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How to Spot Real Leaders Without Being Fooled by Fake Ones

How to Spot Real Leaders Without Being Fooled by Fake Ones
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Your boss is someone you need to report to and listen to, whether you like them or not. Every business has someone who is in charge of running a team of people, but that does not qualify them as leaders. Being in the position of power does not make you a leader, it takes much more than that. A leader is someone who inspires and motivates people to do their best while creating a bond of trust. A leader doesn’t have to instill fear to get things done – a leader helps people grow and realize their full potential.

So how do true leaders behave?

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Leaders build mutual understanding with their teams

A true leader trusts their team, and vice versa. This is a two way street, so you must give your team a reason for trust, and withholding information will certainly break the trust. You should never go behind your team’s back and keep secrets. Be transparent and discuss everything with your team.

Leaders fight on front line with their teams

You asked your team to work during lunch break because you are on a deadline, but you went out for a two-hour lunch. Well, that’s not leadership. People won’t respect you if you expect them to do something or behave in a certain way that doesn’t apply to you as well. You need to set an example and make yourself a part of the team. Seeing you acting instead of giving orders, people will feel motivated to give their best.

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Leaders are good communicators and listeners

People’s opinions matter, and good leaders are aware of that. Your employees want to know their voice is heard and that they can openly express their insights. Sit down with your team regularly and ask for their feedback as to what you can do to increase their productivity. Create a safe environment where people will feel free to share their opinion and give suggestions.

Leaders put their teams first and forget their self interests

You cannot hope to succeed alone. Leaders know they need their teams to achieve their goals. But, in order for your team to feel motivated to work hard, you need to put them first, not your ambitions, nor your ego. If you give each member of the team credit for their work, they will be loyal to you and always willing to do their best. However, you always need to have their back and take the blame if something goes wrong.

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Leaders are consistent with the directions they set

As a leader, you need to try really hard to be consistent in every aspect as your team needs to know what they can expect from you. If you constantly change the way you do things, your team will feel frustrated and stressed out. Being consistent creates the bond of trust, as your team feels they know you and know what they can rely on. Moreover, you need to be consistent in how you treat everyone in your team. The same rules must apply for everyone, and the good practice is to discuss with your team what kind of performance you expect from each one of them.

Leaders know how to put their team members in the right positions

To be a good leader doesn’t mean you need to know how to do everything. That is why you have your team members and their knowledge and expertise, you just need to motivate them and lead them in the right direction. It’s not a sign of weakness if you admit you can’t do something or that you made a mistake – that’s the sign of a good leader. Give the freedom to everyone in your team to do what they are good at, let them know they are needed, and they will feel valued and appreciated.

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Leaders stay true to their words

You cannot expect people to trust you and follow you if you don’t stick to your promises. Your words and promises won’t mean anything once you break the trust. So, always think carefully before you promise something and if you do, stick to your words. Even if there are some unpredictable circumstances, your team will understand and appreciate your made an effort to keep your word.

Leaders never talk behind someone’s back

Nothing damages your reputation as good leader more than gossiping about your team members behind their back. If you have a problem with one of the team members, or if someone makes a mistake, sit down and discuss what went wrong and what you can do to make it better and prevent from happening in the future.

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Featured photo credit: Getty Images via fortune.com

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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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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