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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 6, 2021

          14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

          14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

          Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

          In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

          For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

          For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

          Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

          Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

          Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

          How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

          Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

          1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

          Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

          For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

          2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

          Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

          Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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          Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

          3. Create a System

          Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

          This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

          You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

          Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

          Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

          4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

          We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

          If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

          Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

          Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

          5. Use a Ratings Scale

          Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

          Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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          It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

          6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

          This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

          You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

          You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

          7. Offer Feedback Forms

          Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

          First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

          Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

          You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

          8. Track Cost Effectiveness

          This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

          Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

          Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

          9. Use Self-Evaluations

          Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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          Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

          10. Monitor Time Management

          This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

          Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

            The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

            While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

            11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

            We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

            Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

            For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

            Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

            Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

            From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

            12. Utilize Peer Feedback

            This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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            Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

            Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

            It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

            13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

            When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

            Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

            Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

            14. Use an External Evaluator

            Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

            They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

            While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

            Final Thoughts

            These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

            The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

            The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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            Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

            Reference

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