How to network with family, friends, acquaintances, and previous employers

December 19, 2014 @ 4:44 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

When searching for jobs, your first leg of strategy should be networking with friends, family, acquaintances and previous employers. After all, the people you know more than likely have your best interest at heart. This is why it is important for you to be professional, have integrity, be dependable, and treat people respectfully both on and off of the job. You do not want them to wonder whether you will prove to be a huge embarrassment to them if they referred you. Have you ever referred a person to someone else and gotten disappointment? I have. For that reason, I no longer try to set people up on blind dates. It just does not work. You should be able to indicate to people:

1) What your skills are

2) Why you are unemployed

3) What jobs you are interested in pursuing

4) Ensure them that they will not be disappointed for referring you for a position.

You must set the person that you are attempting to network with at ease. While you are unemployed or searching for a new position, you want to continue to keep the image of a person who is successful and professional. Your image is an outward reflection of who you are as a person. You want to always have a resume handy for them to review, consider, and pass on for you.

Your Self-Image

December 12, 2014 @ 2:59 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Self-image and self-esteem go hand-in-hand. People who feel unworthy of a great opportunity, a certain job title, promotion, reward, or even as if somehow they are naturally vulnerable to failure expose their vulnerability through:

1. How they behave

2. In their outward appearance

3. Their demeanor

This behavior often causes the individual to feel too incompetent to deal with any challenges, obstacles, or even giving it a go for an opportunity. My view of personal refinement training differs from the traditional in that I am totally unwilling to accept the assumption that competitive sports, activities, or even beauty pageants are necessarily appropriate or suitable for individuals who desire to improve their self-image or self-esteem.

Self-image can be improved in many ways through a program of discipline and the acquisition of body skills. In my experience, those who benefit to the highest degree in personal refinement are those who are least likely to have any interest at all. Those individuals ironically do better and gain more from non competitive activities such as speaking before a small audience, meeting new people, acting confident during a job interview and gaining a comfort level for their outer appearance.

You can learn to measure your progress from your own starting point. Just by being mindful of holding your head up, keeping your shoulders back, sitting upright, smiling, and just simply enjoying the fact that you are you. A proud presentation can make a dramatic make-over of your appearance, which will change your self-image once you begin to receive responses from others around you and convince yourself that you are worthy to be appreciated!



Ummu Bradley Thomas

Are You Referable?

December 5, 2014 @ 10:17 am posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Most jobs require at least 3 references. When you’re fresh out of school those references can include:

1) College professors

2) Member of your clergy

3) And perhaps a neighbor

However, it is quite suspicious if a professional with 10 plus years in the workforce has a difficult time scraping together 3 references. The old excuse “I don’t want my current boss to know I may be leaving soon.” Can fly somewhat but at the end of the day it leaves the prospective employer questioning your integrity, communication skills, positive work relationships and your ability to network. Making lasting professional relationships matter as much as making lasting family and friendship relationships.

If you’re having a difficult time seeing eye to eye with those on the job to the point where you are afraid of what they may say about you, consider volunteering for Boards, joining professional organizations, and giving your professional personality a makeover.  Nowadays, whether you refer a person or not the simple fact that you are on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, people already know your reference pool in common and often get unofficial references on you.



Ummu Bradley Thomas

The Art of a Successful Team Player

December 1, 2014 @ 9:30 am posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Someone once asked if I would prefer to work alone or with a team and without a second thought, I said “Either is fine.”.

For me, I am able to work alone independently and have total autonomy over a project or I can work well with others as a team. I have never fought with co-workers, given them the silent treatment or refused to work with them. This has happened for me because I developed the a​c​t of a successful team player which is:

  • The Ability to Communicate Effectively
  • The Ability to Learn Team Members’ Strengths
  • The Ability to Understand Team Members’ Limitations
  • The Ability to Handle Competition in a Positive Manner
  • The Ability to Interact with Strong Personalities
  • Knowing How to Use Professionalism
  • Avoiding Negative Responses
  • Enhancing Listening Skills
  • Improving Skills Through Training
  • Becoming Passionate About Your Job
  • Learning to Share Information
As an employee , you are there to work first. Friendships on the job are ideal, but not 100% necessary. Oftentimes, friendships that started off in a positive manner on the job can later turn into bitter clicks and often disruptive coups on the job.
It is imperative to avoid allowing yourself to become labeled with any one person or group. Oftentimes you witness employees who hang together…​leave together during periods of downturn.  To avoid this you should consider the following clique deflectors:

