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How To Get Out of a Rut

How To Get Out of a Rut

We have all had those humdrum periods—those times when we seem to be doing the same activities over and over, and we feel miserable and unfulfilled about it.

Perhaps you are bored with your life – there is nothing exciting on the horizon to look forward to, and you’re so immersed in your day-to-day grind that there is no time or space to bring some enthusiasm and spirit into your dull, monotonous life.  In fact, you can’t even remember the last time you laughed and enjoyed yourself…you have even forgotten what makes you truly happy.

Or perhaps you are feeling burnt out on the job – you’re working your butt off, not seeing the results you want, and wondering if your hard work will ever pay off. That goal you have been stretching for seems insurmountable; you are starting to feel unmotivated, and are about to throw in the towel and say it’s not even worth trying to reach for it anymore. Then, we ask the million-dollar question: How can I move forward when I feel stuck?

The 3 tips for getting out of a rut?

Although, it’s not always easy, here are some to get you started:

 

1. Know What You Value

Walt Disney once said, “When your values become clear, making decisions becomes easier.” To avoid getting stuck in a mental rut, know what’s important to you. Until you know these guiding principles, you can’t live the life you were meant to.  You need to determine what you truly believe in, what you would take a stand for, what you will say yes to whenever anyone is saying no…and once you do, you can then walk the talk, and live a life that’s in alignment with your core values.

 

2. Know What You Want

Sometimes we spend so much time going through the motions, we forget why we are even doing it all for. Then, we end up feeling mentally stuck. So, to snap yourself out of ‘auto-pilot’, remind yourself what are your future aspirations?  What are your BHAGs – Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals?  In their 1994 book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companiesauthors James Collins and Jerry Porras coined the term, ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’.  A BHAG is a strategic statement used by businesses (similar to a vision statement) focusing on a medium- to long-term organization-wide goal.  BHAG’s are generally audacious, and most likely questionable, to the outside world, but regarded as an aggressive target, but not impossible, to those within the company.

However, why can’t we use these gallant, strategic statements to shoot for the stars for our own personal goals, rather than just organizational goals?  I believe we can and should.  As an educator, I see all too often that our educational system focuses on learning techniques (the best ways to learn) or educational pathways (the right order to take courses in) on what works for, or is appropriate for, the ‘average’ student. This idea is the central premise of Todd Rose’s book, The End of Average: How to Succeed in a World that Values Sameness

Do you remember the bell curve from school?  The bell curve is the most common type of graph used to describe data distribution.  The highest point on the curve describes the data’s most probable outcome, and all other occurrences fall equally on either side, creating two downward sloping lines from that top point, one line declining to the right and one to the left.

Once you know where you want to go, it’s a lot easier to decide the things you need to do, or don’t do, to get you closer to what you truly want.  And why put limitations on your desires and goals?  Dream big and then pedal hard.  The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the extra.  Are you willing to take the extra step that is going to make you achieve your wildest dreams?? If yes, sometimes only a little extra degree of effort can make a HUGE difference.

 

3. Know How to Have Fun

Sometimes we get so bogged down doing the wrong tasks, the things we have to do or don’t like doing, that we rarely have time for fun and play.  So, think of activities you find fun – the things that truly make you happy. Not sure what fun looks like? Think back to your childhood. What did you love to do as a child? Inject some child-like playfulness into your daily activities.  Studies show that learning and creativity are enhanced when we are having fun.

All too often we let what we do determine who we are.  How many times do you find yourself in social settings, and once you move beyond the “Hi, my name is Carolyn”, the next phrase you say is “I am a ____________ (insert 9-to-5 job here)”.  We, all too often, let our corporate roles define us, and/or allow people to make assessments of us based on what we do.  Instead of saying “I am an accountant” for example, have you ever said “I am a parent of two wonderful kids” or “married to a fantastic spouse” or “an animal lover wanting to help those who can’t speak for themselves” or “a volunteer in the community”?  No…we seldom, if ever, say those things.  We invariably default to the title on our business cards, as if that is the defining label of who we are, and then act in that stereotypical manner within our social circles.

We need to find our fun, silly side.  It’s ok to relax and let go and do the things that put a smile on our faces and those around us.  It’s also ok to lighten up at work and smile in our job, as we go forward.  Once we remember how to have fun and enjoy ourselves, then we can let who we are determine what we do and even how we are going to do it.  In The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up, Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher share that humor in the workplace has many benefits, including employee satisfaction and loyalty, increased productivity, and innovation for a better workplace and higher profits. For other tips and tricks on how to better your wellbeing, click here for our free emotional intelligence tools!

