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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 January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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