The importance of becoming a self-disciplined leader

head-817375__480As a leader and as someone always searching for innovative ideas, I have to say that I have been struggling with staying focused on one topic at a time, controlling my train of thoughts and filtering negative emotions. Although I come from a very disciplined home, my mind is sometimes undisciplined: tens of thousands of ideas flash through my mind in a second, which makes it difficult for my team to follow me. By taking time out in the day solely for the thinking process, I have allowed myself to successfully manage my thoughts and become a self-disciplined leader.

Wondering how to acquire self-discipline or how self-discipline can successfully grow your career?

What is self-discipline?

Firstly, self-discipline is one of the most important component of leadership. Self-discipline develops in you set ways for your thoughts, actions and habits. Self-discipline means doing what needs to be done when you don’t feel like doing it. In addition, it means that you accept your responsibilities and accomplish your goals because they are the best profitable option but not because you want to.

Self-discipline implies self-management or self-control, self-motivation, self-reliance, self-confidence and self-awareness and eventually, remains the basis for trust.

Secondly, self-discipline is an acquired skill, has several degrees to it and is not achieved overnight. It has to be practised to become easier, to create routine and structure.

Lastly, early responsibilities in life, small tasks and assignments, given by parents or managers, allow people to gain discipline from a young age and shape their character.

Characteristics of self-disciplined leaders

Self-disciplined leaders are successful and ultimately become better at what they do. They are active, self-controlled, organized, are able to censor themselves and to build great relationships.

Leaders use self-discipline to sharpen their willpower and decisions making skills, to command respect from others and to lead by example, to achieve their goals regardless of their feelings, to gain profit and to look beyond hard work, to stick to their decisions, to evaluate themselves and place boundaries, to compartmentalize their emotions. Furthermore, self-disciplined leaders have no fear of the future, are respected and dependable.

Self-disciplined leaders practise thoughts management, emotional intelligence, time management, character building, self-awareness and team building until they turn those soft skills into habits.

HABIT #1: MIND MANAGEMENT

Your thoughts, negative or positive, become your reality whether you want it or not. Self-disciplined leaders have peace of mind, no matter the situation. For self-disciplined leaders, controlling your emotions is barely about becoming stoic, but about acknowledging your emotions, understanding them and keeping them in check before acting on them.
In order to control your thoughts:

  1. Nurture your mind with the right stimuli, with empowering thoughts and success stories. Remove distractions from your workspace. Block social media sites during working hours.
  2. Train your brain to handle different situations, and to prepare for both positive and negative outcomes.
  3. Meditate or turn to religion. Meditation brings a sense of contentment and allows you to accept and deal with your thoughts. In religion, controlling your thoughts is more about admitting God’s control over us and relinquishing our problems and emotions to Him. Which is why you need to keep your eyes on God and your focus on your purpose.
  4. Forgive yourself for past mistakes, let go of grudges and regrets,  and keep moving forward.

HABIT #2: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Self disciplined leaders don’t allow their choices and decisions to be dictated by their impulses or feelings.
Instead, they:

  • enhance their logical and emotional skills to be able to make sound decisions,
  • control their facial expressions,
  • resist and reject negative feelings,
  • handle stressful situations, conflicts and toxic individuals in a healthy manner,
  • adopt positive attitudes and behaviors.

To discipline your emotions:

  1. Control your thoughts and don’t leave them on autopilot. Pay close attention to your habits, especially in negative situations. Identify which behaviors you consider undisciplined and those that reflect your values ans goals.
  2. Change your self talk.
  3. Meditate on a daily basis, a least 10 minutes a day, to quiet the mind, gain serenity and suppress regrets.
  4. Cultivate gratitude. This will help you transform negative circumstances into positives.
  5. Change your sources of data that you intake and abstain from vain entertainment.
  6. Change or increase your social circle to individuals who possess the qualities and skills that you wish to acquire.
  7.  Manage your health by taking care of the essentials. Your mind and body are interconnected and the health of the one impacts the other.
    • Sleep healthy hours and develop a steady night routine. Set an alarm at the same time everyday, put your phone in an unreachable area, don’t hit the snooze button.
    • Acquire a healthy diet.
    • Exercise regularly instead of procrastinating and drown your negative thoughts with dopamine.

HABIT #3: SELF-AWARENESS:

Self-discipline allows leader to monitor their behavior in various situations and to assess their strengths and weaknesses, to find their purpose.
Without being aware of your strengths, you are unable to lead effectively. Trying to emulate another leader’s style, strengths destroys your natural talent, your uniqueness, your personality and your therefore your chances for success.
Furthermore, most leaders are blind to their own strengths and weaknesses. Some lead thinking that they possess a particular set of strengths and others lead blind to their own weaknesses.
Get to know yourself at a deeper level, increase your confidence, become more self-aware and quiet your ego:

  1. Renew your thought pattern, invest in your personal growth and don’t allow setbacks to mentally set you back.
  2. Reverting back to the memories of your childhood and recalling what you did well and with pleasure.
  3. Look for a common thread in the things that immediately and sustainably attract your attention throughout your life experiences.
  4. Read books and gain knowledge.
  5. Hire a professional to help identify your strengths and how to employ them.
  6. Take well-known online tests, such as StrenghtsFinder2.0 and StandOut, and cross-reference them.
  7. Asking the people closest to you.
  8. Surround yourself with supporting people. Stay away from yes men, undermining people or groups.
  9. Seek the truth about yourself and be unafraid of failure or the said truth.

