Getting a promotion is a long and complex process that can trigger your innermost insecurities. Therefore, it requires a lot of internal and external work.
Furthermore, getting promoted involves being willing to take risks, changing your bad habits, increasing self-awareness, improving your behavior, being able to compete for a position, being committed to a goal and to an organization.
Wondering how to take control of your career, get a pay raise, get promoted, or move on to a new successful career?
To be promoted, you have to make yourself valuable and bring success to your organization. Promotion comes from a need to:
Take on new responsibilities.
Gain more influence, more authority, more respect and more credibility.
Get a pay raise.
Learn new skills.
Have greater impact on your organization.
Acquire a higher sense of achievement, of job satisfaction.
You must pursue a promotion for the right reasons.
Indeed, if you decide to go after a proportion for the money, for a feeling of superiority, for an ego boost, for revenge purposes, you will not last long in the position.
Be mindful of the impact of your promotion. Measure the changes that the promotion will brig and if you will be able to handle them, if your time and health will be jeopardized, if your priorities will be rearranged, your relationships repurposed, your commitments denied, if there will be more power plays and more politics. Establishing the pros and cons of the promotions will clarify the reasons why you are pursuing a promotion.
Identify your ideal position, ideal boss, career path and compare it to the promotion.
Do your homework on the promotion, identify the required standards of your promotion then demonstrate that you meet the requirements for the new position.
How to get promoted?
To get promoted, you must get noticed for the right reasons. It is necessary to build your brand from day one. As soon as you leave your house, you have to be mindful of your behavior, your appearance, your words and your brand.
To maximize your potential, to build your brand and to finally get that promotion:
Stay prepared for success.Stay focused and competent at your job, meet your goals and deadlines, remember that experience will build up your credibility.
Present yourself in the best light possible. Mind your image and your grooming. Your style says a lot about you and is your first representative.
Decide what yo want to be known for and guard your reputation with your life.Remain professional at all times when at work, stay away from drama, don’t gossip and mind what you say to others.
Understand that you must establish your identity and your self-worth outside of your career and your job description.
Lead by example and establish a code of conduct for yourself.
Learn to be patient and to slowly reap what you sow.
Find out what matters most to you, keep commitments to yourself and to others, create a vision board, repeat positive affirmations if you have to, set goals and review them daily.
Temper your desire to speak out, to speak first and to speak the loudest. Keep your message brief all the time. Avoid talking just to fill the silence and avoid small talk if you are incapable of handling it.
Speak clearly, control your voice tone, pitch, pace, diction and intonations. Also, be careful of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Stay positive in your delivery and never use the word “no”.
Listen not with the intent to reply but the desire to understand, with the desire to read between the lines, to take real interest in what people are saying and to be empathetic.
Pay attention to the unspoken language, gestures.Remember that talk is cheap, that actions speak louder than words. On your side, make sure that you keep eye contact during conversation.
Learn torely on your gut, on your instincts, on your common sense.
Be confident in your abilities, know your strengths and weaknesses, be open to learn. Confidence will help you develop your presence and command respect. Besides, don’t allow your strengths that have gotten you noticed so far be the reasons of your demise, of your career derailment.
Keep your integrity throughout the process.Don’t do things that you don’t want to do or you don’t think are right to do.
Be a problem solver, taking into account the company culture and requirements. To every problem you bring to the forefront, find a solution to it. Anticipate issues, gain perspective, be responsive, adapt to different circumstances and learn to solve them before they show up. This will make you more reliable, more empathetic, will leave you two steps ahead. This will also get higher-ups to trust and respect you.
Be flexible and organized.
Show initiative and keep your motivation.
Show that you can effectively manage conflicts and face challenge. Furthermore, learn to control your emotions to control your behavior, keep your composure in difficult times, stay optimistic and see pressure points as opportunities.
Keep the communication line open with your boss, inform him or her of your latest achievements and seek feedback. During performance reviews, mention your career goals, directly ask for a promotion or for more responsibilities for example.
