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The Most Important Qualities Of Real Leaders That Many People Overlook

The Most Important Qualities Of Real Leaders That Many People Overlook

Real leaders bring a variety of qualities to their work and their teams. Some start with an inspiring vision and a passion to share that message. Others become leaders because they attract attention due to their accomplishments. Without faith and trust, a leader will ultimately fail. Take inspiration from these real leaders in various fields and how they have inspired others to trust them.

Earn Faith Through results

Delivering results is a key way to earn the trust and respect of others in your organization. In fact, some leaders start by following orders and achieving results even if they had wished to do something differently. The ability to achieve results for your organization matters a great deal.

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Consider the military career of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Many of us know of Eisenhower from his time as U.S. President or as the Supreme Commander in Europe during the World War II. However, his early military career did not go according to plan. During the World War I, he was eager to be deployed to Europe. However, he was assigned to train and develop new soldiers in the U.S. Training new soldiers was important for the military and Eisenhower did it well, even though he would have preferred another assignment.

Lesson 1: earn trust by achieving results with whatever assignment you are given. This guidance is very important when you are establishing credibility in a new role or at a new organization.

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Keep Promises, Day After Day

Do you know what the top quality people want in leaders according to global surveys? It is not an Ivy League education. It is not industry connections or outstanding sales ability. According to research conducted by leadership authors James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, integrity and keeping your word is the top quality people seek in leaders.

Building your reputation for keeping promises starts small. You make a promise to meet a deadline for a customer and you keep it. You promise to give a special bonus to a star performer if they meet certain criteria and you follow through. If you’re uncertain about your ability to make keep a promise, be clear about that fact up front.

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If you are disorganized, you will have a hard time remembering all your commitments and keeping your word. I recommend learning a productivity system. Start by reading Leading Yourself With Getting Things Done.

Lesson 2: keeping trust as a leader is earned or lost one day at a time. As a leader, you can’t make excuses about simply forgetting your promises. You need to learn a productivity system, or work with a highly capable personal assistant.

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Develop Yourself To Lead Better

Arrogance is a frustrating and common trait in many leaders in the business world. Acting as though you are all-knowing also makes it difficult for your people to connect with you. Instead, real leaders look for ways to stay humble and keep growing.

As a young man, George Washington had great challenges. During his teenage years, Washington’s father died. He also lacked the benefit of a college education, a deficiency that he worked to address. Washington developed himself by becoming a student of etiquette and building relationships with influencers. This foundation of social graces, a strong network, and other capabilities gave him the ability to lead during the dark days of the War of Independence.

Lesson 3: lifelong learning is no longer optional. As a leader, it is up to you to be a role model for those you lead. Real leaders, past and present, put their time and energy into learning new ideas. With Internet learning resources, there’s no reason you can’t start learning today.

Featured photo credit: Rock Climbing/spencerlikestorun via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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