“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” – Warren Bennis
Great leaders share many common traits with you and I. For one thing they are human! They have made mistakes, failed, they have overcome disappointment, heartache, tragedy and grief. No great leader has ever been able to escape the roller coaster ride of life.
Becoming a great leader is a work in progress. There are a number of events that occur in the life of a leader where they were required to act on specific personal qualities or traits that enabled them to lead people to achieve successful outcomes. I believe that everybody has within them the potential to be a great leader.
Nelson Mandela is an example of a person who had a personal philosophy and mindset that enabled him to become a great leader. He didn’t think he was any one special however when placed in a situation where he would be tested and isolated from life, his personal philosophy became the mantra from which he became a great leader.
You may not know it but you hold within you the beliefs, attitudes and traits that are of leadership quality. Here are 13 signs that you have within you the mindset of a leader. If you “unleashed” your leadership mindset, there is no doubt that you would become the “great leader” you were born to be.
1. You Are A Realist and An Optimist
You accept that life is unique and it is what it is. You like to deal with the reality of life however because you are an optimist you have hope for the future and a positive outlook on life.
You believe that there will always be a way to sort out any situation you may face in life. Your optimistic view of life is contagious and a source of positive energy for those around you.
These are great qualities to have as a leader, as leaders need to be positive and hopeful and at the same time accepting what will be, will be.
2. You Love To Learn
You are always open to learning new things, in fact you actively search for new knowledge and information that can enhance your abilities to be a better person. You also love to learn from others and you will actively search out and connect with people who you can watch and learn from.
Your love of learning is definitely a leadership quality. A good leader never stops learning. They never turn down the opportunity to learn new things. Like you, leaders are open to the fact that the opportunity to learn can come at any time. It could come from a university lecturer, the person who makes their coffee or sells them a newspaper. Your love of learning sets you on the pathway to being a great leader.Advertising
3. You Are A Good Listener
“We have two ears and one mouth, using them in proportion is not a bad idea!” – Richard Branson
You know when you are a good listener because people come to you to ask your advice or to share their problems. They know that when they talk to you, you make them feel that they have been heard and valued.
You don’t like to do a lot of talking when you are listening to a person because that distracts you from getting to the core of the issue or problem that is being discussed.
The conversations you have with these people are not about you and you understand that. You may know the answer about how this person could solve the problem, however your focus is guiding and advising the person as to how they can come to their own solution or plan of action.
Richard Branson believes that a person who is a great listener has the ability to be a great leader. It is a key requirement according to Branson and you have it.
4. You Always See Potential In Others
You love people and you connect easily with all types of people. You also operate intuitively and will recognise very quickly the potential abilities of people you meet.
You see the potential for personal leadership in others and will encourage and support those people to take up any opportunity to unleash their potential.
5. You Are A Kind Person
You have empathy for people and you can very quickly tune in to how they are feeling. You do not believe that by showing kindness that you are being weak. In fact you see it as a strength because by being empathetic and kind to others means that you are living your values and that to you is very important.
Being kind to others is an integral part of your life philosophy and this is what makes you a great leader.
6. You Are Resourceful
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
You have this amazing ability to use what ever you are given to make the best of a situation.People look to you as the person who can take them out of a crises because you always seem to find a way.
You are prepared to ask for favours, work hard, stay focused, be honest and ask for help. You have an ability to see and prepare for the future because you embrace the concept of change.
To you change is a constant part of life and you just go with it. This is a key quality for a leader to have, because to be resourceful, you have to be motivated to act quickly – procrastination is like a swear word to you.
7. You Are A Good Communicator
You know who you are and what you stand for. You can clearly articulate to others your thoughts and opinions. Speaking your truth is important to you however you are also very aware of how others receive your message.
You are quite strategic in how you deliver what can be received as “unwelcome news”. Your intention is always to communicate even if it is a difficult message with heart felt intent and you strive to ensure that those receiving the message feel and clearly understand your intent and what you are saying to them.
There is no confusion, misunderstanding or unclear expectations when you are communicating with others because you work hard to ensure that all parties are on the same page.
