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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

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.

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 October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

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Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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