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What You Can Learn from Great Leaders

The old paradigm of leadership that prizes title, office size and formal authority is quickly fading away. The major shift is taking place on the mental plane – that is to say – leadership is increasingly becoming more of a mindset and less about package of over bloated prerequisites commonplace among some circles of senior executives.

 

This model seeks to incorporate a balance of strategic and emotional intelligence. As of late, active influencers in all industries across social media platforms are preaching the gospel of what really helps individuals and brands succeed through progressive forms of impact. These leaders express sincere devotion to simple principals like empathy, integrity, trust, compassion, service, and an urge to see others succeed.

 

Leaders Bring Out The Leader In Others

Titles of nobility are less important than franchising a leadership model based on mentorship at work, with family, and in the respective community. The best leaders on the planet practice growing other leaders at a much quicker pace than the competition. Doing more to create and innovate optimizes every facet of the balance between the professional and the personal. This might look like extending credit to winning team members they excel. Seeking opportunities to collaborate encourages an atmosphere of trust – the building block for growth.

 

Great Leaders Are Inspired And Instill Inspiration

A glance at the profiles of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Nelson Mandela, Rembrandt, and Picasso illustrates the value of truly being inspired by a passionate pursuit of higher ideals. As a result, they became incredibly inspiring to those around them. Former employees at Apple attest the fact that Steve Jobs wasn’t exactly a “nice” person. However, many will agree that his dedication to innovation with Apple’s products and services created die-hard reverence for the company’s internal culture, prompting many to seek employment at the corporate giant. The position of CIO should be reworked to mean Chief Inspirational Officer. Leaders teach us to be inspirational in all undertakings.

 

Making study of the characteristics common to great leaders can reveal a wealth of practical insights useful across a vast array of talents, skill sets, and professional endeavors. Leadership is about recognizing that crisis is the norm and not exception. They teach us to address problems from a position of fearless strength.

What Successful Leaders do Differently

In today’s business world, becoming an effective and successful leader requires skill building in areas such as integrity, empathy, and the setting of healthy personal boundaries. Fortunately, learning to strengthen skills in these areas is something that anyone can do with enough effort; it may require time and hard work to master leadership skills, it is true, but the results can be truly life-changing. Here are just a few of the qualities that set successful leaders apart from the pack, and why they matter more than ever.

 

Great leaders admit when they’re wrong

Anyone who has had a manager who refuses to own up to their mistakes knows that an irresponsible leader quickly sinks company morale. Being an effective leader doesn’t just mean keeping one’s word when times are tough, and deadlines are looming, it also means admitting when one has chosen the wrong course of action. Without taking personal responsibility for mistakes, there is little guarantee that the same problems will not arise again and again in the future, and that is an outcome that can spell disaster for a business. Indeed, to be a truly successful leader in the long term, a sense of personal responsibility is a must-have skill.

 

Great leaders don’t confuse being nice with being a pushover

Unable to cope with the idea of being disliked, some leaders want to accommodate the demands of everyone they meet, despite the fact that their need to please others may be undermining their ability to lead effectively. Focused on being the office “nice guy,” these leaders too often burn themselves out by taking personal responsibility for making everyone around them happy. While kindness is an essential quality of effective leadership, it’s important to recognize the difference between caring about others and becoming their personal doormat.

 

Great leaders empathize with employees

As anyone who has seen the negative effect of a high employee turnover rate on a company’s reputation, employee satisfaction isn’t just about making a good salary or negotiating a competitive benefits package. Without empathetic leaders, simply put, a workplace becomes a toxic place for everyone involved. Just as being a pushover is a detrimental quality in a leader, a manager who does not empathize with their employees will often push talented workers towards better opportunities at other companies. For these reasons, knowing the difference between setting healthy boundaries and setting impossibly rigid boundaries is an essential skill for a truly successful leader.

 

While it can feel intimidating to begin the path towards mastery of interpersonal and leadership skills, the truth is that top-notch communication abilities in business can be developed with time and dedication. Becoming a great leader doesn’t happen overnight, but fortunately, the personal rewards of a journey towards becoming a great leader are more than worth the effort. For those willing to take the high road towards business success, that is life at its best!

Three Reasons Why Visionary Leadership Fails

When it comes to leadership, there is really no one way to be effective. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t leadership styles that work far more effectively in one situation versus another. There are also leadership styles that are flat out ineffective over the long haul. One of these styles is the visionary leader. While all leaders need to have a vision, there is a huge difference between a leader with vision and a visionary leader. Here are three reasons that visionary leadership fails.