Take risks and don’t be afraid of failure.If you fail, turn a negative into a positive, learn from your mistakes, avoid dwelling on your past, avoid beating yourself up or blowing events out of proportion.
Be accountable, correct past mistakes and avoid shifting blame.
Understand the company culture, learn to deal with office politics.
Be loyal to your employer, have the best interest of your organization at heart and demonstrate your intentions.
Take every opportunity to network and to build a list of contacts who can help you. To do so, master your people skills, discover how to sell yourself, treat every encounter like gold, do more favors than you ask for. Talk about your own achievements, your interests and motivations without overbearing your audience. However, don’t toot your own horn, don’t be desperate to make contact, don’t nag people, don’t focus too much on yourself or else you will damage your relationships.
Enter a mentorship program or find a mentor in your organization who can give you some advice and take your career to the next level.
Volunteer for additional and interesting work outside of your position, for a position that you wish you had inside your organization.
In the world we live in, with a supremacist leader as the leader of the free world, it seems that culturally ignorant people feel free to demonstrate their ignorance. Lately, cultural ignorance and overtly offending people have been maximized, and this behavior is slowly becoming the norm.
At work and in life, leaders are the ones to demonstrate exemplary behavior when dealing with people from different backgrounds. They have to be emotionally and culturally intelligent.
Wondering how to adjust yourself with different cultures, to become more culturally sensitive and create a healthy workplace?
What is culture?
Culture is a dynamic and complex system of shared values, norms and symbols that distinguishes groups of people from others and that bound them together. It is demonstrated most often in literature, art, religion, language, traditions.
Furthermore, culture is learnt, and shapes one’s personal behavior, values, thoughts, experiences. for example, it defines one’s reaction to conflict or our problem solving skills.
Culture lays the basis for purpose, a higher calling and meaning in life. It is built on morals and a set of unspoken rules. It also conditions our perception for failure and success.
What is cultural sensitivity?
Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is not the same. It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.
Cultural sensitivity means viewing everyone as a unique individual. It promotes unity and has become a skill that is most useful in the world of today.
Why is cultural sensitivity important?
Cultural sensitivity is detrimental because it introduces the concept of identity, of cultural appreciation, of cultural differences. It consequently increase the feeling of belonging and of safety. It improves communication, the quality of work in multinationals or when dealing with coworkers from different backgrounds. In addition, it removes the idea of cultural superiority.
Contrasting cultures bring a diverse set of knowledge, competencies, perspectives and ideas. If positively and purposefully harnessed, culture differences can trigger innovation, creativity and improve job satisfaction.
How to become a culturally sensitive leader?
Work is a part of an individual social identity. Corporate has its own culture, with its norm, its rules, its own values and own systems of beliefs. If the culture is healthy and positive, people easily feel empowered, valued and give better results.
In the corporate culture, managing people with different backgrounds is complex and full of challenges. Regardless of the laws in place, there are a lot of micro aggression towards diversity.
To create culturally sensitive environment, and subsequently a healthy workplace:
Encourage self-awareness and self-development. Change is an internal process that requires self-analysis and self-respect beforehand.
Stay authentic and don’t try to appropriate or claim someone else’s culture.
Be mindful, be open to new experiences and don’t hesitate to explore and learn new things.
Remember, with every interaction, that every person from a different culture is a human-being.
Embrace people who are different from yourself. Get to know the person’s background to understand their behavior, how they operate in society and how they experience life.
Listen actively and respectfullyto people and when speaking, choose your words carefully.
Avoid imposing your ideas on people and forcing them into a box of stereotypes.
Take the initiative and learn other people’s dynamics through personal experience or prolonged exposure.
Identify some idioms and sayings. Also, pronounce their name correctly and accept silence as an act of communication. Learning their language will consequently improve communication.
Show appreciation for someone else’s culture. On one hand, demonstrate empathy and avoid judging them. On the other hand, don’t pander too much to someone else’s culture.
Ask probing open-ended questions. Avoid asking too many questions as not to overwhelm your interlocutor.