 

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you’re stuck in a rut with life, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

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Why Emotional Intelligence is Needed in Leadership

Why Emotional Intelligence is Needed in Leadership

From a very young age, we are taught how to read and write, we are taught about sciences, mathematics, languages, fine arts, and social studies. Unfortunately, though, we are not taught the fundamental skills of emotional intelligence (EI) – the ability to use the information provided by our emotions in an effective and meaningful way; to act appropriately in the face of daily challenges.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotionally intelligent individuals are self-aware, better able to regulate their actions, and have more empathy for others. An increased level of emotional intelligence can also help individuals manage stress better, build healthier relationships, be more effective at work, and be more fulfilled in general. Effective elements of leadership skills include these qualities and soft skills.

Increasing your emotional intelligence means increasing your emotional awareness of both yourself and others. People with high emotional intelligence are able to recognize and manage their own emotions while also being aware of and considering others’ feelings.  Being in tune with how you are projecting yourself and how others perceive your energy is a good indicator of your EI.

Human Resources professionals insist that while a high IQ might get someone hired, a high EQ will get them promoted!  Emotional intelligence skills are critical for career success – your attitude, your work ethic, your communication, conflict management, and stress management.

Consequently, why aren’t schools emphasizing these emotional intelligence skills in the classroom?

As a university professor, I see it almost every day. We, instructors, cause a lot of stress for our students, but we never think to teach them how to manage it.  We put students in teams; but rarely teach them exactly how to work within those teams – or give them any guidelines on how to collaborate with others who have different personalities, communication styles, or cultures.

The same holds true in the corporate world.  Corporations seem to expect people to know how to behave on the job. They assume employees innately know the importance of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly, thinking clearly under pressure, and producing high-quality work.

Why is emotional intelligence important in leadership? Not only is it an important skill to have if you want to be an effective and efficient leader because a “high EI is a [strong] predictor of success,” but EI has the ability to affect various aspects of your leadership role. “Being able to relate behaviors and challenges of emotional intelligence on workplace performance is an immense advantage in building an exceptional team.”

Leadership in today’s environment is all about inspiring, motivating, and igniting passion in others. This helps attract and retain top talent, in addition to increasing productivity. So, how do we coach people to inspire, motivate, and ignite passion? This is done through developing the skills of leading with emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is important in being a successful leader because it helps defeat communication deficiencies that are detrimental to any group and team. When leadership roles are filled with individuals who are not yet emotionally intelligent, communication difficulties arise – team members are not heard, leaders are not able to adapt to individual needs, and messages are lost in the midst of the chaos.

Effective leaders are able to lead their fellow people by understanding their needs and reacting to those needs, not from raw emotions, rather, from self-awareness – “How are my verbal and nonverbal communication styles affecting my team?”

The following are the four key emotional intelligence skills you need to build and enhance to be an effective leader.

How Emotional Intelligence Affects Your Leadership Skills

SELF AWARENESS

Self-awareness is your ability to recognize, understand, and regulate your own emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. Being self-aware allows you to fully understand your personal values, beliefs, motivations, strengths, fears, and limitations. When you know what is important to you, and the external factors which challenge you, you will be able to react in a controlled manner, rather than blowing up without first assessing the situation. This, of course, is an integral characteristic of being a strong leader. There is nothing worse than being in a leadership position and projecting your insecurities to those who you are trying to lead; when you don’t truly know who you are and what you need to work on, the people who are following you will feel just as lost as you appear.

 

SELF-MANAGEMENT

As one of your major duties in a leadership role, you need to be able to foster a positive work environment. Being able to practice self-management means staying focused and composed when times are difficult and trying. This is another important characteristic that leaders need to have.

If you lose your calm and controlled demeanor when situations turn challenging and chaotic, your team members may feel and internalize your energy, and they can project the same disordered dynamic. Inevitably, a lack of self-management will affect your work environment in a significant way – remember, when people look at you as the leader of the pack, they turn to you for cues on how to react and how to respond.

 

SOCIAL AWARENESS

Being socially aware is having the ability to practice compassion. Though closely related, compassion and empathy show differences in their nature. Compassion is the ability to show concern with one’s suffering or needs, whereas, empathy is the capability to understand those feelings and appreciate them as if they were yours – putting yourself in others’ shoes.

Practicing compassion and empathy is imperative in any leadership role. It nurtures a sense of trust between you, the leader, and the individuals you are trying to lead; trust in a group strengthens your personal and collaborative relationships, positioning you in a role of strength.

