Quote Of The Week #20

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.

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The Introverted Leader In An Extrovert World

Cubicles are the worst invention for the workplace since the sixties. They were meant to give employees more freedom but have made them more unproductive and unfulfilled.

However, in the workplace, it seems to mostly benefit extroverted people. Indeed, extroverted individuals are friendly, partake in all the fun, get the most important projects and assume the most important positions, know everyone and go further in life. Therefore, introverts either tend to force themselves to adapt to society’s expectation or to give up on their dreams and desire for leadership.

Contrary to popular belief, introverts can be leaders even though introversion is considered a weakness.

There are many attributes to being an introverted leader. Introverted leaders are hard workers and high performers who simply lack people skill, who need their own time to think and become anxious otherwise. They have a rich imagination, get bored easily, love to retreat, yearn for quiet time, are energized by solitude, avoid social exchange and finally extract their strength from within.

Wondering how to harness your influence and how to make a difference as an introverted leader?

The introverted leadersThe Introverted Leader In An Extrovert World

Being an introverted leader has its many challenges in today’s competitive and aggressive workplace. Introverted leaders image and performance suffer because they:

  • are seen as weirdos, deviates and antisocial because they lack interpersonal skills,
  • are connected to the world 24/7, cannot escape anymore and shut down because they constantly feel invaded,
  • get fatigued from being around people all day, are easily and somatically affected by stress,
  • are unable to be assertive, to choose their own projects, to sell themselves and their achievements, to show themselves in the best light and say no to additional work,
  • downplay or are unaware of their potential,
  • are unable to build relationships that will take their career to the next level and become visible.

How to succeed as an introverted leader? Challenges of being an introverted leader

An introverted leaders has tremendous work to do to exhibit expected leadership behaviors. These behaviors will be unnatural at first but will  become second nature with practice.

Work on yourself

Working on yourself does not imply that you have or are a problem or that introversion is a disorder but means that you want to become the best version of yourself. To delete faulty assumptions about you and to reduce the pressure of an interaction:

  • Know yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, blindspots, limitations in order to increase your self-confidence, your emotional intelligence, to believe in yourself and capabilities, to be able to detach yourself in difficult situations, to avoid downplaying their personalities, external appearance, capabilities and past successes.
  • Because introverts internalize their problems, it is detrimental for you to value yourself, and treat yourself with respect, stop the self-destructive talk and make  daily affirmative statements and acknowledge your mistakes.
  • Give yourself time to process your thoughts internally and to recharge your batteries.
  • Introverts are inwardly oriented and cannot think on their feet. To compensate, mentally prepare yourself for conversations, presentations, interactions, meetings, job interviews by taking notes, learning key phrases and introduction, composing probing questions, producing back up topics and stories, and finally inviting feedback.
  • Control your voice and your body language. For example, as you are difficult to read, manage your facial expression, smile and look people in the eye to appear approachable.
  • Avoid gossiping, pleasing others, running away from conflicts, passive aggressive behavior, learn to participate in office politics, to resolve conflicts effectively and realistically locate the origin of the problem.
  • Introvert leaders and employees don’t complain and take on more work that they can handle. Learn to set limits, to say no and different ways to decline an invitation, to ask for help and for directions.
  • Take risks and get out your comfort zone to find new opportunities, discover new capabilities and know your limitations, increase your skills and knowledge, get creative and innovative.

Work on your relationships with others

Introverts are generally reserved, appear to be self-absorbed, act their way through their day and stay away from small talk. Maintaining meaningful relationships with people are difficult in itself without feeling the need to put on a front and without feeling exhausted by the process. While interacting with people, it is critical to:

  • Focus on the present moment, connect with people and give them your full attention. Actively listen (introverts are naturally good listeners), show authenticity and interest in the conversations, and extract what you need from the interaction to make a profound and lasting impression.
  • Know your team members, the purpose of the interaction to clarify and organize your speech.
  • Match people with their appropriate tasks by reading and observing them, by analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, by coaching them into their purpose. Understand the roles and ambition of your teammates.
  • Create a vision and incorporate each member of the workplace into it.
  • Set standards for your team and write them down, build up your credibility and team motivation.
  • Use open and direct communication. Write down valuable information in all cases.
  • Use social media platforms to network.
  • Find other introverts in your workplace and your energy will automatically increase.

