Advertising
Advertising

How Being Gracious Makes You A More Successful Leader

How Being Gracious Makes You A More Successful Leader

Everyone can lead, but not everyone can be a successful leader. There are certainly traits and characteristics that many great leaders have in common, and it would be easy enough to list some of the qualities we traditionally associate with successful leaders.

But leadership, like everything else in the world today, is being reinvented. It’s time to take a new look at what you need to do to be a successful leader.

Advertising

According to Margaret Callaway of the Callaway Leadership Institute:

Advertising

The social, political, and economic conditions of the 21st century have forever changed the roles and responsibilities of today’s leaders. In these changing times, leaders can no longer rely on traditional, historical leadership constructs based on simple hierarchical authority and concentrated decision-making power.

Old school is just that: old school. The skills needed for you to become a more successful leader in this century are skills that fit with today’s brave new world.

Advertising

9 Keys to Being a More Successful Leader in Today’s World:

  1. Humility: You can be confident and strong while retaining your humility. Humility comes not from having a low view of self, but in having a deep understanding that every single person brings different skills, talents and abilities to the proverbial table. The greatest leaders celebrate those differences and know that no one skill makes any individual better than another.
  2. Gratitude: There is no such thing as a great leader who does not have a supportive, invested team or tribe. Being gracious to your team, praising your tribe, expressing your gratitude and thanking those who support, contribute and help you, is vital to being a successful leader. People who feel appreciated for who they are will work more and better for you. Expressing gratitude is a way of honoring each person and what they offer.
  3. Be yourself before and after your big “win”: Nothing calls a leader’s intention more into question than a leader who seems to suddenly change who they are, midstream. When this occurs it smacks of being a tactic, rather than something genuine. You should be humble and gracious before you are a known leader, and you should continue to be that way even if you lead great numbers of people. And if you’re a leader who switches midstream to get more votes or volunteers, then boo on you.
  4. Embrace change: The ability to be dynamic in decision-making and goals and outlook is not just kind of important in today’s world: you can’t lead without this ability. If you as a leader resist change, then so will your tribe. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a leader at work, at home, or of a country; to succeed today, to stay in business or to stay strong economically, you must have the capacity to embrace change because as a world we are moving at an unprecedented pace.
  5. Creative team tapping: A great leader has an innate sense of how to best tap into the creative skills of each person they work with. Tapping into all those yummy talents and skills of each team or tribe member will allow everyone to grow, move forward, become stronger and so achieve more – as individuals and as a group. Gone are the days when a leader could demand that people mindlessly obey. Now a successful leader should inspire people to bring their unique creativity to the team.
  6. Cooperation: Cooperating with those around you and leading your team/tribe toward cooperation should be a primary goal. The cooperative approach is in essence the process of working together toward the same vision. We can use cooperation as a solid base for a strong family life, a successful business and a vision-inspired world.
  7. Intuition: Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately without having to analyze or reason. All successful leaders have, and use, their intuition. You might think of it as your gut feeling. But no matter what you call it, there are moments in time when a leader must make a quick decision based on instinct. Successful leaders trust their intuition.
  8. No fear-based decision-making: It takes courage to acknowledge your fears and then not let them control your decisions. Fear-based decisions take away power and abundance. They are, in effect, a way of running from something rather than moving toward a greater vision. It isn’t that successful leaders have no fears, it’s that they understand their fears so they know when and how to keep those fears from ruling the roost.
  9. Transparency: Let’s face it, there are no more secrets. Honesty and transparency allow your team/tribe to maintain their trust in you. Without trust, a leader simply cannot lead. And let’s be honest: today, whatever you hope to keep in the dark will just be dug up and displayed all over social media so it behooves you as a leader to be transparent. If you make a mistake, admit to it, make amends and move on.

You can develop your skills to become a more successful leader in today’s society. We need great leaders, leaders who are willing to stand up and stand out who can lead us forward in positive ways. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a leader of one other person who calls you mom, or you lead a nation, leadership today is all about moving us forward as a whole, while honoring each and every individual.

Featured photo credit: Cool Bird Formation/ DeaPeaJay via flickr.com

Advertising

More by this author

How to Use Those Noisy Creative Voices in Your Head to Succeed Is Fear of Success Limiting Your Productivity? Birds - Teamwork How Being Gracious Makes You A More Successful Leader 15 Ways To Lead A Brand New Great Life The Hyper Creative Entrepreneur – How to Set Yourself up for Success and Happiness

Trending in Communication

1 How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often 2 How to Fight Your Irrational Fears And Stay Strong 3 Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Ways to Get Back on Track 4 8 Ways to Change Your Self-Sabotaging Behaviors 5 Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Advertising

Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

Advertising

How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Advertising

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

Advertising

6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

More Self-Care Tips

Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

Read Next