 

HAVE WELL MAINTAINED RELATIONSHIPS

Emotionally intelligent leaders have well-maintained relationships. They are able to develop and maintain relationships both outside and inside their positions. Conflicts are inevitable. But how are you managing them? Are you a person who blows up and makes the situation worse? Or are you a person who acknowledges the situation and tries to mend the problem, turning it into something productive? If you are the latter of the two, then you are on the right track for exhibiting emotional intelligence. Leaders who are adept at this skill know that conflicts will arise undoubtedly. However, these leaders are able to push through the superficial issues and turn them around into a productive experience from which the entire team can benefit.

There it is, the four personal skills you will need to develop if you want to grow into the kind of powerful, yet personable leader you want to become.

Remember, as an organizational leader, you are leading people, and people have feelings. Ultimately, this means that you are also managing people’s feelings so they are able to produce quality work. By improving your emotional intelligence through the use of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and maintaining relationships, you are en route to honing your leadership skills. If you want more tips on how to Learn More. Be Better, check out our services!

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help leading your organization to success, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram to keep up with our latest blogs!

How to Build Quality Relationships

How to Build Quality Relationships

In the corporate world, it’s easy to see the importance of relationships, and the benefits they can bring to your business. In his book, Stop Networking! Building Relationships, Meeting New People and Connecting with Authenticity, Mike Fishbein highlights the importance of truly connecting with others on a deeper level versus the superficial niceties we are expected to do at networking events. “Both consciously and subconsciously, people are motivated to do business with people they know, like, and trust.” This means you can’t just try to develop a relationship with someone because you want/need something from them. There needs to be a benefit to both parties. Not to mention, people know when you are trying to befriend them for ulterior motives. This is where emotional intelligence comes in. We need to strengthen our interpersonal skills and develop mutually satisfying relationships in business.

Dale Carnegie, in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, states, “If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people things that require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness.” This means we need to learn to be more supportive. Being socially responsible means caring about others and contributing to the community. That community may be the community in which they live, the organization in which they work, or the people in which they lead. In essence, it means giving back.

On a personal level, we all know how much high-quality relationships matter. In his e-book, Transformation Truths, Brandon Burchard states, “Much of the quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationships. Healthy relationships are those that support your well-being and growth.” Having strong connections with others satisfies a basic human need for us to be close to and supported by others. Many studies show we are happier, healthier, and can even live longer when we have solid relationships in our lives. Helen Keller, an American author, political activist, and lecturer, who also happened to be the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree said it best, “walking alone in the dark with a friend is better than walking alone in the light.”

So, knowing all of this, why is taking time to strengthen our relationships put on hold so often? Many people have difficulties networking & building professional and/or personal relationships. For some, the ability to build strong connections comes naturally; for others, it is a challenge.

Here are four simple tips to deepen your relationships:

1. Schedule It

We often get so caught up in our daily activities that we don’t stop to take time to strengthen our relationships. We may forget the importance of scheduling time with friends. Whether it is a week or a month in advance, make sure you have a day and time picked out to spend time together. Scheduling a specific date instead of saying something like, “let’s hang out next week sometime,” will dramatically increase the chances that it will happen. Tony Robbins states, “If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.” When you actually schedule something, you are making it a priority in your life.

2. Disconnect to Connect

With technology limiting our face-to-face interaction, building strong relationships is more valuable and more challenging than ever before. When you are out with others, be it business or pleasure, unplug and listen! Today, the majority of our communications are filtered through virtual media devices. Multitasking is commonplace. When you put your phone down and listen, you will improve your listening skills and become a better friend or business partner. The quality of time you are spending will improve, and it will give your brain the much-needed break from the next item on your to-do list.

3. Don’t Be Judgemental

As we get older, we tend to settle into our daily routine and may even start judging others who do things differently than us. It’s important to be open-minded and realize that different people do different things. Jim Morrison stated it best, “A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself.” Instead of judging your relationships, try instead to understand the person. Use your emotional intelligence and empathy skills, and try to put yourself in their shoes. This open-mindedness could create an opportunity to face a problem in your life with a different perspective, open up the potential of a business idea, or make you more effective at communicating with that challenging team member.

4. Stay Connected

Making time is important, but staying connected when you are not physically together is just as important. Like most of us, your schedule may fill up quickly, the to-do list is never-ending, and you forget to schedule time for yourself, let alone for your friends. Your friends, peers, or subordinates will appreciate you checking in, even if you don’t have time to get that face-to-face time scheduled.

