The 5 Must-Have Leadership Traits for Executives

If you’re in an executive position then it’s a given that you’re a leader, right? Well, in reality, just because you carry an executive title that doesn’t make you a true leader. In fact, in order to be a real leader, you need to develop and cultivate certain traits if you want to be successful. 

Recently, Randstad, a global provider of flexible work and human resources services, release its latest study: Workplace 2025. Among other things, the study covered leadership. It determined five traits that leaders must have in order to successfully navigate their companies in the post-digital age. 

Based on the responses from those who participated in the study, leaders must have the following: 

  • “The ability to keep people connected and engaged (76%) 
  • Be more agile and digitally savvy (77%) 
  • Drive a culture of innovation, learning and continuous improvement (76%) 
  • Be adept at risk-taking (60%)” 

That means leaders must have the following traits in order to successfully achieve the above tasks: 

  • They must inspire others 
  • They have to know how to leverage technology 
  • They must be able to encourage collaboration 
  • They have to drive innovation 
  • And they have to know how to manage risk 

If companies are going to be successful in this digital age, they must have leaders with strong digital skills combined with the ability to connect and inspire others. 

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Top Tips for Investors Straight Out of College

You’ve conquered college. You have the shiny new degree hanging prominently on your wall. So what’s next? The real world begins. Most college graduates set out to find a job. Some head across the globe to “find themselves.” Others look to start investing in the stock market.

If you’re a recent college graduate looking to get into the stock market then chances are you not sure where to begin. Here are some helpful tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

Spread your wings – new investors should avoid always following the crowd. Of course, stocks and bonds are good, but there are other investment opportunities that could pay nice dividends down the road. For example, private placement investments in energy industries and real estate are two good options.

Consider joining a club – did you know that investment clubs even existed? This can be very helpful for new investors. Instead of following the same old advice from seasoned investor you can learn and share new ideas and gain valuable insight into the investment process. Some clubs even join together to invest as a group.

What about taxes – it’s never too early to consider taxes. If you start saving money now for retirement by investing in a retirement account you can avoid more taxes now and grow your savings for the future.

Consider all your options – the key to successful investing is having a view of the larger picture. Consider all your options both short and long term. Also, have a clear picture of your entire financial situation and your future financial goals.

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Important Lessons to Be More Successful

There are so many opportunities to learn in life. And some of life’s lessons are best learned the hard way. In fact, sometimes, failure is the best possible teacher. The key is being able to accept failure while not letting it crush you. Instead, you have to get up off the mat and keep fighting.

Therefore, it’s important to learn a few important lessons if you want to overcome failure and be successful.

  1. It always starts with the beginning. In other words, the first step is often the hardest to take, but there is no other place you can start. And procrastination only makes things worse.
  1. Success is usually not quick. While some achievements happen fast, it usually takes time to be rewarded for your efforts. But good things come to those who wait.
  1. Business does not equal productivity. Just about everyone is busy, but not everyone is productive. In fact, some people are so busy that they never get anything done.
  1. You can’t control everything. Life happens and we don’t always get to choose how it goes. But you can choose how you act when things get tough.
  1. There is no such thing as perfect. No matter how hard you try you will never be perfect. Nor will anyone else. You must accept that you and others will make mistakes. Things won’t always turn out how you want but you should take time to celebrate successes even when they’re imperfect.
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Is Your Leadership Style Motivating or Discouraging?

All managers want their teams to get things done. It’s part of their role as a manager. However, not all managers know how to motivate their employees. In fact, some managers do exactly the opposite. They discourage them. So which actions motivate and which actions discourage?

Here are a few things that lead to discouragement, and in turn, a lack of productivity and an unhappy workplace.

  • Creating senseless rules for the sake of being in charge
  • Never recognizing accomplishments
  • Hiring and promoting the wrong people
  • Treating everyone the same
  • Showing a lack of concern
  • Not keeping commitments
  • Allowing bad performance

On the other hand, when managers use the following tactics to motivate their employees they get much better results. This leads to better productivity and a happier workplace.

  • Treat people the same you want to be treated
  • Be strong without being cruel
  • Communication works both ways so take time to listen
  • Teach by example and not by your words
  • Show humility and don’t try to hide things
  • Show real interest in your employees as workers and as people

Good leaders know how to motivate. Using harsh words, dumb rules, and allowing poor performance will lead to discouragement. Avoid these traits and instead treat people the way you want to be treated. This will motivate and inspire.

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Despite Challenges, IRS Gets a Positive Rating for Tax-Filing Season

Editorial credit:  / Shutterstock.com

If you were to give the IRS a rating, how would they do? On a scale of one to ten most taxpayers would have the tax agency on the lower end of the spectrum. But that’s not the case from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Despite a limited budget and fewer employees, the IRS still received a positive review for its work during the tax season of 2018. “Overall, despite multiple challenges including mid-filing season changes to tax law and a computer system failure, IRS met its processing targets for individual tax returns,” GAO wrote in a report Monday.

