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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

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.

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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1 10 Reasons Why You Should Chase Your Dreams 2 How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life 3 What the Road to Success Actually Looks Like in Reality 4 How to Be Organized: The Ultimate Guide to Get (and Stay) Clutter Free 5 19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

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Published on August 3, 2020

How to Be Organized: The Ultimate Guide to Get (and Stay) Clutter Free

How to Be Organized: The Ultimate Guide to Get (and Stay) Clutter Free

With all the inputs, information, and clutter that come into our lives today, just staying on top of it all creates so much stress and frustration, and it can often lead to feelings of helplessness and anxiety. Most of the time, you simply don’t know where to start when you want to learn how to be organized.

However, it is, in fact, something that can be learned.

By developing a few strategies and methods, and having a system in place that quickly deals with all these inputs, you can finally get control of your clutter and, more importantly, stay clutter-free.

Here are a few rules that can help you on your path to a clutter-free life.

1. Don’t Use Your Computer’s Desktop for Storage

Your computer’s desktop was not designed to store your files. Your desktop should be clean and file free. Not only does a cluttered desktop slow down your computer, but it also makes finding things painfully slow.

Instead, as you’re learning how to be organized, create a basic folder structure inside your documents folder. Now, this needs to work for you, but try not to make things too complicated. What you can do is think about the kind of files you will need to keep, and categorize them between your personal and professional ones. For me, I have two basics folders inside my documents folder, one called “work” and one called “personal.” Inside of these, I have subfolders organized according to my different roles or categories.

It’s simple, and it allows me to quickly find what I need when I need it.

Now, I do understand that during the day, when you are doing your work, you may need quick access to certain images and files, and it’s okay to hold them on your desktop temporarily. However, make it a habit to clear your desktop at the end of each day as part of your closing down routine (more on that later).

2. Learn to Use Your Computer’s Search Features

It surprises me how few people know how to find documents on their computer with a simple keyboard shortcut, but it’s one of the easiest things to do as you’re learning how to be organized. On a Mac, for instance, CMD + Space bar brings up the spotlight search, and you can type in a date, a file type, a keyword, or a file name.

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On a Windows computer[1], open the start button, and begin typing the file you are looking for.

In both cases, you do not need the exact name of the file. Just type a few letters, and within seconds you have the file you need.

When you learn how useful your computer’s search features are, you will be much more comfortable removing all those files scattered around on your desktop and putting them in an appropriate folder on your computer.

3. Keep Your Desk Clear of Clutter

Just as with your computer’s desktop, your desk’s desktop should also be file and clutter-free. Use your drawers for those paper documents that habitually hang around on your desk—a cluttered desk does not encourage inspired work[2].

Also, take a look at your workspace, and ask if what is on your desk is necessary. Often, we have stuff on our desks that serve no meaning and has no sentimental value to us. It’s just something we have always had on our desk. If you don’t need it or it does not inspire you, remove it.

And while we are talking about your desk, make a decision this week that you will go through your desk drawers and clear out all the old pens, cups, and other debris that has accumulated over the years. Trust me on this one, the act of cleaning out your drawers and removing all the clutter on your desk will give you renewed energy and ignite a lot of creativity that has been pushed into the background. You will love working at your desk again.

Pictures of your loved ones and a few inspiring mementos are fine. Just don’t go crazy with them. Keep them to a minimum.

4. Create a Closing Down Routine

This is such a great way to make sure you keep your files and other stuff organized, so make it an essential skill to adopt when learning how to be organized. Give yourself ten to twenty minutes before you finish your work for the day to clean up your desktops.

Move your files to their rightful place, and delete anything you no longer need. I often accumulate a lot of screenshots throughout the day, and if I am not removing them, at the end of the day, they soon start building up.

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Before I shut my computer down for the day, I clean these up, delete the screenshots if I no longer need them, and leave my desktop file free. It’s a beautiful way to start the next day with a clean desk and a clean computer desktop.

5. Incorporate a To-Do List Manager Into Your Life

Writing your to-dos and commitments down on post-it notes just encourages clutter. Sure, it might seem like a great idea to stick these to your computer so you don’t forget things, but over time you become numb to them. They just become a part of your desk, and you ignore them.

Remove them. Take your tasks and commitments, and put them into a to-do list manager. Whether you use Windows or Mac, they both come with to-do list managers. Make good use of them.

