How do you define the role of leadership? Leadership comes in so many forms and our acknowledgement of its forms can change our perception of it. I often say that leadership isn’t taught. I believe that many people out there believe themselves to be leaders when they merely manage people. To me, leadership is about being an inspiration to those around you. You may not even know the impact you have on others. I always thought leadership was some what intentional in some sense because it meant you were holding an elevated position in life. I tend to associate it with the professional aspect of things, but I also know leadership can align itself in my personal life.
When I was in high school I was drum major of my marching band (yeah, band geek here). We had practices every day, shows every Friday night, and competitions every Saturday for the duration of the fall season. I was a leader without knowing what that meant. I had the ability to inspire those around me. What if we changed the way we view leadership? What if it isn’t as intentional as we thought? I found a short Ted Talk on this and I liked what this gentleman had to say.
Being a leader has a lot to do with perception. But perception isn’t the only thing that will make you successful. In my experience in management, your team is always watching you and looking for guidance. You are considered the example in what makes a great employee and in teaching them how to be a success themselves. If you build a great team, it reflects on you as a leader. I found this article to be spot on for ways you can be a good leader. Jeff Boss outlined the 6 ways to practice leadership, but below is my own take on these guidelines.
1. Dress the part.Showing up as a mange in a t-shirt and jeans doesn’t say “I’m you’re boss.” While the kind of job you hold might not be a fancy schmancy business attire, it’s important to present yourself as polished and in control. Make sure your shirts are pressed and clothing looks professional. While working for Toys R Us the dress code was khakis or black pants and a red polo or collared shirt, and sneakers. Most employees opted for the polo shirt and khakis, but I made sure to wear a red button-up top and black pants and black dress shoes. Customers could pick me out from my employees and I was easily identifiable. It shows I meant business and my employees knew that, too.
2. Play the role. Not all leaders are extroverts and out going. I’m on the fence when it comes to extroversion as I have introverted tendencies. I also have a tendency to be shy, but I force myself to overcome my shyness because it means I can’t sufficiently lead. If you want to be in a managerial position you can’t sit back, work hard, and expect people to notice and respect you. You have to put yourself out there and being shy and introverted doesn’t mean you get a pass and your employees will just say “Hmm…Beth’s just a shy, introvert so her lack of leadership is acceptable.” To me, it means you’re not suited for the role you’re in because you’re not an example. Be an example as a leader by playing the part.
3. Shoot ‘em straight — avoid the BS.If you think telling people what they want to hear is going to win them over you’d be wrong. For some people it’s easy to buy into what you’re saying with little effort. For others, you have to work harder to gain their trust and respect in your role. Try being straight with people and delivering on promises to gain trust and respect. This demonstrates your credibility as a manager when you practice communicating this way.
4. Accept difficult questions. To me, # 4 should be, “Be an effective communicator.”I see this mistake over and over again, but it’s easy to overcome if you make the effort. Share what you know. People don’t show up to work looking to fail so it’s your chance to make them a success. Communication between other leaders and your employees is strengthens your ability to lead.
I felt that this portion of the original article says it all (and more effectively than I could). “They know that transparency and inclusion breed trust and innovation, and if they want their people to have the right context when making decisions, then it is critical to communicate the right information.”
5. Just listen.Stop talking! There, I said it. Just because you are a manager does not mean always inserting your opinion or direction into a conversation or situation. This is a rookie mistake, but it’s very important to adhere to this. I’ve been in situations where my employees just needed my ear and it went a long way in building their trust and it built a stronger foundation for our working relationship. Actively listening to what people say to positions you to be someone to rely on and go to.
6. Be candid. Being candid means being authentic in your desire to lead. I feel like this, often times, means taking the diplomatic approach. That doesn’t mean pulling the wool over people’s eyes, but rather understanding how you come across to everyone should be the same. Again, I’m not suggesting putting on a front, but you do have to put on your “leadership hat” as Jeff Boss says.
These 6 tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to leadership. I promise that putting these into practice will strengthen your position and build your character in management. So get started!
I truly enjoy training and developing other people. The idea that I can help someone learn something new and they will use those skills in their professional life is very satisfying to me. I’m going to create some training videos to help myself and to help others out.
