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Quote Of The Week #293
The Key To Success by Russell H. Conwell
An intelligent person recognizes their abilities and limits, understand that they have to hire someone with more insights, knowledge and competencies to do what she or he is not able to do.
It is evident that very few are fit to lead or to know what to do under difficult or important circumstances: only wise and good men are fit to be leaders.
The story of the Silver Crown
In Ackba, there was a beautiful palace and in the palace, next to the throne, there was a pedestal with a Silver Crown, which the emperor wore when he passed a law and without which the emperor was a regular citizen.
After many years of ruling, the emperor died and left the throne without an heir or anyone to claim the Silver Crown.
After twelve years of searching for a successor, when the country started to sink, the astrologers, who worshipped the stars, asked the stars where to find a successor. The stars answered:
Look up and look down your country, and when you find a man whom the animals follow, the sun serves, the waters obey, and mankind love, you need not to ask who his ancestors were. This man will be one of the royal line entitle to the throne of gold and the Crown of Silver.
The astrologers searched the country, asked the people but were met with ridicule.
Until one night, an old astrologer got lost in the Himalaya Mountains and took refuge in a cottage to find an intelligent leader, worthy of the throne.
Through the story of the Silver Crown, Russell H. Conwell illustrates four characteristics that he deems are necessary to subsist in modern civilization.
How to find the intelligent leaders of tomorrow?
In life, it becomes necessary to have a leading man or woman.
Russell H. Conwell uses the four characteristics of the Silver Crown story to determine the leaders of tomorrow: a man or woman whom the animals follow, a man or woman whom the sun serves, a man or woman whom the waters obey, and a man or woman who possesses mankind love.
Characteristic 1: Animals will follow the leader
Conwell considers that, alike universities, animals ought to instruct and encourage us.
He takes a scientifical approach to demonstrate the knowledge and power embodied in animals.
Studying the animals and taking notice of their instinctive knowledge on a daily basis will allow us to comprehend life better.
For example, the horse is much more useful than a human being. The horse “has within its body so much galvanic and electric force continually generated by the activities of life, that if that electricity could be concentrated and held to a certain point, a horse could stand still and run a forty-horse power electric engine.” Whereas, a human being, standing still, can run a ten-power horse engine.
Furthermore, a hen and her egg are filled with mystery and more knowledge than an intelligent professor with degrees from prestigious schools are willing to admit or to spend time studying.
Conwell believes, contrary to science, that hens or chickens possess their own language, the “egg is the greatest scientific problem with which the world has ever grappled — the beginning of life and the God-given design”.
Characteristics 2 & 3: the sun will serve the leader and the waters will obey the leader
Through the story of the locomotive and the milkman, Conwell shows how a leader is being served by both sun and water, the importance of getting educated on a daily basis and noticing the events around us and noticing the unnoticed.
The locomotive, using steam to move and driven by Man, is used to illustrate these 2 characteristics.
A milkman took a locomotive every day to distribute his milk. On the train, he consistently asked questions about the functioning of the train to the engineers.
One day, while the fireman and the engineer were absent, the train rolled down the mountain.
Fortunately, the milkman was on the train, knew how to drive it and saved everyone, including a stakeholder in the railroad company. The milkman happened to get rich of his knowledge and his curiosity.
Characteristic 4: mankind will love the leader
A leader gains the love of mankind by being great benefactors: while they are going after their own success, they bless humanity, they hear the call of humanity and respond to it.
The university from which they have graduated from does not matter in real life.
University can make you unlearn the real values and useful knowledge, needed in real life.
An uneducated person will know more instinctively than anyone who has been to school by using their everyday observations, even though they have a degree from a university or not.
The Key To Success by Russell H. Conwell is a great book that takes approximately one hour to read.
It is filled with picturesque stories and fictional dialogues to illustrate and to get us to remember his point.
The Key To Success is dedicated to those who wish to become leaders and strengthens their core values, for those who are eager for success. It emphasizes the idea that every man is his own university, that every man should take notice of his surroundings and learn from everything.
The Key To Success by Russell H. Conwell is an essay to encourage people to seek their own success by observing the events around them. Russell H. Conwell seeks to find the intelligent and the “leading men and women” of tomorrow.
In The Key To Success, Russell H. Conwell is very controversial, progressist, scientifically curious and forward for his time.
He is continually questioning the limits of science and of human knowledge, is answering the questions that science cannot answer with the knowledge of God.
After reading this book, all I could think is “I like this guy” for his opinion. Conwell does not hesitate to denounce academics, with diplomas from prestigious schools, who have no time to study “lesser” things in life, who belive that their studied education trumps their natural and instinctive education.
