Your Authority?: Judith Sherven, PhD¬†addresses some common reasons why people often don’t consider themselves authorities. It’s a shame too, because it can hold people back from their full potential. If you have great experiences, skills, or you’re knowledgeable in a particular area, why wouldn’t you consider yourself an authority?
  • Where Are You on the Leadership Continuum?: When people consider good leaders, they often describe common traits.¬†Joel Peterson¬†points out that these traits often have varying meanings depending on the person using them. I’d recommend going through his list because it’s pretty interesting to see two very opposing descriptions for the same trait. You might even notice that a trait you would use to describe a leader is actually commonly described by others in a very different way. Definitely interesting!
  • Making Stone Soup: How to Really Make Collaborative Innovation Work Where You Work: Jeff DeGraff¬†discusses some key points for having effective collaborative innovation. Setting high impact targets, recruiting domain experts, making multiple attempts, and learning from your experiences are all major points that DeGraff discusses. There’s also a playlist of videos discussing innovation, so there’s lots of content to absorb ūüôā

Hope you enjoyed! Remember to follow on popular social media outlets to get these updates through the week!

Nick Cosentino – LinkedIn
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Dev Leader – Facebook
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Weekly Article Dump

Here’s the collection of articles I’ve shared on social media outlets over the past week:

  • Why Innovation Is So Hard: A few good points on why innovating sometimes feels like it’s a difficult thing to do and what you can do to improve!
  • Present Slides, Distribute Documents: Do your meetings sometimes feel like someone is just reading you a slide show? You can read a slide show yourself, can’t you? Why not distribute the slide show ahead of time?!
  • How to Evaluate Personal Characteristics When Hiring: Being a good fit is incredibly important when hiring someone. How can you improve gauging how good of a fit someone will be with your work culture? This article gives you a few strategies.
  • Look Out! When the Visible Becomes Invisible: Invisible work “clutter” can be holding your efficiency back at work. Check out this article for why ignoring things at work and letting them build up can get dangerous… and of course, how to avoid it ūüôā
  • The Single Most Essential Building Block of Success: This article talks discusses how your mindset and perspective on challenges can gear you toward success. Complete with 10 tips for becoming more resilient!
  • Having a Really Lousy Day? Some Ways to Feel Better: We all have bad days. This article has some great practical tips (13 of them!) for you to improve your day. My favourite is number 2: do something nice for someone else. Definitely a great way to make your day better.
  • Are You a Workaholic or an Outlier?: This article discusses what being a workaholic means and the differences between when it may be a good thing versus a bad thing. The real takeaway point is to remember to do what you love.
  • 29 Reasons to Start a Bog Today: Ever considered starting a blog? For me, it kind of happened over night… but I’m betting there are lots of people at least on the fence about it. Why not give it a shot? Check out this article and you might get that little nudge you need to take the plunge!
  • Why I Wake Up Early and 3 Reasons You Should Too: In this article, Julia Boorstin touches on 3 reasons why she’s a morning person. For some people, it’s a matter of playing catch-up with the other side of the world but for others, it’s just a way to become more productive.
  • 5 Ways To Lead No Matter Your Title: Some of the best leaders at a company are home-grown and not brought in from somewhere else just because they were good leaders. In this article, Angie Hicks talks about 5 different ways you can put leadership skills into play even if you don’t have “Leader” in your job title.
  • So You Want To Pick Someone’s Brain? Do It Right: Sometimes I think this kind of stuff is common sense, but I’m definitely being proven wrong on this one! In this article, Linda Coles¬†talks about a handful of things to consider when reaching out to someone to ask them for their opinion on something. Think about it… Why would you do it differently than if you had the opportunity to do it in person?!
  • Be SMARTe: How to Clarify Confusion: ¬†This article focuses on hiring and resumes, but I think the concept applies in the more general sense. Lou Adler puts it well right at the beginning, “if you can‚Äôt describe exactly what you want, don‚Äôt be surprised if you don‚Äôt get it”. Using a simple set of guidelines, you can formulate what you’re looking for in a clear and concise manner that helps reduce assumptions and confusion.
  • To Become An Expert, Do This One Thing: In this article,¬†Whitney Johnson¬†makes a great point: you need to leave your ego at the door if you want to build up your skill set in an area where you’re a beginner. Just because you might be accomplished at some things, you need to get into the beginner mindset.
  • Are You Grounded in Trust?: Stan McChrystal writes about a parallel to trust in your business and team. Trust is incredibly important, especially in small businesses, because it let’s people focus on what they are experts at. In order to keep your team operating efficiently, everyone should feel like they can trust the other team members.
  • How to Focus Innovation: This article identifies the 6 ‘W’s that you need to answer when considering innovation.¬†Gijs van Wulfen describes these steps as the necessary formula for innovation. He then outlines a group of questions that you should ask about your innovation in terms of it’s placement in the market. Certainly a lot of things to consider, but they all seem worthwhile.
  • The Joys Of Screwing Up: Being fearless is neccessary for innovation according to¬†Jeff DeGraff. When we become afraid of taking risks and pushing the boundaries, innovation stagnates. How can you innovate if you’re never willing to take risks?
  • 7 Tips for Surviving Life As a Middle Manager: Nothing I would consider ground breaking here, but¬†Dennis Berman¬†has done an awesome job of summarizing a lot of excellent middle management tips. You may have read about some of these in some of the articles I’ve shared, but it’s certainly a great list to refer to!

