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10 Things A Truly Great Leader Do Every Day

10 Things A Truly Great Leader Do Every Day

The annals of history have been illuminated by tales of inspirational leaders, from William the Conqueror and Robert the Bruce to political stalwarts such as the great Winston Churchill. These individuals, though separated by thousands of years and the opportunism of circumstance, retained several key attributes that are inherent among all great leaders. Given that gifted leaders often emerge during times of austerity such as war or famine, however, the absence of these circumstances in developed economies has made it difficult for truly inspirational individuals to stand out in modern times.

Sir Winston Churchill

    This may explain the perceived lack of genuine leaders in 2014, although another argument could also be extended. A recent study by Dale Carnegie Training revealed that nearly 75% of modern-day employees were not fully engaged at work, with a lack of leadership from supervisors and management cited as one of the primary reasons for this. If this is to be taken at face value, it suggests that many of today’s leaders lack the necessary skills and natural attributes to inspire those around them on a daily basis.

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    With this debate in mind, it is worth considering how the accepted traits of great leaders may be translated into everyday actions and decision making in the contemporary age. Consider the following things that a genuinely inspirational leader does on a daily basis.

    1. They communicate in a straightforward and direct manner.

    While many of the historical great leaders have inspired through example, communication is also a crucial weapon if you are to motivate those around you. The finest leaders strive to communicate in a direct and straightforward manner at all times, without ever alienating their staff or creating unnecessary friction. Although this is an easily acquired skill, it also requires an innate ability to listen to those around you and articulate thoughts into understandable words and actions. Whether delivering good or bad news, this philosophy encourages mutual trust and helps to establish productive, long-term relationships.

    2. They delegate tasks to trusted associates.

    There is a romantic ideal which suggests that great leaders tend to stand alone, but this is often far from the truth. The majority of inspirational leaders have relied on a strong and trusted support network, whether you consider the loyal armies that followed monarchs such as Henry Tudor into battle or the political aides that helped great Presidents like John F. Kennedy to effect social change. The same principle applies today, as the very best leaders place faith in their closest allies and delegate tasks so that they can remain focused on executing a single, overall strategy.

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    John F Kennedy

      3. They put people in the right and appropriate duty.

      Great leaders have an innate ability to think analytically, and develop strategies that create a purposeful and motivated team. More specifically, they are able to analyze a group of employees or associates and distinguish between the members who offer value and those who do not. Beyond this, great leaders also ensure that roles are handed out appropriately so that each individual can maximize their own potential. This is part of a continual process, and one which aids the accomplishment of independent and team-orientated goals.

      4. They demonstrate the presence of a clear and concise plan.

      The ability to communicate directly, delegate and think analytically helps to inspire trust in others, and this forms the cornerstone of effective leadership. It is also important that every action or decision is taken with a clearly defined goal in mind, as this strengthens the faith that each individual or team of people has in your leadership credentials. While the strategies that you use to achieve your goals can be constantly adapted to suit your needs, you must remain focused on a fixed final objective and demonstrate this strength of will to those around you.

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      5. They host regular and meaningful one-to-ones.

      In a commercial environment, managers often carry out one-to-ones with individual employees in an attempt to review their performance and develop personal growth plans for the future. While this is a worthwhile exercise in theory, it means little unless the interaction is meaningful and allows both parties involved to express themselves confidently. Great leaders use one-to-ones as a medium to communicate openly and regularly with their subjects, in an environment that empowers people to find their voice and share their opinions without trepidation.

      6. They actively manage conflicts when necessary.

      In between scheduled one-to-ones, leaders may also be required to mediate and resolve conflicts in their team. This is a far more challenging exercise, as conflict tends to be emotive and therefore generates high levels of feeling between the aggrieved parties. Great leaders face these challenges every single day, and use their natural authority to create a calm and productive environment where people can share their views honestly and constructively. By using their natural communication skills to listen and empathize, they can arrive at a fair compromise which satisfies all parties involved.

      7. They exhibit leadership maturity at all times.

      The ability to mediate and resolve conflict is an example of leadership maturity, which is crucial for anyone who aims to gain respect and credibility in a management role. Great leaders understand that this must be exhibited at all times, and used to influence every single decision, action and strategy that they execute. Having maturity as a leader will ensure that you conduct yourself with dignity even during challenging times, whether you are forced to deliver bad news or make a decision that has a negative impact on your subjects. For an example, you need look no further that the former U.S. President George Washington, who was renowned for his enduring dignified and composed manner.

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      Portrait of George Washington

        8. They understand the value of “siege mentality.”

        While the term “siege mentality” hardly sounds positive, it has tremendous relevance when applied to leadership. It is a philosophy which has been utilized by sporting management icons, such as former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who would often use high profile defeats and subsequent media criticism to strengthen his players resolve and draw them together as a more unified group. This has considerable merits in commercial leadership, as it can encourage employees to improve their performance and levels of collaboration to help drive companies forward in a challenging market.

