Three Qualities Of A Leader

three-waysLeadership is one of those traits that most people find difficult to quantify. Everybody knows a great leader when they see one, but when you ask people to explain what specific qualities make a person a great leader, that’s when you get the “deer in the headlights” looks. It’s just hard to explain. This article will hopefully make it easier to explain, and help you become a better leader.

Conviction – Great leaders have a clearly defined plan in their minds, and the will to stick with it. It goes without saying that everyone who has ever put forth an idea has been met with resistance and detractors. Those are people who will go out of their way to tell you how flawed your plan is and how wrong you are. Great leaders have thought through all the angles and are more than capable of defending the reasons behind the decisions that drive their plans. However, they’re also smart and humble enough to recognize when someone presents them with a genuinely better alternative. They have great conviction, yes, and that can be inspiring, but they’re also in tune with who they lead, and they understand that there’s no way they can plan for every contingency. Conviction or no, they’re willing to let someone else demonstrate a better way. It just has to be proven definitively.

Empowerment – This was hinted at in the section above about conviction. If a leader is willing to allow others to show them alternatives that might prove superior, then he’s also got to give them the space to explore and experiment. That means no micromanaging. That means providing the vision, then giving their team the tools and the space to explore new ideas and stuff they haven’t thought of.

Presence – Great leaders have great presence. Always. That means being visible. That means being physically there, leading from the front. You don’t just delegate assignments and duck out. You roll up your sleeves and get in the mud with the rest of your team. This is what creates respect, and even if your team doesn’t adore you, when they see you wading into the thick of it with them, they’ll respect you, and they’ll follow you.

Improve Your Time Management With These 5 Tips

improve-yourIt seems as though we never have enough time, doesn’t it? No matter how carefully you plan your day, and no matter how hard you try to get everything done, you just always seem to run out of day before you run out of things to be done. Below, you’ll find five tips you can put to use right now that will help take your productivity to the next level. You’ll find yourself getting more accomplished in less time, and you’ll finally start getting a handle on things. Here they are, in no particular order:

The Power of No – Most people hate to say no. We instinctively try to be as accommodating as possible, but this can really drag your productivity down. Think about the law of supply and demand here. There’s only so much of you. If you start making yourself less available, not only do you have more time to do the stuff most critical to your day, but you also make yourself more valuable.

Limit Your Time on Social Media – Social media is a huge time sink, even if you need to be on it as part of your job. Limit yourself to twice a day, no more than twenty minutes at a stretch. By forcing yourself to keep strict watch on the time you spend on social media, you’ll be less likely to get sucked in.

Only Check Email Twice a Day – This is another huge time sink for most people: the feeling that you have to constantly check your email and respond to everything right away. Break the habit. Retrain yourself to check email just twice a day, and limit yourself to thirty minute sessions, both times. This forces you to prioritize your emails and only respond to the really critical items.

Proper Prioritization – Tackle the biggest, scariest task of the day first. Doing that builds momentum, and makes the rest of your day seem like a downhill coast from there.

Live By Lists – Of course, in order to properly prioritize, you’ve got to have a firm sense of what each day holds. That means learning to love lists. Break every item down into one of two categories: “must do,” and “it would be nice to do.” Your must do items go to the top. If any of your “it would be nice to do” items don’t get done that day, move them to “must do” the following day. If you still give them a pass on the second day, take it off the list. They are obviously not that important.

Connect With Others To Inspire

connect-withDo you even remember the time before the internet? Most people struggle to. It has profoundly changed the way we live and work. Our lives are more intimately interconnected and interdependent now than they ever have been in the history of history itself.

Before the rise of the internet, highly centralized “command and control” style leadership worked well, or at least, well enough. Orders came down from on high, and those orders were followed. It was fairly effective, and could even be inspiring on occasion.

These days, though, the world has shifted. If you have an entrepreneurial streak, and are seeking to inspire those around you to rally to your cause and vision, attempting to lead in the old command and control style is one of the fastest and surest paths to failure.

The global web of intricate interconnections has redefined what the phrase “competitive advantage” means, too. It used to mean that if you found a different or innovative method of doing something, the change in your process could reap long term benefits.

These days, comparative advantage has more to do with interacting with people: your peers, your employees (if you’re running a start-up) and your customers. If you want a powerful competitive advantage, then you build a story around your brand, and tell that story often. You spread the word. You engage in meaningful, two-way conversations with your customers, both face to face, and on the numerous social media platforms now available.

Inspiration is now a form of currency. Take a look at Apple, for example. Every company on the planet wishes they had Apple’s customer base. Apple doesn’t have customers, they have fans, who are almost evangelical in their support of the company.

The reason is that Apple inspires. You can too. Share yourself and your story with others. Connect with them, and let them draw inspiration from the stories you share and the conversations you have. You will be amazed at the results.

How Can I Achieve My Goals?

how-can-iDo you feel stuck? Like you’re trapped on a treadmill and just running in place? Like no matter how hard you try, you just can’t make any real progress toward your goals or start making your dreams a reality?

The problem is a lot more common than you think, but there’s good news. There’s an easy fix for that. If you follow the steps outlined below, you will never again feel like you’re stuck making no progress.

1) Write it down – Everything starts with your dream. The end point. The place you want to ultimately wind up at, or the big thing you hope to accomplish. Write that goal down and keep it where you can see it. If you ever get discouraged, take it out and look at it.

2) Get granular – Once you know the end point, outline the various tasks you’re have to accomplish to achieve your goal. Then, break those tasks down into sub-tasks, and keep doing that, going more and more granular until you’re left with bite sized mini-tasks you can accomplish in a single day.

3) Make a list of things you want and need to accomplish in a typical day, and be sure to include as many of the tasks that feed into your main goal as you can. Keep track of all of these that you knock out, so you can visually chart the progress toward your main goal. The easiest way to do this is to keep your goal-related tasks and sub-tasks in a Word document, and bold the items you have completed. In parenthesis next to these, put the date they were completed by.

If you do these simple things, you’ll make steady progress toward whatever goal you have set for yourself. Try it and see. You’ll be amazed at the results.