Work on your understanding of your organization

To honor your introverted nature and to better understand the corporate culture and its priorities

  • Introverted leaders generally exercise reflective leadership. However, adapt your leadership style to the people, on their cultural background, on the situation, organization, on the level of extraversion of the crowd.
  • Gain additional visibility of your organization by taking on diverse assignments.
  • When being hired, negotiate a serenity package in your job where you get an office, a consequential lunch break for example.
  • Find a coach or a mentor and create an effective support system.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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Quote Of The Week #19

I've never met an effective leader who wasn't aware of his talents and working to sharpen them.

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The Importance Of Fairness In Leadership

Not everything is fair in life or in the workplace. Sometimes promotions are passed by to someone who doesn’t deserve it but that is the boss’s best friend. Sometimes someone spreads an absurd rumor about you, gets away with it and you and your career suffer the consequences of that rumor. Other times, the boss takes credit for your hard work or you did not get a raise despite your hard work.

It even appears that unfair and unscrupulous people are thriving in the world of today. It makes us envy them and makes us want to become like them. Nonetheless, there is room for everyone.

Furthermore, fairness and a democratic leadership style are more and more required in the workplace because millennials don’t respond otherwise. That is why leaders, more than others, need to work on their character, lead by example and instill fairness in the workplace.

Wondering how to deal with lack of fairness in the workplace and most importantly apply fairness as a leader?

The Importance Of Fairness In Leadership

Being fair means being appropriate, just, free of favoritism, impartial with everyone, treating people with basic human rights. Fairness is based on someone’s cultural background, religious affiliation, cognitive biases/dissonance and prejudices, promotes healthy workplace culture. It repels the effects of negativity, prevents abuse of power and of justice, is contagious and promotes self-accountability.

Fair leadership doesn’t use power to make arbitrary and personal decisions, earn the trust and loyalty of their employees, lets everyone voice their opinion equally, receive and give the same amount of respect.

Fair leadership is the hardest and longest way but is the most profitable and most rewarding in the long run. In that case, fairness should be the tool that should drive any decision and settle any discussion.

However, there are downsides to being a fair leader. Fair leaders are not viewed as powerful and though enough to make hard decisions, to reward and punish effectively. Having a strong moral compass, core values and firmly believing that what goes around comes around can enable deep friendships but can block opportunities. Therefore, even though they are well respected, they don’t always get promoted to higher ranks.

Dealing with lack of fairness in the workplace

When a situation is unfair, when social norms, rules and beliefs are not respected, people tend to innately react emotionally, to feel punished, to justify their emotions and  to form definite opinions on whether something is wrong or right, good or bad.

Also, when a workplace is not fair, employees and leaders underperform, rely heavily on politics and employees are not gratified by their own merits.

Dealing with unfairness, especially coming from your boss and leader, is not easy. Especially, because we spend most of our waking hours with people who are not related to us, with people who are occasionally dysfunctional, with people who don’t have our best interest at heart or with people who simply compete with us. That being said, the experience of unfairness can strengthen you or defeat you. It is how you react to it that will define your path in life, the outcome of the situation and potentially bring you closer to your goal.

