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6 Traits to Become a Respected Leader

6 Traits to Become a Respected Leader

Leadership is a quality that many employers want and many applicants lack. It is not something that can be easily learned, studied, or memorized. Rather, it is an attitude and a way of looking at life. To learn to become a leader involves changing the way you think, not just the way you act. There are also some people that are born with certain traits, both physical and mental, that make them more natural leaders.

While some people do have a much easier go of it, however, anyone can become a good leader. The best time to start, as with anything, is while still young. Here are seven traits that leaders tend to have.

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1. Communication

Leaders tend to communicate extremely well. Whether they are communicating on a one-on-one basis or with a large groups or crowds, they do it well. Part of this is being able to connect with people on an emotional level. Convincing someone to follow you is much easier if they feel some sort of emotional connection to you. Additionally a leader should learn to speak clearly and with confidence. They should know how to present their thought process in a logical way that makes sense to others. There are lots of ways to improve your communication skills that can be found online.

2. Caring

Many people do not think of this attribute when thinking of a great leader, but it is extremely important. People follow leaders willingly because they think they will improve their life in some way. If others can tell that you care, they are often willing to look past shortcomings and follow you. If you really do not care, it is extremely hard to fake for long periods of time, and people will eventually figure you out.

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3. Knowledge

Nothing will erode a leader’s ability to lead more effectively than a lack of knowledge. If those in your group or organization can sense that they know more than you, they will quickly lose their trust in you. This can be one of the hardest traits to develop because there is an infinite amount of things to know. However, whether it is fair or not, people often expect their leaders to have all the answers. There are lots of great ways to build up your knowledge throughout your life. Because this will take time though, it is something that should always be happening.

4. Height

This one is simply not fair, but it is a fact. People that are taller tend to be given leadership responsibilities more often. They also tend to be paid higher and trusted more with important issues. While you will not be able to make major changes to your height, there are actually ways to grow taller. Even if none of those ways work you can improve your physique and still fare well. People also tend to look up to those that are well built and have a healthy body.

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5. Confidence

For some people this will be the easiest thing to develop, and others would rather try to grow a foot taller. Confidence is a fickle thing that can, and often is, faked. The phrase is often said “fake it till you make it”, and that can easily apply to confidence. Many of the most confident and successful people have come out and talked about a lack of confidence in their childhood. If you struggle with confidence, there are definitely ways to boost that confidence. You will also find that as some of the other traits mentioned grow, your confidence will naturally grow with them.

6. Honesty

Few things will ruin a leader as fast as a lie. A great leader can fall by telling one simple lie, even if they thought they were doing it for the right reasons. It is always hard to gain someone’s trust after being caught in a lie, but it is especially hard for leaders. Make the decision now that you will always be honest with those you lead. This is one that can and should be done starting on day one.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power

7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power

Throughout the ages, there have been many beliefs in various tricks to boosting brain power, yet when held up to scientific scrutiny, most of these beliefs don’t add up.

When I was a child, for example, my mother told me if I ate fish it would make me more intelligent. Of course, there’s no scientific proof this is true.

Today, there is a myriad of games you can download to your phone that claims to improve your brain’s cognitive skills. While we are still waiting for a conclusive scientific verdict on these, recent studies by neuroscientists at Western University in Ontario[1] and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia appear to contradict these claims.[2]

So, how can we really boost our brain power? Well, it turns out there are a number of simple things you can do that will improve the function of your brain. Here are seven to get you started.

1. Do Your Most Difficult Tasks in the Morning

Our brains work at their best when they are fresh and energized after a good night’s sleep.

If you have a task to do that requires a lot of thought and focus, the best time to do that task would be first thing in the morning when your brain is at its freshest.

This is one of the reasons why checking email first thing the morning is not a good idea. You are wasting your brain’s best hours on a simple task that can be done when your brain is not at its freshest

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Throughout the day, you will find the amount of time you can focus for will fall. Your decision-making abilities will also begin to weaken as the day progresses. This is called “decision fatigue” and that means the decisions you make later in the day will not be as good as the decisions you make earlier in the day.

