“Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.” – Indra Nooyi
Leadership is a tough thing to do and as a first time leader in my late 20’s I honestly had no idea about leadership, let alone know what it meant to be a leader. I was a Deputy Principal at an all girls secondary school with significant leadership responsibilities. I didn’t even know there was a difference being a leader and a manager.
I don’t think I was an appalling leader and that people despised me (well some may have),but I was definitely not an effective leader. I didn’t motivate or encourage people. I essentially told people what to do.
My leadership style was based on my personality and teaching experience – in that I was able to control a crowd and could tell people what to do with confidence and control. The teaching staff and students did what I told them to do and that was how I measured how successful I was in my leadership role! Even as I write this I am squirming and feel very uncomfortable at my lack of insight and plain ignorance on leadership and what it took for me be a successful and effective leader.
“Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.” – J Donald Walters
To be completely truthful the quote from J. Donald Walters describes so perfectly what leadership really meant to me, not that I would have admitted it at the time. To me, leadership was about feeding my ego and sense of self importance. There was no consideration by me as to whether I would make a good leader. I took on the role because it made me feel important and I got paid more money! There I have said it!
I didn’t enjoy my time in the leadership role. I found it frustrating, time consuming, demanding and restrictive. I was not ready to be a leader and I had taken on the leadership role too soon. I only lasted a year as the Deputy Principal and it was a miserable year for me. I had gone from loving teaching to hating it. I was demotivated and desperately wanted to leave, which I eventually did at the end of the year.Advertising
My experience as a Deputy Principal left me with very little confidence about my leadership abilities. In fact for a long time I avoided accepting positions with any leadership role or responsibilities because I didn’t believe I had great leadership potential.
Now with the benefit of hindsight I look back at my younger self and if I had known these seven things about leadership, it would have saved me a lot of grief. I would have been so better prepared, far more effective and much happier in my leadership role.
1. Leaders Are Courageous
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
Leaders are not afraid to face the messy moments and will face up to their mistakes. They are prepared to be vulnerable and they know they don’t have all the answers. They are agents of change and they are future-oriented thinkers, dedicated to doing what ever it takes to get there.
Leaders are risk takers and they take risks from a place of strength – in that they are thorough in their preparation, are are willing to step out with confidence, understanding what is at stake. Leaders have the courage to make the tough decisions, to change direction and to deliver the bad news when people don’t want to hear it. Leaders also need courage to be innovative and creative.
2. Leaders Know Who They Are.
“Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you.” – Peter F. Drucker
Leaders know their self worth, understand their own emotions and recognise the impact on self and others. Leaders manage energy within themselves and in their relationships. Leaders know their blind spots and have the courage to look at themselves honestly.Advertising
Leaders who know who they are, have a strong sense of personal leadership and it is this base of leadership that is the foundation from which great leaders operate. There has been a lot of academic research on leadership and many books have been published about these different types of leadership styles – transformational leadership, transactional leadership, situational leadership etc, however, leaders who have a strong sense of personal leadership lead from their own place of authenticity. They are Authentic Leaders.
“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed…. Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection” – Sheryl Sandberg, “Lean In”
3. Leaders Know the Difference Between The Role Of A Leader & Manager
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Stephen Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
I have included this because I believe that if I had understood the difference in the role of being a leader and a manager I probably would not have been so confused and frustrated when I was telling people to do some tasks and also at the same time trying to encourage them to be motivated about taking on the task. A leaders job is to inspire, encourage and create value. A manager’s role is to get things done – to organise and control a group of people to get tasks completed in order to accomplish a goal. Inspiration and influence separate leaders from managers, not power and control.
I believe that you can be both, a great leader and a great manager, just as long as you are clear about which role you are undertaking as stated in the quote below from Stephen Covey.
“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall” – Stephen R. Covey
4. Leaders Accept That They Always Learning
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
Leaders never stop learning. They are always growing and reaching to improve the way they lead. They take responsibility for their own failures and mistakes and will use these experiences to help them become even better leaders.
Leaders recognise that the more knowledge they have the more creative they can be. They know that the power of knowledge is one of the best ways to overcome what ever obstacles come their way. Great leaders are always striving to know more and will seek input and advise from the people they lead. They surround themselves with people who have the skills, knowledge and experiences that they don’t have and it is these people that great leaders call on for advice and guidance.
“To make a decision, all you need is authority. To make a good decision, you also need knowledge, experience, and insight.” – Denise Moreland
5. Leaders Know They Can Not Do It Alone.
“High sentiments always win in the end, The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.” – George Orwell
Leaders only become successful through the support of others. Leaders take people with them. To gain the respect, trust and loyalty of people, leaders connect with people and are great relationship builders. If you are leading a team and you want them to perform at their best, then you to have to perform at your best. Nobody likes a leader who doesn’t walk with their people.
A great leader looks to produce other leaders and sees the potential for leadership in others.
