Monthly Archives: March 2014

Working Hard and Working Smart: Is it Impossible to Do Both?

When it comes to work, there is a big debate on whether to work hard or to work smart. Working hard is the notion that our parents believe in. This generation believes in doing overtime and staying until late at the office to do more and more work. As a result, it disrupts their work-life balance.

The new generation, however, believes in what is called working smart. They put great emphasis in working more effectively and having more ‘me’ time, relaxing with family and friends and treating work as the 8-hour-rule only. Once they have clocked out, work is invisible to them.

working hard vs working smart

While both parties have their own pros and cons, we begin to question, “Why does it have to be one or the other? Can’t we work both hard and smart to achieve our career goals?”

Turns out, we can. Here are three things about how working hard and smart look like:

1.     It’s all about balance.

Working hard and smart is not about keying the minimal hours, increasing productivity and getting more work in return. Working hard and smart is all about balance. Employees must know their own limits and if they are exhausted, it is okay to have a break and come back to the project refreshed the first thing in the morning. It doesn’t mean they don’t work hard. They work smart, as usually light-bulb moment comes with a fresh mind.

2.     It’s all about being strategic.

People who work hard are busy because they are overwhelmed with the tasks that are on their plates. They have five different projects with tight deadlines and while they are able to finish all five the projects, only half the effort is given. People who work smart and hard know how to set goals, prioritise the workload and continuously figure out better ways to handle projects.

3.     It’s all about working on the right things.

People who work hard on the wrong things are not going to be successful. People who work smart on the wrong things are not going to be successful either. The key is to know which work needs 110% of effort, and not just overtire oneself with a less important workload.

Want to learn more about how to become better at your career? Check out the Institute of Management courses.

What Do Employers Look for When They are Hiring?

When it comes to finding the perfect person for the job, it’s going to be tough. There will not be one exact person that can tick all the boxes.

That said, the key qualities that employers look for when they are hiring are similar over time. No matter the industry a person is in, odds are the employers want a person who is professional, committed, and has the initiative to work without constant supervision.

Apart from technical skills and expertise, here are four key qualities employers look for when they are hiring.

we want you job hiring

1.     Professionalism

When a candidate walks into that interview room, prospective employers will start to draw on some crucial first impressions of what kind of person he is. Is he confident? Does he know what the company really is and what job he is applying for? Has he conducted his research beforehand? These seemingly common skills may tell a lot more about how professional a person is.

2.     Initiative

While leaders strive to empower their employees to make decisions for themselves without needing their managers on their back for 24/7, it will not work if the employee doesn’t show any kind of initiative.

3.     Personality that fits the company culture

Having the right sets of expertise is not enough – employers are also always on the lookout for people with the right personality (by clark). Working requires the employees to work together in a team and if the person’s personality doesn’t really fit with the company, even with the right skills it’s going to be hard to foster good teamwork.

4.     Passion

Are they passionate about the work they are doing? Passion fuels most of our work and employers would like to know if the people they hire will work hard and take pride on what they are doing.

Many job seekers strive to show their skills and achievements in an interview. However, showing key qualities mentioned above to their future employers will give them an advantage in scoring the job.

To learn more about key qualities that employers look for, check out our Institute of Management training modules.


How to Deal with Disruptive Employees during Meetings

Do you have an employee whose actions are just disruptive to the team?

Imagine that you are holding a meeting and he is really disrespectful to the people presenting at the front. At first, you might try to ignore him, thinking that perhaps he is just having a bad day and soon enough he will be behaving as a professional once again. But as the meeting progresses, so does his disruptive behaviour.

disruptive behaviour in meeting

As a leader, how should you handle the situation? Do you confront the person in front of everyone? Do you act as if nothing happens?

While working in a corporate setting, we will always deal with different types of people and conflicts may happen. To handle the situation professionally, here are some intervention stages for dealing with disruptive behaviour.


intervention for disruptive behaviours in meetings

At first, you might want to try to ignore the person. If ignoring does not work, raising/lowering your voice might give him the signal that he is behaving inappropriately. If that still does not work, go up another level until you reach the level of confronting.

Most people know that they are doing something wrong when the atmosphere in the room changes. However, for those people who might need extra attention, talking privately during breaks might be necessary to ensure that the meeting still goes on successfully.

Remember that the most important thing in this intervention is the fact that it is a professional setting and that the remarks you are giving him are business and not personal. Ensure that you are not humiliating your employees in public or scolding them in front of their colleagues.

This article is modified from the Institute of Management training module: Diploma of Project Management. For more information about the course, please visit our website.