Some of the highlights included:

  • Having 130.48 million returns processed by April 20 compared to 128.85 million last year.
  • Despite an outage on April 17 to the agency’s Direct Pay System, taxpayers were still able to prepare and file their taxes online.
  • For the third consecutive year, the agency improved its customer service on the phone. The IRS answered 80 percent of calls for tax help and still reduced waiting times to about five minutes. In 2015, they only answered 37.5 percent of all calls, with an average waiting time of 23 minutes.

Meantime, Charles Rettig is now the permanent IRS Commissioner, after president Trump made his appointment official in September.

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Are You Making These Common Leadership Mistakes?

How are you doing as a leader? If you’re a true leader then chances are you possess many of the important qualities that make effective leaders successful. However, even the best leaders have room for improvement. In fact, there are several common leadership mistakes that can prevent good leaders from getting better. Are you making any of them?

Mistake: Believing You Know Everything There Is to Know

The fact is, no one knows everything. Leaders who think they know more than everyone else are fooling themselves. In reality, to be the best leader possible you need to be asking a lot more questions. You don’t know all the answers already, and that’s ok. Be willing to learn.

Mistake: Putting the Company Over Your personal Life

Company loyalty is great, but that doesn’t mean you should give up your personal life for the sake of the company. You will be much more effective as a worker and a leader by taking care of yourself and tending to your personal responsibilities.

Mistake: Afraid to Take Risk

Risk is always scary. That’s why they call it a risk. But you can’t always play it safe. In fact, sometimes, playing it safe is a bigger risk than going out on a limb and trying something new.

Becoming a great leader requires continued effort to get better. Watch for these mistakes in your own leadership and if you need to correct any of them don’t be afraid to start now.

 

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New Administration Makes Avoiding Obamacare Tax Easier

Remember when the Affordable Heath Care Act became a law? One of the biggest complaints about the law, more commonly known as Obamacare, is that it forced people to sign up for healthcare. Those who didn’t had to pay a tax penalty. It was a sticking point for a lot of lawmakers and taxpayers alike.

Well, with the new administration now in place, things are changing. There’s some good news for those who don’t have health insurance and want to avoid being hit with extra taxes. That’s because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced a new way for those without health insurance this year to avoid being hit with a tax penalty.

Under Obamacare, there was a provision that helped certain individuals facing difficult circumstances avoid the tax penalty. But it only covered people facing certain hardships. Additionally, those taxpayers had to have documentation to prove their circumstances.

Under the new policy announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, people can now claim hardship exemptions for more general financial struggles. In addition, taxpayers no longer have to provide “the documentary evidence or written explanation generally required.”

To be safe, however, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recommends keeping all paperwork related to claiming the hardship.

One more thing: the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” completely eliminates the tax penalty for not having health care starting in 2019.

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Why Is This Top Hedge-Fund Manager Cutting His Holdings?

The bull market has been going strong for years. But could it be possible that this “running of the bulls” is about to end? The stock market is always fluctuating so a bear market is always a possibility. But according to the manager of one of the largest hedge funds on Wall Street the time for the Bull’s run to end is likely close. 

Billionaire David Tepper is less than excited about this bull market continuing. He said the battles with China, plus the simple fact that the bull market has already been going for about 10 years has led him to his forecast. 

Recently, Tepper had a much better outlook. However, with so many concerns about global trade, especially with China, and the belief by many forecasters that the economy and the market have very little room to grow, Tepper’s enthusiasm has curbed. 

In a recent interview, Tepper told CNBC, “I’ve taken down my exposure. Our whole book, we probably took down 30% at some point, the equity part.” Tepper says this current Bull Run, in his opinion is in its final innings. However, he did the leave the door open to a continuing run. “But you know what happens with baseball sometimes?” he said. “It goes into extra innings.”

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Republican Lawmakers Release Additional Tax Cut Proposals

While Americans’ reception of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) remains mixed – depending on which media outlet you believe – republicans are still convinced they didn’t do enough. To that end, House Republicans, last week, announced a new proposal that would add to the TCJA.

Calling it “Tax Reform 2.0,” the new proposals would actually make small-business income deductions, individual tax cuts and a larger child tax credit permanent instead of allowing those tax cuts to expire after 2025.

The package also contains some new proposals that would increase retirement savings and saving accounts for families. The proposed legislation would also make it easier for startup companies to write off their expenses and costs.

While the Tax Cut and Jobs Act was supposed be a tax break for all, many Americans reportedly aren’t seeing much of a difference in their paychecks. Thus, the TCJA has become less popular with taxpayers since it passed. But that hasn’t stopped republican lawmakers from pushing for more.

However, whether or not the new proposals become law might still be an uphill battle. Some republicans are concerned it could hurt their party in the midterm elections. Additionally, so far, the TCJA hasn’t helped boost the economy as much as anticipated. Plus, although the House is pushing for more cuts, the Senate is not expected to consider the bill during 2018.

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