“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 October 7, 2021
Are You Addicted to Productivity?
“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”
Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,
“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”
Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.
Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.
“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post. “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”
This is my mantra:
I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.
But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton
Addiction to Productivity is Real
Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.
“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC. “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”
Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.
“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”
Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”
“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”
“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today. “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”
“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.
There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types
Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”
By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.
Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”
Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”
Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”
Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”
The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.
- Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
- Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
- Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
- What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
- When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
- Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
- Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?
The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.
Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction
Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.
1. Set Limits
Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.
For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.
2. Create a Not-to-Do List
Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.
3. Be Vulnerable
By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.
4. Understand Why You Procrastinate
Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.
Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.
There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.
5. Don’t Be a Copycat
Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.
That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.
6. Say Yes to Less
Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.
That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.
Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.
7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next
“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .
“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”
- Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
- By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
- Establish realistic goals.
- To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
- Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
- Hold yourself accountable.
- Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
- Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.
Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.
The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.
9. Learn How to Relax
“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.
“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”
“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”
But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;
- Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
- Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
- If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
- Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
- Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
- Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
- You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
- Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
- Visit a massage therapist.
- Just breathe.
“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.
It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.
Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com
|||^||Matt Cuts: The dangers of productivity porn|
|||^||James Bedell: The Trap of Productivity Porn|
|||^||BBC: When productivity becomes an addiction|
|||^||Psychology Today: Productivity Addiction|
|||^||The Wall Street Journal: To Stop Procrastinating, Look to Science of Mood Repair|