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5 Reasons Why Nice Leaders Run A More Productive Team

5 Reasons Why Nice Leaders Run A More Productive Team

We are all familiar with leaders who rule with an iron fist: those iconic CEOs with temperaments resembling a thunderstorm. Think of the stereotypical magnate, and the Donald Trumps of the world.

The truth, however, for those of us that have worked for this kind of boss before is that working in an environment with this kind of leader can be far more stressful than productive.

We all know that high levels of stress can induce a host of different physiological and psychological problems, many stemming from work related incidents where your boss made you feel inadequate and demoralized. Things like walking away from a conversation because they have lost interest, answering calls in the middle of meetings, or mimicking people, can make going to work an an uncomfortable- and sometimes miserable experience.

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Here are 5 reasons why nice leaders manage more productive teams:

1. They See You As a Person, Not an Employee

In life, and therefore in work, we all want to feel acknowledged, respected, and noticed. When your boss acknowledges the person you are you automatically feel validated. In doing so, they have taken an interest in you and therefore paved the way for developing a relationship of respect and understanding. Through personal behavior your manager has inspired and motivated you to work at your optimum level and in so doing has strengthened your workplace productivity.

Amy Cuddy and her research partners at Harvard Business school have found that managers who display warmth and interest towards their employees are more effective because they are developing a relationship of trust. Employees are more trusting of someone who is kind.

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2. They Foster a Team Environment 

An effective leader treats your opinions and ideas with respect, regardless of your workplace ‘status’ or the time you’ve spent at the company. They foster a positive environment where people have productive attitudes and a willingness to always work harder. Ran Avrahamy, Head of Marketing at Appsflyer provided an example of this when he said, “I’ve insisted in having our entire growing marketing team sit in the same room. No personal offices or anything. It might be noisy at times, especially since we’re all a little A.D.D, but by maintaining some general guidelines, the team’s productivity is exploding, and each team member gets the chance of expressing himself.”

In an interesting study on this subject, an experimenter ridiculed a group of participants who were expected to complete an anagram word puzzle. Following the ridicule they performed 33 percent worse on the puzzles than before and came up with 39 percent fewer creative ideas during a brainstorming task.

In the second part of the study, a ‘busy professor’ was rude to the participants, claiming they were bothering her. Their performance was 61 percent worse on the anagram puzzles, and they produced 58 percent fewer ideas in the creative task than those who had not been treated rudely.

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3. They Know How To Motivate a Team

A balanced and inspiring leader understands that longer hours don’t always result in efficiency and that a simple “thank you” for work that has been done can go a very long way. They give credit where credit is due and acknowledge everyone for their efforts. With this kind of leader, whether you’re the head of the sales team or you make the coffee, your contribution is appreciated.The effectiveness of this approach was demonstrated by New York University’s Jonathan Haidt who found that when leaders are helpful and approachable, their employees are more motivated and inspired.

4. They Embrace New Ideas and Innovation

Original leaders encourage initiative and therefore promote and develop new ideas. By embracing dynamic thoughts in their field, businesses spearheaded by these kinds of leaders, are often at the forefront of their industries.

Original and inventive businesses are extremely attractive to potential employees, and therefore they are constantly growing and developing with new and excited staff coming on board. For example, in a survey of millennials by Deloitte, 78% consider the company’s innovation when deciding if they want to work there.

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An approach that embraces employee innovation can be seen as demonstrated in this quote by Nadav Shoval, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Spot.IM:

“I acknowledge my employees’ strengths by giving them the independence to do what they do best. They are well-aware of the fact that I hired them specifically because I believe in their abilities to do their job even better than I could. As a result, I present the employees with our vision, and give them the freedom to achieve it through whatever means best suits them. This strategy empowers them, strengthens their problem solving skills, and allows them to take ownership of their positions. Best of all, the final product that comes out as a result never ceases to amaze me.”

5. They Lead by Example 

Strong and effective leadership does not have to involve the kind of hard personalities and demanding expectations associated with old-school tycoons and business magnates.

Managers who lead by example generally foster an environment of commitment and loyalty resulting in unity and and collaboration. These kinds of bosses also don’t mind working just as hard as their employees do- and they always practice what they preach.

Is your boss nice or tough? Are you a friendly boss? We would love to hear about it in the comments.

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Yoav Vilner

CEO at Ranky

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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