Help your employees to understand the company’s culture, expectations, goals and code of conduct.
Effectively navigate conflicts brought by cultural differences.
Pick up on emotional and non verbal cues during conversations.
Take and provide diversity trainings.
If you are part of the majority, seek understanding before seeking to be understood. opening up to minorities will help them accept yours faster, to face challenges better and will increase their work performance.
Respect that other people won’t want to integrate your culture.
Allow people to express freely their values. This will increase their interactions with others, their work performance and their well-being.
Learn to compromise.
Encourage your team to travel more and to approach diverse group of people outside of work.
Adjusting or understanding a culture is a long process. Learning and adjusting to someone else’s culture doesn’t mean that you have to deny your own. It just means that you are able to work and collaborate with people from diverse culture.
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.
In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey distinguishes two major social paradigms that have embodied the search for success and the “fundamental principles of human effectiveness” since 1776: the Character Ethic and the Personality Ethic.
According to Stephen R. Covey, in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, in the United States, from 1776 to WWI, leadership culture was based around building character. It was said that Character Ethic was the foundation of long-term success: leaders were thought values and habits to develop their basic character.
However, from World War I to Today, leadership and success teachings have been promoting Personality Ethic. Personality Ethic provides quick fixes to help an individual deceive their way to the top, to success and to leadership positions. Personality Ethic teachings work short-term, don’t fix issues but just disguise them.
Moreover, Covey claims that we possess several paradigms or maps of how we see things and a map of how things should be which comes from our values. These maps are the basis of our attitudes and behaviors. Paradigms, which are our frame of reference or assumptions, are affected by our conditioning through life, by the influences of our friends and family, of our institutions, our culture, of our historical backgrounds, systems of beliefs, life experiences.
As a result, our attitudes and behaviours are congruent of our paradigms. So therefore, attempting to change only our attitudes and behaviors, as instilled by the Personality Ethic movement, is completely useless and is short-termed. In order to implement change in our character or a “paradigm shift“, it is then necessary to directly assess our paradigms, to examine them, to test them against reality, to listen to others and to be open to their perception.
The term “paradigm shift” is coined from the Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. It means breaking with tradition, old beliefs, old assumptions, old paradigms. Paradigms shift can be toward a positive or negative direction, “instantaneous or developmental” and “create a powerful change”.
Throughout The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey suggests that we shift our paradigms back to the Character Ethic, that we start shifting our thinking from the inside and introduces seven habits to enhance personal and interpersonal effectiveness.
The Character Ethic is a general and fundamental truth, universally applicable, unchangeable and unarguable laws and “principles that govern human effectiveness”, that are “bigger than people or circumstances”, that innately exist in all human beings, are common to all civilization and that triumph time and time again.
Acquiring Character Ethic is the basis of high level of trust in companies, is a long process that should be natural ad cannot be a shortcut. First step to the process is admitting your ignorance or lack of knowledge.
What is a habit?
Character is the composite of embedded habit, and it is necessary to solve the problems we face from the inside out because private victories exceed public victories.
A habit is the intersection of knowledge, skills and desire and is a natural force like gravity. Breaking a habit can be a painful process, demands effort and technique, should be motivated by a higher purpose, a willingness to sacrifice our current desire for a future and unseen desire.
What are the seven habits?
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People moves us on the maturity continuum. It brings us from a state of dependence where we need others to accomplish something for us, to a state of independence where we are self-reliant, self-motivated, derive our self-worth from within and are freed from external dependence, to a state of interdependence where we are self-reliant and competent in our own right but able to work with others, and believe that together we accomplish more.
In addition, the seven habits are habits of effectiveness, a balance between the production of a desired result and the investment in the ability to produce or in the physical, financial and human, asset that produces. Covey believes that to achieve effectiveness , we must strike the P/PC balance, where P stands for Production and PC for Production Capability.
The 3 following habits are the habits of Private Victory. These habits are used to become more confident, to know yourself deeper and to acknowledge your contribution capacity, to define yourself from within instead of using society’s point of view to define yourself. Stephen R. Covey encourages us to develop the habits of being proactive, keeping our future goals in mind and of creating our vision.
