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Real Leaders Hate Managing People

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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.

    Photo credit: Source

    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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        More by this author

        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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        Published on September 21, 2021

        How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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        How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

        The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

        In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

        1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

        Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

        But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

        Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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        Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

        Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

        While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

        Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

        2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

        At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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        Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

        Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

        Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

        McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

        From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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        3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

        An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

        McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

        Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

        Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

        Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

        So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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        The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

        If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

        Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

        Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

        Reference

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