HABIT #4: TIME MANAGEMENT

Successful individuals manage their time effectively to ensure that they accomplish their goals, allocate and maximize their time. In the workplace, missing deadlines irritates and disrupts everyone on the team and makes you appear non accountable. So, to manage your time effectively:

  1. Define an achievable specific goal and apply timelines to it to create overviews of the milestones you wish to achieve. If you don’t have deadlines, create some for yourself.
  2. Make time to achieve your personal goals, follow-up on schedule and meet deadlines. Do not procrastinate, find excuses to postpone your work or allow anyone to distract you and squander your time. Instead, stay busy and focused, and put in the hours required to accomplish your goals.
  3. Prioritize your personal goals and accomplish the most important ones before hand.
  4. Implement a routine and stay focused on the prize.
  5. Make time to be proactive. With an increase in leadership responsibilities, people start pulling the leader in different directions, and the leader ends up doing more of what people desire than what is necessary to be done. Carve out an hour in the day or choose a day in the week to isolate or insulate yourself and execute your tasks that matter.
  6. Make time for yourself. Carve out another hour in your day to recharge your batteries to be more productive and efficient as a leader for your team. You may have to arrive earlier to work.
  7. Respect other people time.

HABIT #5: CHARACTER BUILDING:

Not all hardworking and talented beings are disciplined. Therefore, not all hardworking and talented beings are successful.
On one hand, self-discipline helps in creating routine and structure, holding yourself and others to a high standard ( integrity and respect), remaining accountable for your actions on your job, executing your job in detail and delivering on time.
Self-discipline also increases maturity and builds stamina and resistance to walk down the leader’s path. That means that you can take a licking and keep on ticking.
On the other hand, self-discipline makes you resilient. You are empowered to stick to your decision, are able to get up when you are knocked down and to keep going when you hear “no”.
Building character is a gradual process:

  1. Be consistent with your values (integrity)
  2. Tenacity is also key. Don’t be discouraged or perturbed by obstacles, by failures, by the illusion that your goals are unreachable. Instead, resist the urges of giving in or giving up.
  3. Read, listen, watch motivational elements. For faithful people, turning to your belief system is a great way to stay on track.
  4. Draw lessons from your mistakes.
  5. Monitor what you say. If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.

HABIT #6: RELATIONSHIP & TEAM BUILDING

Being disciplined allows leaders to command respect from others, to work well with their team members, to handle interactions with employees or customers judiciously.

In order to minimize supervisors intervention:

  1. Define your responsibilities or tasks, avoid stepping on anybody’s toes, delegate tasks appropriately,
  2. Play by the rules, treat your team members as adults and with respect,
  3. Look out for the best interests of the company and your team members,
  4. Coach your team, promote self-discipline amongst them, encourage innovative ideas without even if they fail,
  5. Share your performance expectations with your employees and help them direct their focus towards achieving their goals
  6. Address unacceptable behaviors immediately without punishing or humiliating the perpetrators,
  7. Model yourself as the best leader, avoid taking your job for granting or taking credit for team success or outstanding performance, and stay humble and .

HABIT #7: EXECUTION, MOTIVATION & STRUCTURE

Self-discipline brings predictability, consistency and order to the leader. Self-discipline captures the meaning of the word expectancy and provides the leader with latitude for risk assessment and management.
To create structure and improve task execution:

  1. If you are somehow already disciplined in executing task, share your timeline and your attention to detail with others and help them pick up the slack without micro managing.
  2. Clearly, your order brings a sense of control to the team. However, don’t impose your discipline to anyone else.
  3. Focus on starting tasks rather than completing them.
  4. Follow through on your ideas and finish what you have started. Also, track your progress: record the starting time and the end time of your tasks.
  5. Execute your plan in silence, and respect yourself enough to put your money where your mouth is and to come through on your promises

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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16 Hard Truths About Corporate

deceive-1299043__340When it comes to corporate, people retain certain preconceived ideas about it and corporate fights back setting unwritten rules that are not applicable and indulgent to everyone.

For recent graduates, that are unfamiliar with these rules, transitioning from college to corporate then becomes challenging. At every step of the way, they are being hit by reality and are starting to figure out some hard truths about corporate.

Wondering how to transition to corporate smoothly and how to correct your misconceptions about corporate as soon as possible?

Start reprogramming your mind and integrating these hard truths right now.

Misconception #1: Money is compensatory

Money pays the rent, the car note and the student loan but relying on your pay to cope with the long hours, the office politics and the difficult boss is a mistake.

Money will be compensation enough just for the first few months when you are able to pay the bills. But it will get meaningless where validation, recognition, purpose and fulfillment go a long way.

Developing a healthy work balance, assessing your strengths and weaknesses, and pursuing your purpose are in fact detrimental to career success.

Misconception #2: Your grades are no longer important and your performance in class has nothing to do your performance at work.

What is required of you in corporate, on your first jobs, is not really to understand the different aspects of your job but mostly to understand the task given to you and to execute them.

First of all, your grades will no longer validate you, you will be able to gloat and feel superior anymore. However, you will be having dreaded performance review, once a year, instead of irregular exams. In truth, you will no longer graded on your level of knowledge and your ability to memorize theories but on your ability to work in a team.

Secondly, the company takes all the credit for your work.

Finally, if you missed class back in the days, you could still have caught up with the class and get off with a warning. But if you miss work or are late often, then you become lost in the project and in office politics and you might get fired.

Because you will be judged annually on the collective performance of the team, here are a few tips:

  • Search for the influencers on your team, get along with them and grow your own influence with them.
  • Hold up your end of the bargain in the team and help others pull their weight, without taking credit for it.
  • Keep your personal and ambitious goals in mind for motivation.

Misconception #3: Your diploma will automatically get you a job

In the past, your diploma from an ivy league college will get you a position with status and authority. Nowadays, people are looking for leadership qualities, character, personality, novelty and diversity.

You currently have to go through multiple job interviews, that are now psychological evaluations, competing with someone with the exact same credentials and outperforming yourself, before getting hired by a company.

Misconception #4: Your education will fit the job description

Companies lure low profile, cheap and gullible graduates with polished presentations, attractive job descriptions.

At an entry-level position, your job will be everything and anything the manager wants it to be. Your entry-level position often begins with menial work, beneath you and your education level. And in that case, you will have to put up with it and outdo yourself.