Follow these four simple tips, and you will be one step closer to building stronger friendships!

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our monthly newsletter here!

If you need help building quality relationships in your organization, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to keep up with our latest blogs!

New Year, New Outlook

New Year, New Outlook

Oh, 2018: a year of new beginnings. As we enter 2018 it is important to take a moment to reflect on the previous year and look ahead to the new year in front of us. What did you accomplish in 2017? What do you want to accomplish in 2018? How can you make this possible?

We’ve all heard the phrase “New Year, New Me.” But every year, our New Year’s resolutions don’t end up following through. We end up forgetting about them or just give up before the year ends. This year, try and break that cycle by creating a New Year’s resolution that’s worth following through with.

Practicing optimism and positive thinking in your everyday life can drastically change the way you live. By taking steps to change your outlook on life you can begin to improve your mood and change both your personal and professional life for the better.

Now you may be the kind of person who can remain cheerful, despite rejection, failure, loss, or trauma.  You may be able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again and continue to see the positives in life. But for those of us who don’t naturally have a positive outlook on life, it can be much more difficult to change our thinking.

Perhaps there have been a few negative situations that have occurred in your life recently that have caused you to start seeing things through slightly grey-tinted glasses.  Subtle, and easy to miss, your mild depressive thoughts start to take over and you don’t even notice you are not as positive as you usually are.  You are still taking part in life and even smiling along the way, but just not reaping as many pleasures as you once were.

It can be difficult to remain positive about the future when faced with adversity; however, it is entirely possible. Switching your focus from a pessimistic view to an optimistic view can dramatically improve your quality of life as well as your relationships.

Viktor Frankl, in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, stated, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Learning how to stay positive during negative situations is an invaluable skill to master to live a healthy life.

You can build up a mindset based on positivity.  Here are three simple, but effective tips to get to the silver linings amongst the grey clouds:

1. Stop and Unplug

In today’s technological era we spend so much time in isolation in front of our computers.  People become so attached to their multiple social media accounts that it overtakes face-to-face interactions.  With social networks constantly at our fingertips, it can become our nightly ritual to compare our perceived humdrum lives to those of others who appear to be glamorously based on what they’re posting on Facebook.

Additionally, people are able to hide behind their computer screens, which makes it much easier to spew negativity. Anonymously behind the safe haven of their screen, the negativity can be released through harassment, rumor mongering, rude comments, or exclusion of others by a simple click of a button. Gretchen Rubin, the author of “The Happiness Project” said it best when it comes to our constant attention to our social media accounts – “technology is a good servant but a bad master.”

As well, technology allows us to film every waking moment.  Some of us can be so caught up trying to capture all of life’s precious moments on camera that we lose the thrill of just enjoying the actual moment.  Why put a screen between you and your life?  It’s isolating enough when you’re alone in front of a computer, but now many of us are doing it when out amongst the crowds.  By recording the moment, we miss feeding off the energy of others and contributing our own energy to these once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Therefore it is important to take the time to stop and unplug from the digital world and connect with others.  Be present.  Live and experience each moment with all of your senses.    Interact with real people in real-time rather than connecting virtually through your mobile devices.  “To be able to stay positive it is essential to have influences in your life that support you and lift you up instead of dragging you down.”  Staying in touch with friends and loved ones is extremely beneficial for our happiness and well-being. Research demonstrates that spending positive time with other people improves our happiness immediately.

2. Practice Self-Care

In order to stay positive during difficult times, it is important to take care of ourselves.   “Inadequate self-care, that is the inability to put yourself first by making sure you get the rest, nutrition and movement you need to perform is the cause of much stress, re-work, and poor leadership.”

We all know that exercise is good for our bodies, but it is also great for our minds.  Study after study has shown the positive effect that being active has on our brains. Exercise produces endorphins and proteins that make us feel happier – it increases your cognitive abilities, helps you sleep better, enhances your self-perception, and improves your overall sense of well-being.   Exercise is also an excellent way to ward off negativity and stress.

In addition, consuming healthy, wholesome fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, grains, nuts, and seeds provides your body and brain with the nutrients needed to function at optimal levels and to stay healthy and happy. Unhealthy foods, especially those that contain processed carbohydrates, sugars and fats, and artificial sweeteners have been linked to many diseases, depression, and even brain shrinkage.  Remember – you are what you eat.

