Category: Leadership Development (page 2 of 5)

Time Management Tips for Leaders

As a leader, one of the greatest tools you can have for better performance and productivity is time. Time can make or break the success of your team. The more responsibility you take on as a leader can easily lead to the loss of time management skills. Going through daily tasks and some things taking more precedence than others, it’s easy to fall behind and get caught up. These are some easy ways to improve time management as a leader:

Set Your Goals First

The first and most important step to managing your time better as a leader is setting your goals first. Think about how you want to improve your team and what tasks need to be done first. Choose the goals that are top priority and stick to those. Not only will this help put a lot into perspective, but it will also help you keep track of your progress and track what needs to happen next. 

Create a System

With goals in mind, it’s time to think of a proper system. A good system for time management is the quadrant time-management system. This system divides your tasks into four quadrants based on urgency and importance. Things that are not urgent or important must take the back seat, while other tasks that need your attention first. By creating a system for managing your time, you will have a greater chance of succeeding.

Plan for Interruptions

When planning out your next weeks, days, or months, be sure to set aside time for speed bumps and interruptions. One big mistake many leaders tend to make is not preparing for setbacks, especially when it comes to managing their time. It’s important to not jampack your schedule and leave room for any mishaps along the way. If there happen to be no setbacks of interruptions, then you’re ahead of schedule. 

Delegate Your Attention

As a leader, there are many people and tasks that require your attention. When getting back on track and making an effort to manage your time better, delegate your attention. It’s important to get a sense of things that need your immediate attention and what can wait. If your team in bombarding you with questions and interruptions, make it clear that some of the questions will have to wait until you and the rest of the team are back on track. Know what needs your immediate attention first and what can wait. This will make you a master of time management. 

Why Leaders Can Feel Overwhelmed

Many people think of leaders as invincible, that they know all of the answers, and never become overwhelmed. But when it comes down to it, leaders can become stressed just like any other team member. From feeling incompetent to not having accountability, there are many reasons why a leader may be feeling stressed. Today we will be looking into why leaders can feel overwhelmed in the workplace.

Leaders can be reluctant to ask for help. 

As a leader, you are usually the go-to person when it comes to answering questions and most of the time you are expected to know the answer. But sometimes leaders have question and feel hesitant about asking for guidance. Many leaders feel that by asking for help, they will seem incompetent in their role. So instead they internalize their stress as they struggle to come up with the right answer.

Leaders feel like they can’t be authentic. 

Many leaders feel like they can’t be themselves while at work. They feel as though they have to “fit a mold” or portray an ideal image. Thinking about your every step and constantly analyzing how you are saying something can be quite draining.

Leaders try to hide their fears. 

Leaders have many fears and anxieties. People on the outside looking in, don’t think of leaders are afraid of anything, but they couldn’t be more far from the truth. Leaders are often afraid of change, failure, and upsetting others.

Leaders can feel defeated by challenging personalities. 

Not everyone in the workforce is looking out for you. Sometimes leaders have to deal with people who purposely keep them out of the loop. Without the right information, wrong decisions can be made, making you look bad. Someone who is sabotaging your work and blocking you out can easily make you feel overwhelmed.

Leaders can become exhausted.

When you are put in a leadership role, in addition to carrying your own weight, you carry your entire team’s. This can be both physically and mentally exhausting. Exhaustion can claim even the strongest leaders and make them want to quit.

Leaders feel like they can’t count on anyone. 

When there is a lack of accountability with your team, a lot of stress can form. If team members are not finishing their work, a leader may feel like it’s up to them to finish everything that needs to be done.

Remember that as a leader, you are never alone. When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Earning Respect From Your Team

Earning the respect of others can be a challenging task to conquer. Although it may be difficult, it is not impossible. Earning with respect starts with you. You need to treat others with the same respect you desire, in order to receive that same respect back. When someone enters a role of authority they will often believe they are entitled to respect based on their past experince or current role. This could not be further from the truth.

Rather than being a leader who demands respect, implement these few tips to earn respect from everyone on your team.

Be consistent.

If you say you are going to do one thing, but then do something entirely different, your credibility will dramatically decrease. As long as you follow through on your actions and don’t become a hypocrite, you will find that your team will support you along the way.

Be on time.

Making your team wait on you will drive your respect levels into the ground. Time is valuable, we only have so many hours in a day to accomplish what we need to do. Missing a meeting or showing up 30 minutes late shows that you do not care about the lives of others.

Be there for your team.

In today’s world, there are so many ways to get in touch with someone, from Twitter to Facebook, to Skype, to texting, to Facetiming. With so many channels of communication open, make it clear which one is the best way to get in contact with you. When you have decided which communication method is the best, don’t leave your team hanging. When someone messages you or asks you a question, try responding within 24 hours.

Don’t forget to forgive others and yourself.

Mistakes are completely natural and will happen from time to time. And that’s okay. Be sure to create an environment that encourages your team to experiment and emphasizes that failure isn’t always the worse thing. Be an example of how to bounce back from failure and keep moving forward.

