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Are You A Top Performer Or A Workaholic?

Are You A Top Performer Or A Workaholic?

What did you get done today?

Before you answer, I want you to be completely honest with yourself, because I don’t care that you did your laundry, or responded to 10 emails, or did your grocery shopping for the week. What things did you really get done? The things that lead to the big wins in life. The things that help you get your dreams off the ground. The things that help your business double its revenues this year. How many of those things did you move the needle forward on today?

Our society has an unhealthy relationship with work, which can be distilled down to this erroneous belief: more work means I’m a top performer which equals eventual success.

People who are actually top performers, who get truly valuable work done every day, and are on their way to realizing life’s great wins: financial freedom, time with family, successful careers and businesses, are playing a totally different game than the workaholics. Both groups of people are doing superficially similar work, but one group is bound for success, while the other is bound to wallow in the status quo while wondering what they’re doing wrong.

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Which group do you fall under?

Getting Things Done vs. Feeling Busy

How many times have you gotten to work in the morning, started checking and responding to emails, and all of a sudden four hours have gone by? You grab some lunch, and respond to the responses that have started trickling into your inbox from your previous volley. Your boss calls a couple of meetings which leave you mentally exhausted.

You return to your desk and mindlessly browse social media for a while. You knock off a few things on your to-do list. By now it’s 5 pm. You grab your stuff and brace for the commute home, not having accomplished anything of meaning or value and yet you’ve felt busy and stressed all day.

This is a chronic problem in our instant-communication and information overloaded society. But top performers don’t play those games. They’re completely honest with themselves and know that to move forward in critical areas, other mindless tasks need to take a backseat so they can focus on the important things that really need to get done.

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Priorities vs. To-Do Lists

A typical workaholic is guilty of creating to-do lists with 50 pointless items that need to get done at some nebulous point in the future. To-do lists lead to playing whack-a-mole with tasks that may or may not matter, and they often make us equalize the relative importance of everything on the list.

To narrow down what’s truly important, top performers take the time to prioritize and triage critical tasks that are going to result in discontinuous, big jumps in their lives and careers.This allows them to focus their limited time and energy to accomplishing what’s actually important.

Big Wins vs. Pointless Minutiae

Attaching the same level of value to tasks in our lives makes us unable to tell what true measures of success look like, and hide the big wins from us. This is why workaholics expend the majority of their energy on pointless minutiae like putting out fires over email for hours at a time.

Then, when they realize they haven’t gotten any meaningful work done, they turn to ‘productivity hacks’ or the latest apps for a solution.

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Top performers are able to cut through the noise of minutiae by clearly identifying strategic goals for themselves, their careers or businesses, and breaking down those goals into achievable mini-tasks by the week, by the day, and even by the hour. This lets them chip away at a problem consistently over the long term.

Grounded vs. Frazzled

The default state of mind for a workaholic is being constantly frazzled. Frazzled at an email inbox that’s permanently full. A forever growing to-do list. Mini taskings handed down by the boss. Errands. Appointments. Lunches. It never ends.

Top performers, on the other hand, are grounded and calm. They’re concerned only about things within their sphere of control and over which they can exert a level of influence. They know how to say “no” to pointless tasks that aren’t going to help with strategic goals.

If they’re not in a position to say no, they figure out a way to get it done efficiently, and then move on to more important matters.

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Values vs. Validation

Since grade school, we’re taught to play it safe in whatever task we’re assigned. Color between the lines. Do the problems quickly without error. Then sit quietly in your chair and wait for the teacher to praise you.

This reliance on external validation and praise carries over into our professional lives and careers, and it hobbles us into doing pointless work for the sake of superficial validation from our boss or co-workers.

Top performers play it differently. They act from a place of deep values. Values about themselves, their work, and their place in the company or their business. They take bold risks because they’re confident that doing so will either result in big wins, or lessons to be learned from to make the next attempt better.

Playing it safe is not an option, because playing it safe is what the masses do by performing trivial busy-work.

If you’ve read this far and realize you fall into the workaholic category, re-assess your personal and professional goals. Write down a list for each, stating where you’d like to be five years from now. Next to each one, write down what you need to be doing every day to make that goal happen. Then, execute.

Taking the time to do that simple exercise will put you ahead of the vast majority of people who are simply spinning their wheels and putting out fires. Differentiate yourself and do the daily, hard work. Just make sure it’s the right work

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

When you try to think of a leader at your place of work, you might think of your boss – you know, the supervisor in the tasteful office down the hall.

However, bosses are not the only leaders in the office, and not every boss has mastered the art of excellent leadership. Maybe the best leader you know is the co-worker sitting at the desk next to yours who is always willing to loan out her stapler and help you problem solve.

You see, a boss’ main priority is to efficiently cross items off of the corporate to-do list, while a true leader both completes tasks and works to empower and motivate the people he or she interacts with on a daily basis.

A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.

Puzzled about what it takes to be a great leader? Let’s take a look at the difference between a boss and a leader, and why cultivating quality leadership skills is essential for people who really want to make a positive impact.

1. Leaders are compassionate human beings; bosses are cold.

It can be easy to equate professionalism with robot-like impersonal behavior. Many bosses stay holed up in their offices and barely ever interact with staff.

Even if your schedule is packed, you should always make time to reach out to the people around you. Remember that when you ask someone to share how they are feeling, you should be prepared to be vulnerable and open in your communication as well.

Does acting human at the office sound silly? It’s not.