Hence, for him, science does not explain everything but we should seek explanation from God.
There is danger that a man will get so much education that he won’t know anything of real value because his useless education has driven the useful out of his mind.
The great scientific men—and we need more—often are not given the full credit that is due them because they have not “graduated” from somewhere. It seems to me there is a feeling in these later days for creating an aristocracy among the men who have graduated from some rich university. But that does not determine a man’s life. It may be a foolish tyranny for a little while, but nevertheless every man and woman must finally take the place where he and she are best fitted to be, and do the things that he and she can do best, and the things about which he and she really know. Where they graduated, or when, will not long count in the race of practical life.
Do you know that the humblest man, whatever his occupation, really knows instinctively certain things better for not having been to school much? It is so easy to bias the mind.
No man ever gives himself for others’ good in the right spirit without receiving “a hundredfold more in this present time.”
Many of us spend our lives searching for success when it is usually so close that we can reach out and touch it
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Quote Of The Week #186
Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter by Robert Bruce Shaw
According to Robert Bruce Shaw, in Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter, great leadership emanates from an ability to make great decisions which comes from making bad decisions and learning from them. The sooner in your career that those bad decisions are made, the better.
Of course, you make fewer mistakes as you progress in your career and as you experience the outcomes of the mistakes, but you never stop making them. In addition, mistakes are more costly as you move up the ladder in a company and can potentially derail your career.
In light of this issue, in Leadership Blindspots, Robert Bruce Shaw investigates the existence of leadership blindspot, an “unrecognized weakness or threat that has the potential to undermine a leader’s success” and that becomes evident in the way your team, organizations and markets are perceived.
How to characterize leadership blindspots?
First of all, leadership blindspots are often associated to leadership strengths. They appear whenever the leader is utilizing his or her strengths at work.
Second of all, blindspots don’t disappear, even if you are fully aware of them.
Thirdly, blindspots are situational, adaptive and can be helpful.
And finally, blindspots are able to impact other people and followers.
Advice for understanding and dealing with leadership blindspots?
Furthermore, blindspots come with a price and has to be recognized by the leader in order for him or her to find a balance.
To do so, leaders have to weigh two conflicting needs:
- their need for acting with confidence, believing strongly in their vision, and having faith in themselves, their abilities.
- their need for assessing their limitations in order to avoid overconfidence or excessive optimism.
The complex balance between self-confidence and self-doubt is unnatural, contradictory but necessary, depends on each individual and each situation.
If there are too many blindspots, the leader can be overly confident and arrogant. If there are too few blindspots, the leader is somewhat realistic about the obstacles to face, is aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses.
Are there different levels of blindness?
There are three levels of blindness that a leader could experience:
- Lack of awareness level. This is the “most extreme form of a blindspot”. At this level, leaders are constantly surprised or blindsided by events.
- Faulty assessment level. At this level, leaders are in denial: they refuse to acknowledge risks, to analyze known weaknesses, and to understand the causes and consequences of their blindspots.
- Failure to act level. At this level, leaders know the risks, threats and weaknesses that lay ahead but fail to act on them for lack of skills and resolve. Those leaders are adept to the rule “when in doubt, do nothing” or rather remain in their comfort zones.
How to identify your leadership blindspots?
In order to identify your blindspots:
- Review your past and present mistakes. Mistakes are indicative of blindspots, areas of lack of self-awareness, and areas of faulty patterns of thinking and behavior. It is advised to identify the most significant mistakes, their causes, patterns of behavior and thinking associated to these mistakes and the actions to be taken on the behalf of the leader to prevent those mistakes from reoccurring.
- Consider honest and useful feedback from your trusted advisors.
- Gain additional insight by taking the blindspot assessment survey.
Then, question the relative importance of your blindspots in your career and its impacts on yourself, the organization to distinguish which blindspot requires your immediate attention.
What are the different types of leadership blindspots?
Robert Bruce Shaw has classified leadership blindspots in 20 categories:
- “Overestimating your strategic capabilities”
- “Valuing being right over being effective”
- “Failing to balance the what with the how”
- “Not seeing your impact on others”
- “Believing the rules don’t apply to you”
- “Thinking the present is the past”
- “Failing to focus on the vital few”
- “Taking for granted your team model”
- “Overrating the talent on your team”
- “Avoiding the tough conversations”
- “Trusting the wrong individuals”
- “Not developing real successors”
- “Failing to capture hearts and minds”
- “Losing touch with your shop floor”
- “Treating information and opinion as fact”
- “Misreading the political landscape”
- “Putting personal ambition before the company”
- “Clinging to the status quo”
- “Underestimating your competitors”
- “Being overly optimistic”
Which factors trigger blindspots?
