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Revealed: How to Be a Great Leader That Everyone Wants to Follow

Revealed: How to Be a Great Leader That Everyone Wants to Follow
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They say that good leaders are born, not made. But no matter how great a leader we think we are, we can all stand to foster and improve our leadership and management skills from time to time. Here are 10 of the very best qualities that will help propel you into great leader status, all backed up by some of the most trusted leaders in business.

Time Is Never Wasted on Listening to Others.

“Resonance – this is one of the lowest rated qualities in leaders and one of the most needed in business today. It’s how we connect with people and make them feel understood. Resonant leaders are attentive and attuned to the thoughts, emotions and feelings of others. They take time to watch, listen and absorb what is said and unsaid.”

~ Suzanne Bates, CEO, Bates Communications[1]

“I find that the key to great leadership is time commitment dedicated to the people side. Business flies so fast and it is very easy to see days and weeks be absorbed by projects and deadlines, but at the end of the day, the true quality of performance and career satisfaction comes from the growth and commitment from the team. To do this effectively, leaders must meticulously review and prioritize their time. I expect all of my direct reports to map out the week tactically, strategically, while being mindful to set aside the time to foster strong relationships and company/team commitment.”

~ Shawn Bushouse, EVP, Chief Financial Officer, J Skinner Baking[2]

Feedback Is the Shortcut to a Better Team.

“Understand how they want to grow their careers and take time to coach them, giving ongoing feedback (BOTH positive and improvement feedback) to help them get there. This will also help inform what you delegate to whom. Know what your team members value as individuals – is it autonomy? Recognition? Collaboration? Challenge? Then do your best to provide these things.”

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~ Rebecca Zucker, Partner, Next Step Partners[3]

No One’s Left Behind. Involvement Is Indiscriminate.

“I had a great mentor in my first manager, who showed me that it’s not only alright to share your thought processes and mistakes, but that this is key to building a successful team. There are so many choices to be made when you’re building a business and, by sharing your approach with co-workers, you’re empowering them to more clearly understand your company vision and develop their own skills.”

~ Rashmi Melgiri, COO and Co-Founder, CoverWallet[4]

“I have a staff retreat every year off site with my staff, where we work on our goals for the next year. We mix the day up with fun stuff and serious stuff. After the retreat, the staff creates a chart to track our goals on a weekly basis and they update it. Then throughout the year, I meet with each staff member individually and talk about how we are doing. I try to make at least one of those meetings a casual lunch meeting.”

~ Edrie A. Pfeiffer, Managing Attorney, Hampton Roads Legal Services[5]

Always Be Gracious And Grateful.

“Say please and thank you – a lot, and authentically. Teams that are appreciated outperform those that don’t by incredible margins. Just saying please and thank you goes a long way to helping your team understand you appreciate them.”

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~ Lee Caraher, Author[6]

Interactivity Is the Key to Bringing Everyone Together.

“Great leaders are great communicators. Communication should be a two way process: you should be able to relay clear instructions to your team but also listen attentively and responsively to all that they say.”

~Helen Smith, Community Manager, Mature Berkshire Dating[7]

“Interactivity – this is the art of fostering a deeply active, conversational style of dialogue that puts people at ease and enables them to speak up and feel heard. You have to use the right channels, communicate with the right cadence and frequency, and of course not rely too much on written communication.”

~ Suzanne Bates, CEO, Bates Communications[8]

Power Is Shared Among Everyone, Not on a Single Person.

“I feel empowerment and encouragement goes a long way, making team members feel their value to the overall mission of the team and it’s continued success. By empowering our team members and trusting them, we see our team members rise to the occasion, elevate themselves, and feel pride in what they’re achieving on a daily basis.”

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~ Steve Ryan, Founder & CEO, RyTech, LLC[9]

There Is Always Wise Words from Others.

“Being the leader doesn’t always mean that you’re the authority, and that’s coming from an owner of a company. There are instances where details are missed out. I always make it an effort to give every member within my team a chance to speak up during our internal meetings. I’d like to believe that they appreciate having the opportunity to pitch and implement their ideas and approaches for our clients. It builds a strong foundation of mutual trust and respect, and when there’s trust in any given relationship, they will have no qualms about following you into the abyss.”

~ Aaron Lin, Managing Director, Ignitive[10]

With a Clear Aim, No One Goes Astray.

“In order to form your team into a united front working together towards a common goal, it’s important that the team understands your vision as the team leader. By having the ability to inspire your team, you are giving them a better understanding of why they’re doing what they’re doing. You’re giving them a sense of purpose, a clear motivation to strive for success. This inspiration will help you work better together as you are all aware and on board with the vision.”

~ Evan Harris, Co-Founder & CEO, SD Equity Partners[11]

Responsibility Delegation Is the Way to Unleash the Team’s Full Potential.

“Many bosses have a “I’ll just do it myself” mentality. Just because you’re a boss does not mean you’re a leader. By taking on all the work, you’re preventing your team from demonstrating their true potential. A great leader trusts in their team and demonstrates this trust by giving their team more responsibility. When you give your team members an opportunity to excel, more often than not you will be surprised at what they can achieve. Trust in your team, and they will succeed.”

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~ Evan Harris, Co-Founder & CEO, SD Equity Partners[12]

Feedback Builds Trust and Enables Continuous Improvement.

“Often times this feedback comes from others through reviews – I still ask all of my people for feedback. Being open and honest builds trust within a team, helps me improve and makes real our promise that we all seek continuous improvement.”

~Dick Burke, CEO, Envoy Global[13]

Being Respectful Isn’t Just An Etiquette.

“Something to always remember is to always talk respectfully about members of your team, whether they are present in the room with you or not. Be transparent at all times and do not go behind people’s backs. This will ensure that all members of the team feel safe and happy about working in the team.”

~ Jason Dobson, Berkshire Dating[14]

Now you are ready to lead your team with trust, confidence, strength and compassion. A great leader has a mix of qualities; they are not superhuman, but rather people who are able to connect with members of their teams on a compassionate and human level, whilst also maintaining discipline and authority at all times.

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Reference

[1] BatesCommunication: Home
[2] SkinnerBaking: Home
[3] NextStepPartners: Home
[4] CoverWallet: Home
[5] HamptonRoadsLegalServices: Home
[6] LeeCaraher: Home
[7] MatureBerkshireDating: Home
[8] BatesCommunication: Home
[9] RyTechLLC: Home
[10] Ignitive: Home
[11] SDEquityPartners: Home
[12] SDEquityPartners: Home
[13] EnvoyGlobal: Home
[14] BerkshireDating: Home

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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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