Hope you enjoyed! Remember to follow on popular social media outlets to get these updates through the week!

Nick Cosentino – LinkedIn
Nick Cosentino – Twitter
Dev Leader – Facebook
Dev Leader – Google+


Weekly Article Dump

Weekend Leadership Reading!

Here’s the collection of articles I’ve shared on social media outlets over the past week. There’s a whole bunch on leadership topics, so I hope you enjoy!

  • How Not to Mint More Engineers: Another spin on the whole engineering-tuition-should-cost more debate.
  • 12 Ways to Spot a High Achiever: High achievers are often very passionate about what they do and make great employees. Here are some tips for spotting them!
  • 7 Qualities Of A Truly Loyal Employee: It’s difficult to disagree with any of these. They’re all spot on! Being a loyal employee is not about satisfying only one person or satisfying only yourself… It’s about voicing your opinion and trying to ensure the company is heading in the right direction.
  • The Best Career Advice You Won’t Want To Hear: Some interesting perspectives on what can help create a successful career.
  • What The Success Of Breaking Bad Teaches Us About Leadership: This article makes one point that I really like: empower others to play their strengths–NOT yours. You can play your own strengths, but empower others so that they can excel at all the places you don’t.
  • When to Accept (or Reject) Critical Feedback: This article provides you with an approach for something that can be hard to handle… being provided with critical feedback. Getting solid critical feedback is rare, but it’s important you know how to deal with it when you do receive it!
  • Unleashing Your Inner Thought Leader: I guess this kind of thing is why I started my own blog ūüôā
  • Unlocking the 10X Professional: I’ve never heard of “chunking” before, but this article claims it’s important for unlocking super-star employees. I might have some additional reading to do!
  • Don’t Bother to Apply Here: This is certainly one place I wouldn’t bother to apply to. I mean, if you can’t deal with sarcastic ranting, you and I would never get a long anyway. Too bad for you, because this is The Internet that we all share. You might just have to put up with it. And if you don’t think an opinionated rant can’t be filled with insight, it just might be your first time on The Internet. In that case, my apologies… Welcome, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
  • One Way to Improve Innovation and Creativity: So I teased this one on Twitter and LinkedIn a bit (if you can read while you’re working out, it’s because you’re not working out), but I think there’s some great points. Veer out of your comfort zone. Work with people who aren’t your closest and best friend. Mix your expertise!
  • Eating and Dreaming: Jack Welch puts it pretty elegantly: Management is balancing the paradox that is long and short term leadership.
  • A Menu of Very Small Changes to Boost Your Happiness at Work: While I liked a lot of these tips, a couple I didn’t. Specifically, taking 10 minutes every hour as a break for developers can be a problem, in my opinion. It breaks flow, which is sometimes nearly impossible to achieve and even to maintain once you have it. Additionally, being ignorant to things that don’t concern you can make your life less stressful (and I guess that’s the goal of the article) but… Knowing more is what helps me sleep at night.
  • The Art of the Stop: Do you know when to stop? Do you know when to pause a project? What about shifting gears on a team member that may not be suitable for their current team? Knowing when to stop going down a particular path is an art.
  • The Wisdom Principle: Maybe not groundbreaking for some, but a great reminder of what being wise truly means.

Hope you enjoyed! Remember to follow on popular social media outlets to get these updates through the week!

Nick Cosentino – LinkedIn
Nick Cosentino – Twitter
Dev Leader – Facebook
Dev Leader – Google+


Weekly Article Dump

Weekend Motivation Reading!