HABIT #1: Be proactive
In management literature, being proactive means taking initiative. Here, it also means being responsible for our lives and our decisions, being able to choose a response when faced with a stimulus.
Proactive people, unlike reactive people:
Are unaffected by their physical environment and are value driven. Their performance and attitudes remain constant whether it rains or shines.
Are unaffected by their social environment. they don’t build their emotional lives around people weaknesses and don’t allow those weaknesses to control their lives and decisions. Instead they surrender their emotions to their values and don’t allow reactive language to affect them.
Take the initiative. Act before being acted upon, provide solution to a problem and enable growth and opportunity.
Look to focus their time and energy on areas that they can control or influence. Indeed, they don’t focus on others weaknesses and problems and uncontrollable events.
Constantly work on their habits, change from the inside-out.
Take full responsibility for their short-comings.
Are free to choose their actions but understand that they cannot control the consequences of these actions.
Govern their behaviors with principles, acknowledge their mistakes, learn from them and correct them immediately.
Have integrity: they make and keep their commitments and promises.
Monitor their language and the language of the people around them.
Identify past and potential experiences to which they have behaved reactively and play out scenarios towards a solution.
HABIT #2: Begin with the end in mind
For Stephen R. Covey, beginning with the end in mind means using the “end of your life as your frame of reference or criterion by which everything else is examined”, starting with “a clear understanding of your destination” to “know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right destination”. To begin with the end in mind:
Use habit #1 to be proactive to change preexisting thought, shift your paradigm, examine your deepest values.
Be aware and conscious of your limitless potential, of your uniqueness.
Be imaginative enough to visualize the unseen.
Be responsible and response-able.
Do not violate the criteria that you have set for yourself.
Lead yourself daily in order to execute what really matters.
Develop a “personal mission statement or philosophy or creed” describing your aspiring character, achievements, contributions, values and principles. The personal mission statement becomes your guide and standard, provides you with a sense of mission, helps define your short-termed and long-termed goals and allows change because your core has now become changeless. Basically, developing a personal mission statement makes you much more effective because your energy, time and strengths are dedicated to areas that matter to you. Personal mission statements are not to be written overnight but might take several weeks because they require deep introspection. Also, they have to be written alone and reviewed many times before producing a final form.
HABIT #3: Put first things first
Stephen R. Covey believes that all things are created twice, by design or by default. The first creation starts in the mind where you envision the future and you plan for a destination. The second creation is physical: you bring what you visualize into reality and you take the best route towards your planned destination.
For Covey, leadership is the first creation and management is the second. Indeed, leadership creates the way, opens the pathway, provides direction and a destination. On the other hand, management clears the pathway by “writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and contributions programs”.
To be able to physically create and implement your vision into reality, you have to:
be proactive, understand that you are in control and are able to change your paradigm,
envision your potential and your destination and be self-ware,
have discipline to effectively carry out your plans, to stick to your values and to manage your time and life,
prioritize, schedule, select goals and leave space for unanticipated events,
delegate responsibility to skilled and trained individuals to focus their energy on high-leverage activities.
“Private Victory precedes Public Victory. Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others”.
On one hand, Habits #1, #2 and #3 are habits of Private Victory and are about developing your inner self, your character and your core values.
on the other hand, Habits #4, #5, #6 are habits of Public Victory, help in improving your relationship with others and working successfully with others.
Using the Personality Ethic, we might have a superficial and duplicitous relationship with others. Difficulty in relationships translates into tolerable chronic emotional pain that can turn into psychosomatic diseases. The symptoms of these emotional pains cannot be treated with quick fixes and techniques from the Personality Ethic.
