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15 Signs That You Are A Brave Leader

15 Signs That You Are A Brave Leader

Leadership isn’t always what’s it’s cracked up to be. Do unto others may be the “Golden Rule,” but leaders shine when they build others up, inspiring innovation rather than criticizing creativity. Discipline is a huge factor in rising as a leader, and the first seven of these 15 signs that you are a brave leader come from what I learned in Basic Combat Training for the U.S. Army. The rest I’ve gleaned from experience and thinking back on those who have most encouraged my own success in life.

1. Brave leaders recognize and appreciate loyalty.

A brave leader is one unafraid to stand up for what is right, and staying loyal to those who share your vision means withstanding some of the hard times. Loyalty is easy when everyone agrees, but brave leaders stay loyal even when it looks like their team may lose.

2. Duty to get the job done.

Quitting is often easy, but giving up always signals weakness because the leaders will adhere to a sense of duty and do what it takes to get the job done. It may not be perfect and it may not even be successful, but duty means doing the job to the best of one’s ability. No one becomes a leader without this quality.

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3. Respect the attitudes of your enemies.

The bravest leaders respect their enemies. More than a dedication to “keep your enemies closer,” those who learn from and respect their enemies learn to see things from the other points of view. While you still may disagree, you take on a leadership role that is based in respect, which is admirable and shows strength.

4. Selfless service means serving more than yourself.

Those who strive to be known as brave leaders rarely succeed because the inherent attitude takes away from what makes people rise. Serving others and putting the needs of the many above yourself is a sign of a brave leader. Self sacrifice can mean running into a burning house to rescue a kitten, but it can also mean passing up a promotion to be more available to your children. Acting selflessly in the service of others is a sure sign of leadership.

5. Honor yourself as well as those around you.

Soldiers learn to honor their country and represent its flag by fighting for what is “right,” and while that sounds worthy of chest-pounding, honor at its core means respect. If a leader wants to prove him or herself brave, giving respect is the best way to get it back. Honor your coworkers as well as the community.

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6. Act with integrity and go above and beyond.

One of the single most important aspects to leadership is the ability to act with integrity. Doing not only what you say you will do when you say you will do it proves you as a reliable and trustworthy individual. Even when no one is watching, doing the right thing and maintaining that sense of integrity creates leaders from the inside out.

7. Personal courage shows others how to face fear.

Leaders who act with personal courage show others how to face fear because they swallow their pride and find ways to do what has to be done. Some of the most difficult things to do for some can seem easy to others, but when fear stalls action, a leader has failed.

8. Lead by example.

Telling other people what to do, how to do it and when to do it pales in comparison to the brave leaders who take charge and quietly do what needs to be done. Leading by example conquers hypocrisy and though it sometimes take longer to get recognized, those who persevere do rise as leaders simply because all along they’ve done what needed to be done.

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9. Take responsibility for your actions.

Truly brave individuals as well as leaders understand that taking responsibility for your actions in both good and bad situations shows strength. Blaming others and throwing coworkers under the metaphorical bus is no way to act as a leader. Cowards blame others.

10. Foster creativity.

Creativity cannot be forced. To foster others’ creativity, leaders relax and allow things to happen. Not in a chaotic way, but an atmosphere that endures the incubation process encourages ideas to come forward.

11. Seek compassion more than perfection.

Perfection and striving for it cause some to stifle. Brave leaders will realize that part of the process is trial and error. Perfection is virtually unattainable, while compassion encourages others to keep trying. Through practice and sharpening of skills, we become more perfect at our craft.

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12. Listen to people who work for you as much as those you work for.

Ideas from those on the front lines of any business can create a groundswell that lead your company into the future. Even major corporations have taken ideas for new products and recipes from cashiers. The fact that it doesn’t happen more often means better systems should be instated for gathering the ideas because those working in different aspects of the business have insight that can lead to innovation. Brave leaders will capitalize on that by listening when other executives might criticize.

13. Inspire greatness by never acting small.

No greatness comes without failure. Rarely does something great come from the actions of one person, so remember to treat others in a way that shows their failures are steps on the path to success.

14. Reward confidence in others.

When you notice that others follow your lead and act with confidence, make sure to take the time to reward them. Encouraging others inspires them and leaders are remembered for how they built others up.

15. Provide recognition rather than seek it.

Similarly to rewarding others’ confidence, work toward recognizing their achievements both small and large. Leaders quite often go unsung, but the teachers and mentors who mean the most to those who enjoy success remember. Part of being a brave leader means you are the one to recognize others even when you don’t enjoy the awards personally.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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Ellen Eldridge

Ellen is a passionate journalist. She shares her everyday life tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

1. Determine Your “Why”

Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

“Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

2. Write Down Your Goal

If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

3. Set a SMART Goal

A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

     

    By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

    • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
    • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
    • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
    • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
    • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

    Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

    4. Take One Step at a Time

    Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

    Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

    For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

    This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

    5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

    With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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    For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

    The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

    Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    6. Schedule Your Tasks

    Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

    What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

    For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

    Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

    While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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    7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

    Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

    Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

    You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

    8. Check off Items as You Go

    You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

    There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

    If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

    9. Review and Reset as Necessary

    Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

    If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

    The Bottom Line

    When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

    More on Goal Action Plans

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

    Reference

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