Blindspots often go hand in hand with the leader’s strengths and reappear unexpectedly when the leader does what he or she does best.
There are few factors that lead to blindspots areas:
- “Experience gaps“. The blindspot stems from a lack of experience or from a habit of using past experiences to extrapolate a present situation.
- “Information overload” describes an inability to pay attention to everything that is happening when engaged in a complex and challenging task.
- “Emotional bias” corresponds to an emotional involvement in a particular situation or outcome that clouds judgement.
- “Cognitive dissonance” is a psychology term associated to a state in which leaders hold two conflicting views of their self-image. The “conflict is resolved through rationalizing one’s belief or actions in a manner that sustains one’s positive self-image” which reinforces the blindspot.
- “Misaligned incentives” are compensation systems that are “designed to focus attention and effort within an organization, with the result being that people focus more on some areas than on others”.
- “Hierarchical distortion”. The information transmitted to hierarchy becomes distorted, false, incomplete because:
- high-ranking leaders are sometimes detached from the lower levels of the organization.
- subordinates tend to sugarcoat information by deference or by fear of retaliation.
- high-ranking leaders pay less attention to less powerful people.
- “Overconfidence“. Leaders overestimates their own capabilities, skills and knowledge.
How to overcome blindspots?
According to Robert Bruce Shaw, it is not possible to completely suppress blindspots but it is important to recognize them and find ways to work with them?
To handle blindspot:
- Make an assessment of the problem on your own, stay on contact with frontliners, customers, markets and high potential individuals.
- Invest in metrics, processes and data that challenge the leader’s beliefs and basic assumptions.
- Develop an ability to recognize, prioritize blindspot warning signs.
- Consider feedback from trusted advisors.
- “Leaders need to test their ideas and discuss emerging threats with a diverse team of individuals who respect each other’s experience and abilities but are also willing to push each other to reach the best outcomes on the truly critical issues”.
In conclusion, leaders are flawed individuals with strengths, weaknesses and blindspots that are to be acknowledged. Blindspots often show up when the leader is using his or her strengths or reverts to their comfort zone, and cannot be completely resolved.
It is up to the leader to stay on the lookout for blindspots, to strike up a balance between self-confidence and self-doubt.
In Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter, Robert Bruce Shaw analyses leadership behaviors when it comes to blindspots and weaknesses. He illustrates every single one of his thoughts on blindspots with great and renown leadership examples and concludes each example with an analysis and lessons to take away. Furthermore, not only this book contains realistic and applicable examples, each paragraph of this book can be read on standalone.
In addition, Robert Bruce Shaw provides us with a tool —the blindspot assessment survey— for us to identify whether or not we possess blindspots and to what degree we have incubated them. I recommend this book to employees who are failing to lead and to boost their careers.
It has come to my knowledge that because of my belief system, I am an adept of the rule “when in doubt, stand still” which has not bothered my career but has increased my serenity. After taking the blindspot assessment test, I have received a low probability of blindspots as I am self-aware of my strengths and of my weaknesses.
Finally, Leadership Blindspots was intriguing to me because there are so many books about leadership strengths and developing them.
I equally appreciated the fact that he mentioned the need for transparency (better visibility of mistakes thanks to the media) which put leaders are under a lot of pressure, all while trying to overcome their blindspots.
People who are smart and self-assured are often very skillful at justifying their thinking and behavior—to the point of being in denial about their weaknesses and the threats they face. Their intelligence can work against them when they convince themselves, and often others, that they are right even when they are wrong.
Successful individuals who sometimes stumble often do so because they have no one who can protect them from themselves.
The best leaders develop a range of compensating mechanisms that fit their personalities and the company cultures in which they work. In many cases these leaders don’t fundamentally change the way they think, but instead develop warning systems that surface important weaknesses and threats.
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Four Red Flags Wrecking Team Success and Cohesion
Building an ideal team is one of the most complex but also one of the most rewarding and advantageous responsibility of a leader.
The leader has to select the team to ultimately create the best results for the organization, in light of the company’s culture and of the personality, motivation, commitment, values, performance, integrity level of his or her potential team members, with respect to his or her leadership style.
When the team is built, the leader has to look out for red flags that can destroy the synergy of his or her team and easily create a lasting toxic climate.
Wondering how to detect these red flags, avoid toxicity on your team, how to extract the best results from your team members and to become the best team member you can?
A few years ago, I worked on a year-long project, under a boss who used demotions and other measures to punish some of his employees when mistakes occurred. For example, he would quickly and sadistically withdraw work responsibilities from someone he did not favor to give to someone else.