Here’s a collection of things I shared over the week. Lot’s of motivation, tips, and leadership pointers!

  • 10 Leadership Nuggets From Nelson Mandela: Some inspiring words to lead by!
  • 5 Public Speaking Tips That’ll Prepare You for Any Interview: Several basic interview tips that are related to public speaking. Being better at interviewing never hurt anyone ūüôā
  • A Foolproof Tool for Motivating Your Team (and Yourself): I’m always looking for different approaches to motivate. This article offered a pretty good approach that’s worth checking out.
  • Shiny objects: tips for using both sides of your brain: Some tips for boosting creativity, mostly aimed at those that may not be that creative ūüôā
  • Are You Coachable?: An interesting article about being “coachable”. The best part, I thought, was addressing whether or not you’re actually seeking help or if you’re seeking validation. Big difference.
  • 10 Ways That Small Businesses Can Enchant Their Customers:
  • One Strategy for Workplace Happiness: Meet Others Where They Are: A great article about increasing and maintaining engagement from your customers.
  • Get Out of Your Own Way: You might be your biggest burden. Try to take a deep breath and stop letting others bring you down.
  • Should Colleges Charge Engineering Students More?: I’m not a fan of online debates, but this one churned my stomach a bit. In my opinion, if the program costs the institution more to offer it, then there is no reason it couldn’t cost a student more to take it. If the demand for people with these degrees is high, then perhaps the costs should actually be subsidized more (That doesn’t actually mean making it cheaper than other degrees necessarily, just putting in more effort to bring the cost down comparatively). If the whole reason is to balance out salary potential then I think people need to get a grip (Hi, I pay taxes based on my income). If you’re going to start charging more based on potential salaries, you might as well bust out the statistics and start charging a person’s tuition based on gender, race, age, and any other obscure metric you can attach to potential salaries. That would be cool too, right? Maybe I should start overly sarcastic rant posts…
  • Consider My Happiness Manifesto: It’s important to be happy! Do you have your own list of things that you use to gauge your happiness? Have you ever considered it?
  • The Unexpectedly High Cost of a Bad Hire: Having someone on your team who doesn’t fit the bill (technically, from a company culture perspective, or any other reason) can be pretty costly. It’s not even a matter of paying their salary while they are ramping up, but consider the impact it has on the effectiveness of other employees on the team.
  • The First Thing You Must Do On Monday Morning: I bet this is actually difficult for a lot of people… Do nothing?! I can’t even imagine how tricky this would be, despite the fact it’s only 5-10 minutes. I think I can afford the time, and I think I’d like to try it on Monday!
  • Name the Elephant in the Room: I thought this article was excellent. As a young professional in a leadership position, I get to see all sorts of awesome things in the startup I work at. Sometimes these things aren’t so awesome though, and they can be really hard to address. Having a well-lubed and smooth-running company culture means being able to be transparent and trust-worthy. Having those hard discussions is crucial for ensuring things don’t get bogged down by the elephant in the room.
  • Get Anxious Speaking Up At Meetings?: I can personally say that I’ve been there, but not so much anymore! It’s important that you can voice your opinions at meetings–That’s why you’re there!
  • Quiz: Do You Make Other People Happy?: A quick one, but it should provide some good indications that you actually do make others happy!
  • Praise or Criticism: Which is better?: An interesting article for sure. I’m sure we all think being praised is great, and surely we can’t all be wrong. But criticism can’t be all that bad for us, can it? Is there a right and a wrong way?

Weekly Article Dump

Quick Reading Update!

Here’s a collection of things I shared over the past week. It’s a short list this time around, but a quick reading update right before the weekend might provide you with a couple topics to look into in your downtime:

The goal of these types of posts will just be to summarize my social media activity. If you don’t want to watch Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, you won’t need to. Once per week (on a Friday), I’ll try to summarize all of the articles that I linked to on these social media outlets. For what it’s worth, these will generally be articles geared more toward the leadership side of things and less about software development or programming. Most of what I share in these summaries will be relatively quick reading, since it’s usually just bog posts or LinkedIn articles. I’ll save ¬†book lists and that type of reading material for something else–not these summaries.


  • Nick Cosentino

    Nick Cosentino

    I work as a team lead of software engineering at Magnet Forensics (http://www.magnetforensics.com). I'm into powerlifting, bodybuilding, and blogging about leadership/development topics over at http://www.devleader.ca.

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