1) Attend lunch with different people often

2) Never get too involved on the job with listening to personal information

3) Avoid gripe sessions

4) Avoid the gossipers

5) Avoid the chronic complainers

6) Do not get involved in excessively long lunches

7) Do not get involved with unprofessional co-workers

8) Always dress as if you are coming to work. If you have to guess if an outfit is appropriate, it means that it probably is not.


Some people never quite figure out behaviors that are appropriate for work and behaviors that are appropriate for home. While on the job, your behavior should resemble that of a successful professional employee with confidence and excellent communication skills.



Ummu Bradley Thomas

Train like a Manager

November 21, 2014 @ 3:54 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Just think, the best subordinate is a well-trained subordinate. Not one that has been trained outside of your office or division, but one that has been trained to suit your requirements and needs. Various managers require tasks to be done in a certain way. Others just prefer for their phones to be answered in a certain way. Be certain to establish your own standards and protocol for how you want things to be managed. Make it clear how you:

1) Want your phones to be answered

2) The type of paper you like for the person to use

3) How you like your schedules created

4) How you like to communicate best whether it’s:

a. In person

b. Over the phone

c. On a conference call

d. By E-mail

e. By text

f. By cell phone

Your subordinate should understand how you like things done. Please consider:

1. Do you like things done in an informal manner or formal manner?

2. Do you wish to be called “Naomia” or “Mrs. Bradley-Vasquez?”

3. Do you prefer to not be interrupted on Monday mornings and have things scheduled only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays?

4. Do you want your mail opened or place on your desk?

5. Do you require a full status report with charts, citations, and references or do you require a follow-up orally?

6. Do you want the subordinate to talk to you in brief statements with the bottom line in mind?

7. Or do you want a point by point review of the facts that lead up to the end result?


There is no right or wrong way to do things, just make it clear how you want things to be done. Some managers want his or her subordinates to not be too familiar and others want their subordinates to be a large family. Whatever environment works best for your organization, just make sure it is one of structure and clarity.


Ummu Bradley Thomas


Telling is Not Teaching

November 14, 2014 @ 4:55 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Telling a subordinate to do a task is not the same as teaching them how to do a task. While offering a step-by-step guide is not necessarily recommended for all fields, you must be able to do the following when teaching or coaching a subordinate on a job:

1) Require that they take notes so they can refer to your lesson after they have left you to perform on their own.

2) Ask them to repeat what they have learned.

3) Ask them to ask questions about points of the lesson that they did not understand.

4) Allow them to do an example while you are present.

5) Require that they show you their progress when they are 15-20 minutes into the task.

6) Follow up with compliments or complaints as a way of offering feedback after the assignment is done.

The final step allows them to learn if they have done a job to your company’s standard or not. If not, indicate which parts were or were not satisfactory. Always encourage your subordinate to ask questions and to continue to be diligent about their work. Be positive not negative. Be encouraging and not discouraging. Be a good teacher and a good listener. If the subordinate is having difficulty understanding, then consider adjusting your teaching methods.



Ummu Bradley Thomas

Voice and Speech – Communication is the key to success!

November 7, 2014 @ 2:46 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Whether you are on the telephone or speaking to someone in person, the way you talk and the words you use gives a person a view of who you truly are. The way in which you speak can tell others if you are cultured, intelligent, sensitive, kind and cheerful. It describes your education, upbringing, morals, interest and family background. The manner in which you speak is one of the most important parts of your personality. It can make you appear exciting, boring, annoying, or interesting.

When speaking, it’s important to figure out how you sound to others.  Record yourself. If you do not have a recorder, take the time to call yourself and leave a message. How do you sound? Professional or unprofessional; young or old; educated or uneducated; personable or detached? Do you speak too high where people are always cutting you off? Or too low and the listened responds with the wrong answer because they are attempting to interpret the movement of your lips. re you too loud and people are always telling you to quiet down? Do you speak too softly and the listener is always asking you to repeat yourself? Do you speak too slowly and people’s eyes tend to glaze over in boredom waiting for you to get to your point?

