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The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Your Intelligence, Part 2 Of 2

The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Your Intelligence, Part 2 Of 2

In the first post of this mini-series, we briefly covered why intelligence is so highly prized in a global market, and 10 steps on how to increase one’s intelligence. That post included tips on why reading and writing matter, zeroing in on your habits, learning from the mistakes of others and polishing your identity.

In part two of this series, we’ll look even closer at what the best of the best do to become smarter. Increasing your intelligence doesn’t have to feel like lifting a freight train – It can be quite straightforward with the right battle plan!

9. Use Your Existing Leadership Skills

As most children go through primary school and possibly higher education, the number of people who gradually influence them reaches the tens of thousands. Parents, teachers and peers alike often ask questions about what an individual will pursue after education; what kind of life they hope to live; what their financial goals are and even more. What few people afford attention to early on, however, is the art and science of becoming a leader.

Leadership is a paramount objective throughout the entire world. Leaders help solve problems faster, more efficiently, produce better results and assign people more fluidly to their ideal roles. Sometimes people work towards leadership-oriented titles; other times people find themselves chosen to run a group. No matter what situation you’ve found yourself in, one fact is sure: High quality leadership training materials still aren’t widely distributed enough.

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In order to become the best leader you can be, it requires learning from the greats at some point. However, what most people continually overlook is the fact that every day, individuals already exhibit leadership actions. Leadership is defined as anyone who holds influence. So yes, it’s true: Not everyone is a fantastic leader (at least not today), but everyone can sharpen leadership skills with the right mindset.

Leadership forces you to be better at solving problems because you’re required to take responsibility. Leadership invariably means you’ll be on the front lines, calling the shots for the betterment of your group. Leadership – often synonymous with sacrifice – builds a more intelligent person from the inside out.

8. Pick Sides

Yes, yes, I know; this can sound like a way to start a fight rather than how to become more intelligent. But what we rarely give attention to is the fact that picking a side on an issue forces us to think critically about a situation.

As one example, while picking a political movement to side with is often the cause of many arguments, this exercise can truly help you think in the bigger picture about an issue. Should recreational drugs be decriminalized or generally remain as they are? It can seem like a fairly innocuous question, but when picking a side and defending it, you force yourself to research information that will either support or detract from your stance.

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In other words, picking a side on a topic requires that you increase your level of knowledge about the topic in the first place. Life is too short to live it with purely uneducated opinions, so discovering new info on a passionate topic can literally alter your knowledge – and intelligence – about the subject.

7. Seek Out The Opposite Of What Most Others Do

This is another observation that may sound rather ridiculous on the surface, but holds incredible wisdom at second glance. It’s no secret that many of the greatest names in personal development and financial success often preach unorthodox methods. Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Robert Kiyosaki, Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Gary Vaynerchuck, Og Mandino and hundreds of others have all spoken on this point at one time or another: Master the art of non-conformity.

The reason nearly half of Americans cannot come up with a few hundred dollars for an emergency expense shows one thing for sure: Doing what most people do is a surefire way to end up in mediocrity. Such a sad truth can act as fuel for victory when used in the proper context.

From now on, every time you’re presented with a common problem, ask yourself: “What would most people do in this situation?” Then, consider the opposite. For example, many people find themselves in the doctor’s office year after year because their weight problems have slowly caused other problems. Americans especially seem to still have fairly high reliance on doctors, and with current food consumption patterns, this will not be going away any time soon.

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Instead of merely going to your doctor and following the same path as everyone else, what if you took a few minutes a day to do your own research? Life is rarely chunked into disparate boxes, meaning the cause of one problem might be related to another. Taking the time to examine the cause of a specific problem, rather than simply going through the motions that everyone else does, can yield incredible problem-solving rewards you may have never experienced before.

6. Apply Grant Cardone’s 10X Rule

Sales expert and author Grant Cardone published The 10X Rule in 2011, and this book went on to become one of the most popular books for entrepreneurs in recent memory. In essence, Cardone shares – through many of his own prior struggles and pitfalls – that success requires 10 times more effort than most people anticipate. Intelligence grows when you use desire to apply far more effort than you initially dreamed possible!

5. Increase The Agility Of Your Unconscious Thought

Every day we spend time in conscious thought. Yet what most don’t realize is the vast majority of your thoughts are unconscious! As explained by Charles Duhigg in The Power Of Habit, your body works efficiently on your habits so as to minimize effort in all scenarios.

This means that in order to maximize one’s intelligence, you should apply effort towards increasing the agility of your unconscious thought. How is this done? Don’t block emotionally challenging thoughts, and don’t run away from obstacles in general. Overcoming a problem with your conscious thought is a sign you’ll be able to do it more effectively in the future.

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4. Hone Your Emotional Intelligence

As a particularly prominent buzzphrase of the past decade, “emotional intelligence” really does matter. Despite it only being a recent label for a set of characteristics that’s been around for much longer, EI, or EQ, is often the sole make-or-break factor in whether or not someone will become successful.

Fostering and growing emotional intelligence is typically grueling, but essential. Being aware of and managing your own emotions requires great focus and a boatload of patience, but it does pay off. Practicing delayed gratification is perhaps the single greatest method for increasing your emotional intelligence.

3. Become Skilled At List Making

Even in addition to the science, list making remains one of the most practical things you can do to boost your memory, keep track of all your valuable ideas and stay productive – even during bad days. Always, always, always remain stocked up on pens and notepads – These are cheap materials anyways and it’s worth it!

2. Master The Abstract

Being able to see people, events and concepts for what they are is a valuable skill, but being able to master the abstract is an entirely different skill set. Richard Branson recommends listening – and doing so with great intent – as the number one way to master the abstract sides of life. He views it as a way to gather elements of a conversation, presentation or event you’d otherwise be oblivious to.

1. Remember To Enjoy Life And Take Breaks

Finally, remember that taking it easy now and then is one of the best ways to increase your intelligence! We are emotional, pleasure-driven creatures at the end of the day. We can’t work optimally unless we are able to balance work with rest. Hundreds of studies already illustrate how upholding sleep and rest is essential for your body to work properly. Enjoy the breaks you take, because it’s what allows you to focus that much more intensely when you are working!

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Brad Johnson

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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