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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 July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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