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Real Leaders Hate Managing People

Real Leaders Hate Managing People

Hearing the word “leader”, what first comes to mind is often “managers”. But what about Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa? They were great leaders though they weren’t managers. Both won the respect of millions, both started important social movements, and both are remembered as key influencers.

Real leadership isn’t about managing people actually, it’s about influencing people. And real leaders have these 10 qualities in common:

1. Leaders are here for change

No true leader accepts the status quo. They always seek to improve the system, and they have no problem with challenging long-established routines. Even when change is an uphill battle, a leader is ready to take charge and realize their vision.

Many people aspire to make a change too. While it’s never an easy process and requires more than one person’s power. Teamwork becomes vital. And this is how leaders can help make the whole thing possible.

2. Leaders are always looking at least 5 steps ahead

A leader’s role is to provide direction and guidance to a group of people, even when everyone has different opinions. They need to understand the implications of their decisions, and to keep one eye on the future. This helps them make a reliable roadmap for the future. At the same time, a leader is sufficiently flexible that they can change their plans if required.

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When some team members are planning the second step or the third step, leaders are already foreseeing the fifth step. Such vision helps make sure the direction is right and no efforts of team members would be wasted.

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    3. Leaders never skip their routines, no matter how busy they may be

    A great leader does not seek instant gratification. They know that success is built on a foundation of solid routine and incremental progress. They don’t believe in overnight success. They just make sure their efficiency is high so that they can keep following their routine and would not skip a single one.

    Here at Lifehack, every employee receives half an hour of coaching each week. This is a significant time investment, but it pays off in terms of personal growth and business productivity.

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    4. Leaders’ know their followers’ stories

    Strong leaders take a sincere interest in their followers’ personal lives, aspirations, and motives. This allows them to tap into other people’s deepest desires, and use this to provide motivation and encouragement whenever they start to flag. That’s why I keep private profiles for every team member. This allows me to tailor my approach whenever we interact, and understand what their work means to them as an individual.

    5. Leaders love to empower others

    The best way to motivate someone is to provide them with real control and power over their work and lives. This increases their productivity and sense of belonging as well. As great leaders know who they attracted are really talented people, they have trust in them and would let them make their own decisions. Micromanagement is avoided all the time.

    Google embraces this principle with their “20% Rule.” Employees are encouraged to spend 20% of their working hours on their personal projects, rather than assigned tasks. This provides them with a sense of ownership and personal responsibility.

      Photo credit: Source

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      6. Leaders are talent magnets

      Very few people aspire to work with a narrow-minded, bad-tempered leader. A great leader knows that they will only attract the best people if they exhibit positivity along with their passion and grand vision.

      7. Leaders don’t believe in the existence of failure

      To a good leader, the only true failure is the failure to act. Otherwise, the worst that can happen is that they learn a valuable lesson – and that isn’t actually a bad outcome at all! By this logic, there is no such thing as failure. If an idea doesn’t work out, it just signals a need for a change in direction.

      They know one of the biggest regrets people have is they never try. So be bold to try, and “fail”. It’s always better than sitting there doing nothing.

      8. Leaders aren’t proud of being “busy”

      Being busy is often used as a status symbol in today’s society. However, being busy is not necessarily a sign of productivity. Leaders know this, and are always questioning how they can work more efficiently. They know that time management skills, together with the ability to identify and prioritize important tasks, are vital to success.

      When they find themselves busy, they know something is wrong. They would check if they delegate enough tasks and are focusing on the right things.

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      9. Leaders trust their intuition

      Some people maintain that trusting a hunch or gut instinct is never a good idea, but a true leader knows that, occasionally, it’s a good idea. A classic example is the case of Ray Kroc, the founder and former CEO of McDonald’s. Against the advice of those around him, he borrowed over $2 million to set up his first restaurants. He later explained that he was acting on his “funny-bone instinct.”

        Photo credit: Source

        10. Leaders always keep the concept of leverage in mind

        A leader is always thinking about the positive effects of their actions. They know that both small-scale and large-scale efforts are an opportunity for leverage. For example, a speech at a conference can provide them with a wonderful opportunity to spread their message, so they will invest the time needed to make it memorable. They ensure that they make the best possible use of their assets.

        Aim to be an influencer, and you are more likely to trigger real change.

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        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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        Last Updated on April 19, 2021

        The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

        The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

        Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

        The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

        Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

        In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

        When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

        Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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        1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

        When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

        As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

        That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

        The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

        What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

        Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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        There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

        So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

        2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

        When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

        No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

        3. Move Your Body

        A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

        It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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        So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

        4. Connect With Another Person

        Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

        One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

        Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

        5. Use Your Imagination

        When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

        That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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        And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

        Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

        Final Thoughts

        Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

        Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

        More on the Importance of Taking a Break

        Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

        Reference

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