To deal with lack of fairness the best way possible:

  1. Keep your self-discipline, self-respect and integrity in check. Don’t start lashing out, starting personal vendetta and neglecting your work because things are not going your way. Business is independent from emotions.
  2. Seek understanding of the situation. The situation will probably seem fairer if the reasons are legitimate.
  3. Remember your worth. Sometimes, when we are not promoted, we tend to immediately question our competencies, strengths and contribution within the organization. That is why it necessary to know yourself, your core values, your strengths and weaknesses, write them down and pull out that piece of paper in difficult times.
  4. Remember that you are responsible for your own welfare and happiness. At the end of the day, life is too short to be treated poorly and unfairly. If you see no improvements, it’s time to quit.
  5. Don’t let unfair situations make you give up on your goals. There are other opportunities that will present themselves.
  6. Take unfair events as a challenge, as a learning experience or as practice, and learn to overcome life obstacles.
  7. Don’t complain about your circumstances and don’t blame your circumstances on everyone else. Find way to grow and do better.
  8. Break the cycle of negativity, include fairness in your decision-making process and don’t reproduce unfair experiences on someone else. Even though life isn’t fair to you, it is better to remain fair to everyone else because you must avoid making the world a worst place and you don’t know what the other person is going through.

How to regulate an unfair situation and normalize fairness in the workplace?

The judgement of King Solomon, in the Bible [1 Kings 3:16-28], is a probing and famous display of fairness. Two women each conceive a baby at the same time, in the same place. At night, one of these women goes to sleep, rolls on her baby and kills it. The other woman rest her newborn on her chest and then goes to sleep. Later on that night, the first woman, noticing that her child was dead, took the other woman baby. The latter, aware of the trickery, brought the former in front of King Solomon. King Solomon sentenced that they should divide the baby in two and by the reaction of the two women, discovers who is the true mother of the child.

Having a firm but fair leader is idealistic even biblical. After an employee emotional reaction to unfairness, it is detrimental to the leader to:

  • Inform them of their behavior and get informed on the reasons of their behavior. Then, give them the time to work on themselves, to change the behavior.
  • Establish rules of ethics and performance for your employees.
  • Avoid letting problems fester longer than they should and forgive honest mistakes.
  • Constantly exercise and expect fairness. When people see leaders applying this system, they tend to replicate it.
  • Demonstrate trust and loyalty from day one.
  • Lead by example and model fairness in the organization from top to bottom to encourage positive changes, respect, accountability.
  • Advocate for their employees and not favor your employees.
  • Remain transparent, especially during performance reviews and encourage whistle-blowers.
  • Stay humble in order to accept upward feedback from employees.
  • Avoid gossip and nip negative rumor in the bud.
  • Provide a safe space at all times for employees to expose their grievances. Get all sides of a conflict, before making a decision. Keep in mind, making the perfect fair decision is impossible because we don’t have access to all the information.
  • If competing, fight clean, win fair and square.

 

Just remember, Nature Is Fair And, Sooner Or Later, Always Gives You What You Deserve!

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

 

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Happy New Year 2018!

Happy New Year 2018

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Quote Of The Week #18

The wise man doesn't give the right answers, he poses the right questions.

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Wishing You A Merry Christmas

Charles Dickens

Merry Christmas to all my much-appreciated readers! Thank you for reading and following my blog.

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Quote Of The Week #17

knowing who you are is the foundation for being great.

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Greg Mckeown

author

Greg Mckeown is the CEO of THIS Inc, an accomplished public speaker and author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less.

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Can You Perform Under Pressure In The Workplace?

We all have had major presentations in front of our peers that determine whether or not we will be fit for the next promotion, whether we contribute effectively to the team, where we feel the pressure to succeed. Overloaded, overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, some of us make it through these pressure moments and others fail.

As a matter of fact, leaders and employees are constantly under pressure in corporate:

  • their time is under custody,
  • the customers require quality product in record time,
  • the teams need expertise,
  • teams compete against each other at all levels,
  • teams bully one member of their team,
  • teams, stakeholders and organizations have high expectations,
  • the market is unstable or the company is downsizing,
  • hierarchy formulates unreachable financial demands,
  • there is a constant need for results and numbers,
  • technology has us connected to our work 24/7,
  • each individual applies pressure on themselves to succeed…

Wondering how to handle, minimize the effects of these pressure moments at work and moreover how to control your reactions to them?

Can You Perform Under Pressure In The Workplace_

Pressure is indeed independent from the work class and social status. Pressure affects creativity and productivity.