Nevertheless, the Character Ethic provides a foundation for effective interdependence. The interdependence paradigm teaches us to:
seek to understand others and stimulate their deep interest or needs,
attend to kindness and courtesies,
keep commitments and promises to people in order to build trust,
clarify expectations from the start to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts,
manifest integrity by being honest, loyal to those who are not present, by treating everyone with the same set of principles,
help others “feel secure and safe and validated and affirmed in their essential worth, identity and integrity”,
The Win/Win paradigm. People with this paradigm seek mutual benefits in all human interactions, believe that life is a cooperation and not a competition, that a “person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others”.
The Win/Lose paradigm. People with this paradigm don’t create synergy or cooperation, use the authoritarian or commanding leadership style and are accustomed to low trust and competitive environments.
The Lose/Win paradigm. People with this paradigm have no standard, no demands, no expectation, no vision, search for popularity and acceptance, are quick to please and appease, repress their emotions and feelings, and are easily intimidated by ego strengths of others.
The Lose/Lose paradigm. People with this paradigm live by the “philosophy of the highly dependent person without inner direction”, who is miserable and thinks everyone else should be too.
The Win paradigm. People with this mentality seek to win not necessarily wanting the other party to lose or win.
TheWin/Win or No Deal paradigm. If no synergistic solution is brought to the table that could satisfy both parties, then there is no deal. This paradigm provides emotional freedom.
Stephen R. Covey promotes the Win/Win paradigm and establishes that a Win/Win person possesses specific character traits: they have integrity, they have maturity which means that they are able to express their views with consideration to others, and they have the abundance mentality which means that they believe that there is enough for everyone.
Of course, not all decisions are Win/Win, but to know when to apply the Win/Win paradigm, you must understand the problem from another perspective, identify the other person’s issues and concerns, other acceptable results, and new possible outcomes for the situation.
HABIT #5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
To be able to influence and to develop effective interpersonal communication skills, it is better to diagnose a situation before prescribing or proving advice.
To understand another person’s emotional and intellectual paradigm, Covey instructs us to listen empathetically, without making assumptions, and warns us to not listen to reply, manipulate, control or sympathize.
Empathic listening takes time initially but saves time afterwards, is risky because you become vulnerable to influence. That is why we must develop a changeless core of principles, erected in Habits #1, #2, #3.
Furthermore, seeking to be understood requires maturity, an ability to present your ideas clearly, specifically, visually and contextually and an ability to consider all the facts and perceptions. To take preventive measures, schedules one-on-one before issues arise.
HABIT #6: Synergize
Synergy means that “the whole is greater than the sums of its parts”, and is used to create cooperation in our social interaction. To create synergy on a daily basis:
value and respect social, mental and emotional differences to nurture people self-esteem and self-worth. Effective people acknowledge the limits if their perceptions, appreciate diverse interactions because they had to this person’s knowledge and understanding of reality, increase their awareness,
build on strengths and compensate weaknesses,
be open to new possibilities, alternatives and options,
be open to learning and to other’s influence.
HABIT #7: Sharpen the Saw
Finally, Habit #7 sums up the entire book. Habit #7 is about investing, preserving and enhancing your preexisting assets and means exercising sound motivation and organisation in four different dimensions:
The physical dimension is about caring for the health of our body by eating right and exercising.
The “spiritual dimension provides leadership in your life”, is your core and your commitment to your value system.
The mental dimension come from formal eduction, expansion of the mind.
The social/emotional dimension that is centered on developing interpersonal leadership, empathic communication and creative cooperation.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a self-development book that has been on my shelf for longest while. It was written in 1989 but is still contemporaneous and can very much serve as guide to life, for personal and professional growth.
I avidly took notes in the perspective of actively applying every single tip and read it twice in order to capture the very essence of the book.
I recommend it to all leaders that are trying to integrate core values and to ingrain “good” habits into their character in order to experience success, to increase their effectiveness at work and to become the best leader that they can be.
I like that each paragraph are interconnected and that the author is personally implicated, is genuine with his approach and his drive to see us succeed and become more effective.
Covey calls out the books since World War I, promoting Personality Ethic, that provide quick fixes and band aids to deep-rooted problems. These books suggest techniques and principles to encourage leaders to put up a front and act like a leader would and not actually be a leader. Covey is also being very transparent about the dysfunction of the society these days, willing to manipulate and deceive their way to the top.