 

Visionary leaders have difficulties with small steps and mundane actions

Great leaders know how to cast a broad vision, then help their people transition to the trivial task of carrying out the thousands of individual steps it takes to achieve it. While it’s true that visionary leaders can inspire people to push beyond their limitations and achieve more than they dreamed possible, no one wants to be “go-go-go” day in, day out, 365 days of the year. We all love Disneyland, but no one really wants to live there.

 

Visionary leaders have difficulty with anyone that doesn’t agree with their vision

Visionary leaders often rely on razzle-dazzle to get people fired up and enthusiastic about a vision. As long as everyone is, their combined energy can create an almost unclear reaction, allowing them to accomplish the impossible. One “wet blanket” however, is often all it takes to keep the energy in the room from powering an explosion. In some cases, however, this is simply a matter of cooler heads prevailing and wanting to get a few more details before leaping into an “exciting new endeavor.”

 

Visionary leaders achieve greatly, but they also fail just as spectacularly

Visionary leaders are like supernovas speeding across the sky – indeed a sight to behold. But when they crash and burn, it is just as spectacular. When visionary leaders crash and burn, however, they often take the whole ship down with them. While everyone wants to be a part of the “miracle success story” that visionary leaders are capable of creating, no one wants to be a part of the absolute train wreck they can create as well. While following the tortoise may not be quite as glamorous or exciting as following the hare, we all know who wins in the end.

Qualities Needed to be a Transformational Leader

Transformational leadership is highly essential today where a typical leader should be able to actively lead a team to productivity and success. Becoming a transformational leader requires one to exhibit and practice certain essential transformational leadership qualities.

 

Change-oriented

Change in leadership is highly significant. As a transformational leader, one needs to understand when to initiate such change and how to go about it while addressing any team needs and preventing conflict in the process. When undertaking such change, a transformational leader takes into consideration the perception of individuals who will be affected.

 

Intellect

Intellect is a highly needed attribute among transformational leaders. The ability to actively think logically in order to resolve problems within the team and beyond helps the transformational leader to become resourceful at all times. Intellect also comes in handy in assisting a transformational leader in understanding other members of the team.

 

Encouraging participation

As a transformational leader, one must be able to spur other members of the team to work actively by participating in teamwork activity. This can be done in many ways and should be intellectually thought. A good transformational leader should be able to encourage active thinking from team members to ensure they remain resourceful to the rest of the team.

 

Communication

Communication is the backbone of the success of any team. Transformational team leaders should be good communicators while being able to absorb new ideas from every possible channel of communication. The leader should also be competent enough when it comes to avoidance of knee-jerk reactions in situations where any communication elicits judgment. Expressing self-restraint in cases of advanced communication or ideas ensures the rest of the team stays together.

 

Loyalty

Loyalty to the team’s vision and mission is highly essential if a transformational leader is to achieve the team’s obligations successfully. The transformational leader should also be able to spur the loyalty of other members of the team to work. Loyalty goes beyond working within a team. It involves the dedication of resources such as time and ideas to the team to ensure that the mission is accomplished.

 

Personal integrity

Personal integrity as a team leader is highly necessary as it involves the leaders’ ability to transformatively think and act in ways that show responsibility. Being a firm believer of particular ideologies and taking a strong stand gives a leader the integrity required to run a team successfully.

Why Entitlement Is The Ultimate Leadership Derailer

Entitlement has become something of a buzzword that gets tossed around and even mistakenly applied in a number of erroneous ways. Many times, we think of someone as being “entitled” when they simply have something we do not have, but want. In truth, entitlement is the belief that you have earned (or are entitled to) something that you have not earned. Therefore, in many cases, the person who labels someone else as “entitled” is often actually the entitled one. Because they believe they deserve something someone else has, but have not actually done what it takes to earn the thing the other person has. Entitlement is a particularly destructive quality in leaders. Here are three reasons why.

 

Entitlement literally keeps you from leading

By its very nature, leadership is embodied by movement. You can’t follow a parked car. Entitled leaders generally see their role as one of giving orders or making demands, rather than of setting an example for others to follow. They believe their job is to tell others what to do. To speak something means to dictate. The person that does something that enables others to follow them is a leader. The person that tells others what to do is – quite literally – a dictator.

 

Entitlement undermines your own authority

One thing that entitled leaders fail to understand is the difference between position, title and leadership. A business or company can give you a title and a certain amount of authority to make certain decisions. The authority to lead, however, can only be given by those that choose to follow. Like the old saying goes, if you think you’re leading, but no one is following, you’re just out standing in a field.