Pressure is much more visible when starting a new job. We feel obliged to fit in and show our contribution to the team and we tend to overdo ourselves. We arrive early, we live late, we work harder than the rest, meet expectations, make mistakes which leads to anxiety and stress. Therefore, the desire to perform better, the need for results are pressing which deepens the stress: we stop trusting our main competencies and like Boxer the horse in George Orwell’s, we just start to work harder.

However, in reality, by working harder, you have great work ethic but you are no longer considered as a team player, a thinker or strategist and therefore become expendable.

The impacts of pressure?

Everyone has a threshold for pressure. There are definitely two types of pressure: the one we impose on ourselves and the one people put on us.Pressure can have a negative effect on people: aggressiveness, loss of appetite, insomnia, headache, back pain, and stress. The term stress was first adopted by Hans Selye in 1936 and is defined as a feeling of inability to respond to high stake demands in critical situations.Stress is a fundamental human reaction, rooted in our self-preservation instincts, that impacts our cognitive health, clouds our decision-making process and our judgement, compromises our perceptions and behavioral skills, and lowers our abilities. It leaves people cold, uptight, defensive, with the feeling of quitting everything. However, stress is not all bad. Stress provides adrenaline for those who are lacking motivation.In addition, poorly managed stress will eventually damage someone’s career, collaboration, trust and can results in absenteeism, and chronic health problems.

How to perform under pressure?

As a leader, your behavior in pressure moments, impacts those around you and can predict their performance. Leaders and employees tend to under-perform under pressure because:
  • the situation is critical for them and their survival,
  • the situation is critical for others and for the organization,
  • they fear that people will judge, criticize or reject them due to the outcome of their performance,
  • the outcome of their performance is unknown,
  • their environment is hostile and threatening.

Performing under pressure is a skill and can therefore be learnt. Below are 16 tips to improve your performance under pressure:

  1. Analyze the situation and your behavior. Take a step back, seek deeper insights in your thoughts and behaviors to identify stress triggers, weigh out the outcomes of the situation. How important is this situation for you?
  2. Focus on the task and not the results. It is necessary to clearly define your objectives by writing them down on paper beforehand. Objectives must be concrete, measurable and have an expected outcome. As a result, you are apt to stay in the present, not be distracted and most importantly take your time on the task.
  3. Remember your past success and current qualities, before and during critical situations, to understand that your worth is not intrinsic to the situation and to pass through the situation as a whole.
  4. Control the controllable factors (like your reactions to the situation) and release what you cannot control. Worrying about people or events beyond your control is a waste of energy.
  5. Find coping mechanism and back up plans to avoid reproducing the same mistakes.
  6. Anticipate all the potential obstacles before beginning the task to prepare for the worst, make a list of solutions and implement them before debuting the task. For example, when the waters are calm, write down the essential procedures.
  7. Become insensitive to pressure by subjugating yourself to it as often as necessary, until the performance becomes automatic.
  8. Remain positive and visualize the pressure moment as a challenge or fun experience, an opportunity to showcase your talents. Embracing stressful situations builds self-confidence, energize, boosts motivation, allow you to perform at your authentic level.
  9. Believe that there will be many more opportunities coming our way, by seeing the moment as training session for the right opportunity.
  10. Influence your brain to accurately interpret a high pressured situation. We have a tendency to distort situations through our lenses and either make them grander than they are.
  11. Assume strictly positive outcomes of the stressful situation and speak positivity into reality.
  12. Practice a relaxation technique: breathe, look and listen to the noises around you, take full advantage of your breaks. or just listen to music.
  13. Avoid useless and unproductive interactions if you can. If you are unable to avoid negative interactions, isolate the information that you need from the interaction. Write down that information and do not rely on memory or distorted thoughts.
  14. Recognize that the pressure that you are receiving from someone else has nothing to do with you.
  15. Take responsibility for your actions, admit and accept your errors when things don’t go your way.
  16. Make sleep a priority. When feeling tired or fatigued, switch tasks, start with the most complex one in the beginning of the day and make to do lists before the end of each day.

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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