Executing menial work serves the purpose of building trust between you and your team, and of demonstrating your resistance towards hard work.

Misconception #5: You can figure it all on your own

When you arrive in a new company, keep it mind that you cannot figure it all by yourself and you have to be open to learning.

  • Find a mentor to get advice and create a support system.
  • Ask questions to your coworkers to increase your influence and your technical competencies. Learn all the information needed for you to succeed at your job.
  • Takes courses, trainings and keep reading books to develop yourself and your knowledge.

Misconception #6: Your are indispensable to the company

It doesn’t matter which school you graduated from, at entry-level, every employee looks, talks, walks and acts the same. It is highly likeable that you will be treated all the same,  interchanged at some point, moved around from team to team, from projects to projects.

Your status shouldn’t be taken personally. It is a rite of passage.

Misconception #7: Corporate requires common and usual skills

Graduates were required to learn and memorize theories. In corporate, you will be asked to execute soldier-like, be dictated what to write down. Find a way to understand what is asked of you without asking too many dumb questions.

Avoid open debates and correcting your managers like in the classroom.

Misconception #8: The company’s public image and values are legit

hard truth about corporateThe company image and values are not always injected and reflected in the company’s workplace.

Most of the time, hierarchy is not always respected, power is unevenly distributed, roles are attributes unofficially and values are non-existent in the workplace. A toxic and individualistic company can publicly encourage team work and be elected “Best Company to Work in”. It’s all about product marketing.

Misconception #9: Blindly comply to your orders and assignments

Obeying at your bosses beck and call shows your loyalty, your ability to take and follow directions. It is also dangerous because you can take the fall and be thrown under the bus for any failure.

In any case, make sure that you:

  • do what is asked of you to a certain extent.
  • observe your boss’ methods, attitude towards you and others. His or her behavior might be part of his or her process.
  • keep your eyes and ears open in case of bullying and of excessive treatment coming from your bosses.

Misconception #10: Everybody knows better

You might think that evolving to corporate means that everyone there has evolved and matured as well. Everyone is educated and trained for their job, but not everyone is self-trained, disciplined, polite and respectful.

You will definitely encounter toxic coworkers that can easily make your life a living hell if you don’t know how to deal with them.

Misconception #11: You can make friends in the workplace

It is strongly advised not to create deep level of friendships in the workplace because your coworkers are not to be trusted with confidential and personal information.

Misconception #12: Office politics are easy to navigate

Office politics are more difficult to navigate than it seems, especially at an entry-level position because you have to try to be liked and to get along with everybody, from the beginning, without showing that you are making that effort.

Outside of work, you were able to get into a fight with whomever you pleased without ripping any consequences. In the workplace, your ability to assimilate, to fit in and to get along with your coworkers will be tested during the first three months on the job.

What to do then?

  • Be an easy-going, a non-partisan, untalkative, reliable coworker that everyone confides to.
  • Don’t take unpopular opinions, even for your “ally” in the workplace.
  • Show respect for other people opinions.
  • Show deference —not submission— for hierarchy. Avoid stepping on toes and going above someone’s head.
  • Develop character, integrity and a proper attitude.
  • Use laughter to defuse bombs.

Misconception #13: Transparency and candor are welcomed with open arms

Don’t openly correct your managers in front of his or her superiors or subordinates or anyone really before being labeled as a “difficult” or “problematic” employee. Keep your thoughts, opinions and concern to yourself.

There are no rewards in pointing out issues, candidly picking bones with bosses and speaking truth to power.  Your credibility and professional judgement can suffer from it.

Misconception #14: Invest yourself in your job

One of the greatest and most common mistake of young graduates is to invest themselves and their time into their jobs. It is essential for you to:

  • put yourself first.
  • not invest too much in projects nor merge your identity with your role in the company. This way, if a project fails, you will not entirely feel the blowback.
  • accomplish your required hours and put in a few hours here and there on special occasions.
  • build a life for yourself outside of corporate that will be a buffer when the workplace becomes toxic.

Misconception #15: Promotion comes from hard work

It is a wildly known fact that promotion does not come from hard work but from the illusion of hard work.

To get promoted, it is necessary to:

  • not outperform your colleagues. You have to slightly perform better than them otherwise you come off as a show off and your coworkers will hate you,
  • not be overly efficient. Otherwise, you will be setting the bar high, be unprepared for unexpected setbacks and you will be setting a negative precedent for yourself,
  • gain the right influence and acquire the right influencers.

Misconception #16: Promotion will get you respect and authority

Yes, a certain amount of authority and influence is acquired through a promotion. Nevertheless, people won’t follow you or perform beyond your orders and your stated authority. You will only be able to control your subordinates through monetary leverage.

According to John C. Maxwell in Developing the Leader Within You, it is only by building solid relationships with your peers that you will gain influence, increase your credibility and your authority.

You must not pursue a promotion just for the status and the title, without being prepared for higher level of leadership. You must develop self-discipline and character first and avoid attracting negative attention on yourself, at all cost.

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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John C. Maxwell

authorJohn C. Maxwell is a worldly recognized leadership expert, speaker. John C. Maxwell is also the Author of Developing the Leader Within You.

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Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. MaxwellIn Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell gives advice on improving your leadership skills and a step-by-step guide of the leadership process.

It is a fact that leaders are not born but are made. It takes exposure to another person’s leadership model, training and self-disciplined.

What is Leadership?

Above all, “Leadership is influence”, according to John C. Maxwell in Developing the Leader Within You. Leadership is not defined by an ability to acquire position, rank and status.

Furthermore, leadership distinguishes itself from management. “Management is the process of assuring that the program and objectives of the organization are implemented. Leadership, on the other hand, has to do with casting vision and motivating people.”

Who is a leader?

The leader of any group is discovered when an important issue is to be decided, when everyone follows and listens to his or her opinion.

Everyone can be a leader, is currently leading, has led, is led or is being led. Contrary to popular belief, even an introvert can be a leader.