 

Entitled leaders create entitled cultures

“Do as I say, not as I do” leadership rarely (if ever) succeeds. About the only time entitled leaders don’t create an entitled culture is if they are not actually the leader and the real leader is setting a better example. If you feel like your workplace is riddled with entitled behavior and you are the boss, the first place to start addressing it is with the “man (or woman) in the mirror.”

Why Leading with Empathy is Essential

Leaders come in many forms, and with various styles come characteristics unique to each one. However, if there is one essential quality all leaders should possess, it is empathy. Empathy is described as the ability to share or understand the feelings of others. Why is this quality vital for leaders to have?

 

Empathy is a quality that leaders should have because it enables you to put yourselves in your follower’s shoes. Whether it be at school, work, or any other activity, interpersonal relationships create the foundation for greater productivity. You cannot foster a great relationship without understanding the difficulties that others go through. Your perception may not necessarily be indicative of the underlying truth. We all have difficulties that we face each day, but leading with empathy will permit you to lead more effectively.

 

The effectiveness of empathetic leadership does not apply to just your team or your follower. This also applies to your clientele. You cannot expect to earn the trust of the customers, or even gain new ones at that, if you do not understand their needs. Any entrepreneur or business can sell a product to anybody. However, the success of any business is contingent upon how strong the relationship with its customers are. The greatest way to strengthen a relationship with those who do business with you is to empathize with what they are looking for, and provide them with those needs.

 

Empathy may also be the biggest tool any entrepreneur may have at their dispsoal. This is because this quality enables you to strengthen relationships of all kinds. Monetary tools or analytics can help you to a great degree, but you cannot put a price on understanding the needs of those you are in contact with. It costs you nothing to attempt to understand what others need. You can choose to take that initiative.

 

The long-term goal of every entrepreneur is to change the world in some form. Businesses that are successful effectively addresses a need for the people. Whether this need be a product or a service, the entrepreneur empathized with the people and worked to devise a means by which those needs could be addressed. This was all because they had empathy guiding all of their decisions. Let empathy guide you to success.

 

Where to Learn Free Leadership Skills Online

There are many free resources online for those wanting to learn valuable management skills. Here are some of the best websites that offer university-level seminars and classes to aspiring leaders.

MindTools.com
MindTools is an easily navigable website offering everything from essays to YouTube videos on leadership skills in various contexts. They also provide courses on related subjects including stress management, decision making, and communication skills.

Level 5 Leadership
The concept of Level 5 Leadership was coined by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great. His website contains an hour-long lecture on ambition and leadership as well as several shorter videos and articles.

Latitude Learning
Effectively managing others is an important aspect of being an exceptional leader. Latitude Learning’s course “Supervising Difficult Behaviors” teaches users how to handle troublesome employees and workplace conflicts.

Coursera
Coursera is an established website offering hundreds of free courses on everything from product management to emotional intelligence. Users can complete courses on their own terms, making it perfect for people with a hectic schedule.

The Open University
The Open University offers a choice between undergraduate and postgraduate courses on business management, teamwork, business psychology, and more. Users can choose introductory-level or more advanced courses.

Alison.com
Alison.com contains hundreds of topics for every aspect of leadership in business. Users can participate in courses like “Leadership Skills in Business” or “Intro to Communication Skills” to learn hours worth of free information to increase their skill sets.

MIT Online
Plenty of universities offer free online courses, and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is no exception. They offer “Organizational Leadership and Change,” which is a graduate-level course exploring leadership qualities and the skills needed for future success. “Building and Leading Effective Teams” informs users how to manage and communicate as a group leader properly.

Master Class Management
Master Class Management displays an organized list of topics all relating to leadership. Users can easily pick from titles like “How to Delegate Confidently, “Holding a Meeting,” and “Dealing with Conflict” to improve weak points and gain confidence in their management abilities. Each section includes a story, a presentation, and a short test at the end.

These free resources make it possible to be a great leader without investing thousands of dollars.

Best Podcasts to Improve Leadership Skills

Leaders have the role of leading their organization to success. While effective leadership is heavily dependent on one’s personal qualities, a lot of these qualities can be learned or improved with intentional training. Leaders looking to grow in their roles should look into the following podcasts for personal and professional development.

 

Dov Baron: Leadership and Loyalty

Dov Baron focuses on inspiring leaders that want to find more purpose in their lives. Dov hosts speakers and leaders from different industries to talk about a leadership model that engenders loyalty in leaders as well as their followers.