Finally, he reminds us that it is not all that shines that is glitter: the deception does not last very long and the leadership tower crashes because it has no basis and because the leadership house was built on sand.
If I try to use human influence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what I want, to work better, to be more motivated, to like me and each other — while my character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity and insincerity — then, in the long run, I cannot be successful. My duplicity will breed distrust, and everything I do — even using so-called good human relations techniques — will be perceived as manipulative. It simply makes no difference how good the rhetoric is or even how good the intentions are; if there is little or no trust, there is no foundation for permanent success. Only basic goodness gives life to technique.
You always reap what you sow; there is no shortcut.
Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others.
Whether it’s originated in our History or Culture, whether it’s from watching television or from frequenting our friends and family, we all have a clear picture in our minds of what great leadership is or should be.
We also have in mind which competencies and qualities are ideally associated to great leadership.
Wondering if that picture you nurture in your mind coincides with reality and what makes leadership so important?
What is great leadership?
Leadership is the ability to wheel power, to influence people positively in order to be successful, to bring like-minded individuals together towards a common goal or vision and to translate that vision into reality.
Influence allows leaders to gain consistent support for their views and opinions while building relationships with other individuals, groups or organization on a daily basis. It also helps leaders improve teamwork, and gain more credibility, and respect.
Furthermore, influence is used to win others over, to persuade and convince without having to subject anyone to manipulation, force, command or control. It consists in a core competency in today’s workplace.
Why is leadership important?
Not everyone is a leader. Not everyone is given an opportunity to lead or not everyone has made the conscious decision to lead. Not everyone wants to be a leader because leadership requires time, knowledge, skills and emotional intelligence.
Some people are actually leaders but not in all aspects of their lives. At last, others leaders emerge later in life.
Moreover, the importance for leadership and the motivation for leadership go hand in hand.
Everybody is motivated differently by leadership: you can be motivated by a search for prestige, status, respect, deference, money, power, an increase in power of decision, a will to make the world a better place by servicing others, a strong desire to embody a vision and to bring that vision into reality.
In addition, without great leadership, chaos flares up.
The key competencies for great leadership
I believe that the nine competencies below are the foundation of great contemporaneous leadership:
Demonstrating integrity and instilling trust in employees. Leaders must be capable of being responsible and accountable, of becoming an exemplar of wanted behaviors and values, treating others with respect, of doing the right thing, of walking the walk and walking the talk. According to Warren Bennis, “there is no difference between becoming an effective leader and becoming a fully integrated human being”.
Learning continuously to be able to deal with personal and organizational complexities, to grow and become more effective, and finally to challenge the status quo.
Share vision to inspire has purpose. A vision is what you want to create, to embody and achieve as a leader. The leader’s vision has everything to do with his or her purpose and is often reflected in his or her behavior.
Maintaining strong communication skills. Leaders must be good speakers as well as good and active listeners. Communication skills increase the leader’s influence in the workplace. The best way to showcase your communication skills is to:
delay your speech, analyze your audience by getting to know their background, situation, history, values, enhance your rhetoric and work on the delivery of your speech.
describe the situation you want to change, its impacts and its solutions.
ask for other people input by professional courtesy and be open for discussion.
Developing emotional intelligence. Exceptional leaders get to know themselves before getting to know others, lead themselves before leading others, use their emotions at work but don’t let their emotions use them.
Building healthy relationships and connecting with your followers. Indeed, outstanding leaders hold your employees to a higher standard, with higher expectations with the belief that their employees can meet them. They also provide feedback, invest in their employees personal strengths, value collaboration and team work in order to connect to your workforce.
Developing others by mentoring and coaching them in order to sustain high performance employees, to train them for leadership positions and to strengthen employees weaknesses and to help “difficult” employees to fit into the corporate culture. A great leader is a catalyst, facilitator that allow each member of the team to shine. By then, employees commitment and productivity will be increased. Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (2009) said it right in Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow: “Perhaps the ultimate test of a leader is not what you are able to do in the here and now – but instead what continues to grow long after you’re gone.”.
