Advertising
Advertising

5 Things You Need to Know to Improve Your Leadership Style

5 Things You Need to Know to Improve Your Leadership Style

Effective leaders have many positive attributes that make them successful—some of those characteristics are common in all great leaders, while others are unique to the individual. Who in your life has inspired you the most? Is it your pastor? A community figure? A beloved teacher? Whoever the person, and whatever the venue, a strong leader is able to make a lasting and positive influence on others.

I have chosen to address the topic of leadership strictly from a business perspective. Accomplished managers and executives can have a tremendous impact on their staff, both on a professional and a personal level. Generally speaking, all professional leaders must learn and develop many skills and talents to achieve success. What follows is by no means an exhaustive list of all strengths a leader might need at any given time. It is, however, an overview of elements that are common to every effective leadership style. So what differentiates the successful leaders from the less capable ones?

Advertising

They know how to motivate others

Successful leaders have the ability to spur people into action. They have energy and charisma, which they use to inspire others. They are able to set a positive example for those around them and encourage staff to put forth an honest effort. Good leaders do not ask others to do what they themselves are not willing to do. Instead, they “walk the walk”—motivating their team with both words and actions.

They know how to organize

Effective leaders are able to identify and organize all internal and external resources available to them. They consciously avoid clutter of both mind and environment. Strong leaders are able to sort through ideas, make an action plan, and then put the right people in the right roles to get the job done. They are aware of any task that remains undone, are able to retrieve necessary information at any time, and are attentive to detail. For these leaders, it is not a question of if something can be done, it’s how it can be done.

Advertising

They know how to prioritize

At the start of any workday, a good leader can check the agenda and know immediately which tasks are pressing and which can wait. Even on days when they feel pressured to give every task and project equal attention, competent leaders are able to maintain focus and identify exactly where to start. They are also confident that, at the end of the day, they have not allowed themselves to be distracted from important issues or defer to anyone else’s agenda.

They know how to educate

Rather than berate, exceptional leaders prefer to educate. Individuals in the workplace can count on a good leader to spend some time explaining the task at hand and providing an appropriate level of guidance along the way. They will not only identify the overall goal, but also ensure that each step of the process is clearly understood.  When a competent leader sees a team member falling short of expectations, he or she will address the error while still taking time to discuss how to avoid future mistakes.

Advertising

They know how to delegate

Even the most impressive leaders cannot accomplish everything on their own. Intelligent leaders know the value of cultivating a team they can trust. Appropriate delegation boosts the esteem level of employees, which increases the chance of achieving good results. Confidence in the team is crucial because it allows the leader to focus on the things that only he or she can handle—without feeling the need to micromanage. Savvy leaders know this, and are careful to be economical with their time.

Think back to the bosses, CEO’s, and other workplace authority figures who have made a lasting impression upon you. What was it about them that stood out to you? It’s likely you can identify more skills and talents than were addressed in this article, but odds are that all of the above elements appear on the list, too. The end result is that successful leaders know how to use their abilities and play to their strengths. The best ones will then share this knowledge with you, so that you can reach your full potential as well.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: leadership via flickr.com

More by this author

10 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You But Wants You to Know 5 Things You Need to Know to Improve Your Leadership Style

Trending in Productivity

1 How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement 2 5 Less-Known Reasons Why Less is More 3 10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance 4 How to Take Good Notes at Work: 6 Effective Ways 5 3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

Advertising

    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

    Advertising

    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

    Advertising

    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

    Advertising

    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next