It’s far better to do your most difficult, creative tasks early taking advantage of your brain’s higher energy levels.

Try to avoid meetings first thing in the morning and schedule work that needs higher creative energy and concentration.

2. Get Enough Breaks

Our brains are not very good at maintaining concentration and focus for much more than an hour. Once you go beyond a certain amount of time, doing focused work, you will find yourself making more and more mistakes. This is a sign your brain is tired and needs a break.

Taking the right kind of break is important. Switching from working on a complex spreadsheet to checking your social media feeds is not going to give your brain the right kind of break. Instead, get up from your desk and head outside. If that is not possible, go to the nearest window and look outside.

Your brain needs a break from the screen, not just the spreadsheet, so leave your phone behind so you are not tempted to look at it and just savour the view.

3. Read Books, not Social Media Feeds

There are no shortcuts to improved knowledge and you are certainly not going to improve your general knowledge about anything useful by reading social media feeds. Instead, make reading books a regular habit.

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When you read good quality books, you increase your ability to use the knowledge you learn to solve problems as your brain will apply the knowledge you learned to existing situations.

Learn about economic theory, history and psychology. All these topics have real practical applications for us all today.

4. Exercise Regularly

Humans did not evolve to be stationary animals. You need to move.

Had our ancestors spent their days sat around, they would not have survived very long. To survive and find food, our ancestors had to keep moving. Our brains have evolved to function at their best when we are exercised.

In his book, Brain Rules, Prof.John Medina explains when we exercise, we increase the amount of oxygen in our brains and this helps to sharpen our brain’s functions.

In studies, when a previously sedentary group of people began a light exercise programme, their cognitive skills improve as well as reaction times and quantitive skills.

This is why you are more likely to find the solution to a problem when you are walking somewhere or exercising rather than when you are sat at a desk in front of a screen.

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5. Get Enough of the Right Food

You probably have experienced the afternoon slump at some point in your life. This is when you feel tired and fatigued in the mid-afternoon. This is a result of the carbohydrates you ate at lunchtime, stimulating your body to produce insulin which then causes a drop in your blood sugar levels.

When you go into an afternoon slump, concentrating for long periods become almost impossible and you just want to curl up and go to sleep.

To prevent the afternoon slump, try to eat a protein-rich lunch such as a tuna or chicken salad without pasta, rice or bread. Keep some healthy snacks such as mixed nuts and dried bananas around your workspace and when you feel a little peckish, eat a few of these.

Not only will you avoid the afternoon slump, but you will also improve your overall general health and feel a lot more energetic.

6. Drink Enough Water

Your brain is made up of about 70% water, so without enough water, your brain will not function at its best.

When you are not drinking enough water, you will find your ability to concentrate, make decisions and stay alert will reduce. You will feel sleepy and lack energy. Your brain functions at its best when it is properly hydrated.

The solution is to keep a large bottle of water at your work station and sip regularly from it throughout the day. This will increase the number of trips you need to make to the bathroom which is a good thing. It will keep you moving and taking regular breaks from your screen.

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7. Don’t Deprive Yourself of Sleep

You probably don’t need a long scientific study to convince you that if you are not getting enough sleep, you are not going to function at your best.

You just need to go a couple of days without getting enough sleep and you feel your abilities reduce. Your decision-making skills become erratic, your energy levels drop and your ability to stay focused on your work diminishes.

If you want to improve your brain’s ability to function, then start with getting enough sleep. The number of hours you need will depend on your own circadian rhythms, so find what works best for you.

Six to eight hours is usually enough for most people so make sure you are hitting that number of hours per night as a minimum.

The Bottom Line

Improving our brain power is not difficult. All we need to do is develop a few simple habits such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and eating the right foods.

These seven tips will go a long way to helping you to become more alert, able to focus longer and make decisions. All simple common sense tricks anyone can use.

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Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

Reference

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