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Leadership Isn’t About Title or Position, But Your Ability to Influence Others

Leadership Isn’t About Title or Position, But Your Ability to Influence Others
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Are people in management roles necessarily leaders? Leadership skills are subjective – you can have many different styles that work to varying degrees. Our modern day challenges mean methods of leadership are influenced by multiple factors, and adapting to these and keeping your leadership qualities high is an indicator of a good leader.

Some people find themselves in management roles without having developed these crucial skills. Perhaps you’re a manager and struggle to lead your team? Or maybe you’re not in a management role, but feel you want to create better leadership skills?

The Benefits of Having Good Leadership Skills

Whether you’re in a leadership role or not, recognizing and implementing good leadership skills within your team or business can help your productivity and team relationships to no end.

It can even come down to implementing small changes that make a huge improvement. There are many ways you can do this, but there is one fundamental similarity with all effective leaders, and that’s having the ability to establish a co-operating following with either a team or an individual.

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What Qualities and Skills Should a Good Leader Possess?

So what qualities make a positive, successful leader? The ability to set and achieve challenging goals, knowing when to make good, solid decisions, and at the same time be inspiring and supportive toward others are all skills that a person in a leadership role aspires to accomplish.

But there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to good leadership skills. It’s all about using your personality to its greatest effect while being mindful of how your team works best and the goals you wish to achieve.

1. Be the Source of Positivity

Positivity is the number one mindset you should bring to a team or work environment. Positivity spreads, as does negativity, so keeping a good, positive mentality helps to motivate others as well as yourself. It forms the working atmosphere and provides energy, which goes toward better productivity and keeps people wanting to continually do their best.

2. Know Yourself and Your Team Well

Knowing your team’s strengths and weaknesses and being able to address them in order to get the best out of the team as a whole is one of the best skills you can develop. It’s all about using your resources well and to everyone’s advantage. It’s also about knowing your own strengths and weaknesses – using them well and working on your professional growth.

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3. Be Confident in Your Decisions to Make Everyone Head in the Same Direction

Confidence gains respect, and when challenges arise, keeping yourself and your team calm in the face of setbacks shows that you are focusing on the larger goal rather than worrying about the minor bumps in the road. Having the confidence to stick by your decisions and believe in yourself and your abilities will keep you level-headed.

4. Keep Your Focus Strong

Leadership requires a lot of focus. Being able to visualize and see the end goal, whether it’s managing a big project or building up a small business, is highly important. But keeping that focus strong when challenges are thrown at you is the true trait of a leader. Focus means keeping on top of your team, together with your own responsibilities, without distractions.

5. Delegate to Make Your Team Feel Trusted

Delegating is all about trust, and building trust within your team cultivates a perception of respect with others. Clever delegating can use people’s strengths well, but also create positive challenges in order to allow certain members of your team to grow and gain more skills in the process.

6. Deliver What You Think Clearly to Get Everyone on the Same Page

Good communication is paramount. However, it’s not always about what you say but how you get your point across. Good leaders are articulate and able to clearly explain their visions, wants, and needs. It’s important that you and your team are on the same page at all times, so people with good leadership skills make it clear that they are available to communicate with on a daily basis. This will show you’re dependable and open.

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7. Keep Your Words and Promises

You absolutely have to lead by example to be a good leader. People are less likely to work hard if they don’t see you doing the same. Showing your team that you’re on their side and working hard right next to them develops respect. Keeping your word and promises is also a must if you want to been seen as committed and trustworthy, so stick by what you say you’ll do.

8. Get Your Team to Generate Creative Ideas Together

Having a creative side helps immensely when plans go out the window. Having to make quick decisions is vital, and the ability to think outside the box can allow you to create the best options. Involving your team without making rash decisions isn’t a sign of weakness either, it’s about rallying your best resources to come up with the best solutions.

9. Trust Yourself So Your Team Can Trust You

When things are uncertain and the pressure is on, sometimes you will have to follow your gut feeling. Of course, knowledge of similar past experiences can help in these situations, but when you’re faced with a new challenge, you need to have the confidence to trust in yourself and your ability to make the correct or best decision you can. Your team can’t trust you if you can’t trust yourself.

10. Be Flexible with Your Approach to Deal with Different Situations

Business can throw all sorts of curveballs, so being adaptable is a sign of a good leader. But it isn’t just about adjusting to changes, having the ability to adapt your approach to different types of people and how they operate is a great skill to possess in leadership. The diversity of personalities and different ways of working means you need to be able to customize your approach toward them on an individual basis. This will inevitably get the best out of your team.

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11. Be Able to Inspire and Motivate Your Team

Being able to inspire your team is a good motivational skill, and it’s about keeping the morale of the team up with things like bonus schemes. Enthusiasm and drive is what you ultimately want in your team and making efforts to cultivate this will go toward a more productive and successful business. All too often, workers’ needs are ignored because there’s too much focus on results, rather than looking after who or what is getting those results.

12. See Every Problem As a Challenge

The difference between a problem and a challenge is your mindset. You need to be the solution to a problem – in other words, you want to drive toward a problem, not shy away from it. By seeing a problem as a challenge you are showing your problem-solving skills and using it as a reason to learn and grow.

13. Encourage Your Team to Pursue Relentless Growth

Pushing people to be their very best stops you from having a stagnant team. A good leader knows the importance of nurturing and encouraging their team to be the best they can. Knowing that actively allowing growth will ultimately benefit your team as a whole, is an excellent skill to have as a leader.

14. Be Consistent with the Values You Set

Your employees are usually a reflection of the values you set. Doing what’s right for your team and your business instead of making decisions from the space of needing to be right is paramount for successful leadership. Don’t let your ego get the best of you and always be authentic in your interactions. Be the best example in all areas of work.

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15. Be Open to Build Good Relationships with Your Team

A good leader doesn’t hide crucial information. A good leader knows that a team that has full knowledge of what’s going on at all times is a team that can function to its best ability. Trust goes out the window when you’re seen as someone who isn’t being entirely honest. It’s all about building good relationships, and that includes being open, honest, and transparent.

It’s always beneficial to work on your leadership skills, especially if you’re running a business or a project. Some people either aren’t sure what makes a great leader, or get too focused on the importance of results instead of truly looking at themselves and seeing how much positive influence they can have on others. Be a good leader and see how you reap the positive results.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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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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