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9 Traits Truly Successful Leaders Should Possess

9 Traits Truly Successful Leaders Should Possess
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Being a natural leader is a characteristic that not many people possess, though it can be learned if you have the potential. It requires a certain mindset that enables leaders to stay on top and lead their team to success. Here are a few traits that successful leaders have in common.

1. They believe in teamwork

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” — Michael Jordan

Every leader has to be a strong individual and capable of solving some problems on their own. However, they do know that working in a team is the key to success, and they consider themselves to be a part of the team — not just a person who gives orders. They know that the leader is just one part of the bigger mechanism, and that they are there to ensure the other parts, the team members, all work as efficiently as possible together. Leadership is a power that requires cooperation and not competition in order to achieve a desired end goal. Don’t be arrogant, win the championship.

2. They take full responsibility for the team’s mistakes

“The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that’s the day you start to the top” — OJ Simpson

It is perfectly normal that a team makes a mistake and fails at some project. However, a successful leader will not blame the team, but will take the full responsibility while defending his or her people. Mistakes don’t mean that the leader, or even the team, is bad. On the contrary, in order to achieve great things, you need to make a few mistakes along the way.

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A good leader won’t come up with various excuses and search for a person to blame, but will take the responsibility and correct their mistake with their team without making a fuss about it.

3. They focus on solutions, not on problems

“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” — Paul Hawken

A successful leader will not focus on the problem and who made the mistake which led to failure. They will focus on finding the perfect solution and will approach all the possible solutions with a positive attitude. If you focus on the problem, you won’t be able to find the solution — you’ll only get lost in chaos and become stressed out.

4. They listen, then act

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” — Winston Churchill

Everybody has their own opinion, and the leader has the right to act according to his or her own opinions and conclusions. However, a good leader will first listen to the team, or, if there is a problem, listen to everything regarding it before making a decision. Sometimes, there is a simple solution that we aren’t aware of, but somebody else is, and that person might become a very valuable part of your team.

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Moreover, if you don’t act in the heat of the moment, you will be able to think well before making a decision. Successful leaders don’t only act immediately, but they also listen and talk to the team, and are calm and collected when making decisions.

5. They don’t panic

“I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.” — Robert E. Lee

It doesn’t matter if you didn’t meet a deadline or if something went wrong along the way, if a leader starts overreacting and panicking in such situations, know that he or she isn’t a good leader. The ability to stay calm is the main characteristic of every successful boss. If the head of the team starts panicking, it negatively affect all the team members, who are then supposed to work under pressure. Having a boss who overreacts and stressed-out employees will not solve any problem, it will just make things worse.

No one wants a drama queen in their office, especially not a leader who acts like a bridezilla when you have to reach a tight deadline.

6. They dress for success

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” — Gore Vidal

It might not sound important, but how one dresses actually affects the opinion that other team members, upper management, and clients have of that person. If a leader wears inappropriate or overly casual clothing to work, they will be seen as an unprofessional and potentially incompetent individual. This won’t reflect the professionalism which the company is trying to convey to its clients. No one says that they should wear expensive formal clothes, but you need to know the difference between casual and professional attire. Men should definitely forget about wearing sneakers or college sweaters and focus on stylish clothes, which make them look more sophisticated.

In business, clothes matter, and not just to show money and power, but to increase your credibility, trustworthiness, and professionalism.

7. They understand their employees

“The trick is to ensure that your staff feels empowered. As your team members grow into their jobs, give them real responsibilities: They’ll respect you for it and do everything they can to rise to the challenge.” — Richard Branson

Knowing your employees and understanding them is of great importance if you want to have a motivated workforce. They aren’t robots, but people who cannot accomplish everything without encountering certain problems, which may make them insecure and a bit unproductive. A successful leader knows when their employee has a problem and has time to discuss it. A bad leader will offer to give that task to someone else, but a good one will approach the problem and solve it with that employee.

Every natural leader looks after their team, and works on making them feel accepted and respected.

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8. They inspire other workers

“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” — Ralph Nader

You know you are a successful leader when your workers wish to become leaders just like you. It is a hard task, but when you succeed in it, you know that your work has inspired them to achieve more in life and contribute to the company by working harder. Successful leaders constantly inspire their team to improve and challenge them to do more. If you are sitting in your office, thinking that that’s all you’ll ever achieve, know that you are working for the wrong person.

Also, a good boss will inspire their employees to finish demanding tasks and motivate them to work harder, without making them feel pressured.

9. They are the kind of leader that they would like to have

“Success is not what you have, but who you are.” — Bo Bennet

Never be the kind of leader you would hate to work for. This isn’t only related to a friendly relationship with your team members, but to the tasks you are giving them to work on as well. Sometimes, bosses can demand certain tasks without thinking about if they are even possible, and how much time is actually needed to complete them effectively. In order to be a successful leader, you have to put yourself in your employees’ shoes and see if you would be capable of reaching the goal you expect of them. Be professional, considerate, authoritative, but still friendly. All in all, imagine who you would like to work for, and be that person.

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Katarina Milovanovic

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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