No matter if they are wrong or right, show respect. 

When someone’s plan goes wrong, don’t point out their failure. This can be embarrassing and make your colleague feel unworthy. Instead, comfort your colleague and work together to see where things didn’t go as planned. Likewise, don’t be jealous or mean when someone succeeds. Success should be celebrated, don’t make a team member’s hard work seem insignificant.

 

 

How Leaders Make the Best Out of Mondays

For the longest time, Mondays have gotten a bad rep. They have often been seen as the mark the end of the weekend and the dreaded start of the workweek. However, Mondays can actually be the best day of the week. When it comes to being a successful leader, they make the best out of Mondays and use it as their most productive day.

Hyping Up the Team

Without a doubt, energies are very low on Mondays. Instead of letting your team sulk and dread the beginning of the week, make it a day they look forward to. A good leader will use Mondays to start the week off right and get their team members pumped. A fun and easy way to do this is to start the day off with a meeting that has complimentary donuts or simply grabbing everyone’s coffee orders. This way, your team members are happy and more likely to have a productive day.

Tackle Challenging Tasks First

It’s easy to let Mondays slip out of the way when you’re looking to just get it over with. Instead of waiting for it to just be over and waiting to be more productive on Tuesday, use Monday to get all of your toughest tasks over with. This way, by using the beginning of the week to handle your biggest challenges, the rest of the week is a breeze. You are able to put more focus on your team and their challenges. This will help your week go by much more efficiently. 

Revisit Overall Vision and Purpose

Mondays are the perfect day to revisit your overall goals, vision, and purpose. Instead of just going through the motions and losing sight of the bigger picture, think about your overall objection. It only takes a few minutes to go over strategic planning and goals that align with your vision or purpose. It’s even better to go over with your team of why you all are doing what you do and what the team is working towards. This will not only motivate and inspire your team, but it will also keep the right on track and become much more efficient. 

Look at Mondays as your most efficient day and the best opportunity to make your week as productive and efficient as possible.

Ways to Foster Belonging at Work

The human sense of connection is incredibly important: it impacts our health and productivity. While it may seem that belonging only matters in our personal lives, research conducted by the leadership development startup BetterUp indicates that workplace belonging is key to employee well-being and organizational functioning. Exclusion can beget both pain and psychological ailments. 

BetterUp found, among other statistics, that employees see a 56% increase in job performance when they feel like they belong. Furthermore, belonging benefits workers’ careers, since those who felt highly connected received twice as many raises and were 18 times more likely to be promoted in a six month period. Cofounder and CEO of BetterUp Alexi Robichaux states that the most important assets to your company are your people. “Belonging should be at the heart of every human capital strategy.” 

If you’re not sure how to do that, here are some strategies that came out of their research.

Create Allies at Work

A powerful solution to prevent feelings of exclusion is to add an ally to the team. Having an ally can counteract the 25% productivity loss seen in those who didn’t have one. This can be as simple as having someone who acknowledges and includes you. Peers make for very effective allies, and fortunately, there is no hierarchy to allyship: anyone can be an ally. 

Encourage Healthy Interactions

Psychologists Jane Dutton and Emily Heaphy coined the term high-quality connections (HQCs) to describe interactions that have a positive impact on our lives and work. In a high-quality connection, each person reciprocates positive regard and care, and as a result, both feel valued. HQCs play an important role in close relationships but also have the power to unlock meaning in less intimate interactions. These interactions can be brief and emotionally neutral, but the key is that they happen regularly and are not negative. 

Tips on Recovering from Failure

When we think of leaders and successful people, we usually just picture them in their successes. Seldom do we think of their failures. Failure can cause emotional pain and embarrass us, but the silver lining of failure is that it is an opportunity to grow and enrich our lives both personally and professionally.

 

The first gift of failure is humility. Acknowledging a mistake and/or failure takes us to a place of vulnerability. Admitting to it is powerful and helps us to affirm that we want to do the correct thing, in the case of wrongdoing, or to do better if we fell short. Humility is also a reminder that as humans, we are social and need to rely on one another.  

 

Another gift of failure is compassion. Admitting to mistakes can be unbearably embarrassing, painful, even, but that embarrassment can increase our compassion for others. Research has shown that we tend to focus more on ourselves when we are successful and have achieved a higher status. The vulnerability of failure opens us up to connecting with others. Sally Blount, a contributor to Forbes, puts it best: “It turns out that engaging in the small joys and comaraderies of everyday life is one of the best ways to soothe a chastened ego.” 

 

One of the best ways to recover from failure is to keep an openness to learning. Many people find they learn best through experience, and that includes experiencing failure. Of course, this isn’t easy, as we tend towards safety and comfort. The combination of humility and compassion helps us learn and better connects us with others. While success may increase confidence, it is failure that builds wisdom. 

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.

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.