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7 Things Truly Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

7 Things Truly Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

There are leaders and there are leaders. We have good leaders, bad leaders, great leaders, and we also have ordinary and extraordinary leaders. Do you want to be an outstanding leader? If your answer is yes, then you need to know the attributes of extraordinary leaders. I want to share 10 of these attributes with you so you can begin to work on your leadership abilities till you become an outstanding leader too.

They Praise

Outstanding leaders love to praise. They praise their team, they praise their family, they praise the government, they praise their children, and they praise everything and everyone around them. They know the power of praise, that it makes people go the extra mile to get results. Ordinary leaders on the other hand prefer to criticize. They feel that praising a subordinate is a sign of weakness. They never get satisfied, and even when they are, they don’t show it.

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They take responsibility

The leader is responsible for the success or failure of her team, it’s very saddening that most of the people occupying leadership positions today tend to put the blame on their team members each time something goes wrong. I once coached a female volleyball team for a particular volleyball tournament, we had trained harder than any other team and we were really prepared for the tournament. Unfortunately, we lost our first match and were knocked out of the tournament. Fundamentally, it wasn’t my fault that the team lost, we had a weak player (whose performance was outstanding in training) in the team on that day. She didn’t do well because she was afraid and the opponent capitalized on it. I took the blame for the defeat firstly, for not substituting her earlier in the game (I expected her to pick up her pace) and secondly for not overlooking that weakness of fear (which I had noticed during our training sessions). So you see, it’s always the leader’s fault one way or another.

Challenge Ideas

Truly outstanding leaders don’t believe in norms. They are creative people who are always looking for better, faster and more productive ways of getting things done. They challenge every idea and ask questions like: “Why this?” “What if we did it this way?” “Is this the best way to make this?” “What if we add this feature?” “Will this be relevant in the next ten years?” and so on.

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Lead by Example

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”~ John C. Maxwell. Outstanding leaders don’t give their followers impossible tasks. If an extraordinary leader tells a subordinate to walk on water, it means he must have walked on water himself. Outstanding leaders ‘walk the talk’, they don’t say what they can’t do and they don’t do what they can’t say. They are people of integrity and great character.

Give Feedback

Outstanding leaders give feedback to their followers, ordinary leaders don’t. I was speaking with a friend some time ago, he told me how his boss used to call him and point out all the errors in his work with the use of a red pen, then the boss will say, “I expect something better from you”. He was always lost because his boss didn’t have a standard, she never said what she wanted, and she never expressed satisfaction in whatever he did, so he didn’t know when he was right or wrong. She never really gave feedback, all she did was criticize and point out all errors. That is not how to be an outstanding leader.

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Seek Help

Ordinary leaders don’t like to ask for a helping hand especially from a follower. They don’t want to look weak or incompetent. They are full of pride and believe that they are always right or that they should always be right. They discard everyone’s opinion and hold on firmly to their beliefs even if it will cost them their lives. Outstanding leaders are humble and patient. They ask for their followers’ opinions on almost every matter even when they might already have the answer. They understand that learning is continuous and respect their followers’ knowledge and areas of expertise. They make better, more logical decisions than the ordinary leaders who depend solely on their own knowledge.

Lead Leaders

Outstanding leaders lead leaders. They don’t leave the people they lead without leaving them better than they found them. They share knowledge freely and cheerfully and they don’t hoard experience. They love to teach, impart and impact. They want their followers to know everything they know. They are always thinking of the future and what it will be like without them. They ask: “if I’m not here, will this work continue?”

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Outstanding leaders live better lives, create better opportunities, impact more people, believe the best about everyone and everything, shape the future and ultimately make the world a better place. WHAT KIND OF LEADER ARE YOU?

Featured photo credit: Cubs coach delivers/Roy Luck via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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