8. You Create And Maintain Great Relationships
You enjoy being around people and you surround yourself with people who challenge, inspire, teach, support and encourage you. You are a great networker because you love connecting to people.
Family and friends are very important to you and you work hard to have flourishing relationships with all your family and friends.
People see you as someone who is reliable, honest and trustworthy – you keep your word and you are not into the drama of life. That’s just not your style. You avoid relationships with people who lead lives that are full of drama and negativity – their energy drags you down.
You love the positive energy that your relationships give you as it is this energy that fires you up, inspires and motivates you. This is such an important quality for a leader to have and you have it! Congratulations.Advertising
9. You Like To Have Fun And Celebrate
“If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try some thing else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will flourish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life.” – Richard Branson
This is how Richard Branson lives his life and you follow a similar life philosophy. Enjoying what you do in your life both professionally and personally is important to you and you just love to have fun. You also love to celebrate your successes and other people’s successes.
Your optimism and outlook on life is a source of positive energy and its contagious. People really enjoy being around you because you inspire and motivate them with your energy, enthusiasm and love of life.
People always feel good when they engage and connect with you. A wonderful quality that sets you up to be an incredible leader.
10. You Are Self Aware And Confident
You know who you are, what you are good at and what you are not so good at. You accept that you are accountable for your own actions and behaviours.
You are not into the blame game and will admit you are wrong or have made a mistake with no hesitation. You spend a lot of time getting to know you so that you can be a better person.
You are really comfortable working with others who are more skilled than you because it means the job will get done – probably to a better standard than if you had tried to complete the task alone.
You know your strengths and your weakness and you’re not afraid to share with people these aspects about you. You know when you can help and when you need help and as a result you appear to others as a confident, articulate and empathetic person.
11. You Are Prepared To Take A Stand For What You Believe
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
You know who you are and what you believe in and you make sure that those around you know also. You are not afraid to speak your mind. You also believe it is important to do what you believe is right.Advertising
You are committed to your values and you live your life according to those values. You respect diversity and difference however you do not tolerate injustice, intolerance and the abuse of others.
People feel inspired by your commitment and passion and will seek you out to connect and engage with you. This is a key quality of a great and courageous leader. It takes courage to stand up and speak out for those who are too afraid to.
12. You Tend Not To Panic In Difficult Situations
“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” – Publilius Syrus
This quotes illustrates when good leaders shine – which is effectively leading in challenging and tough times. By staying calm in times of crises you demonstrate a key leadership quality. When you are able to stay calm in a crises situation you maintain the ability to reason, to be effective, to have empathy and to connect to how you feel.
An individual who panics can not act or respond with consideration. They can only react and respond in the heat of the moment. You do not operate this way because you know that irrational and reactive behaviour does not produce effective and reasonable solutions.
13. You Are A Solution Based Thinker Who Likes To Think Outside of the Square
You are future orientated in your thinking and that means that you like to look outside of the square to search for solutions. Forget the problem you say, lets look at what solutions are out there for us to consider on how we can solve the problem.
You have an ability to see and prepare for the future because you embrace the concept of change. To you change is a constant part of life and you prepare for it and you just go with it.
You enjoy the challenge of thinking outside of the square because it requires you to be creative and innovative and thats when you feel the most energised and inspired.
People feel your passion and energy – it is contagious and people love you for it! When you are in this space you are operating as the great leader you were born to be.
“I think leadership comes from integrity – that you do whatever you ask others to do. I think there are non-obvious ways to lead. Just by providing a good example as a parent, a friend, a neighbour makes it possible for other people to see better ways to do things. Leadership does not need to be a dramatic, fist in the air and trumpets blaring, activity.” – Scott Berkun
Last Updated on March 23, 2021
Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time
One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.
The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.
You need more than time management. You need energy management
1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive
How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.
I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.
I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.
2. Determine your “peak hours”
Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.
Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.
My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.
In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.
Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.
3. Block those high-energy hours
Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.
Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.
If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.
That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.
There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.
Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.
Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com