The skills of leaders are transferable to every aspect or role of their lives: they are applicable to their community, neighborhood.
people regularly come to you for advice, for brainstorming or problem solving,
you are progressively given more responsibility on a project by your boss,
your boss asks for your opinion on a subject matter before an “above your pay grade” meeting
or you are included in your coworkers social activities.
If you are not being perceived as a leader, start with these small steps:
Respect the company’s culture, work protocols and procedures and perform well.
Offer your help when there is extra work to do in the office. This will show that you are ready to roll up your sleeves for the success of the project, to apply yourself effectively without complaining.
Volunteer outside of work. This will allow you to test your leadership skills, to inquire whether leadership is made for you or not, to learn new skills and mostly to make mistakes with less consequence to your career.
Read or write articles about leadership development and take courses to increase your knowledge about leadership.
As 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 practiced 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 practice 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:
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.
Train your brain to handle different situations, and to prepare for both positive and negative outcomes.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Change your self talk.
Meditate on a daily basis, a least 10 minutes a day, to quiet the mind, gain serenity and suppress regrets.
Cultivate gratitude. This will help you transform negative circumstances into positives.
Change your sources of data that you intake and abstain from vain entertainment.
Change or increase your social circle to individuals who possess the qualities and skills that you wish to acquire.
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:
Renew your thought pattern, invest in your personal growth and don’t allow setbacks to mentally set you back.
Reverting back to the memories of your childhood and recalling what you did well and with pleasure.
Look for a common thread in the things that immediately and sustainably attract your attention throughout your life experiences.
Read books and gain knowledge.
Hire a professional to help identify your strengths and how to employ them.
Surround yourself with supporting people. Stay away from yes men, undermining people or groups.
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:
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.
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.
Prioritize your personal goals and accomplish the most important ones before hand.
Implement a routine and stay focused on the prize.
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.
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.
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:
Be consistent with your values (integrity)
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.
Read, listen, watch motivational elements. For faithful people, turning to your belief system is a great way to stay on track.
Draw lessons from your mistakes.
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:
Define your responsibilities or tasks, avoid stepping on anybody’s toes, delegate tasks appropriately,
Play by the rules, treat your team members as adults and with respect,
Look out for the best interests of the company and your team members,
Coach your team, promote self-discipline amongst them, encourage innovative ideas without even if they fail,
Share your performance expectations with your employees and help them direct their focus towards achieving their goals
Address unacceptable behaviors immediately without punishing or humiliating the perpetrators,
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:
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.
Clearly, your order brings a sense of control to the team. However, don’t impose your discipline to anyone else.
Focus on starting tasks rather than completing them.
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.
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.
Congratulations. You have just been hired, after an incessant job search and multiple job interviews. Now, the real work has just started!
Wondering how to build a positive professional image as soon as you arrive on the job and to sustain it throughout your whole career?
From your first day on the job, your colleagues will definitely be judging you and your capabilities as a leader, as a team member or as a threat to their current position.
Meanwhile your employer will evaluate your abilities to integrate the organization and to quickly adapt, to learn the job skills. You have to be ready to handle the pressure and to measure up to the job. And unfortunately, I learnt that there aren’t any do-overs when it comes to making a first impression of your professional image.
On the first day on my first job, I showed up on the first day with a negative attitude: I was anxious, unconsciously rejecting the fact that I had to work corporate and work for someone else. Therefore, in the long haul, I started involuntarily rebuffing the idea of getting along with people, learning new skills and focusing on my job. As a result, I integrated an unfavorable perception of my environment and I certainly believe that I left a negative impression of myself in the workplace. This stuck to me for a while until I quit the job and was able to start over elsewhere with a better knowledge of both corporate and leadership.
