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Have a Fun and Amazing Career in 9 Easy Steps

Have a Fun and Amazing Career in 9 Easy Steps

When you think about how much time you spend at work, it can be staggering: 45-plus years, at least 11,250 work days, and over 90,000 hours make up an average career. It’s absolutely vital that you love what you do. Have a fun and amazing career by following these 9 easy steps.

1. Do what you love.

Easier said than done, but the best way to have a fun and amazing career is to do what you love. While playing video games or surfing Facebook might not pay the bills, you can focus on a career that offers you the opportunity to do things you love everyday. Finding that spark, that something special that gets you to jump out of bed and happily go to work is the difference between a boring job and an exciting career.

You’ll never love everything about your job. But if you base your career on things you love, you can make any job a fun, exciting career.

2. Love what you do.

Every child picks a career that he or she thinks is the most fun, interesting, or intriguing. The reasons vary significantly. Why a fireman? Because they drive a big truck. Why a police officer? Because they wear a badge. Why a princess? Because the dress is so pretty.

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As we grow up, these reasons seem, well, childish. But there’s something important to learn from your four-year-old self. There’s something special, interesting, and unique about your chosen career. Find it. Or maybe remember what drew you to it. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and find the great aspects of what we do and remember why we did it in the first place.

Whether you spent four years of college honing your skills for a particular career or simply responded to a want ad from the newspaper, remember the reasons you chose what you do and do more of those things. And if that’s impossible? Find a place where you can flourish. When you find and focus on the things you love, you’ll have a much more fun and amazing career.

3. Laugh. Find the positives in the chaos.

In nearly every workplace there are people who love and hate what they are doing. It’s the same job, same people, same space, but drastically different levels of happiness. The difference? Often times it’s the ability to laugh and find the humor in your daily duties. Find reasons to laugh at work. When things undoubtably go wrong, find the positives. A happy, healthy culture can be established by how you deal with problems. Take them seriously. Learn from them. But take the time to laugh.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remember those 90,000 hours from before? When you spend that much time doing anything there’s going to be problems. How you react to those problems will be a huge factor in loving your career and having fun at work. Find the positives and learn to let the small things go.

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Just like tiny cracks in a dam, the small things can add up to disaster. Fix the problems that can be fixed and forget the problems that don’t matter. An amazing career needs a great foundation and relies on everyone to do their part.

5. Love your co-workers… or at least find common ground.

The idea is simple. The people you spend time with matter. If you have the power, hire great people. If you don’t, make a conscious effort to get along with the people who work along side you. You may have different styles, beliefs, and values. Find the common ground and focus on those things. Come together through the work. Stay positive and stay out of the mud-slinging that creeps into the workplace.

Bad relationships with your co-workers can quickly derail any career. By focusing on creating and maintaining real, honest relationships with your co-workers and finding where you have common ground, you can limit stress and have an amazing career.

6. Take chances.

Complacency is the enemy of innovation. Never be afraid to go against the grain and take a chance, but don’t make change for change sake. Prepare, research, and understand your decision. Spend the time to ensure you’ve looked at each angle and come to a decision that you will not regret. And then boldly, confidently take the chance. When your decisions are rooted in self-awareness, you can be bold, take chances, and not regret your decisions. Serve the world in a big way and you will reap the benefits as well.

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7. Think big. No, bigger. Now develop a plan to get there.

You have, within you, the ability to do great things. Find ways to un-tap your potential by thinking big. Develop your goals for your career and shoot high. Make goals that seem out of your reach. And then develop a plan to make them happen. Big dreams are accomplished every day. The key is breaking down this big, hairy, audacious goal into bite-sized chunks that you can accomplish.

When you have a road-map to your end-goal, it makes the daily grind to get there much more fun. Instead of slogging through another day at the office, you are building towards your end goal. If you stay on the path, and regularly redefine your goals to keep things fresh, you can truly have an amazing career.

8. Choose your battles wisely.

Be strong in your opinions. But be humble and wise when delivering them. Think about what you believe, understand your views, and develop keen understanding of what you find important and what you are willing to compromise. By planning ahead and challenging your own views, you can choose which battles to fight, and which to concede. Compromise is a vital ability to a successful, amazing career, but so too is standing your ground. By planning ahead, you can make the right decision and understand your positions.

9. Be the best.

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest. Be the best. When you’re the best at what you do, a rewarding career will follow. Take time to hone your craft. Be diligent. Seek the help you need to be the best. Doors will open when you’re the best at your craft and an amazing, fun career will follow.

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You’re career will be a long, winding road, with numerous peaks and valleys. You have the ability to have a fun and amazing career. Go out and make it happen.

Featured photo credit: paul bica via flickr.com

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Kyle Robbins

Founder, BrandingBeard.com

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More About Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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