As a result, the team was a unsalvable shipwreck: every man for himself, searching for a flotation device, fighting to get on land. My former boss manipulative behavior created a toxic climate where people were continually in flight or fight mode, were mistrustful towards one another, would turn on each other, retain information and sabotage every other person efforts to succeed, were obliged to seek his “affections” and to continually prove their loyalty to him in order to feel safe in their position, were more focused on office politics than on their work, were always on the lookout of a scapegoat, were afraid of speaking up and being transparent.
The lack of trust, commitment, performance was noticeable on a daily basis. By trust, I mean the ability of the team members to admit their mistakes, acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, stay open, transparent with one another without any repercussion on themselves or their career.
RED FLAG #1: Lack of Transparency
In Speaking Truth to Power, James O’Toole states that “In essence, trust is hard to earn, easy to lose, and, once lost, nearly impossible to regain”.
Teams must be able to understand each other, to interpret their respective behavior and to be candid with one another.
To enable transparency, leaders have to:
- Ask their team to reveal something personal and relevant about themselves. It can relate to their failures or successes, to their worst or most embarrassing experiences at work.
- Encourage team building to better understand one another and enable bonds.
- Assess and apply their team strengths and weaknesses by using profiling tools to get more insights into their behavior such as the DISC assessment, Social Style model, Right Path Profiles, Insights, MBTI).
- Define a clear purpose for the team.
- Explain major decisions from the organization to their team and include them in the flow of relevant information.
- Maintain trust overtime and create unanimity.
- Consistently tell the truth to their followers, be comfortable with it and practice integrity.
- Value openness, empower those who tell the truth and must not reward those who do otherwise.
RED FLAG #2: Fear of conflict
In teams, conflicts do exist, are raw and real, are to be expected, and shouldn’t be avoided. In addition, they occur because we were born into different generations, backgrounds, with different personalities, values and morals.
Furthermore, conflict is always seen in a negative light or as a destructive process.
However, conflicts can be healthy and productive too. And even though conflicts are uncomfortable and make you feel under attack, they are necessary for personal and organizational progress, are used to generate the best decisions for the organization and to make team meetings mire engaging. In order to establish a conflict culture, it is imperative that leaders:
- Create a structure where it is safe for their team members to express themselves without feeling the need to attack.
- Hold their team accountable to the conflict system established.
- Focus the conflict on the issue at hand to avoid personal attacks.
- Assess each team member conflict capabilities/profiles with MBTI to develop the appropriate approach.
- Ask their team members directly how they deal with conflicts.
- Define conflict resolution, ease anxious team members in the face of conflict and find courage to speak truth to power.
RED FLAG #3: Lack of Commitment
Commitment is the willingness to achieve common goals as a team, the ability of team members to align themselves with the organization purpose, values and strategies even in disagreement with the decision taken.
To enhance team commitment, leaders must:
- Embrace conflicts, divergent opinions, ideas and perspectives.
- Among conflicting ideas, make wise decisions and be unafraid to displease some team members.
- Before making a decision, understand and consider all ideas.
- Clarify their decisions with the team and write down them down to avoid ulterior assumptions and ambiguities.
RED FLAG #4: Lack of accountability
Team members must keep each other accountable for their behavior, their mistakes and lack of performance. If no one is held accountable, team members gradually lose respect for each other and moral decreases. Leaders must:
- Lead by example, call out mishaps, low results and misconduct.
- Make every team member aware of each other contributions and functions on the team.
- Track everyone’s progress and accurately measure performance.
- Measure team success using objective and liable means.
- Measure progress with timelines.
- Focus on areas of productivity.
- Make sure that the collective interest in results exceeds the individual needs of the team.
How to be an effective team member?
Develop your communication skills.
Make sure that you are understood and are open to clarifying misunderstandings.
Monitor your non verbal communication. Keep your body language positive and opened.
Look at the person you’re exchanging with.
If a problem occurs between you and someone else, fix it before the problem festers by talking to that person as soon as possible. This shows that you are willing to work through issues, that you are a problem solver instead of being inappropriate and ineffective.
Give sincere and appropriate positive feedback to your team members.
Develop your listening skills.
To demonstrate your interest in learning new skills, to better understand the other person, you have to:
- be willing to listen more that you speak and voice your opinion in due time.
- Implement the conversation with probing question.
- Request other people opinion before giving yours.
- Avoid planning your responses during the conversation.
- Encourage the conversation with nods, smiles and eye contact.
- Manage your tasks and time.
- Put your understanding of the team task into writing in order to clarify immediate issues and to have a reference for time and deadlines measurement.
