Martin Seligman, a psychologist pointed out that focusing on illness all the time was missing an important point. He postulated that focusing on wellness can help us to stay positive and will eliminate most psychological problems in our lives.
This message is important for leaders. The journey to effective leadership is a marathon, not a sprint. Many burn out as they proceed and stop being positive, thus becoming ineffective. But how can I remain positive as a leader, you may ask? In my view, being positive as a leader can be achieved by focusing on the following 6 core strategies:
1. Focus on your Strengths and not your weaknesses: this is mostly achieved by firing yourself in areas you don’t know and hiring others. Remember that we all have weaknesses but focusing on them sometimes can be a waste of time. Instead, find someone who is good at what you are weak at and focus on what you are good at.
2. Manage your feelings: if you feel upset or angry, that is solely your problem and not that of the person who caused you to feel that way. At all times, you have a choice: you can feel angry, upset, bored, interested, engaged etc.
3. Visualise: focus on the person you want to be; concentrate enough on this and shut the door to the outside world.
4. Do something worthwhile: do something worthwhile everyday that will lead you towards your ultimate goal in life
5. Move to action: the good news is that we have a lot of people with ideas in the world today, but again the bad news is that we have less of action oriented people. Ideas minus action equates to the same 'You' year in and year out
6. Let go of the past: no amount of deliberation and/or thinking will erase what has already been done. Get over it and press on remembering that no human is infallible.
Closely interacting and working with friends can be fun. However, to keep these relationships going smoothly, you will need to strictly follow a few rules.
Never send a formal email disguised as a friendly "hey, how are you? if you are reaching out as a friend, don't talk shop. Always maintain a separation between formal business conservations and personal ones. When you do need to contact your friend about business, do so under separate cover. You can start by sending a friendly email asking about his or her new job or children and give him or her a heads up that you are going to contact her separately about the proposal you discussed. In this way, your friend can forward your professional message onto colleagues without all of the personal details in it. It’s important to be both sociable and professional. But with friends, keep those things distinct.
Adapted from "Stop Mixing Business with Pleasure"
Life can be tough; we all go through setbacks in our lives. But we have to pay attention to what those setbacks are teaching us - they´re teaching us how to be strong. You see life isn´t easy. If you aren´t going through anything right now - you will at some point. That´s life. As soon as you get through something, something else will come along... it´s inevitable.
God takes us through these phases of life for a reason; so that he can take us to where he needs us to be. I don´t have all the answers but I´m no different than any of you. I have been hurt, I have been sad, I have been depressed, I have felt worthless, I have felt ashamed, I have felt guilt and I have felt lost but the difference is how we use those feelings. Your feelings can either empower you or destroy you; empower you to be more positive, to love yourself more and to be your true self. Use those experiences into a "what can I learn from this" instead of a "why me" perspective.
I wouldn´t be the person that I am today, I wouldn´t be living where I am today or even doing the work and things I'm doing without what I´ve gone through. It has all led me here. All those struggles are pieces to your puzzle.
What's the first thing you do when you get to the office? listen to voicemail or check emails? If this is what you do every morning, it will be sad to know that it is the worst way to start the workday.
Instead of automatically going into reactive mode and focusing on other people's priorities, begin your day with a brief planning session about what you need to get done. The moment you finish work, ask yourself this question: The day is over and I am leaving the office with a great sense of accomplishment. What have I specifically accomplished? Carefully thinking this through will help you to distinguish tasks that are truly important from those that only feel urgent. Decide on what to focus on, and then break it down into specific actions points. Think about how to prioritise your list, and try starting your day with tasks that require the most mental energy or as Brian Tracy would say: “Eat the ugliest frog first”.
Adapted from "How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day”
In today's constantly changing environment, do leaders need to be organised, analytical, and gritty or should they be charismatic, communicative and empathetic? The simple answer is: they actually need both sets of character traits. Rather than categorising yourself as a certain type of leader, explore the nuances that today's complex, fast-moving business environment requires.
Leaders need to confidently and precisely deliver tough messages backed by evidence, but they also need to be very sensitive to how those messages are received. Most leadership traits are not an either/or choice, but rather complementary sides of effective management. Adapted from "The Age of the Both/And CEO"
The foundation of any solid network isn’t purpose-driven meetings — they're normally casual encounters and agenda-less tea catch-ups.
By all means, say yes to as many invitations, even if it's not clear what you'll get out of them. You may know the person's occupation, industry, and job title — but you don't know what they may be an expert in, and you certainly don't know who they know. Of course you can't take every meeting nor should you enter long, unstructured conversations with everyone you meet.
But regularly connecting without a reason or purpose — with people who seem to be doing interesting things — can have unexpected benefits. Adapted from "Never Say No to Networking"
Networking is so vital in the corporate environment that there is currently a common adage that "your network is your net-worth". I can't agree more. But you ask: how can I broaden my network? Below are three simple, but powerful techniques on how to broaden and deepen your network.
