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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 July 17, 2019

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        What happens in our heads when we set goals?

        Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

        Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

        According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

        Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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        Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

        Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

        The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

        Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

        So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

        Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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        One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

        Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

        Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

        The Neurology of Ownership

        Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

        In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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        But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

        This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

        Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

        The Upshot for Goal-Setters

        So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

        On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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        It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

        On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

        But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

        More About Goals Setting

        Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

        Reference

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