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13 Things Truly Great Leaders Do In Difficult Times

13 Things Truly Great Leaders Do In Difficult Times

From Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, great leaders have walked and ruled this planet throughout human history. These days, boardrooms have replaced most battlefields, and great leaders are more likely to flex corporate muscle than wield an actual sword. The Internet gives us all a chance to be great leaders; these are the skills they embody.

1. Great leaders manage fear

As Franklin D. Roosevelt put it in his inaugural speech, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Superman has superpowers, but he’s no hero. Superman is invincible and therefore has nothing to fear. A real hero acts in the presence of fear.

2. Great leaders put the mission first

You have a job to do, and, whether you like it or not, you have to put that job first. Great leaders recognize that completing the objective is the most important part of the mission and let nothing stop them from accomplishing it. Everything else is just extra perks.

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3. Great leaders are well-prepared

No matter what situation they find themselves in, great leaders are always prepared. They may not immediately have the tools available or the right answer, but they know where to find it. Thinking on their feet is important, but a great plan can’t be beat.

4. Great leaders are tough, but fair

Great leaders inspire greatness in their followers as well. They do this by holding them to the same high standards they hold themselves to. They understand everyone is human, though, and don’t expect the impossible.

5. Great leaders encourage others

Nobody wants to work for that boss who bosses everyone around and has no idea what he or she is talking about. Instead of constantly criticizing people, great leaders believe in positive reinforcement and are loved by their followers.

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6. Great leaders effectively communicate

The reason you have an Apple product is because Steve Jobs knew how to communicate to you exactly why you need one. The ability to communicate is essential in convincing people to do what you want, and that’s how a leader gains followers.

7. Great leaders use resources wisely

Are you broke? If you are, it’s because you live a lifestyle that leads to being broke – you waste your current resources and are too busy fighting to replenish them to ever get ahead. Great leaders use exactly the resources they need.

8. Great leaders imitate other leaders

Thomas Edison idolized Leonardo da Vinci, and nearly every military leader in the world to this day follows the strategies of Alexander the Great. To be the best, you have to beat the best. If they’re already dead, emulate them.

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9. Great leaders are great followers

Behind every great leader is an even greater leader. As Derek Sivers, CEO of CD Baby, explains, the first follower is the most important part of a movement. A leader without a follower is just a lone nut.

10. Great leaders remain open to change

Even the best plans have issues as soon as they’re applied to the real world. A truly great leader accepts this and is able to change at a moment’s notice. While all the losers complain about a new change and wait for instructions, a great leader takes the lead.

11. Great leaders never give up

Every winner loses, but not every loser wins. Great leaders accept losses and learn from them. Then they get back up, dust themselves off, and try again.

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12. Great leaders accept responsibility

When something goes wrong, a coward will blame others. It’s not uncommon for stuff to roll downhill in an organization, as every level passes the buck to the next level beneath them. To be a great leader, it’s essential to accept responsibility for mistakes and correct them.

13. Great leaders are quirky

All great leaders stick out in some way. If they acted like everyone else, they’d end up following like everyone else. Instead, they listen to themselves, trust their abilities, and rise to the top.

Anyone can be a leader, but what makes a leader truly great are their followers. If you live as though you’re already a leader, you’ll be well on your way to becoming one. You’ll be an outcast for a period, and people will mock you for being different, but stick to your guns. Soon enough you’ll have the power to hire or fire your detractors, and there’ll be nothing they can do about it, because you’re a great leader… and they’re just a shlub.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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