        Alex Ferguson

          9. They plan ahead for the future.

          Great leaders share a great deal in common with entrepreneurs, as they often have unusually high levels of courage and are able to inspire others in the pursuit of a common goal. Another key attribute that unifies these demographics is their vision and capacity for forward planning as they strive to establish a durable legacy for the long-term future. Great leaders are always motivated by effecting change long after they have gone, and constantly plan for a time when they are no longer able to take the helm.

          10. They learn and develop as individuals.

          Perhaps the single greatest attribute that unifies great and inspirational leaders is their level of drive, which enables them to maintain progress even during times of austerity. These characteristics also inspire them to be proactive when pursuing knowledge and personal development, as they constantly want to learn and improve as individuals. Through an insatiable appetite for life and a willingness to reflect on their own performance every single day, great leaders continually evolve and achieve new heights as they grow older.

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          Last Updated on January 2, 2019

          Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

          Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

          The end of the year is the time when everyone tries to give you advice on how to live healthier, look better, and earn more money.

          It’s understandable if you find yourself lost among all the tips and opinions. Sometimes you no longer know what you truly want to achieve next year – and what’s just imposed by society.

          To help you out, we’ve made this article about the things you should remove from your new year’s resolution list – instead of adding to it – to make your daily life more harmonious and peaceful.

          So just make sure you cross these off your New Year’s to-do list – your body, mind and soul will be thankful.

          1. Stop Buying Meaningless Gifts

          We all know the sense of obligation – when we have to buy a gift for an event or celebration that’s already tomorrow, but we still have no idea of what to give.

          Take these tips close to heart for all upcoming holidays, including birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.:

          Stop focusing on the material objects

          Instead of focusing on what material object to give, think about the emotion you want to evoke[1] in the gift recipient, and then pick a symbolic gift that can support or represent that emotion. For example, you can gift coziness by presenting a “comfort set” with warm socks, tea, candles, etc. Or give motivation by presenting a beautiful planner or notebook.

          Plan gifts in advance

          We know this is easier said than done. But if you try to plan which gifts you’ll need in the upcoming months (try making a list three or four times a year), ideas will more likely come to mind and you’ll avoid that last-minute shopping. Not to mention, you’ll be able to keep an eye on sales to get the best prices.

          Suggest a better way

          If you’re tired of exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays, initiate a different approach. For example, draw names among family members and agree that each one only buys a present to that one person they got. Alternatively, you can agree not to share gifts among adults, and only give presents to kids of the family. Or, ask friends to donate to charity instead of buying a gift for you.

          Go for common experiences instead of exchanging gifts

          You can agree (with your partner or the extended family) to go on a common trip, dinner or another activity, instead of spending money on gifts.

          Sometimes you’ll have to be the one who initiates breaking the rules that have been accepted in the family for years. But if you suspect that you’re not the only one in the group who’s tired of gift-hunting, you’ll surely find support for your suggestions.

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          2. Don’t Exaggerate with Diets and Fitness Resolutions

          It’s no secret that TV shows, article headlines, and ads (not to mention our healthy diet-obsessed friends) make us feel like we need to look better, slimmer and younger than we actually are. But going on yet another diet or starting a fitness plan with the wrong motivation rarely leads to great results.

          If you are like many people, you have probably signed up for an annual gym membership at least once in your life – only to drop it one month later.

          How do you balance a good resolution for a healthier life without pushing yourself into commitments that won’t last?

          Here’s what you can do:

          Set a healthier pattern

          For example, do meat-free Mondays or reduce meat consumption to three days per week (less saturated fat for you and better for the environment). Or choose to eat only healthy food at least three days a week or only on weekdays (e.g. make sure your meals contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, and protein). This way you’ll already have a healthier diet while still being able to treat yourself with a snack on weekends or parties.

          Get a fitness watch

          Fitness watches like Fitbit or MiBand are tiny accessories that will count your steps, calories burnt and will serve as an excellent motivator to move – or to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

          Find a physical activity that you enjoy

          Even if you are not that fond of doing sports, you can definitely find an activity that you’d do with pleasure. Think about what you’d like – from taking up Nordic walking to pilates or even exercising at home.

          Try intermittent fasting

          This is an alternating cycles of fasting and eating. For example, stop eating at 8 pm and restart not sooner than 12 hours later. This approach has been proven to have numerous health benefits, in addition to weight loss.

          Skip cabs or driving to work and opt for cycling or walking instead

          You’ll burn calories, breathe some fresh air, and save money – win-win!

          3. Put a Cap on Your Daily To-Do List

          In today’s busy world, planning your day in a stress-free way is actually an art in itself. It’s natural to want to be a loving parent, a diligent employee, an active member of the local community and probably several other individual roles.

          But playing all these roles requires energy and meticulous planning. How not to lose yourself amidst all the appointments and responsibilities? And – most importantly – how to still find time for relaxing and recharging yourself?

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          These daily planning tips will help you have more stress-free days:

          Leave bigger intervals between meetings

          If you schedule too many appointments or chores in a day, you’ll probably end up late at some point, and as a result – more stressed. There are many different reasons why people are late, but poor planning is a major factor too.