1. Give Generously to New and Existing Contacts: giving begins the receiving process. Oh YES. Give invaluable advice, useful information, share referrals and support others through coaching, mentoring, advocacy, etc.
2. Develop Strategic Networks: strategic networks are internal and external relationships that can shape your future goals and direction. To achieve maximum result here:
a). You should be willing to ask for introductions and referrals - be certain to talk about things of mutual benefits and be well informed not to appear as a novice.
b). Branch out with new relationships you initiated, and
c). Put yourself in new situations - this will help you to be grounded and be on top of your game.
3. Reach out effectively: reach out via email, call, in person, or other forms of social media including LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Twitter - any appropriate channel.
Success tips when networking in person:
1. be curious: ask questions and really listen
2. think / ask: How can I be helpful to you?
In conclusion, ensure your network has these key traits:
a. is diverse, dynamic, and spans organizational boundaries
b. consist of intentional, quality relationships.
If you're procrastinating, stuck, or struggling to meet a goal, try this (seemingly simple) technique:Write your goal down, then devise different possible ways of achieving it, and finally, close your eyes and imagine yourself carrying out each one.
Evidence shows that imagining a movement will stimulate the movement areas in the brain; so by envisioning the steps you must take to reach a certain objective, you "jump start" the brain into action.And focusing on creating clear mental images can also help reduce anxiety and improve confidence.This may seem more challenging if you don't know the distinct steps needed to reach your goal – but imagery hones your attention and actually activates particular brain regions that make you capable of unconsciously mapping a path to success. So not knowing "how" is OK.Just focus on your goal and imagine the different paths toward reaching it.Adapted from "To Reach Your Goals, Make a Mental Movie"
To succeed in any career, you need to be able to effectively convey your ideas. To do so, you will need to employ three things:
1. Credibility. Prove your authority by showcasing your technical expertise in a specific area, which helps convince people you reach out to that you know what you are talking about. If you cannot do that, display your integrity and character, which convinces them that you are not going to lie to them.
2. Emotional connection. People need to believe that what you are saying will matter to them. Connect by giving them your undivided attention and linking your message to something they sincerely care about.
3. Logic. All the authority and empathy in the world won't help you if people don't understand your basic idea or how you came to your conclusions. Make a clear argument that people can follow and use data and analysis to back up your points. Adapted from "Three Elements of Great Communication, According to Aristotle"
To become an effective leader, don't wait for the fancy title or the corner office, rather follow these three things:
1. Demonstrate your potential. Raise your hand for new ideas, especially those that might be very visible to people outside your circle. Look for opportunities outside of work, too. You can sit on the board of a local non-profit or organise a volunteer's event in your community.
2. Assist your boss in reaching her goals. Patiently find out what keeps your manager up at night and propose solutions to those problems.
3. Find role models. Look for people who have the roles you want and study how they act, communicate, and dress. Identify behaviours that you can emulate while being true to yourself. Adapted from "Act Like a Leader Before You Are One,"
Success is often built on a reflexive habit of saying "yes" to opportunities that come your way. However, as you become successful, you must prioritise the many opportunities that present themselves, or else you will be overwhelmed, overcommitted, and ineffective. These few steps can help you say "NO" more easily: 1. Slow down. Feelings of anxiety generated by the possibility of saying "NO" can escalate into an emotional state in which we have diminished capacity to process information and consider options. Slowing down the pace of an interaction or a decision-making process can allow us to catch up and make the choice that's right for us, not merely the choice that alleviates our anxiety in the moment. 2. Practice. Saying "NO" is like any other interpersonal skill — it feels clumsy and awkward at first, and we improve only with repeated effort. Adapted from "Learning to Say 'No' Is Part of Success"
When someone shouts at you, your immediate reaction may be to shout back. But following this pattern can most times get you in trouble, and in this case, may result in a damaged relationship. In order to avoid that, try to be assertive by responding to the outcome.
For instance, when an unsettling event happens, quickly pause and ask yourself: what is the outcome I want? Instead of reacting to the event, act in accordance with your desired outcome. The person who shouted at you: do you want an improved relationship with him or do you want to make him feel as bad as you do? If it's the latter, go ahead and yell back. If it's the former, empathise with his anger and respond to the underlying issue in a calm manner.
Adapted from "To Get What You Want, Don't Go With Your Gut"
Natural talent gets far too much credit. Achieving your goals is really less about who you are, and more about what you do. Here are two ways you can give yourself better odds of succeeding:
Be specific Be precise about what you are trying to achieve and when you will do it. It's not enough to say you will clean out your inbox three days a week. Write in your calendar the exact days and times so you can hold yourself accountable.
Focus on what you will do, not what you won't. When trying to change behaviour, it's easy to get wrapped up in the bad habit.
