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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs

11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs

Failing to organize will often lead to chaos or, at the very least, an increase in stress levels. This occurs as you attempt to make sense of everything that surrounds you for the sake of making life easier. That’s why strong organizational skills are key to being a smart leader.

The need to have organizational abilities becomes even more important when you are a boss or manager. After all, people turn to you for inspiration, and it will hardly be inspiring if they see you freaking out.

What are organizational skills and how can you develop them? We’ll guide you through 11 key organizational skills that every leader needs to know. By the end, it will mean that you are in a better position to be a more effective leader.

1. Time Management

Poor time-management is at the root of so many issues within a company. As the leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that things run like clockwork. This is only possible by having a firm understanding of what it is to be organized.

Failure in this area will lead to you being unable to stay on the task in front of you. Suddenly, your ability to juggle everything at once diminishes before you. It won’t take much before it all comes crashing down, resulting in you being viewed as rather unreliable.

Quick Tips for Time Management

    Be aware of the following: the tasks for completion, their deadlines, the amount of work required, and anything that cannot be delayed or avoided at any cost[1].

    Also, take a look at these 7 Effective Time Management Tips To Maximize Your Productivity.

    2. Planning

    Planning makes organizing easier, but we are often lacking when it comes to being able to plan ahead. Again, poor planning leads to disorganization and more pressure on you.

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    Remember that planning takes different forms, including dealing with time and how a project must proceed. However, a smart leader has to take things one step further to make a difference. You must also be aware of the plans of others and how they fit into your own approach if they are to make a difference.

    This becomes more important when dealing with a multi-disciplinary team where coordination can be problematic without adequate planning. A complete absence of planning will only ever lead to problems.

    3. Scheduling

    Even though this skill does overlap with those mentioned earlier, it’s still important enough to merit its own individual point. Having a schedule and keeping to it is known to be an effective tool for organizing your life.

    Scheduling indicates to others that you have an awareness about what they are doing. It also shows you have a firm grip on what is being done and that there are no issues with balancing a number of projects.

    Thanks to scheduling, your understanding of the time taken for different aspects becomes improved. This helps you to keep control of a project, as well as coping with problems thanks to an understanding of events.

    Scheduling time blocks is also a great technique to help you get organized: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

    4. Resource Allocation

    It’s important to get the most out of your resources, and this too requires organization. Even knowing when to use those resources is important to prevent them becoming exhausted or used at incorrect times.

    Organizational skills, in this sense, means being acutely aware of the resources at hand and those you may call upon with a project. Your strength should also be in linking the correct resource to the right requirement to ensure it fits into their own abilities. Failure to do this means wasted resources, and this will not reflect well on you.

    To be certain of organization in this sense, you must first identify resources that may be relevant before beginning a new project. This prevents you from scrambling around and searching for help when you need it the most.

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    5. Delegation

    Delegation is an art form and one of the most important organizational skills, and not everyone has mastered it. An effective leader also understands its importance for a project to run smoothly.

    It’s impossible to handle each aspect of a project yourself, and that is where delegating tasks to team members can help. Being aware of who is best for a particular task prevents feelings of overwhelm, which will free you to oversee each aspect of the project.

    An organized leader will know their team and be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.[2] Being aware in advance means you will not stress when a problem arises, as you know who to call for help.

    Thanks to organization, your team will work more efficiently and complete each task with less stress on your shoulders.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

    6. Prioritizing

    Being capable of prioritizing tasks will make your life easier. Creating a to-do list and understanding which deadlines come first leads to better planning as well as less stress. As your experience builds, you become more confident at knowing which tasks are the most important.

    Disorganized individuals tend to cope in a haphazard way and deal with things as they arise. This leads to putting energy into the wrong areas, and the most important things fall by the wayside. Prioritization keeps you on track with the order in which you need to complete things.

    For this, you must be aware of the tasks at hand and the process for each one. Check deadlines and other pressing details in advance to allow you to be better organized.

    7. Collaboration

    Collaboration is one of the organizational skills that makes life easier all around. The only problem is that it does require organization on your part. An organized leader is aware of those individuals that may be the best person for a particular task. Not organizing leaves you in a position of searching for help when it should be plain sailing.

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    This is about more than mere delegation. Instead, the skill is with knowing in advance who you can call upon to make a project run as smooth as possible. This may also involve other leaders of various departments, so working in unison is key.