Everybody has influence to some extent and influence can be developed. To discover your level and your type of influence, John C. Maxwell has separated the leadership process into 5 “levels”.

Five Level Leadership ProcessWhat are the 5 levels of the leadership process?

The higher you go in the leadership process or the closer you reach to the final and fifth level of the leadership process, the longer it takes to pass a level, the higher the sacrifice and the level of commitment,the more people will want to follow you, the easier it is to lead, and the easier  it is to implement change and encourage growth.

Each level is interdependent and is the basis for the higher one. First find out the level of influence that you have with your coworkers and then, solidify the basis of this level before moving on to the next one.

  1. Position Leadership

At this level, authority and influence are conferred by the job title, which is the “basic entry-level of leadership”. This level is the common understanding of what leadership is.

Aspects and conditions of Position Leadership:

  • The job title has to be appointed to you by someone higher in authority, thanks to your technical training, and your ability to maintain procedures and protocol.
  • The position provides security but does not automatically create followers. People will execute your orders but will not go beyond your stated authority.
  • Millennials don’t respect figures of authority because they are no longer impressed.
  • Position leaders can only control people through monetary leverage.
  • White collars resent position leaders who abuse authority and attempt to intimidate.

Requirements:

  • Start by respecting procedures and protocols, by performing well, by providing results and by being consistent with it.
  • Make sure you fit the corporate culture and share your company values.
  • Come up with innovative ideas.
  1. Permission

This leadership level is based on interrelationship skills. People will work for you, not because they have to but because they want to.

Aspect and conditions of Permission Leadership:

  • Building solid relationships with people allows you to build sustainable leadership.

Requirements:

  • Develop your interrelationship skills.
  • Invest in people and in “win-win” situations.
  • Include people in your group.
  1. Production

This is a period of positive growth in leadership. Your productivity is therefore enhanced, even though you are not yet qualified for the job.

Requirements:

  • Develop a “statement for purpose”, a “responsibility for growth”, an “accountability for results”, an understanding for timing and an appreciation for change.
  1. People Development

Level of leadership where you are able to empower others and instill loyalty into them.

Requirements:

  • “be a model to follow”.
  • Invest time and mentorship in the top 20% of your followers. Identify other influencers that are your subordinates to unify the team around you and to build “collective influence”.
  • Make an effort to stay in touch with everyone even the new comers to the company.
  1. Personhood

Fifth and final level where you entirely benefit from your leadership position.

Aspect and conditions of Personhood Leadership:

  • An emphasis is placed on growing others and watching them grow.
  • You are surrounded by loyal and sacrificial followers.

So what are the keys to leadership success at each level?

Leadership success is obtained by understanding the 20/80 percent principle or Pareto principle to projects, to your job, to the people around you, by prioritizing and by working toward a stated goal. To do so, on one hand, identify the high importance and the high urgency projects in order to tackle them first. On the other hand, determine your respective responsibilities from what can be delegated to someone else, what tasks give you the greatest returns and which activities give you the most satisfaction on your job. Finally, analyze the significance of goals before starting projects.

The character to leadership success

In Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell considers 8 components of character that contribute to leadership success.

  1. Integrity

Integrity is the most important component of leadership. Why? Because it instills trust, helps you gain credibility, grow your influence, build a solid reputation, increase your accountability and your sense of responsibility, resolve internal conflicts and foster a spirit of contentment within you. You do what you say you are consistently and are able to lead by example.

Keep in mind that “integrity is not a given factor in everyone’s life. It is a result of self-discipline, inner trust, and a decision to being relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives”.

  1. Innovation

In order to keep leading, keep changing yourself and your organization, keep renovating and innovating, encouraging growth. The leader has to become comfortable with change and has to acquire the right attitude and understand the demands for such change.

  1. Problem solving

On the job, people all have problems and will tend to underperform. Unfortunately, you cannot eliminate problems and responsibilities from your life but you can overcome and work through them by changing your attitude and reactions towards them.

Leaders do not hold on to problems nor make excuses for their failures but instead transform their “stumbling blocks into stepping-stones”. In fact, they live by the following motto:

“If I can’t do something about a problem, it’s not my problem, it’s a fact of life”.

Also, a leader is able to recognize a problem ahead, is constantly looking for indications of problems before they occur, and is able to best solve them by teaching people how to solve their own problems, by listing all the causes and solutions of the problem, by directly attacking the symptoms of the problem and not the cause,

  1. The right attitude

The right attitude must be developed for leadership to give the right model to your followers.

  1. A love for people

Invest in people by:

  • developing people skills on your own,
  • teaching people around you how to be a leader,
  • motivating and encouraging others,
  • making the right assumptions about people,
  • becoming familiar with the right questions to ask people,
  • being comfortable enough to confront or clarify an issue with someone,
  • becoming an active listener,
  • giving the right assistance to people,
  • allowing team member to utilize their greatest strengths instead of their talents.
  1. An ability to have and share a vision

Leaders must have a vision, “a clear picture of what the leader sees his or her group being or doing” in order to find strength from inner convictions, to provide stamina and to continue their journey when setbacks occur.

The vision needs to be supported by the leader and has to be fed by the leader’s credibility, energy, by the commitment and ownership of the leader and followers, and by the timing of its presentation.

  1. An inclination for personal growth and self-discipline

A leader without self-discipline is his or her worst enemy and appears to be out of control. “This leads to uncertainty and insecurity among followers”.

You can start self-discipline by getting organized, by being responsible for yourself, your actions and your followers, accountable to your followers, by cultivating emotional intelligence,  by developing sacrifice and by paying the price of sacrifice.

  1. An enthusiasm for developing people

One of the role of leadership consists in growing people and developing the leader in them. To do so, create an environment for success, boost your team’s self-esteem, care for your team, understand their human needs and their motivations.

