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7 Reasons Why Some People Are Great Leaders

7 Reasons Why Some People Are Great Leaders

According to American scholar Warren Bennis, leadership can be defined as “the capacity to translate vision into reality”. There have been numerous examples of this throughout history, from military conflicts and humanitarian projects, to the worlds of commerce and business. Take the British manufacturing sector, for example, in which companies led a remarkable recovery after outsourcing had triggered a rapid decline. As a result, UK manufacturing now employs more than 2.5 million people and accounts for an impressive 52 % of all national exports.

This underlines how good and strong leadership can drive positive change, even in the most challenging of circumstances. It also offers an insight into the qualities needed to make a great leader, many of which have fundamental value that can be transferred across various worlds and industries. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the reasons that distinguish individuals as great leaders.

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1. They Can Inspire Trust from Those Around Them

Despite many of the trappings that are associated with leadership, the successful direction of others has nothing to do with status, titles or seniority. Instead, it is driven by an innate ability to inspire trust from those around you, whether this is through honest communication or physical example. If you are able to achieve this, you can influence others and maximize their potential while also enabling them to share in your unique vision.

2. They Continually look to Evolve and Improve

Rather than wilting under the pressure of challenging tasks or exercises, those with leadership qualities tend to thrive and achieve greater heights. Statistics also suggest that 70 % of leaders learned their most important lessons through challenging assignments and unexpected job changes, and this underlines their willingness to constantly improve and use hardship as a way of driving their evolution.

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3. They are Passionate and Focused

Maintaining the drive to continually evolve as an individual can be difficult, but leaders can often rely on their passion and focus when negating difficult times. Heartfelt passion provides them with the motivation to keep going when they face considerable challenges, for example, while an ability to maintain focus ensures that their positive energy is used constructively. Such enthusiasm is also authentic and infectious, meaning that it will draw others to share in your goals.

4. They Take Ownership of Strategic and Mission Critical Tasks

The world is littered with fascinating tales from our intrepid entrepreneurs, with one concerning Richard Branson particularly interesting. After being challenged by his aunt that he couldn’t learn to swim during a family holiday, Branson urged his father to pull over on the way home and jumped into a nearby river before swimming to shore. He won the bet, and underlined the fearless nature that leaders must adopt if they are to succeed over time . In business terms, this translates into a willingness to take ownership of strategic and mission critical tasks before executing these under extreme pressure.

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5. They are Never Satisfied

Richard Branson is particularly interesting as an entrepreneur, as he clearly embodies many of the traits required for natural leadership. Not only is he fearless when conceiving ideas and bringing them to fruition, but he is also never satisfied and constantly looks to embark on new and exciting projects. This ethos is also reflected in the way in which specific work tasks and projects are approached, as true leaders never stand still and are always seeking future growth opportunities, however they may arise.

6. They are Driven by the Fear of Failure

The fear of failure is an often discussed psychological concept, although it is also misunderstood in many instances. Although it can be detrimental if this fear becomes all-consuming, true leaders use this as an engine to drive their endeavors and achieve future success. This fear then becomes a purposeful motivational tool, and one which has the potential to drive greater levels of effort and output. Great leaders can also put this psychological outlook into action, by maintaining this drive even after they have failed or fallen short of their expectations.

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7. They Communicate Openly and with Humility

While leadership is a serious subject, the greatest practitioners throughout history have always had a keen sense of wit and humor. Think of the great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, for example, whose humorous quips and quotations are legendary and have managed to transcend generations. Wittiness is particularly important, as it showcases humility and an appreciation for self-depreciation, which in turn eliminates status and social classes. It is also an entry point into an honest and open relationship, where leaders are able to speak authoritatively and also listen intently to others’ needs.

Featured photo credit: Ogwen Cottage Mountains via upload.wikimedia.org

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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