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10 Leadership Lessons We Can All Learn From You-Know-Who (Lord Voldemort)

10 Leadership Lessons We Can All Learn From You-Know-Who (Lord Voldemort)

Okay, this might be a little controversial, so point your wand away from my heart and just listen for a second.

There’s a little bit of credit we’ve gotta give You-Know-Who.

Despite his deep passion for radical eugenics and world domination, Voldemort was an excellent leader. He banded many witches and wizards together to follow a pretty disgusting cause that would serve nobody but himself. And that’s pretty impressive.

Hear me out, my magical friends.

***Disclaimer: This article is in no way promoting hateful acts towards Muggles, Dark Magic (including, but not limited to, the use of any of the Unforgivable Curses), or general acts of terrorism on the wizarding world.***

1. He never gave up.

You-Know-Who was probably the most persistent dude ever. He didn’t let a little roadblock (like almost dying and then losing his physical body, rendering him a mere spirit-esque thing forced to live underneath a neurotic professor’s turban) get in his way of trying to dominate the world.

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2. He always had a back-up plan.

Somebody tried to kill him? No worries, he’s got a Horcrux. Somebody destroyed that Horcrux? No worries, he’s got five more (plus another accidental one – sucks for you, Harry!).

Voldy expected that there would be obstacles – and that’s why he always had a back-up plan. Don’t split your soul into seven pieces or anything, but definitely consider what could be the metaphorical Harry Potter in your plan and start creating those metaphorical Horcruxes.

3. He utilized a team.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named knew very well that he needed a team. After all, one Dark Lord can’t abolish all Muggle-borns on his own, you know?

If you have a big dream, you’re going to need a dream team. Get yourself some Death Eaters of your own – that is, some like-minded people who are as passionate about your dream as you are. Except maybe treat them a little better than he does. Give them some encouragement and don’t threaten to kill their families or anything.

Though in Voldemort’s defense, he did enjoy giving the occasional awkward hug to show his affections.

awkard hug
    *cringe*
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    4. He delegated.

    Some people develop a team, but then insist on doing everything themselves. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named knew that in order to maintain his fearful status, he needs to delegate tasks to other members of the team. After all, that’s what a team is for.

    However, having a few tasks in particular that you keep close to your heart is totally normal.

    kill harry potter

      5. He was an excellent planner.

      Voldemort was an impressive planner. That whole Triwizard Tournament thing? Wowza. (Miss you, Cedric. Always.)

      After all, if Voldemort just waltzed into Hogwarts (never mind the fact that he technically couldn’t have, not having a body and all), he would not have become the grand death-defying dude he did.

      In order to be a good leader, you need to meet with your team and strategize. Come up with a good plan, months, even years ahead, and make it known that you are fierce and have got all your wits about you.

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      6. He dreamed big.

      Whenever you’re trying to lead your team to victory, and you start to feel like your end goal is impossible, just remember that you’re not aiming to rid the human race of all Muggle blood while ruling the world under your fierce, unwavering tyranny. Your goal will start to feel a whole lot more attainable.

      7. He had conviction…and a lot of it.

      “It is the quality of one’s convictions that determines success, not the number of followers.”

      We all know that Remus Lupin was the one to say that (and he was directly talking about You-Know-Who himself), but let’s be real here: if Voldemort wasn’t full of conviction, I don’t know who is. Even Dumbledore had a lot of self-doubt hidden under that beautiful white beard of his. Voldemort, on the other hand, believed every word he said – and his conviction certainly convinced quite a few folks.

      As a leader, you have to believe in what you say. You have to truly know you’re capable, with all of your dark, decrepit heart.

      8. He presented himself well.

      Voldemort was a pretty great public speaker. He possessed quite a bit of charisma, which he was well known for as a youth at Hogwarts. It was that charisma that helped him to gather such a loyal following of evil, terrible, mostly-Slytherin minions.

      Conviction goes hand in hand with good presentation. To be a good leader, you’ve got to look and act the part. And when I say “look,” I don’t at all mean you need to adhere to any ridiculous body standards. After all, if you have a nose, you already one-upped The Dark Lord. Congratulations.

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      laugh

        9. He had his own style.

        Voldemort had his own personal brand that never wavered. It generally had to do with dark colors and skulls and snakes; not exactly my thing, but hey, it worked for him (well, up to a point), and it kept his team unified. I don’t think the Death Eaters would have continued to support him so strongly if he suddenly exchanged their hooded cloaks with fedoras and plaid flannel shirts.

        Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Find out your own leadership style, and own it.

        10. He was creative.

        Tom Marvolo Riddle. I Am Lord Voldemort. Creativity at its creepiest.

        Let’s also not forget the interesting ways he managed to survive multiple times, i.e. unicorn blood and turbans.