    With this skill, you must become aware of who you may need to collaborate with before the need arises. Do your research and know who to call upon at any point. This allows you to then cope with any problem in a cool and efficient manner.

    8. Setting Goals

    An organized individual will find it easier to set and achieve goals. A smart leader is able to show others that they can set short and long-term goals, work towards them, and ultimately achieve them. The only way this is done is through solid organizational skills.

    It will be impossible to reach a target if you are unaware of the path to follow. You must understand the actions and objectives, or you will never achieve anything. Organization skills also help you identify each step and any problems connected to it.

    Here, you must identify the target or goal at the earliest opportunity and then bring forward the other organizational skills that I have mentioned.

    9. Maintaining Efficiency

    Organization and efficiency go hand in hand. Efficiency leads to the need for planning as the smoother something runs, the fewer problems you encounter.

    Being efficient also allows you to know where you are in a project at any moment. This is due to you having organized things to such an extent that you are able to counteract problems before they occur. Remember that efficiency and your ability to identify issues work in unison. If you fail to be organized, then it is impossible for this to happen.

    To learn this skill, you must set aside time for each project and break it down into individual segments. Understand how each step must progress and who will be responsible for each part. Identify problems and how to resolve them to allow in such a way that everything can run like clockwork.

    Efficiency is a skill that develops over time, so continue working on it and how to improve problem areas to become a stronger leader.

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    10. Clear Communication

    A strong leader needs to be able to communicate clearly at all times.[3] With your organizational skills, you will find that this is easier to do.

    Thanks to these skills, you always know what is happening and can clarify any issues. You are also able to communicate exactly what you need simply because you are organized and know the status quo at that point. You will find it easier to get things started due to your ability to get things across clearly and concisely[4].

    Organizational skills: How to improve communication

      To have good communication, you have to be confident in your own abilities as a leader. If you use the different skills discussed above, you will notice a greater confidence in your voice, which then has a positive influence on the rest of the team.

      If you want to be more confident in your communication skills, check out this article: How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

      11. Self-Care

      Nothing mentioned above is possible if you are not organized in your own life, both professionally and personally. The ability to look after yourself is the glue that holds everything else together.

      You need to eat and sleep well, along with taking care of your general health. Organization in each aspect of your life is essential to ensure you have a healthy balance. Feeling under the weather, tired, stressed or anything else negative will have a profound impact on your abilities as a leader.

      Look at what people expect of you in each part of your life, and adopt the same strategies for each aspect. You can then expect a certain synergy to occur between the different areas, allowing them to work with a certain fluidity.

      This simple guide will be helpful for you to take better care of yourself: 13 Essential Self-Care Tips for Busy People

      The Bottom Line

      These 11 organizational skills are essential for any smart leader who wishes to be more organized in everything they do. By bettering yourself along these lines, it will lead to not only a greater sense of confidence in yourself, but also towards those that look to you for both guidance and inspiration.

      More Skills to Increase Productivity

      Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

      Reference

      More by this author

      Chris Porteous

      The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

      Feel like Giving Up? 16 Way to Help Entrepreneurs Stay Motivated 8 Tactics to Greatly Improve Motivation in the Workplace 16 Tips For Success from the World’s Most Influential People 10 Tools to Start an Online Business without Breaking the Bank 11 Reasons Why We Fail to Achieve Our Goals

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      Last Updated on April 22, 2021

      How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

      How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

      Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

      Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

      In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

      One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

      “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

      Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

      Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

      Motivation Is Not the Answer

      How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

      If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

      We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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      Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

      Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

      How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

      Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

      1. Define What a Win Looks Like

      In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

      Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

      Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

      When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

      4 Steps to Define a Win
      • Know the outcome you desire.
      • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
      • Write the outcome down.
      • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

      Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

      As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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      Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

      2. Evaluate Your Activity

      Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

      Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

      Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

      Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

      • Do now
      • Plan to do it later
      • Delegate to someone else
      • Delete it

      Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

      • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
      • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
      • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
      • Does this activity have to be done at all?

      Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

      3. Prioritize Your Calendar

      If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

      First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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      It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

      “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

      Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

      “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

      Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

      It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

      4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

      We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

      Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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      Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

        But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

        “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

        Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

        Use these questions to reflect on your day:

        • What went well?
        • What didn’t go well?
        • What can I change?
        • What do I need to start doing?
        • What do I need to stop doing?

        The Bottom Line

        Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

        Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

        “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

        Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

        That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

        More on Creating Healthy Routines

        Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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