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

116 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed 27 Surefire Ways to Become a Successful Writer 36 Characteristics of Successful People That Make Them Outstanding 4The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works) 515 Best Android Productivity Apps (2018 Version)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

Advertising

This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

Advertising

Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

Advertising

Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

Advertising

Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Read Next