        To be a successful leader, you have to think outside the cupboard under the stairs. Obstacles will come, and it may not seem like there is a way around them, but there will be a solution, sure as Dumbledore’s love for socks.

        socks

          Featured photo credit: luciana_ufrj via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on May 21, 2019

          How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

          How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

          Regardless of how creative you already consider yourself to be, there’s a good chance you would like to level up your creative abilities.

          You might want to write a better song, think of better solutions to problems at work or around the home or maybe paint a picture.

          In any case, the good news is that creativity is not born: it’s made, and each one of us has the potential to be more creative and come up with incredible ideas.

          “Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

          The definition of creativity is broad, and reminds us that creativity is not limited to artists or musicians. It does however require that we have some kind of impact on the domain in which we create.

          Creativity also emphasizes values.

          “The process of having original ideas that have value” — Ken Robinson

          This makes up for what Csikszentmihalyi misses out. For instance, we can make a change in the world without adding significant value. Any destructive act, like smashing a window, creates change, but it doesn’t necessarily create valuable change.

          In short, there isn’t one single definition of creativity It’s up to us to find a definition that feels true and useful. When you know what your standard is, It’s much easier to embrace creativity and start to cultivate it.

          And in this article, you will learn how to be more creative and take a good look at what goes into the creative skill:

          1. Cultivate Focus

          In order to create, there needs to be a focus on creating something, whether it’s a song, a theory, a product, or a sculpture.

          You could also call this “drive” – it’s the initial spark that drives the solution to a problem, or the will to get on your laptop and start typing.

          However, it’s worth noting there are different stages to the creative process: the divergent stage and the convergent stage.

          In the divergent stage, we want a broad focus – we want to be willing to let in lots of different inputs, ideas and insights. This is the time for brainstorming all possible ideas and solutions.

          In the convergent stage, we start to narrow our focus, like a camera lens. At this stage, we start to drill down to a handful of ideas or solutions, discriminating throughout the process.

          How to cultivate focus?

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          Take a 20 Minute Walk

          Walking away and getting your heart rate up is the best free tool you have in regaining your focus.

          I know it might seem counterintuitive to take a break right when you’re at your busiest, and especially when you’re drowning in your massive to do list, but the effects it will have on your clarity and ability to focus are undeniable.

          Walking is physiologically proven to release stress, and clear your mind. In fact, most of my most brilliant ideas (and some pretty terrible ones too) have occurred on my daily walks.

          If you give this technique a try, what you’ll find is that you’re much more productive than you were before you took a breather.

          Over time, if you do these walks daily, you’ll quickly find that your to-do list starts to feel a lot less significant, and a lot more doable. It’s all about keeping razor focused, and that’s what short daily walks will gift you.

          2. Build a Structure

          When I wake up in the morning, I start the day with a structure in mind. I know that 15 minutes will be dedicated to meditation, 30 minutes to coffee and reading, 20 minutes to yoga and so on.

          The structure of this morning routine might be boring, but the act of each task in itself has the potential to be, on some level, “creative.”

          The point of structure is that it gives you the space to make time for something you want to do. It helps you carve out the time to do your creative work. Once you begin that thing in itself, you are free to go about it however you’d like.

          Without structure, we can lose focus and can feel overwhelmed with possibility. If you’ve ever looked at a blank page and felt too overwhelmed with possibility to make a mark on it, you’ll know what I mean. How much easier it gets when you are given some guidelines or a deadline?

          The trick is finding the right amount of structure for you and your creative needs. Too little structure and we feel overwhelmed. Too much structure, and we risk feeling limited and stifled.

          Again, it’s worth thinking about creating in those two stages: divergent (less structure) and convergent (more structure.)

          How to build a structure?

          Create a Morning Routine

          Your morning routine doesn’t have to be rigid or so arduous you dread waking up. In fact, it should feel like the opposite. When you get a routine that works for you, you’ll look forward to starting the day.

          We all have different needs and preferences which can shape our ideal routine. In the book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, you can be inspired over 160 different creators’ daily routines, from Charles Darwin to Pablo Picasso.

          Experiment with any that take your fancy, and see how you feel with a bit more structure to start your day.

          You can also take a look at this article about morning routine for inspirations: The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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          3. Find Motivation

          There is a theory that suggests: people will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself — not by external pressures. This is also known as intrinsic motivation; a drive that comes from within.

          Think of a time when you did some of your best work — chances are you were totally absorbed in what you were doing, to the exclusion of everything else. You were completely focused on the work itself, barely noticing time flying by.

          Now think of a time when you felt under pressure to perform. Maybe it was an exam, or a commission for an important client, or maybe your boss had told you “there’s a lot riding on this.”

          Notice the difference? In the first memory, you were driven by intrinsic motivation, which made it relatively easy, even enjoyable, to be highly creative.

