Advertising
Advertising

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

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

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.

More by this author

Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

How to Be More Knowledgeable Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’ Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How to Save a Bunch of Money Easily With This Simple Challenge 11 Killer Ways To Get Rid Of Roaches Without Harming You

Trending in Productivity

1 5 Key Traits of a Charismatic Leadership 2 How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change for a Better Self 3 How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong 4 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life 5 How to Delegate Tasks Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 2, 2019

How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

Want to know the good news?

No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

1. Develop a Positive Mindset

If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

Absolutely!

But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

Advertising

Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

“I’m not smart enough to…”

“I don’t have enough experience to…”

“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

  • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
  • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
  • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

But this isn’t true!

If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

Ditch the Dwelling

Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

Advertising

But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

Easier said than done, right? Try these:

  1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
  2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
  3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
  4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

Be Patient about the Process

No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

2. Connect with Your Purpose

One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

“Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

Find Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

Advertising

Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

3. Find Strength in Unity

The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

Recruit Some Cheerleaders

If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

Form an Accountability Group

Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

Advertising

Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

  • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
  • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
  • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
  • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
  • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
  • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

Tying it All Together

Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

But here’s the bottom line:

A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next