“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
6. Leaders Are Excellent Communicators
“Great communication depends on two simple skills—context, which attunes a leader to the same frequency as his or her audience, and delivery, which allows a leader to phrase messages in a language the audience can understand.” – John Maxwell
Leaders motivate and inspire people through good communication. Leaders also understand that communication is a two way process and they will always seek feedback and clarification from people to ensure that everyone understands what is being communicated and what the leader is asking of them. This two way process of communication also allows people to feel that they have been heard and their contribution is of value to the overall goal.
“Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” – Dianne Feinstein
7. Leaders Are Not Afraid of Commitment
“People do not follow uncommitted leaders. Commitment can be displayed in a full range of matters to include the work hours you choose to maintain, how you work to improve your abilities, or what you do for your fellow workers at personal sacrifice.” – Stephen Gregg
Leaders understand that success is a process and that reaching the vision and achieving the goals doesn’t happen over night. It takes time and it involves a lot of work determination and commitment to keep going. If a leader is not committed to the vision then why would the rest of the team be? It is the leaders level of commitment that influences and impacts on a team’s motivation, determination and commitment. A leader who demonstrates commitment to the vision creates and builds trust within the team. The team are therefore more willing and more committed to go that extra mile, to become top performers and exceed expectations because they trust and are inspired by their leader.
A leader who is not afraid of commitment is also not afraid to change the course of direction, if it is not going to plan. They will be looking ahead and reading the signs and will be ready to map out another course of direction for the team to follow.
It seems a bit overwhelming when you read this list of seven key things that contribute to being a great leader. I know you are thinking can I really be a great leader? The answer is YES YOU CAN! As a first time leader you have the potential to be a great leader as long as you are informed and know what it is that you need to do to be the “best leader you can be”.Advertising
Take these seven leadership qualities to heart and use them as the foundation blocks from which you can launch yourself from being a First Time Leader to becoming A Great Leader.
“Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration—of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.” – Lance Secretan
Last Updated on September 18, 2020
How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week
Time is a great leveler isn’t it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Even if you’re self-assured, the day may never feel quite long enough.
Why is it that some people can be so much more productive and achieve so much more in a typical day, while others struggle to achieve anything apart from feeling time crunched and overwhelmed?
Everyone I know and work with wants to make the best use of their time. They want to learn how to be more self-assured, happier, and work less—all while growing in their career.
How effectively we use our time—and how we actually work in our business—can make a huge difference to the amount we accomplish in a day or week. It can also make us more focused and more confident.
Do you want to have more thinking and creative time? Do you want to spend more time working on your business rather than working at or in your business? In this article, we’ll show you how.
Table of Contents
- Get More Done by Gaining Confidence
- Final Thoughts
- More on How to Be Self-Assured
Get More Done by Gaining Confidence
What if you had a strategy for making the best use of your time that brings you more joy and allows you to focus on the biggest activities and opportunities in your business? You may find the following outline below to be helpful:
1. Create an Exciting Vision
If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?
You want to be more productive and spend more time getting the right stuff done. Well, you need to create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.
What does this future look like? How will you feel when you get there?
Creating a new vision, especially one that is a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion. It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.
Commitment to this vision, and accomplishing continual daily progress depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, feel self-assured, and see something bigger ahead.
Also, when you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.
Make a vision map to get you started on the path to better productivity. This doesn’t have to be fully actualized, but you should know at least what direction you are heading.
2. Build a Strategic Plan
Once you have your future vision mapped out, the next step is to build a strategic plan to get you there.
Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame. Any timeframe over 3 years may feel like a long way away.
You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.
The first step is to decide on some specific goals for the next 12 months. Don’t list too many or you may begin to feel overwhelmed.
The magic number for me and my clients is usually five annual goals.
These are big goals that will create massive change in your business and life and bridge your current situation to your bigger future; accomplishing these goals one by one will help to increase your confidence on a daily basis.
3. Get on Goal Planning
Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: A, B, C, and D.
Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now? Write these things down in Column A. This might be a couple of things, five things, ten things, whatever feels right to you.
Then ask yourself: What things are happening right now that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.
This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working. You may list people that are bringing you down or projects that you don’t want to work on any more. Maybe you’ll include a service offering that’s going nowhere. It could be the people you’re working with, or it could be your pricing.
Now, let’s look at your personal strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.
These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.
Column D is for your biggest opportunities. Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers? Is there a new innovation you could bring to market? Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.
Once you’ve analyzed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.
4. Set Outcomes to Build Confidence
You now have your goals, and you’ll feel self-assured and raring to go. They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel self-assured and motivated.
But how do you ensure that you stay on the correct course to achieve these goals?
Managing and juggling day-to-day projects can get in the way. Dealing with problems can get in the way. Staying on top of orders, managing cash flow, and handling day-to-day stuff can move your ship off course.
You want to be productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day and week runs smoothly.
One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals, put some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.