          In the second memory however, extrinsic motivation was breathing down your neck, distracting you by whispering about the rewards for success and the horrible consequences of failure: likely making it harder to focus on the task at hand.

          For this reason, intrinsic motivation, if you can find it, is what separates the good from great creative work.

          This isn’t to say only internal motivators help. I personally get motivated by luring myself to work with a good cappuccino at my favourite cafe. That will get me ready to write or edit or whatever I’ve been avoiding.

          How to find motivation?

          Connect to Your “Why”

          Your “Why” is your fuel: the thing that drives you forward, that gives you a reason to do what you’re doing.

          ‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’ — Friedrich Nietzche

          When you have a reason to do something, a purpose or a goal that matters to you, you can connect your daily actions to it. Then, each act becomes infused with meaning and you find that intrinsic motivation comes naturally.

          The trick is to remember your “why” and connect with it on a regular basis.

          Think about how you want to feel on a daily basis. What would you like to accomplish in the next year? What would you like for yourself in the next five years? How about in your lifetime?

          Ultimately, the tasks you face on a daily basis, or at least some of them, will connect to a greater purpose if you follow this path and you will find you feel more motivated to create and less resistance.

          If you aren’t sure where to start looking for motivation, this will help: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

          4. Be an Expert in a Chosen Domain

          Research has shown that just as expertise in one domain does not predict expertise in other unrelated domains; creativity in one domain does not predict creativity in other unrelated domains.[1]

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          So just because you can paint a pretty picture, doesn’t mean you can creatively solve a mathematical problem.

          If you’ve taken one of those tests like the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which will ask you to think of a bazillion uses for a pencil, and scored well, unfortunately this is only an indicator of divergent thinking skills. It is not a predictor for creativity all round.

          The good news is, you can train your creativity in your chosen domain. Much like a muscle, you can isolate exercises to strengthen it.

          Of course you can still do a total body workout – or atotal creativity workout – but it means your creativity-training exercises need to come from a wide variety of domains; not just thinking up uses for a pencil.

          How to become an expert?

          Make a Mastery Training Plan

          Following our physical workout analogy, it’s worth applying the habits of great athletes to your chosen creative domain. For example:

          1. Decide what area/s you want to work on

          Much like a tennis player who decides they need to improve their serving technique, you can decide what area within your creative domain you want to improve at. Get specific.

          2. Decide how much time you can dedicate

          Most of us don’t have all day to train like a pro tennis player might, but you can likely squeeze 20 to 30 minutes in a day, if you want to. Whatever the time you can allow is, decide to dedicate yourself to it.

          3. Review your progress

          Finally, in order to check your progress, you can take regular reviews. Decide what your metrics are, and take time each week to check in with yourself.

          How many days did you practice? How did you compare to the previous week? This kind of review can help you stay on track, and actually creates more intrinsic motivation as you see yourself develop.

          5. Create a Conducive Environment

          A psychologist in 1943 proposed that behaviour is:[2]

          “a function of both the person as well as the physical environment they are in.”

          I would suggest that the act of creating is a behaviour and that, even though it begins as an internal process, it’s very much affected by and even dependent on the environment we are in.

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          I started noticing how environment affects me when I worked in an office. Over time, I realized that the more people who were in or who were talking, the more distracted I was. If I got to the office early before my coworkers arrived, I was twice as effective.

          I was even more effective if I was at home. Now that I work from home, I know I’m even more effective when in certain coffee shops. Ideally, places that have high ceilings, gentle lighting, some barely noticeable background music – and excellent coffee.

          It’s these little variations in our environment that can really shape our creative output.

          If you’re an introvert, you probably do your best work alone. If you’re an extrovert, you probably do your best work in the company of others.

          This isn’t to say you should find one way of doing things and stick to it: in fact, varying your environment from time to time is a great way to stoke the creative fire too, which we’ll touch on more later.

          How to create a conducive environment?

          Add or Subtract Stimuli

          Novelty in our environment has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that increases our desire to seek out reward.[3]

          If you’re looking for creative motivation, adding some novelty into your environment can be just what you need.

          On the other hand, some people are highly sensitive and when it comes to having too much stimulation in their environment, they find it difficult to focus.

          Experiment with working in different environments. Note how you feel. Note whether you do better creative work or have more interesting ideas when you’re alone or with others.

          Try listening to music, people chatting or try being in complete silence. Try a dimly lit room, try working in bright sunlight.

          In each case, note how you feel before, during and afterwards and rate the quality of your work.

          The Bottom Line

          Creativity is not one particular skill or talent one can have. It comes in as many broad and unique flavors as there are people on this earth.

          To be more creative, take little steps each day. Acknowledge where and when you feel most inspired, motivated and original and spend more energy in those areas.

          More Articles About Creativity

          Featured photo credit: Sticker Mule via unsplash.com

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