Review

Developing the Leader Within You, by John C. Maxwell, is a self-help book to assess your leadership skills, to solidify and improve your level of influence in your organization. Developing the Leader Within You is filled with small tests, examples and anecdotes to help you relate to the useful message.

It is dedicated to those who are unafraid of change, are willing to continually improve themselves and are ambitious enough to keep moving up the corporate ladder.

Developing the Leader Within You is also ideal for beginners who are at an entry-level position. When you freshly graduate, you believe that leadership rhymes with title, rank, position and responsibilities, and that everyone had to do what you say. Regrettably, I discovered that this wasn’t the case and that I had to work hard building a relationship with my coworkers.

This book has first been published in 1993 but the content is very much contemporaneous and should be prompted to anyone who conceives false notions about leadership. Leadership is not accessible to everyone even though everybody is trying to do it nowadays, starting with millennials: it takes self-discipline and sacrifice which not everyone is willing to do.

Lastly, I enjoyed that John C. Maxwell made it clear that leadership is a long process that cannot be rushed and that there are steps that cannot be skipped.

Favorite quote(s)

Leadership is influence.

Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime!

integrity is not  given factor in everyone’s life. It is a result of self-discipline, inner trust, and a decision to be relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives.

If I can’t do something about a problem, it’s not my problem, it’s a fact of life.

A vision should be greater that the person who has it.

The growth and the development of people is the highest calling of leadership.

Ratings 4/5

Author

John C. Maxwell

Purchase

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15 Hateful Coworkers and How to Deal with Them

We all have been exposed during a period of time to annoying, hateful, toxic coworkers that can drive us crazy. Sometimes, bringing us to ask ourselves whether they’re the problem or we are.
Wondering how to spot these toxic coworkers from afar and how to handle them?

Every workplace has difficult employees and we all have been, to some extent, in different situations with hateful coworkers. I do believe that we all, partially or fully, demonstrate some level of toxicity towards a third party in the workplace.

Below, are the 15 worst toxic coworkers that I have already met and have had to deal with.

Case Study #1: ​The Delicate

Key Symptoms

The Delicate is a sensitive person with vain imagination that constantly and easily feels under attack, and that takes things deeply and personally. The Delicate thinks that people are looking, gossiping and criticizing him or her!

Treatment

  • Keep the conversation on superficial topics and crack jokes about him or her.
  • Avoid using sarcasm, making dry remarks, directly confronting this person. Instead, try to sugarcoat things and to give indirect constructive criticism.

Case Study #2: The Slacker

Key Symptoms

The Slacker is mostly concerned about personal life and regulating it during working hours.

The Slacker does not take his or her work seriously, spends his or her working life over the internet, cannot make a deadline to save his or her life, is not punctual even absent, unapologetically displays a lack of motivation.

The Slacker is visibly unfulfilled in his or her current position but won’t do anything about it.

Treatment

  • Impose a deadline or better yet let him or her publicly impose a deadline.
  • Pick up the slack with the rest of the team and keep quiet.
  • This individual will sink himself or herself. Otherwise, this individual will eventually have to get up and swim, explain their behavior, their performance and their results to upper management.

Case Study #3: The Rocket Scientist

Key Symptoms

The Rocket Scientist is the individual on the team that is full of knowledge but who is in search for recognition for his superior intellect and who demands an immense respect for his expertise.

The Rocket Scientist will feel insulted and will almost become passive aggressive if his or her ideas and point of view are being questioned.

Treatment

  • Avoid comparing his expertise to anyone on the team.
  • Avoid diminishing his knowledge and ideas in front of the team or behind closed doors.
  • Avoid criticizing his work and intellect.
  • Instead, tap into his range of knowledge by placing him or her in the role of a counselor but not a decision maker.

Case Study #4: The Gossiper

Key Symptoms

The Gossiper is an individual that enjoys gossip, that emphasizes and embellishes a rumor.

The Gossiper is nosey and loves to keep the rumor mill spinning. This person is even capable of destroying someone’s reputation in the office.

Treatment

  • Listen to the rumor without adding any input. The information may not be malicious but indicative of office politics or of a situation that you can take advantage of.
  • However, learn to separate useful information from the gossip.
  • If this person only brings negative void information, crafted gossip, signal your disinterest by not responding or responding with monosyllables or challenging the facts in the story line, discreetly remove yourself from the circle, avoid participating in the rumor mill.
  • Be careful not to offense this person, for they would drag your name in the mud. If this person is actually gossiping about you, avoid any interaction and adding fuel to fire by striking back with gossip before damaging your reputation.
  • Confront this person in a non threatening and diplomatic way, in a private setting by stating that you are aware of the gossip and everyone is saying that she is a liar and the bearer of the negative information but you know that is not true.

Case Study #5: The Bulldozer

Key Symptoms

The Bulldozer is an individual that believes wrongly in his intelligence. The Bulldozer doesn’t hesitate to make everybody’s life miserable if things don’t go his way.

The Bulldozer threatens, bullies, intimidates, steps on toes and remains on the verge of harassment in order to get things his way. “It’s my way or the high way!”. The Bulldozer imposes his way of doing things even if it is not the best way of doing them.

They Make the worst managers ever but are the most common managers found in corporate.

Treatment

  • Cultivate your emotional intelligence in order not to respond to negativity with negativity.
  • listen to this person point of view from beginning to end without uttering a word, then summarize their position and calmly expose yours.

Case Study #6: The Work-To-Rule

Key Symptoms

The Work-To-Rule discards any part of responsibility in a situation, does not understand tram work and does exactly what is stated in their contracts and no more.

In fact, the Work-To-Rule insists on not taking on more responsibilities than his or her job description.

Treatment

  • Stress the importance of team work and the value of this individual contribution at work.

Case Study #7: The Overly Friendly

Key Symptoms

The Overly Friendly is an individual that thinks that his coworkers are his extended family and that doesn’t mind sharing extra personal details of his or her life. These details will make you uncomfortable.