How you communicate with other people can have a positive or negative affect on your relationship with them. Paying special attention to your voice and speech can make the difference between getting the job and not getting the job, landing an important account or botching it it up.


Ummu Bradley Thomas


The Polish That Pays – Workforce Preparation Edition

Ask, Wait, And Listen

October 29, 2014 @ 4:32 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

The key to successful communication with subordinates concerning an issue is:

First, asking the right questions of subordinates; Second, waiting for an answer; Third, listening; Fourth, responding to the subordinates answer; and Fifth, asking questions.

If you want a task done, you must make sure that the subordinate:

  1. Is not overwhelmed with the task
  2. Has the proper tools to do the tasks
  3. Has the correct resources to refer to for the task
  4. Is able to meet the deadline
  5. Is capable of doing the task
  6. Understands your request
  7. Is available to do your request
  8. Has enough information to complete the task


Oftentimes subordinates are confused with the order in which they should do a task.  Make sure that you establish which of your tasks or assignments are ongoing and which are priorities and should be done first.  This will require you to keep a running task list of all that you have requested of the person, so that you know what the person has on his or her plate.  Also, if the subordinate is a shared support member with another manager, make sure that you are not giving conflicting assignments and that it will not cause confusion with the other managers.  Make sure you work out a schedule with the other manager to indicate to the subordinate that they inform the other manager what they already have on the task priority plate before accepting other tasks or before giving unrealistic turnaround and times for completion of tasks.  This can be very frustrating for a Subordinate who feels torn between two bosses, is unsure which duties to do first, which tasks to follows, and who to listen to for instructions.  This will require you to keep an open line of communication with your counterparts.



Ummu Bradley Thomas


The Polish That Pays, Successful Manager’s Edition, Copyright© 2010 Bradley Thomas Publishing House

The New “That’s Just My Two Cents”

October 22, 2014 @ 3:57 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Want to be taken seriously at a meeting? Do you feel you just can’t get your point across? You’re trying to figure out a way to break a tie and have the motion go in your favor? Then learn the art of offering your opinion without the dreaded “that’s my two cents, take it or leave it”.

In this new era when generational trainings advise that we learn the lingo of the younger generations, we begin to adapt and use terminology in places where it is still unfit whether you’re a Millennial or a Baby Boomer. The new “I’m just saying” or “just saying” at the end of each statement that you would like to be taken seriously is now the new opening to suggest that your statement should certainly be ignored.

Consider what you are saying:

1) That you have not stood on any one point in particular

2) That you’re not confident that any one is really listening to your opinion

3) You falsely assume that you’re opinion tops the previous statement made by your co -worker/board member/ affiliate

Keys to follow when you’re “just saying” an item that you are seeking support—just say it , wait for comment, respond, and move on. Delete all catchy slang language from the work force and always conduct yourself as a professional. You can be current without attempting to be so in the moment.


Ummu Bradley Thomas

Why Athletes Make Good Team Players

October 10, 2014 @ 4:00 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Good afternoon!

Athletes are trained to work well with their team members, accept constructive criticism individually from team players, coaches or a stadium of 100,000 or more. While emotions run high they are trained and most of the time succeed being clear headed, following instructions, making quick judgments and acting on gut instincts.

An athlete focuses on building his or her craft. This craft includes similar soft skills applicable for the workforce, such as time management, feedback, conflict resolution, communication skills and proper behavior. Aside from the recent negative press in which athletes have been accused of not conducting themselves within these standards, the vast majority are hugely aware of their duty to personal, public, and their company’s image. Moreover, athletes are held accountable by team members, coaches and the community at large.

It has been my experience that I can nearly point out former athletes in almost any workforce arena. This observation is not based on physical characteristics however healthy competitiveness, a knack to get to the finish line, willingness to work in groups, an eye on productivity and surpassing their previous performance is what’s most prevalent.

Athletes make good team players not just for the muscle but because of their dedication to achieve a common goal, to succeed.


Ummu Bradley Thomas

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