Finally, getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Sleep gives your body a chance to recover from the day and repair itself.  Sleep is also important for increased happiness. Having a good night’s sleep can have a big impact when we have a lot of tension inside and our thoughts are pessimistic.  When we are well-rested, we can think more clearly and optimistically.

Therefore, in order to stay positive about the future, make self-care a priority, especially given the emotional strains inherent in our professions and personal lives.  Don’t feel guilty about making time for yourself.  Studies show that when we care for ourselves, it not only has an impact on ourselves but also on others that we interact with.  Here are some ways to incorporate self-care into your busy lives.

3. Clean Up Your Life and Be Grateful

Many times there tends to be a reason when you have a negative attitude or outlook. Maybe it’s the negative people you surround yourself with, or maybe it is the dissatisfaction you have with your current job. Whatever the reason, remember you only have one life, so make sure that you make the necessary changes to live a more positive life. Oprah once said, “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”

Once you have taken an inventory of the negative influences in your life, cleanse yourself of everything keeping you down.  Get rid of the negativity, and remember to shift your focus onto all of the positive aspects of your life.

Voice your blessings and commit to practicing gratitude on a regular basis.  Keep a gratitude journal and write down what you are grateful for each day – like a daily appreciation exercise. Share these thoughts with friends and family and show your gratitude to others often. Continue to talk about the things you truly feel grateful for.

The power of positive thinking can put negative situations in perspective and can help us deal with them as they arise.  On especially difficult days, read back through your gratitude journal to help shift your attitude and remind yourself about all of the good things in your life. Winston Churchill’s famous quote said it best – “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

There you have it, three simple steps to becoming more positive for New Year 2018. Don’t worry if it doesn’t happen overnight…these three steps are progressing you in the right direction – onwards and upwards.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help leading towards success, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram to keep up with our latest blogs!

7 Traits of Successful Leaders

7 Traits of Successful Leaders

Have you ever wondered why some people are so successful while others are not? What is the secret ingredient to their success? Well, here’s the truth…there really is no secret. Success is like baking a cake, everyone has their own favourite recipe, but the basic ingredients are the same. All successful people, regardless of their age, gender, education, upbringing, type of business, etc., hold similar qualities or traits.

 

The 7 key traits that every successful leader has

1. Self-Awareness 

“To be self-aware is to, in a sense, have a different level of control over your actions and choices—and to operate from a perspective that is not fueled by short-sighted and often ego-driven desires”. Look at your life as a neutral observer and not as a participant; almost like you were watching a movie of your life from up above. This will help you gain a different perspective, and you can clearly see yourself with a new lens.

Effective leaders are always looking inward and self-reflecting. They understand what they value and what motivates them. They focus and play to their strengths, while always looking for blind spots, and discovering areas to improve.

Knowing is the first step. Once you know better, you do better. Self-awareness is essential and successful people are always perfecting their talents, and learning from their failures.

2. Courage

Courage is believing in yourself and knowing that you are bigger and stronger than your greatest fears. When you believe you can handle anything regardless of how frightening it may be, you will have the courage to do it. In her book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers shares that all of our fears stem from a lack of trust in ourselves. “Every time you encounter something that forces you to ‘handle it’ your self-esteem is raised considerably. You learn to trust that you will survive, no matter what happens. And in this way, your fears are diminished immeasurably.”

How often do you get out of your comfort zone? Why don’t you push and challenge yourself more? Think about it, how many times have you stepped out of your comfort zone and then said to yourself, “I don’t know why I didn’t do that earlier?” Having courage allows you to make the commitment to begin something new without any guarantee of success.

It is only in the moments when we step out of our protective barriers and into the unknown, that we truly grow. Sometimes the first steps out of our comfort zone are awkward or painful, but they are always learning moments. Anyone can do it. We all have the courage to be fearless, brave, and continue to push ourselves and maximize our potential to achieve more.

3. Passion

What does passion look like? When someone has a passion they typically exude confidence and are fully engaged. This enthusiasm becomes contagious to those around them and generally drives ideas and people further.

It is amazing how far passion can take you. When others may be willing to quit, passion is the fuel that will push you on. It will keep you going when the job is unpleasant, or the results aren’t what you want them to be. Passion will give you limitless energy and motivation to push through the many difficult challenges that come across your desk.

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, turned his passions into a successful, booming empire. “Passion is one of the most effective motivators when it comes to launching a business – and often one of the strongest predictors of whether an idea will lead to success” (Richard Branson)

4. Perseverance and Determination

It’s easy to quit. It’s easy to walk away. However, you do not achieve success by wishing for it. Perseverance is about the strength of mind and body, collectively.