Treatment

Explain that you don’t want to hear the gruesome details of his or her life.

If his or her behavior are too intimate, it can be considered as harassment and can be reported to human resources.

Case Study #8: The Naysayer

Key Symptoms

The Naysayer is an individual that irritatingly pinpoints everything negative in a situation and predicts problems before they happen, without proposing an alternative and constructive solution to the situation at hand.

Treatment

Position that person in roles that require to see problems before they occur.

No need to argue and show the positive side of an idea.

To inhibit this behavior, request an explanation why the situation would not work and a thought-through plan for the solution

Case Study #9: The Blameshifter

Key Symptoms

The Blameshifter is an individual that points the finger at everyone else but themselves and that comes up with very creative excuses to completly remove the blame from themselves.

It is a form of narcissism: the Blameshifter is afraid of confronting themselves.

Treatment

  • Come prepared with evidence.
  • If the blame is pointed at you and you know that it is not your fault, give proof of your innocence without accusing this individual.
  • If this individual comes to you with an object of complaint on someone else, in order to avoid being put in the middle, claim that this is none of your business and suggest that they have a conversation with the alleged culprit.

Case Study #10: The Neophobe

Key Symptoms

The Neophobe is an individual that doesn’t deal well with change. The Neophobe is capable of refusing it, sabotaging it or even halting it.

Treatment

  • Demonstrate to him or her that change isn’t traumatic and can be positive.
  • Provide proof and facts that the change eminent is positive.
  • Help that person embrace change.

Case Study #11: The Chatterbox

Key Symptoms

The Chatterbox is an individual that drops by your workspace and starts chatting without solicitation about anything and everything. This individual does not necessarily partake in gossip, but volunteers to share their point of view.

This individual tends to makes you unproductive and inefficient.

Treatment

  • Avoid using words of exclamation or affirmation to not encourage this person to keep on talking.
  • Avoid making eye contact when this person is passing through.
  • Politely and respectfully explain that you are on schedule.

Case Study #12: The Martyr

Key Symptoms

The Martyr is a dedicated employee, willing to “die” for their company without being asked to do so, and that searches for recognition and validation.

For example, the Martyr does extra hours at work and manipulate the boss when someone else get a promotion.

Treatment

  • Show appreciation for this employee and value their work within the company.

Case Study #13: The Stealer

Key Symptoms

The Stealer constantly steals coworkers ideas, takes credit for them and denies it when confronted.

Treatment

  • Hold back on your ideas and opinions when having a conversation with this individual. Listen more than you speak.
  • Avoid confronting this fool but bite your tongue instead because he or she might not know how to implement your ideas.
  • Don’t report it to upper management before appearing to be salty.

Case Study #14: The Snake

Key Symptoms

The Snake is an overly ambitious — almost sociopathic — coworker that smiles to your face and that stabs you and everyone else in the back. The Snake will claim that your ideas are wonderful but will degrade them when you are not looking.

Treatment

  • Keep your personal information, brilliant ideas to yourself.
  • Listen more than you speak.
  • Stay socially engaged and involved in office politics.

Case Study #15: The Ultra Competitive

Key Symptoms

The Ultra Competitive is an individual that is prepared to step over your dead body to succeed or to get recognition in the workplace.

Treatment

  • Focus on your work or get involve in a project where the Ultra Competitive person is not involved in.
  • Stay socially engaged with your other coworkers and keep networking.
  • Consider the company culture, compare them to your values and figure out whether or not you fit in.

How do I deal with other difficult personalities?

Toxic coworkersMost coworkers use extreme tactics to get advancements in the workplace and would do anything to trigger you, to demean you or sabotage your own progress. Some take job positions where they do not belong and that they cannot handle. Others are misusing their strengths and transforming them into flaws that are not accepted in the environment they choose to work in. Others are even responding to an already toxic workplace. Lastly some coworkers are oblivious to their visible flaws and practise them outside of work.

In order to deal with other toxic coworkers:

  • cultivate emotional intelligence,
  • listen more than you speak,
  • look for the positive or the humour in negative circumstances.

No matter the reasons, you have to learn how to insulate yourself emotionally and spot a hateful coworker from a distance.

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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Tom Rath

author

Tom Rath is a human behavior researcher. Tom Rath is also the Author of StrengthsFinder 2.0.

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Marcus Buckingham

authorMarcus Buckingham is a researcher, motivational speaker and business consultant. Marcus Buckingham is also the Author of StandOut 2.0 assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work.

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StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work by Marcus Buckingham

In StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work, Marcus Buckingham stresses the fact that everybody has a “genius” — a particular combination of strengths — that is innate but that is difficult to find out, to control and to employ. Our genius comes so naturally to us that it becomes the norm, the standard of behavior for everyone.

Furthermore, it is difficult to acknowledge our abilities and how unique we are. Society will not tell you your strengths but will deter you from being confident or different and will encourage you to fit the mould.

In that event, Gallup Inc’s StrengthsFinder has defined 34 “themes of talents” to help an individual evaluate their strengths and styles. Though there is an infinite amount of strengths and personality traits, Marcus Buckingham noticed recurring patterns within Gallup Inc’s 34 themes of talents. He then combined those 34 themes of talents and hundreds of other measurable themes into 9 powerful “Strength Roles” that will help you distinguish your strengths and take advantage of your edge. Each Strength Role can be assimilated to a “certain “personality,” a way of engaging with the world.”.

Below, are the 9 StandOut Strength Roles identified by Marcus Buckingham:

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Advisor. You are a practical, concrete thinker who is at your most powerful when reacting to and solving other people’s problems.


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Connector. You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to bring two people together to make something bigger and better than it is now.


StandOutCreator

Creator. You make sense of the world, pulling it apart, seeing a better configuration, and creating it.


StandOut2.0 Equalizer

Equalizer. You are a level-headed person whose power comes from keeping the world in balance, ethically and practically.