Let’s say you want to get 10 more speaking jobs in the next 90 days, and you know that you typically convert 50% of opportunities.
Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new pieces of work. You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.
It’s smart to overshoot, so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear plan to work through because with every win, your confidence will grow.
5. Completely Commit to Your Success
If you are not truly committed to achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.
Motivation can only take you so far. It is the intentional commitment and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.
Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something. There must have been a reason you actually achieved what you set out to achieve. What motivated you?
Were you fully invested? Why did it matter? Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?
How did it feel when you achieved it? What difference did it make?
When have you felt truly self-assured? When you are committed to something, then you are propelled into action. Your mindset is focused, and your body follows; you want to get it done.
And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.
6. Focus on Your Strengths
To feel self-assured and build up the confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals, we need to focus on our strengths.
What are you best at? What are your unique skills? You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.
Multiply your strengths. These areas are where you add the biggest value. They often bring you the biggest amount of joy, and you feel more and more confident when you are using your unique skills.
If you think there is a specific capability you need to learn or be better at, spend more focused time in that area.
Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services. But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!
Spending more time adding value in the areas where you excel can create breakthrough results and boost confidence.
7. Embrace the Present
Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment.
Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect day looks like?
We all have the opportunity to create rather than react, to decide what we do with our day. All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.
Sometimes, doing it now is more important than doing it perfectly. There are hidden opportunities in every moment. We need to make sure we don’t miss them if we want to feel self-assured.
8. Calm the Whirlwind
The day-to-day life in business and life can be hard, which leads us to feel less self-assured.
Your mind may be full to bursting with all of the things you feel you have to do. The phrase “I don’t have time” has almost become an instant reaction by so many people when new opportunities are presented.
There is a whirlwind happening inside our minds.
Appointments, notifications, tasks, phone calls, errands, cash flow, staffing issues, networking, marketing all can clutter up our timeline. The sheer volume of things we feel we should do creates procrastination, stopping us from pursuing the projects and people that matter.
Many of us feel we have to do everything within our business.
Rather than simplifying things and doing less, we do more. We work longer, which creates a lack of energy and focus. Because of this, we lose clarity on our biggest opportunities. If you feel this way, take some well-deserved time off.
Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of your time is being spent moving your ideas forward?
In the next 90 days, if you could delegate or outsource more daily tasks and spend more time focusing on where you add the biggest value, what difference would it make?
Calm the whirlwind by slowing down and doing less.
Focus on areas that you add the biggest amount of value. By doing this, your energy levels will increase, your confidence will grow and you will have more success.
9. Take More Time off
This may seem counterintuitive, but taking more time off to recharge and refocus can pay huge dividends.
If you are constantly fighting fires and caught up in the myriad of different activities that you have to do each day, then how can you move your business forward?
You may be being pulled in difference directions without any focused time on your biggest projects. If that’s the case, then it’s almost impossible to gain any real momentum in moving your business forward and hitting your goals.
The best way to get off that treadmill is to take more creative time out of the business.
Could you realistically take one day off per month to work on your business? If you could, what would you do with this time?
Just imagine no distractions, only focused time on the strategic development and growth of your business.
Every day off per month could have a different focus: New product innovation; Thinking about your biggest clients; Improving operations.
Add to this a quarterly review to check in with your goals progress, and this could have a dramatic effect on where you spend your valuable time.
10. Celebrate Wins
Sometimes you just want to get through the day, right?
You have so much to do. There are so many things on your task list that you just complete what you can and then start another day. But what would happen if, at the end of each day, you took some time out to look at what you’ve accomplished?
Celebrating success keeps you motivated and helps you become more self-assured. It is not just another day. It’s a day that included things that should be celebrated.
If you’re struggling to feel motivated, try celebrating a couple of wins each day.
Celebrating success combined with the gratitude you have for achieving those wins will boost your confidence and inspire you for the next day.
11. Give Yourself More Space
When was the last time you gave yourself time to think?
Within the hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to give yourself a little bit of space and time to just think.
Imagine giving yourself just an hour a day to just let your mind wander or think about a specific thing.
If you think about it, we can all free up an hour a day for something without really losing any efficiency or really impacting our business.
In fact, that hour could be transformational for your business and life.
A new idea for a product could form, or an idea for adding value to your existing clients could materialize. Perhaps you could do a check in to your ideal future and your goals. You could decide that you want to take your business in a new direction.
Try this: Just sit alone for an hour with a notebook and let it be your creative thinking time. See what happens.
Ultimately, being self-assured happens when you have a clear direction.
This, coupled with having clear goals and working in your unique skill-set, gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and get more of the right things done.
The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money. By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will inevitably increase your confidence; at this point, your ideal future can be anything you want it to be.
More on How to Be Self-Assured
- How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence
- Why Confident People Are Also Happier People
- Is Your Self Confidence Affecting Your Job Performance?
Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com
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