 

Strickland Bonner and Doug Sandler: The Nice Guys on Business

Stickland and Doug’s podcast invites leaders to participate in conversations on how founders can grow their business based on ethics and values. The podcast highlights the importance of trust, integrity, and professional relationships to modern businesses.

 

Dave Stachowiak: Coaching for Leaders

According to Dave, no one is born knowing how to be an effective leader. This is why he focuses on teaching leaders the essentials of leadership, including how to lead by example, how to draw the best qualities out of others, and more.

 

Richard Rierson: Dose of Leadership

Dose of Leadership is a series of interviews between Richard and leaders from various industries and areas in life including business, military, and religious organizations. Listeners can expect to learn how to better themselves and how to improve the organization that they are responsible for leading.

 

Jesse Lahey: Engaging Leader

Jesse Lahey’s show teaches that communication is one of the most important aspects of modern leadership. Jesse invites his interviewees to discuss different tactics that help to foster better communication among teams.

 

Andy Paul: Accelerate

Andy started his career working in sales. Though he wasn’t initially successful, he found his bearings as a leader. In his podcast. Andy shares his life experience to help listeners find their own success and grow successful teams in their organizations.

 

It is up to leaders to work on their own personal development. Anyone hoping to reach their full potential as a leader should be sure to take a listen to these six podcasts to gain better insight into what makes a successful leader.

How to Deal With Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict in the workplace is always tricky. At its worst, it can practically ruin careers, and even minor strife can make going to work every day feel like a serious chore. If you find yourself at odds with a coworker or even a supervisor, here are a few things that might help you work through it.

 

Communicate

Many workplace conflicts arise from poor communication. A co-worker might misunderstand something you did or said, or they might lack a key piece of information that either one of you might need to do your jobs. Situations like this are always easy to clear up, but you need to communicate to make that happen. Speak to the other person to find out if there is any misunderstanding, and go from there. As long as you both act like professionals and agree to work together to clear up any misconceptions, things will be just fine.

 

Don’t Get Emotional

Of course, it’s going to be harder to clear the air with someone if either of you gets too emotional. People tend to say and do rash things when they’re upset, but you cannot let this happen at your workplace. That’s the kind of thing that can cost people their jobs and ruin careers. If you or the other person are too upset to talk, take some time to cool off or talk to someone else who can act as a mediator. Once both of you can remain calm, you can address your conflict rationally.

 

Prevent Conflict Whenever You Can

Conflict can’t always be avoided, but you can address any potential issues before they turn anyone against each other. If you feel that there is a potential conflict between you and another person or between two other coworkers, address it and come up with some solutions before things get ugly.

 

Pick Your Battles

Even though issues will come up whenever people spend any amount of time with each other, you cannot start fights over every minor disagreement. Some things are worth arguing about, but you would be surprised at how much you can just ignore. If you’re going to spend about 40 hours a week with people, you cannot make enemies out of them simply because of your personalities. As long as neither of you isn’t doing anything that creates a hostile work environment, you can learn to accept and get along with just about anybody.

How to Identify your Leadership Blindspots

In leadership, you need to always be seeking ways to get better. This takes the right plan and massive action. One of the key things to understand is where you have blind spots. So use these tips to identify yours and avoid missing out on opportunities for growth:

 

Ask Your Family

Your family are the people who know you the best out of anyone in this world. Therefore, they are the first people you should ask when you are trying to find out what kind of blind spots you might have. They can often give you answers that you didn’t even think about or have taken for granted.

 

Ask Your Friends

Your family knows you best, but your friends know a different side of you more than your family. After all, you act differently around friends than family, even if only a tiny bit. They can share their views on what you are great at and what you could use some work on.

 

Survey Customers

Blind spots don’t just exist in your own mind and behaviors. They also come out in the form of how you run your business. For instance, each customer has a unique desire that they want to be fulfilled. The better you understand this and eliminate your blindspots regarding their wishes, you can serve them better. The results speak for themselves in terms of profit and even referrals.

 

Watch Market Trends

There are some tools available today to figure out trends in your market. You might not be able to predict them on your own, but when you use data to tell a story, you can get ahead of the curve. That way you are not caught off guard when you need it the most.

 

Test Your Marketing

Numbers do not lie in marketing. You might think that a certain product will outperform the rest. However, the true test is what people are responding to and buying. So A/B test your ads to find out what really sells.

 

When it comes to being a leader, no one ever said it was easy. But no one said you had to do it in the dark, either. You can clear up your blind spots and have more opportunities by merely using the tips above. Then, you’ll enjoy more clarity and better results than ever before.