I’m going to focus my training series on Evernote. Earlier in the year I explained my desire to “go paperless” so it’s crucial to me to learn more about the benefits of using this application. There’s an overwhelming amount of information online about using Evernote so I’ll bring you tutorials as I learn more about the app. I chose Evernote because it’s flexible and easily integrateable across many platforms, accessible by multiple users, and has been around long enough for it to be a fluid, and easy app to use. This is a simple tutorial on creating a simple note in Evernote. It’s not a complex because that it can be overwhelming even for the tech savvy so starting small will help later when you want to use Evernote to it’s full advantage.
Being fit and active has many benefits. A workout gives you energy, helps reduce overall body fat, raises your heart rate, and increases endorphins! It’s obvious that exercise has a myriad of benefits, one of them being stronger muscles. But being healthy physically doesn’t mean we should neglect ourselves mentally. Mental strength and fitness goes a long way in overall health.
Mental fitness is as simple if you follow these simple practices. Make time to read articles online, read a chapter of a book, listen to a podcast, do something creative, have a discussion about politics with a friend, ANYTHING. Being mentally active helps us engage with others and be alert for the long-term. Do you try any of these practices daily?
Every manager struggles with something. But every struggle is just an opportunity to work on being a better leader. A great leader knows that employees are more productive and happy when they know what is they are working towards. Management is not about ordering people around and “being a boss”. It’s about recognizing strengths and weaknesses, but also about leading a team. This article gives a short synopsis of how to avoid this common mistake in leadership positions.
Do you ever get into a habit of constant negative thoughts? Maybe you’re not verbalizing them but you beat yourself up or fill up your mind with a lot I “I can’t s”. As in, “I can’t do that because” or “I won’t be able to” and other thoughts that that tear you down. Try to switch your thinking to a more positive track. While l this article talks about the power of thinking and attracting money, it’s more deeply rooted to what we want to attract in our lives as a whole. Give it a whirl and see if this changes your perspective.
The last few days have tested my mental strength in more ways than I can imagine. Moving to a new state always does that to me. It’s trying for everyone, but I never realize how much it wears on me until it’s all over and everything is in it’s new location. I came across an article a few days earlier that rang true with me about mental strength.
While I do many of these things already, it’s a great reminder on how to achieve the things you want in life. Whether it’s in your personal life or in your professional life, keep these in mind. Amy Morin talks about these 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do to keep them going and coping with difficult situations in life. While Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful (as is life in general in my opinion), adding moving to the mix can really test you. Below are 13 things mentally strong people do.
1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves
Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.
2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power
They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.
3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change
Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.
4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control
You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.
5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone
Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.
6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks
They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.
7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past
Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.
8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over
Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.
9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success
Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.
10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure
Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.
11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time
Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.
12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything
Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.
13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results
Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.
I’m sitting in the waiting area of the car dealership waiting for my car to be serviced and I’m intrigued by the people around me.
It’s a little bit of a wintry mix outside today and precipitation makes me want to stay inside and watch as the world goes by. But right now I get to watch and imagine the lives of the people around me.
There’s and old woman siting at a table with an unopened book and knitting needles in her hands. I imagine that she’s knitting something as a Christmas gift for a family member. That whatever she intends to give them will be made with love. That knitting is giving her a sense of peace and calm, which I can relate to.
To me knitting is meditative to me. I can tune out what’s going on around me and my thoughts become clearer. It’s not intentional which I think is what makes it so relaxing.
But really me siting here, waiting gives me a chance to just let my thoughts go and relax myself. Even without needles in my hands.
While it didn’t rain today nor was there a single cloud in the sky, I was thinking of rain all the same. It’s effects on my mood are completely calming and soothing. Vermont got it’s fair share of rain this summer, but I still enjoy it when it’s here. Every time it begins to rain I stop and listen to the sound it makes as it hits the roof or the windows. I also can’t help but think about Winnie the Pooh when it rains. It sounds ridiculous, but his song about being a rain cloud always makes me smile. Part of my enjoyment also comes from it being such a little enjoyment in life. It doesn’t cost a thing and I still get the pleasure of seeing it all the same.
“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” ~Langston Hughes