You do not need to create an elaborate to-do list structure. All you need is an inbox for quick entry and the ability to date tasks for when they need doing.

I use a simple structure in my to-do list manager. I use a system I call the Time Sector System[3] where I create six folders:

  • Inbox
  • This week
  • Next week
  • This month
  • Next month
  • Long-term / On-hold

Then, whatever I collect, the only decision I need to make is: when am I going to do the task? I can then drop the task into its relevant folder.

One of the biggest causes of clutter on desks (and in bags) are all those little bits of paper you use to write down critical information and telephone numbers or email addresses. When these accumulate, they are easy to lose, and you waste a lot of time searching for them.

Use your digital devices for these. You can take a photo of a written note. You can quickly add a telephone number or an email address into your to-do list manager (or notes app), and if you have syncing set up between your devices, you will have access to the information on all your devices. And what’s more, it will be searchable.

6. Set a Weekly Time to Declutter Your Devices

This is an area that can quickly creep up on you, so take time to develop this habit as you’re learning how to be organized. Taking photos and videos on our phones is too easy these days. We take a picture, and we just leave it in our photo album.

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Over time we end up with thousands of photos in our electronic photo albums that are not worth keeping. I spend around ten minutes on the weekend (usually Sunday evening) deleting all the images I no longer want to keep. It keeps my digital storage needs down—which saves money—and it means all the photos in my photo album are photos I want to keep.

I do the same with my downloads folder. We often download a PDF intending to read it later, and then we completely forget about it. As time passes, we end up with hundreds of PDFs and other documents we are no longer interested in or no longer need. Delete them or file them. Just don’t leave them in your downloads folder.

If you want to stay clutter-free, this habit will reward you. Doing this weekly means you will spend around thirty minutes each week cleaning up and filing. Not doing so means you will end up having to spend a day or two just dealing everything, which will leave you feeling like you’ve wasted those days.

7. Do an Annual Clean-up

One of my annual rituals is to clean out all my folders and notes. I take a day off from work and spend the day going through everything on my computer and delete anything that no longer has any value.

I choose the winter holidays for this. Not only is it the end of the year, but many companies are on holiday, and things are generally quieter.

I go through all my work and personal folders and clean out anything I no longer need. I also archive a lot of files onto an external hard drive—just in case they are needed later.

It’s also a good time to clear out your email folders, too. Email can become a bottomless pit of emails you no longer need. Go through and purge those. You will feel so much better when you do this.

With email, you can also declare yourself email bankrupt and just delete everything in your inbox (or if you are not comfortable doing that, declare a ‘soft’ email bankruptcy and you move all your emails into a folder called “Old Inbox”).

Doing this might seem like a radical step, but it is incredible how much clearer you become. You get to see what you have been holding on to, what you may have missed, and you find yourself with a lot more space ready for the year to come.

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8. Do a Little, Often

I learned this a long time ago. Many years ago, I tried becoming a salesperson. I failed miserably at it, but during my training, I shadowed an experienced colleague. On one of the days I was shadowing her, she had to complete and file her expense report for the month.

I vividly remember her opening the glovebox of her car and pulling out handfuls of receipts and then painstakingly adding them to an expense report—we did things on paper in those days. Four hours later, she finally finished the report.

I remember at the time thinking this was not a great way to do this. When I got my chance to go solo, I began stopping my car in a car-park on the way home and added that day’s expenses to my expenses sheet. It took me a few minutes, and as I was doing it on the same day, I remembered exactly what each receipt was for.

When you’re learning how to be organized, you can use this principle for almost everything. Clear out your email inbox every day, delete screenshots from your desktop and empty your bag at the end of the week, and throw away anything you no longer need.

Doing a little often makes things so much easier, and you do not have that mental backlog creeping up on you where you have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind telling you you have to do something—only you can’t remember what that something is.

Final Thoughts

If it doesn’t come naturally to you, learning how to be organized can take time and effort, but it’s ultimately worth it. Becoming clutter-free helps you in so many ways. You have a more pleasant work environment, and de-cluttering your environment also helps to declutter your mind. On top of that, finding stuff is easier, and that means your overall productivity goes through the roof. Choose the strategies above that will help you in your daily life and start getting your life organized today.

More Tips on How to Be Organized

Featured photo credit: Jeff Sheldon via unsplash.com

Reference

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