          Plan time to relax

          As weird as it may sound, you should try and schedule your resting time. For example, if you only have one free evening this week, and a friend tries to squeeze in a meeting, feel free to say no. Don’t feel obliged to specify the reason for your refusal, just say that you are busy.

          Try to be a little pessimistic

          We’re often packed with plans or running late for errands because we tend to be overly optimistic – about the traffic, the time it takes to do things, etc. Instead, try an opposite tactic — assume you’ll hit traffic or the meeting will take longer.

          Try waking up earlier

          Sometimes even waking up 30 minutes earlier can give you the much-needed head start for several errands of the day. But remember to get enough sleep every night, even if it means going to bed earlier.

          Plan your day the day before

          Chances are your day will be much better organized if you pack a lunch and lay out an outfit before going to bed.

          Designate a time for checking emails and social messages

          If you start checking your messages between appointments, you risk getting lost in a sea of messages that need replies. Designate a time for this activity or do it in case you arrived early to a meeting.

          4. Let Go of Unhealthy and Time-Consuming Habits

          If there’s one thing we should get rid of in the new year, it’s the habits that steal our time, provide instant gratification but don’t offer any value in the long term. Or even worse, leave a negative impact on our health.

          Here are some common (and pointless) habits along with tips on how to get rid of them:

          Binge-watching TV series

          Even if most online television platforms offer you lists of “Best TV Shows to Binge Watch”, being addicted to series is a major time-waster.

          You can manage this addiction in several ways, for example, watch one episode per day (or a few per week) as a reward, only after you’ve finished an assignment or done a house chore. Or try replacing this habit with exercise or reading a book – this will be hard at first but should stick after a few weeks. You can also try to track how much time you spend on TV or movies – seeing how much of your life you are wasting might urge you to do something about it.

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          Running on coffee

          Being a coffee addict is kind of a stylish addiction nowadays, but it’s not that innocent as it may initially seem. Besides addiction being a problem in itself, drinking too much coffee (more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day) may lead to nervousness, insomnia, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat, and even muscle tremors.[2]

          As a solution, try switching to tea or edible coffee – a more sustainable, healthy, and productivity-enhancing alternative. For example, Coffee Pixels are solid coffee bars that generate a more even energy kick throughout the day without the coffee-induced abstinence and dehydration.

          Procrastination

          Fighting procrastination requires some serious willpower. If it is a problem in your daily life or work, try ”eating the frog” in the morning – get over your biggest or hardest tasks first, then tackle everything else.

          Alternatively, use time tracking software to monitor exactly how much time you waste on unproductive actions, websites or apps. Once you know exactly how much time you’re spending unproductively, try to limit your time on social media, for example to just 20 minutes per day.

          If nothing else works, try bribing yourself — promise yourself to do something fun or pleasant when you finish your assignment.

          Whichever habit you want to give up, consider using some habits building tools to make a contract with yourself and reward yourself for milestones achieved.

          5. Stop over-consuming

          We live in the age of consumerism – huge manufacturers with their promise of a comfortable life on the one hand, and growing environmental threats – that are the direct result of our modern lifestyle – on the other hand. There’s only one solution – try to consume less whenever and wherever you can.

          Before making additional purchases, ask yourself these questions:

          • Do I really need it? Did I need it yesterday?
          • Can’t I buy it used or borrow it from friends?
          • Can I rent it?
          • Can I make it myself?
          • Am I buying the most sustainable version of this product?

          For example, check if the brand you chose is conscious about the environment, for example, are the products they manufacture energy efficient? Do they try to use less packaging?

          Also, if you often find yourself buying too many groceries, promise to buy only the amount that fits in one shopping bag (that you bring along). If you often forget to take your shopping bag with you, get yourself a 2-in-1 wallet with a built-in shopping bag for more eco-friendly shopping.

          6. Learn to Unplug from Your Phone

          Today’s world is crammed with information, and many people struggle to keep focus on what’s truly important. There’s just too much going on in the world – too much to read, to watch, to know, too many conversations to participate in.

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          But how to refuse the temptation to check the phone and start using social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way?

          Some tips for managing your phone-dependency:

          Spend only a limited amount of battery per day

          For example, start your day with 50% battery life, and manage your phone usage so that you’ll make it till the evening.

          Block distracting apps and notifications on your phone and computer

          Choose one-hour, two-hour or longer blocking sessions and enjoy the positive impact this will have on your mood and productivity.[3]

          Set your phone on flight mode

          When you start doing an important task that requires full focus, set your phone on flight mode so that nobody can disturb you.

          Leave your phone at home or in the office when you go for lunch

          You’ll see that the feeling of being unreachable for a moment is actually very liberating.

          The Bottom Line

          As a new year begins, we’re all excitedly looking forward to what adventures await ahead of us.

          But this year, promise yourself this:

          Instead of having a never-ending list of tasks and commitments, focus on the truly meaningful ones. And cross-out all the rest without feeling guilty.

          Less is more. Make this year count. We’re all rooting for you.

          Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

          Reference

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