At the same time, to survive, I did what my elders told me: “work hard and keep your head down!”. But this brought on additional issues. Why? Because, according to Daniel Goleman, in Working With Emotional Intelligence, the “rules for work are changing. We’re being judged by a new yardstick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other.[…] These rules have little to do with what we were told was important in school; academic abilities are largely irrelevant to this standard.”.
In order for you to steer clear from the same issues that I have experienced, to develop a leadership image from the start, follow the tips below:
Arrive to work early and leave late on your first day.
Arriving early to work demonstrate your motivation, your eagerness to learn and gives you more credit as a professional. In addition, arriving early will allow you to get a general feel of your new colleagues’ arrival time, schedules, morning procedures. It will also give you a time to which you will be expected to show up at work.
On your first day, at least, make sure to leave the office after a few coworkers have left the office and not before everyone else does.
Dress appropriately and to look your best.
Undeniably, your coworkers will make snap decisions about you without getting to know or understanding your core values. Subsequently, they will judge your book by its cover, no matter how you feel or what you say.
Dressing appropriately, without drawing attention to yourself, gives the perception that you fit in, that you are the right person for the job, and that you care about yourself and others. At your job interview, you had the time to consider the company culture and to take notes on the proper attire to fit in. Even on casual Fridays, groom yourself, do your best to look the part, and to dress for the job you want and not for the one you have.
Be confident, positive and prepared for a full-blown interview from your colleagues.
After the job interview, take heed of the coworkers interviews. Most likely, they will ask about your education, your professional experience, your professional competencies for the job, a description of your current position, and the members of your team. Prepare a short presentation of yourself to introduce yourself confidently.
Assume also that some of your coworkers won’t bother to get to know you.
So, you will have to take initiative and make the first steps. Extend a firm handshake, smile and proactively introduce yourself by using the short presentation about yourself and to control the message regarding yourself. Also, prepare a set of probing questions for your coworkers.
Observe your coworkers in return, their behavior towards one another, towards their boss.
Don’t be fooled, on your first day, most of your coworkers will be on their best behavior around you and will try their best for you to like them. Withal, you can discreetly notice the clicks and the areas and subjects that bring tension.
Pay attention to company culture.
Who gives orders, who is the unofficial leader, who arrives early and who arrives late, who takes coffee breaks and how often, who start the lunch process, where lunch takes place and for how long…does everyone work out? Should you go to the after works? Take a moment to understand the rules, on your own, without referring to any coworker just yet.
Remember the names of the people you meet.
I am not a name person but you should not ask for names that were already given. Wait a few days and someone will throw a name out there.
Cultivate emotional intelligence.
Even though your coworkers will be on their best behavior for the first few days, there is ALWAYS someone to come around and test you for fun. Your reaction to his or her obnoxious behavior will market your capabilities and your personal qualities, for future career success.
Communicate effectively, listen more than you speak and observe your body language.
Listen actively and with intention of asking probing questions. Ask for people opinions before you give yours.
Show interest in your new tasks.
The responsibilities that you are given on your first days are boring and minimal: you will most likely be reading job regulations, technical documents and implementing basic tasks. Nonetheless, ask pertinent questions, take notes, commit to the task at hand and don’t expect your boss or your coworkers to hold your hand.
Be open to correction, advice and guidance.
Even though you have some experience under your belt, stay humble instead of showing off your knowledge, listen to what your coworkers have to tell you. Thank people for their help and own up to your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know. Let me find out and get back to you.”.
Accept invitations for coffee, to smoke or to lunch with your coworkers.
Mind you, I don’t drink coffee, I don’t smoke and I only take lunch breaks alone during my working hours. But those breaks are essential to show that you are social and willing to integrate and share their habits. Use those breaks to your advantage to get to know your coworkers.
Don’t indulge in office politics and gossip on your first day or ever.
Avoid people who partake in gossip and employ aggressive methods of office politics. To not be implicated in the rumor mill, don’t expose your personal life. According to Daniel Goleman, pay attention to “what to say, what not to say, and what to call it” throughout your entire career.
Building a strong professional image and leader brand, as soon as you step into your new position, is detrimental to career success.
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.