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Influencer. You engage people directly and convince them to act. Your power is your persuasion.


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Pioneer. You see the world as a friendly place where, around every corner, good things will happen. Your power comes from your optimism in the face of uncertainty.


StandOut Provider.jpg

Provider. You sense other people’s feelings, and you feel compelled to recognize these feelings, give them a voice, and act on them.


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Stimulator. You are the host of other people’s emotions. You feel responsible for them, for turning them around, for elevating them.


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Teacher. You are thrilled by the potential you see in each person. Your power comes from learning how to unleash it.


The StandOut assessment test, taken online and associated to this book, is designed to measure your propensity to a Strength Role, by posing a series of questions and analyzing your impulsive or instinctive responses. The test poses thirty-four questions that are mostly built around hypothetical stressful situations in the workplace, that are clocked and that require top of the mind responses among a set of possible good and defendable responses. Additionally, the questions are embedded with trigger words that will unknowingly stimulate you, captivate you and incite you towards a specific answer.

The analysis of your responses, ranking your 9 strengths roles in order of importance, is delivered in a report. Through the StandOut assessment test, you can discover and study which two top Strength Roles that you are naturally leaning towards.

Knowing your strengths, how to use them, where to use them, how to describe yourself, the impacts of your strengths on your career, your team and your leadership styles, how to look out for your pitfalls, will definitely give you an edge over everyone else in the workplace.

After identifying and understanding your strengths, it is necessary to improve them, to best translate them in order to properly employ them. It is necessary to build them. Marcus Buckingham lays down three lessons to do so:

  1. “Your genius is precise”. Stay in your strength zone and take advantage of it.
  2. “Remember who you are”. Remember your Strength Roles, apply them daily and hold on tight to them when people tell you otherwise or things don’t go your way.
  3. “Always sharpen your edge”. Better yourself within your strength zone.

Review

StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work is a very instructive book. I vehemently suggest it to people who are looking to identify or fortify their strengths, to people who feel like they have taken the wrong career path and to people who are not yet blossoming in the career path they appreciate.

While reading StandOut 2.0, on account of me possessing a career advice blog, I believed that I related the most to the Strength Roles of Advisor and Creator. However, according to the Standout assessment test, I fit the two top Strength Roles of Pioneer and Equalizer. In disbelief, I committed myself to read the entire report, including the piece about the ideal career advice that I should follow.

Below are my strengths roles by order of importance:

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It turns out that:

  • the StandOut assessment test is surprisingly accurate. The test report perfectly described my major personality traits. Throughout my education, training and career, I’ve been the one to jump on novelty and innovative projects.
  • the StandOut assessment test has provided me with a positive twist on what I thought where personality flaws.
  • the StandOut assessment test suggested career paths that I have already taken and am currently positioned at. It has equally confirmed to me that I am in the right career path but I stayed in the wrong workplace for the longest, which I figured out a few months before taking this test.

In conclusion, the StandOut assessment test will surprise you not only by challenging the ideas you have of your strengths but also by the accuracy of the results.

Favorite quote(s)

the StandOut assessment calculates your two leading strength roles, pinpoints what you can do to channel them, and describes your particular power when these top-two roles combine.

We each have specific areas where we consistently stand out, where we can do things, see things, understand things, and learn things better and faster than ten thousand other people can. When we find ourselves in these areas—our strengths “zone,” if you will—we are magnificent. Self-assured and flushed with success, we imagine we can do just about anything that we turn our minds to.

When you take a job that you never should have taken, when your boss doesn’t understand you, when your company downsizes you, or when you start to question whether you have anything of value to offer, the memory of your strengths will hold you in place, reorient you, and show you the way forward.

Ratings 3,5/5

Author

Marcus Buckingham

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The importance of identifying your strengths and weaknesses to succeed at work

For the last few years, emphasis has no longer been put unto developing leadership knowledge, leadership skills and leadership competencies in the workplace but unto developing your talents, your strengths and purpose in order to pursue leadership positions.

What is the main difference between knowledge, skills, competencies, talents and strengths?

On one hand, knowledge (the fact of knowing something), skills (the ability to perform tasks well at your job or in a given situation) and competencies (the ability to master the skills that you perform well at your job or in a situation) are learnt and developed at school or at work, through training and practise.

On the other hand, your talents are inherent, last a lifetime and make you unique. They cannot be acquired or forgotten throughout life. By means of your talents, you are innately hardwired to think, feel and speak a certain way, to react in a particular manner to a given situation or event.

Finally, strengths are the combination of skills, knowledge and talent. As sure as recognizing the different types of coworkers possible in the workplace remains a knowledge, getting along with coworkers and navigating office politics become skills, communicating effectively and influencing coworkers and clients are talents. Subsequently, possessing the ability to take command, impose your views and take charge on a project emerge as a strength.

Defining your strengths early in life is critical for personal development, self fulfillment and career success. Indeed, assessing your strengths will enable you to:

  • appreciate your self-worth, reinforce your values and your motivations.
  • understand your strength, its nuances, its impact at work and consequences on coworkers. For instance, visionary leaders don’t always know how to properly explain their vision which leaves their team members confused and uncertain of the leadership capabilities of the visionary leader.
  • evaluate your role and contributions at work. This way, you will not be taken advantage of and you will find out early whether or not you are fulfilled by a career path, if you are performant or if you are made for leadership.
  • be more effective, positively influence career decisions and improve your career by actually mastering these strengths. Strenghts assessment becomes suddenly critical when accepting or refusing a promotion.
  • assist, be assisted by coworkers or team members with a complementing set of skills. If you are a team leader, acknowledging your strengths will make you more aware of your team member’s.
  • invest in an environment that fits your thinking pattern and use less energy while sustainably performing a task.
  • gauge your weaknesses and possible blindspots. determining your weaknesses enables a better self-assessment, a way to work around them or simply avoid them. Accept the weaknesses as much as you do the strengths but don’t overwork your weaknesses either: correcting your weaknesses will never be as effective as improving your pre-existent strengths. A common mistake, that I have mostly noticed during performance reviews, lies in the fact that managers stress, more than often, the flaws of an employee and urge them to fix their weaknesses instead of pointing out their strengths and placing them where they would be more productive.
  • Extend the vision of yourself, the limit of who you are and what you can do. Be adventurous and step outside of your comfort zone.
  • express personal truths, steer away from social pressure and conforming to social norms.

