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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

4 Things Every True Leader Wants You to Know

4 Things Every True Leader Wants You to Know
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There are lots of leadership seminars and workshops and conferences out there. They all aim to help individuals step up their business game and go from just another person with a good idea to a full-fledged entrepreneur who’s ready to take on the world. It sounds great on the events’ flashy websites and colorful brochures, but still, there are many people who believe that leaders — true leaders — are born rather than made.

We’ve all come across these people in our lives: the true leaders who understand how to build rapport with anyone and everyone, who have a vision, who can cut a path through any rough terrain and inspire others to follow. Or, perhaps you possess these characteristics yourself; maybe you know how to make people feel good when they’re working with you, and maybe you understand that while there are many roads to success, they all require hard work, determination, and initiative along the way.

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Whether you’re a true leader or you work with one, you know that true leaders seem to possess a different and special set of knowledge that allows them to be successful in any and all ventures. What’s more, understanding how a true leader thinks can not only help you in your career, but it may also bring out leadership qualities that you didn’t even know you had. Here are four things every true leader wants you to know.

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They want to trust you, and They want you to trust them.

True leaders know that strong relationships ultimately determine success much more than any other factor. And, for relationships to be good, there has to be a high level of trust. True leaders are willing to extend their trust to the people they work with, and in return, they expect their team members to trust their leadership skills and good judgment. True leaders want the people they work with to do great work, meet deadlines, and have passion for the mission at hand. Similarly, true leaders will exhibit these same characteristics: they’ll keep commitments and promises, and they’ll always get the job done well. They’ll be 100% accountable, and they’ll expect the people around them to be accountable as well.

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They’re not here to do it tomorrow.

True leaders take a real Jeffersonian, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today” approach. There’s simply no time for procrastination, for slacking off, or for tabling things until a later date. A true leader[1] knows that there’s never any time quite like the present for working toward success. It’s true that some leaders make take this characteristic to an extreme — Elon Musk, for example, is known for being an obsessive workaholic, often at the expense of just about every other aspect of his life — so some perspective on work-life balance is always important. Still, true leaders know that if it can be done, it’s best to do it now.

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They are going to challenge you.

If a true leader asks you to tackle a particularly challenging task, please understand that it’s not punishment! Rather, a true leader understands that his or her team members won’t grow in their skills and knowledge without being pushed a little. They know that if their employees do the same types of tasks over and over, they’ll become stuck in a rut, and that boredom will never lead to progression. With that in mind, a true leader will assess your abilities and continually ask you to grow them, essentially testing the tensile strength of your skill set. Will you rise to the occasion, or will you break under pressure? True leaders know that more often than not, you’ll be able to accept the challenges they throw your way.

They’re nothing without their team members.

“If no one is following you, are you really a leader?” is a question posed by many, including Dr. Maurice Roussety, a consulting strategist and leadership expert. True leaders understand that the answer is no; they know that their main job is to motivate and inspire others. Without a good team of passionate individuals working with them, they really can’t achieve the level of success they’re after. Finally, true leaders are always more interested in making their team members look good than taking all the credit themselves. They know that success is rarely an individual effort, and if they’re genuine about their leadership, they’re always grateful to anyone and everyone who’s pitched in.

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Reference

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Erick Clifford

Journalist

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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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