People who are determined and willing to persevere are more motivated to accomplish more goals, or rise to the top. Determination, resilience, and perseverance leads to success. We all know that overcoming setbacks rather than giving in to them is difficult. But all things are difficult before they are easy.

Determination is not something that can only show up in the workplace. It manifests itself in many aspects of life, including personal hobbies and sports. Recently, we have been witness to great accomplishments in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. These amazing athletes remind us that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they are willing to go to any lengths to achieve success and reach their goals. Natural talent certainly plays a contributing role; but sometimes, people who lack extraordinary talent, can accomplish great feats through sheer willpower and determination.

5. Empathy

Empathy is putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes; seeing things through their eyes and feeling their emotions. It’s about relating to others. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” (Theodore Roosevelt).

When you lead with empathy, you take into consideration the trials and tribulations that your employees face on a daily basis, and then you can start to comprehend their world. Once you have some context, you then need to find ways to communicate with them so they will hear you. The best leaders lift people up. When employees feel heard, cared for, and respected, they are motivated to achieve more.

The success of a team depends on its leader. Employees may come and go, but if they are merely going through the motions to get to their weekend, then you aren’t getting the best out of them. Ask yourself – are you in tune with your team, or are you singing a completely different song? If you are truly connected with your team, you will get their extra effort without having to ask.

In the book Contented Cows Give Better Milk, Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden make the case that treating people right is one of the best things any business can do for its bottom line. People who feel cared for are more committed, motivated, and engaged; they will typically give the extra effort to soar to higher heights without ever being asked. Therefore, building strong relationships with the people who you work with and truly understanding and getting to know them is what leads to success in business.

6. Flexibility and Adaptability

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to be passionate or perhaps even dogged about what you do; however, being inflexible about current market trends, client needs, and adopting new approaches, will lead to failure.

What makes a business leader successful is their tendency to listen and follow their heart and passions, while also making a business out of their ideas. Ignoring customer needs, and advances in the global business world will not bode well on their journey to success. Truly successful people are open to all suggestions to optimize and customize their ideas. This will help with enhancing their viewpoints and offerings as well as satisfying market conditions and client needs. Successful people are willing to change course to overcome challenges and adopt new ideas, rather than clinging to opinions and actions that may, or may not, be working. As a leader, flexibility is essential and will allow you to perform well when conditions are characterized by rapid change.

Flexibility allows us to move to a place of openness and possibility instead of being stuck in limiting thought patterns. Flexible people accommodate different interests, as they have an easier time shifting their approaches to meet the needs of the many people involved. This makes it easier to acquire allies and develop influence in an organization. In addition, truly successful people are willing to get their hands dirty and try on different roles and wear many hats in an organization. Therefore, it is important to be willing to learn on the go.   Rarely are successful people ever given the luxury and time of truly being ‘ready’ – to have every single duck in a row before they have to make some big decisions. They sometimes need to just go with the flow.

7. Focus

Focus is key to happiness and success in life but it can be difficult to steer away from distractions and keep on track. Successful people are able to pay close attention to what is happening in the present moment and stay on task. This habit ensures that they are fully engaged in their work, and are able to get more done in a shorter amount of time.

One common misconception is that multitasking means you can get more done, but this has proven to be false. One realization study shows that multitasking can result in up to a 40% loss of productivity. In the absence of multitasking, there was a 59.8% in the average number of projects being completed and a 35.5% reduction in the time spent to complete a project. In order to increase productivity, successful people must learn to break their bad multitasking habits and concentrate solely on what is most important.

Successful people are able to avoid and eliminate distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. It is easy to get distracted by a new email in your inbox or a call asking you to take on another last-minute task, but these types of communications tend to divert attention and energy and lure people away from their main focus.

Successful people discipline themselves to stay on track. They relentlessly pursue what really matters to them. They have prioritized what’s truly important against what seems to be urgent, and they don’t get sidetracked. The greatest leaders are those who say ‘no’ to most things…why? The answer is simple, successful people focus on only the items that are absolutely necessary, and ignore the rest. They are laser-focused on what’s really going to help their business grow.

Ask yourself – how strong are you in the traits that I listed above? Like every professional – in the office, in the boardroom, or as we see on the sports field, we have strengths, and we have areas to improve on. It’s acceptable to admit that we need to work on certain characteristics, and it’s equally important to ask for help or coaching from others.

EI Experience and Carolyn Stern work with businesses to help make them better. Why not find out more about our services?

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