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13 Signs That A Leadership Mindset Is Inside You Though You Don’t Know

13 Signs That A Leadership Mindset Is Inside You Though You Don’t Know

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown And Get More Out of Life How to Persevere (And Get Ahead!) When the Going Gets Tough Anxiety Coping Mechanisms That Work When You’re Stressed to the Max If You Don’t Know What to Do with Your Life, Read These 5 Strategies 10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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