A lack of compassion in the office leads to psychological turmoil, whereas positive connection leads to healthier staff.[1]

If people feel that you are being open, honest and compassionate with them, they will feel able to approach your office with what is on their minds, leading to a more productive and stress-free work environment.

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2. Leaders say “we”; bosses say “I”.

Practice developing a team-first mentality when thinking and speaking. In meetings, talk about trying to meet deadlines as a team instead of using accusatory “you” phrases. This makes it clear that you are a part of the team, too, and that you are willing to work hard and support your team members.

Let me explain:

A “we” mentality shifts the office dynamic from “trying to make the boss happy” to a spirit of teamwork, goal-setting, and accomplishment.

A “we” mentality allows for the accountability and community that is essential in the modern day workplace.

3. Leaders develop and invest in people; bosses use people.

Unfortunately, many office climates involve people using others to get what they want or to climb the corporate ladder. This is another example of the “me first” mentality that is so toxic in both office environments and personal relationships.

Instead of using others or focusing on your needs, think about how you can help other people grow.

Use your building blocks of compassion and team-mentality to stay attuned to the needs of others note the areas in which you can help them develop. A great leader wants to see his or her people flourish.

Make a list of ways you can invest in your team members to help them develop personally and professionally, and then take action!

4. Leaders respect people; bosses are fear-mongering.

Earning respect from everyone on your team will take time and commitment, but the rewards are worth every ounce of effort.

A boss who is a poor leader may try to control the office through fear and bully-like behavior. Employees who are petrified about their performance or who feel overwhelmed and stressed by unfair deadlines are probably working for a boss who uses a fear system instead of a respect system.

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What’s the bottom line?

Work to build respect among your team by treating everyone with fairness and kindness. Maintain a positive tone and stay reliable for those who approach you for help.

5. Leaders give credit where it’s due; bosses only take credits.

Looking for specific ways to gain respect from your colleagues and employees? There is no better place to start than with the simple act of giving credit where it is due.

Don’t be tempted to take credit for things you didn’t do, and always go above and beyond to generously acknowledge those who worked on a project and performed well.

You might be wondering how you can get started:

  • Begin by simply noticing which team member contributes what during your next project at work.
  • If possible, make mental notes. Remember that these notes should not be about ways in which team members are failing, but about ways in which they are excelling.
  • Depending on your leadership style, let people know how well they are doing either in private one-on-one meetings or in a group setting. Be honest and generous in your communication about a person’s performance.

6. Leaders see delegation as their best friend; bosses see it as an enemy.

If delegation is a leader’s best friend, then micromanagement is the enemy.

Delegation equates to trust and micromanagement equates to distrust. Nothing is more frustrating for an employee than feeling that his or her every movement is being critically observed.

Encourage trust in your office by delegating important tasks and acknowledging that your people are capable, smart individuals who can succeed!

Delegation is a great way to cash in on the positive benefits of a psychological phenomenon called a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, a person’s expectations of another person can cause the expectations to be fulfilled.[2]

In other words, if you truly believe that your team member can handle a project or task, he or she is more likely to deliver.

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Learn how to delegate in my other article:

How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

7. Leaders work hard; bosses let others do the work.

Delegation is not an excuse to get out of hard work. Instead of telling people to go accomplish the hardest work alone, make it clear that you are willing to pitch in and help with the hardest work of all when the need arises.

Here’s the deal:

Showing others that you work hard sets the tone for your whole team and will spur them on to greatness.

The next time you catch yourself telling someone to “go”, a.k.a accomplish a difficult task alone, change your phrasing to “let’s go”, showing that you are totally willing to help and support.

8. Leaders think long-term; bosses think short-term.

A leader who only utilizes short-term thinking is someone who cannot be prepared or organized for the future. Your colleagues or staff members need to know that they can trust you to have a handle on things not just this week, but next month or even next year.

Display your long-term thinking skills in group talks and meetings by sharing long-term hopes or concerns. Create plans for possible scenarios and be prepared for emergencies.

For example, if you know that you are losing someone on your team in a few months, be prepared to share a clear plan of how you and the remaining team members can best handle the change and workload until someone new is hired.

9. Leaders are like your colleagues; bosses are just bosses.

Another word for colleague is collaborator. Make sure your team knows that you are “one of them” and that you want to collaborate or work side by side.

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Not getting involved in the going ons of the office is a mistake because you will miss out on development and connection opportunities.

As our regular readers know, I love to remind people of the importance of building routines into each day. Create a routine that encourages you to leave your isolated office and collaborate with others. Spark healthy habits that benefit both you and your co-workers.

10. Leaders put people first; bosses put results first.

Bosses without crucial leadership training may focus on process and results instead of people. They may stick to a pre-set systems playbook even when employees voice new ideas or concerns.

Ignoring people’s opinions for the sake of company tradition like this is never truly beneficial to an organization.

Here’s what I mean by process over people:

Some organizations focus on proper structures or systems as their greatest assets instead of people. I believe that people lend real value to an organization, and that focusing on the development of people is a key ingredient for success in leadership.

Learning to be a leader is an ongoing adventure.

This list of differences makes it clear that, unlike an ordinary boss, a leader is able to be compassionate, inclusive, generous, and hard-working for the good of the team.

Instead of being a stereotypical scary or micromanaging-obsessed boss, a quality leader is able to establish an atmosphere of respect and collaboration.

Whether you are new to your work environment or a seasoned administrator, these leadership traits will help you get a jump start so that you can excel as a leader and positively impact the people around you.

For more inspiration and guidance, you can even start keeping tabs on some of the world’s top leadership experts. With an adventurous and positive attitude, anyone can learn good leadership.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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