Focus on the substitute instead. If you want to keep your temper in check, don't dwell on the times you've lost it. Think about what you will do the next time you get angry. Adapted from "Nine Things Successful People Do Differently"
Good designers see the world differently from the rest of mankind. Their unique views enable them to come up with new ideas that leave the rest of us envious. In order to be a great designer, the following guidelines will help:
1. Think about people, not customers. No one asked for the iPhone or texting in a customer survey. Move beyond asking what customers want to thinking about what they need, or don't know they need.
2. Observe. Get out in the world and carefully watch what people do. Don't rely on what they say about their behaviour -- see it firsthand. Look at what might change. You can't be too focused on today. Think instead about what the future might bring.
Adapted from "How Good Designers Think."
We all know the important role networks play in building a successful business. However, most people mistakenly focus on building a single network. Instead of focusing one, it is advisable to focus on at least three separate ones:
1. Operational network: this comprised of the people you rely on to get work done: your peers, direct boss, and external contacts. Often times you don't choose these folks, but you still need to cultivate them.
2. Developmental network: this is a group of individuals whom you trust and to whom you can turn to for advice. Select people who bring a diversity of perspectives.
3. Strategic network: this group helps you prepare for and succeed in the future. In this group, include people who work and live at the edge of your current world and can help you see what's on the horizon.
Adapted from "The Three Networks You Need"
Overwhelmed and overloaded is the norm these days. Most leaders feel they have too many conflicting priorities. But research has shown that the more these leaders have to do, the less their company earns.In fact, highly successful companies have leaders who focus on high-priority initiatives, not everything under the sun.
Stop asking: How can I find more opportunities? Instead try: How can I focus on opportunities that will help my company excel? Know what you are best at—the capabilities you have that others don't—and focus where you can succeed. Learn to say no when things seem appealing and even lucrative, but do not offer you a real chance to win. Adapted from "Stop Chasing Too Many Priorities"
Listening is a very vital but often an underutilised skill. But if listening is already your strong suit, you may need to do more talking.
Speaking up is a good way to demonstrate your expertise and gain the confidence of those around you. If you're afraid, find a comfortable place to try it out first. Talk shop with your friends, family or colleagues to test your ideas. Then, refine them to share in a meeting or with your boss. Try to say something early on in a meeting, even if it's something small, to establish yourself as part of the conversation. That way you'll feel more comfortable speaking up later.
Listening is important, but so is speaking. Success depends on doing both.
Adapted from "Keep Listening, but Start Talking"
Too many leaders think they are proficient at everything. Self-aware leaders know that they can't possibly have the skills and knowledge to do it all. Instead, they are dynamic, adaptable, and emotionally intelligent.
Here are three ways to build your own self-awareness:
Observe your own performance. Take note of the areas you excel in and those that need improvement. Share these observations with your team.
Know what you don't know. Accept that there are areas you have little expertise in. Seek out a team that can help you fill in the gaps.
Monitor your impact on others. Because so much of work is about relationships, knowing how you affect others is a critical leadership skill. Manage your emotional responses and look for cues that you're building relationships, not destroying them.
Adapted from "The Mark of a Great Leader"
Wallace Huey says, "High values offer broad vision. Broad vision gives rise to burning desire. Burning desire leads to focused intent. Focused intent stimulates committed action. Then God arranges the details"
We need to up our ante on capabilities to turn our lives around, to build up our knowledge, gain and develop skills. If our goal path is clear and every part worthwhile enough to tremendously change our lives, then this self-directed education is just part of the fun. What we forget most often is, life truly begins at the end of our comfort zones, let's not forget we have the power to take responsibility for what is within our control and to realize, rather than resist what is not and let that go, by being more self-aware, by responding rather than reacting, we can feel more inner peace and at the same time have more integrity, start to really be ourselves rather than meeting others’ expectations.We have that tendency, but CHANGE is a mighty word to sacrifice for COMFORT, we tend to confuse comfort for fulfilment and achievement thereby neglecting the need for change. Removing the cobwebs is easier said than done, but a step taken is all that is needed.
#IT CAN ONLY GET BETTER
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese
Anger and Resentment?? What does it do to us? How does it eat us up? How do we feel when it is boiled up inside us? Letting go takes extreme courage and energy but the relief is boundless. Who benefits most from letting go, other than us? Think about when you're angry and fuming, think about the energy involved, how fast your heart beats, that sickening feeling! Why hold it up, why not let this feeling of resentment, retaliation and bitterness as well the constant reminder of what could have been go? We all make mistakes, we all hurts others knowingly or unknowingly. Without forgiveness, life is governed by a never ending cycle of retaliation and bitterness. We begin to heal and have a healthy life when we learn to forgive those that have wronged us whiles forgiving ourselves too. Anthony Robbins said "Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself" because yes we must retain or keep the memory of what happened, which is a valuable life lesson, and a work to improve ourselves in our daily lives, and when we atone, which we should, then we know the lessons learnt will mean something. We can choose to free ourselves or bottle it up inside, a right or wrong step at the end of the day is a choice. The power is in your hands to be free or locked up.
#IT CAN ONLY GET BETTER