Many times, and we have all seen it, people who do not discover their strength or do not use them, tend to be depressed, anxious, bored and unmotivated. They also interact negatively with their coworkers, complain about their job, underperform and are ultimately labeled “difficult”.

Wasting a lifetime in a dead-end job, they feel forced to counter their instincts and to comply to conventional thoughts and rules which is unnatural and counterproductive to them.

It is easier to describe or identify an acquired professional competency than to identify a natural strength.

How to quickly find your strengths?

Due to their innate nature, strengths are easily noticeable to everyone but you. But if you pay close attention to your everyday, you will be able to discover or rediscover them:

  • by renewing your thought pattern. Don’t give up on yourself and your self growth. Make up your mind not to live your life on the side walk. Most people spend time improving their flaws and not their strengths. It is clear that they would have been further if they did otherwise.
  • by reverting back to the memories of your childhood and recalling what you did well and with pleasure. On account of, at that period, the “system” had not affected nor perverted you yet: the main personality traits and what you were gifted with at a younger age remained unchanged.
  • by looking for a common thread in the things that immediately and sustainably attract your attention throughout your life experiences. I usually spend my time reading entrepreneur, management and leadership books and blogs at any hour of the day.
  • by reading books, gaining knowledge, relating to the people in the books and by practicing what you have just learnt on different occasions.
  • by engaging a professional to help identify your strengths and how to employ them.
  • by taking well-known online tests, such as StrenghtsFinder2.0 and StandOut, and cross referencing them.
  • by directly asking the people closest to you, going through your notes and emails or by taking into account your annual performance review. Because of the dark side of human nature, your review as much as people’s advice can be totally biased.  There will certainly be a discrepancy between what people think of me, what I think of myself and who I really am.
  • by surrounding yourself with supporting people. Stay away from yes men, undermining people or groups who hide your strengths, highlights your weaknesses and constantly criticize your work.
  • by simply seeking the truth about yourself and being unafraid of failure or the said truth. Work gradually on yourself and you will be able to build a career more successfully on a strength.

Last words of advice!

First of all, improving strengths is nothing without character.

Talent doesn’t have to be impressive and loud but you must find a way to translate it into something. Sometimes, through life, you are using your strength unknowingly until you are prepared to use it: your passions have probably made you invest enough time into a career path to develop the necessary skills and knowledge. However, if your strength does not fit any career, create one for yourself!

Remember not to feel limited to having one talent and make up your mind not to live your life on the side-walk. And leave your dreams and connect with them.

Don’t hesitate to become an expert of you!

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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Make a lasting good impression at your job interview

Well, first of all, congratulations on getting that so wanted job interview! You now have a lot of work ahead of you in order to ace your job interview.

Wondering how to impress at your job interview and land your dream job?
Most interviewers will solely judge you based on your interview performance and not on your competencies for the job.

That is why your interview has to be perfected. Some people are naturally good at interviews and others aren’t. But this can be fixed with a little practise and rehearsing.

Below, you will find tips to make a lasting good impression during the interview that you must avoid during the job interview.

Before the interview,

  1. Learn the job description, take note of the keywords, see if your experiences, competencies and skills match the description and starting writing down questions about the job.
  2. Research the company, its selection process, its values, its recent projects and collaborations, its locations… Going prepared will give you a competitive advantage.
  3. Rehearse the interview at home (in front of the mirror if you have to) in order to adapt your phrases, expressions and to feel more confident on D day.
  4. Be hygienic and dress appropriately but be comfortable in your clothes. Walk in your new shoes weeks before the interview and when in doubt, wear a tailored suit. If you know the company’s dress code, make sure you look like you will definitively fit in.
  5. Get rid of loud physical appearances like tattoos and piercing. Interviewers judge you on your appearance and will instantly evaluate of you will fit in or not.
  6. Be punctual to the interview. Arrive 15 minutes early to the interview so you can take time to make an opinion of the ororganizationganozation and build up your confidence for the open position. If you were late, apologize profusely.

During the interview,

  1. Walk into the room confidently, smile, shake hands firmly while looking in the eye and sit when invited to.
  2. Keep a positive body language and eye contact. Some interviewers think of themselves as expert psychiatrists and will analyze your every gesture to see if you will fit into their corporate culture.
  3. Be polite and respectful to everyone that you cross roads with in the building. You never know who can influence the hiring decision and if you work there in the future, you don’t want to offence anyone from the get go.
  4. Communicate effectively and actively. The interviewer will wonder about your normal reactions, will place you in a hypothetical situation with their clients and will verify if you can hold a conversation.
  5. Be yourself and don’t cheat on your personality. Interviewers have to roughly judge whether you will fit in or not.
  6. Always speak positively about your previous employers. Under no circumstances, you must complain about your previous employees: you will see this as an opportunity to vent and gain some sympathy (am I right?) but your interviewers will view you as canniving, disloyal and a whiner. If you have had bad past experiences, twist them inot positives. For example,
  7. Speak about money only if your interviewers introduce the subject themselves. Don’t complain about your finances.

At the end of the job interview,

  1. Ask questions at the end of the interview to better seize up the project and the company.
  2. Ask what is the next step of this interviewing process.

After the interview,

  1. Send a thank you email. You can add your resume and questions about the offer to show your interest and motivation.
  2. Wait 48 hours before sending an email to get an update on whether you’ve been selected or not.
  3. Keep scores and records of the interview with the results, specifics and impressions of the interview.

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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