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10 Leadership Goals That Strong Leaders Set for Themselves

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10 Leadership Goals That Strong Leaders Set for Themselves

When most of us think of leaders, we usually focus on those individuals that stand out as particularly powerful, popular, or highly influential. We may think of current and past Presidents and politicians, world-renowned speakers and thought leaders, business and corporate gurus, even sports and entertainment celebrities.

But true leadership isn’t defined by popularity, external power or influence. Strong leaders are often at work in the background and out of the spotlight, comfortable and confident in their ability to affect change draw forth the best in others.

Leadership has nothing to do with title. A true leader does not desire power and control over others. Rather, a strong leader marks his or her success by the number of people they inspire and empower.

They do this not by force, intimidation or coercion, nor by way of their name, position or rank. They do so through their actions, and by demonstrating their personal power, values and integrity at all times.

Let’s look at what makes a strong leader, and what types of leadership goals inspire good leaders to become even better.

1. Developing Personal Responsibility and Self-Discipline

If you want to become a better leader, you need to fully understand and have leadership of yourself. In order to teach others to take responsibility and leadership in their own work and lives, a strong leader strives always to demonstrate and model these qualities.

This means accepting full responsibility for one’s life as it is, including one’s decisions, actions, behaviors and outcomes, be they positive or negative. It means viewing one’s mistakes and one’s successes with equal appreciation for the lessons and gifts they impart.

Being a strong leader also means practicing and developing self-discipline in order that one’s decisions and actions are undertaken in an unbiased and controlled manner, and that one is always fully aware of and prepared for the repercussions of those actions and decisions.

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2. Learning to Fail Gracefully

A true leader strives for perfection while understanding that it is an illusion that can’t actually be attained. As such, they expect to fail at least as often as they succeed, and they simply count losses into the equation.

Trying to cover up or hide their mistakes and failures, giving in to rage, or blaming others for their losses not only makes them look foolish; it also deprives them of the opportunity to learn from their losses and grow as leaders.

A strong leader isn’t afraid or ashamed to fail, and instead fully examines the losses, scouring them thoroughly for opportunities for learning, making adjustments and improvements for the future. A leader refuses to let the value of their mistakes pass them by.

In this way, a good leader can walk away from his or her mistakes and failures with grace and dignity, thereby empowering and allowing others to do the same.

3. Practicing Careful and Active Listening

Canadian clinical psychologist and professor Jordan B. Peterson taught that we should treat every person we meet as if they know something valuable that we don’t.[1]

In doing so, we approach each person, regardless of position or title, with the curiosity of a beginner’s mind, and we treat others in a way that is naturally respectful.

When a good leader practices active listening, not only does he or she foster respect in those they are leading, but they also gain from the wisdom that is inherent in each and every person.

4. Developing Well-Roundedness

An important key to success as a leader in any arena is developing multiple areas of competence.

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This means potentially mastering separate disciplines which at first glance may not have an obvious connection, but that ultimately provides one with a robust and varied ‘toolbox’ of skills and knowledge to choose from when confronted with difficult or challenging situations. And even the loftiest of goals requires the skills and know-how to get things done in the real world.

Being well-rounded in one’s scope of experience and skills also means one will be better able to relate with, understand, and therefore lead a broader spectrum of people.

5. Building Resilience

This one goes hand in hand with #4 above. By always striving to increase and diversify his or her knowledge and competence, a good leader builds resilience in the face of hardship.

You might think of resilience as the opposite of powerlessness,[2] but resilience is that set of qualities and character traits that allows us to remain flexible in times of change, to bend instead of breaking when we are faced with stresses and challenges, and to endure and overcome life’s inevitable hardships and failures.

Resilience can also be of a financial nature; laying a solid groundwork in which one is able to manage money without succumbing to temptation, being unduly influenced by passing trends, or behaving recklessly will allow one to weather financial storms gracefully and independently.

Learn more about building resilience in this guide: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

6. Developing Leadership Presence

To be an effective leader, one must gain the respect of others. It’s not enough to have the skills and knowledge to get things done – a leader must earn the loyalty and allegiance of those they are hoping to lead.

While confidence, communication skills and poise can certainly help create the aura of leadership, it’s not enough. No matter how polished you are, if you are not a person of integrity, your power will be paper thin.

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Integrity comes from knowing who you are, being clear on your core values and what you stand for, and then behaving and speaking in line with all of that. You cannot hope to inspire loyalty, honesty and respect in others if you do not behave in a manner that is honest, loyal and respectful.

Humility and open-mindedness are other vital qualities to foster if you hope to be an inspiring and respected leader.

7. Identifying and Fostering Leadership in Others

Followers are important. People who take direction and run the minute operations of complicated processes literally make the world run.

The role of the leader, on the other hand, is primarily to mentor, delegate and direct others. He or she understands that it is vitally important to make themselves redundant by creating new leaders who can eventually step into the role they currently occupy.

True leaders of industry and business know that they need to surround themselves with competent people in order to succeed, and will actively seek out and foster leadership qualities in others.

They are not concerned with maintaining top rank or preserving ego – they understand that encouraging others to improve and become leaders ultimately means they can reach their goals faster, and this benefits them as well as the entire organization/business/society.

8. Understanding Persuasion

Being a good leader is essentially an exercise in psychology and human behavior. A leader understands that all people, including themselves, are emotional creatures, and that they will not respond positively to instructions, information or guidance to which they feel hostility, confusion or doubt.

As a result, a leader knows he or she must learn to effectively communicate using the emotional language that most people live in and through. By building rapport, and speaking to the emotional limbic system, a smart leader is able to better convince others that he or she is coming from a place of integrity and knowledge, and dispel any hesitancy or opposition.

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A strong leader also understands what motivates others to want to help them in their cause, and strives to encourage others by building their confidence and bringing out their best qualities.

9. Managing Personal Resources

The brain is, like a muscle, capable of exerting a certain amount of work effort for a certain period of time. And just like any other muscle, it needs rest time to rebuild and restore itself.

Our emotional and energetic bodies are similarly wired. Too much output or stress on any of these systems for too long will result in ineffectiveness, exhaustion and eventually break down.

Those determined to master the art of leadership recognize that their personal resources – their energy, emotions and minds – are not limitless, and need to be recharged on a regular basis.

Good leaders take care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally, and are careful not to overload themselves.

10. Always Seeing the Bigger Picture

A great leader always endeavors to think in terms of the bigger picture, keeping a bird’s eye view of the events and happenings of the day-to-day so as not to lose site of the larger goal.

This is a worthwhile thing to do, regardless of your position in life. The iNLP Center points out that viewing issues from a distance is clinically proven to be an effective problem-solving method.[3]

They strive to maintain a sense of clarity at all times, practicing seeing through the fog of the temporary and ever-shifting, and keeping their sites steadied on the path ahead. In this way, a strong leader doesn’t get caught up in the panic or drama of the current challenges, missteps or obstacles, and is able to deal effectively and calmly with the unexpected without getting thrown off track.

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Bottom Line

While real leaders are not particularly common in our society, by studying other great leaders — those who lead by example, who inspire trust and loyalty through their integrity, who remain humble and open-minded, and who are able to make difficult decisions for the greater good — we can learn to strengthen our own leadership skills and become more effective in our roles as bosses, managers, teachers and visionaries.

More Resources About Leadership

Featured photo credit: Ardiss Hutaff via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mike Bundrant

Co-Founder @inlpcenter, which offers NLP training and life coach certification to students in over 70 countries.

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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