- Own up to your actions.
Failing to follow through on your team assignments is synonym to letting your team down. To stay accountable for your part:
- Keep your promises.
- Offer to help coworkers in time of need.
- Avoid procrastination and do not hesitate yo ask for help.
- Avoid blaming others for your mistakes take the blame if you have done something wrong.
- Find solutions to issues instead if creating them.
- Learn from each and very situations and move on group them.
- Avoid repeating past mistakes.
- Work on interrelationship skills.
Last Words Of Advice!
In the team, you have to cooperate with your coworkers and work well with your supervisor. To do so:
- Treat everyone with respect.
- Avoid stereotypes and jumping to conclusions.
- Avoid gossip and keep confidences.
- Share your knowledge with your team.
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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Goal Setting & The 80/20 Principle — 18 Ways To Apply This Principle And Change Your Life
What Is The 80/20 Principle?The 80/20 Principle is actually known as the Principle of Imbalance, the Principle of Least Effort or the Pareto Law, uncovered in 1897 by Vilfredo Pareto, an italian economist. In the 19th century, in England, Pareto noticed that 80% of the wealth and income was accumulated by only 20% of the population. Furthermore, Pareto remarked that the wealth was not evenly distributed and that not only wealth was distributed in this manner. The Pareto Principle was consistently reproducible in different countries, in different times and with different sets of data. The Pareto Principle :
- has been justified by Professor Zipf who demonstrated that 70% of marriages happened to people living 30% within each other.
- has been used by Joseph Moses Juran during the industrial revolution, in Japan, in order to improve the quantity, the reliability and the value of customer goods.
- is illustrated in every cause to effect relationship. For example,
- 20% of employees or customers are responsible for 80% of the company profits.
- 20% of criminals commit 80% of the crimes.
- 20% of your clothes in your closet will be worn 80% of the time.
- 80% of our achievements happen in 20% of our time.
- 80/20 Analysis: Before taking action, Prior analysis of the non linear relationship between cause and effort. This analysis is time-consuming but more detailed.
- 80/20 Thinking: Before taking action, intuitively identify what is most important, then verify the usefulness of the 80/20 principle in the given situation. This is faster.
Why It Will Change Your LifeGenerally, the 80/20 is used to prioritize, to set goals, to achieve more in less time and with less effort. It can be applied in business, in life, in any social grouping and in various cultures. For instance, in business, it helps you identify the areas where you lose time, money and where it is possible to cut your losses. To exploit its full potential, the 80/20 principle exerts us to:
- Spot the most important and ignore the massive unimportant.
- Understand that every action doesn’t lead to the same outcome or even lead to one.
- Use and work on strengths rather than weaknesses.
- Seek shortcuts instead of taking long detours.
- Gain more control over our lives and thoughts, our work and career selection.
- Relax, work less and “target a limited number of very valuable goals”.
- Transform your work habits.
- Target a number of valuable goals.
- Develop a healthy business strategy.
- It is always possible to improve your skills.
- Multiply what is effective.
- Apply it in business to reduce costs and to generate more revenue.
Putting The Principle Into Practice To Set Tangible GoalsThe 80/20 is for those who want more of their life, for the ambitious, for the goal-oriented and for the self-disciplined. Being ambitious is not synonymous to bein overworked, busy, or sacrificing yourself. To harness the 80/20 Principle, to make your dreams more feasible and to grow exponentially in any field:
- Discover what you are more enthusiastic about in life.
- Avoid investing the same amount of energy in everything that you pursue. Be strategic and identify the best 20% and invest 80% of your effort.
- Most people believe that goals are wishes, mere desires that they don’t believe they can achieve. Get clarity and be specific on what you want. There is no unrealistic goals.
- Make your goals big. The bigger the goal, the bigger the impact on your life, the higher the motivation and the longer you can maintain the vision.
- Make sure that these goals are self-imposed.
- Keep your goals simple. Simple is rare but simple is effective. Choose simplicity first. For example, identify the simplest and most standardized product, nurture the simplest 20%, make it high quality and eliminate the rest. In addition, simple businesses are better than complex ones because they deliver better value and perform better.
- Find ways to make your goals achievements fun. Avoid spending time on easy tasks and tune out distractions. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said it best: “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least”.
- Avoid focusing on the negative and waiting for a positive outcome. It is necessary to let go of the customers, employees, products and processes that don’t bring profits
- Know your values and purpose. Then, align your goals with your values in order to feel more fulfilled.
- Analyze the reasons and the costs of these goals beforehand. Applying the 80/20 Analysis will indicate whether or not you would pursue them.
- Write down your goals for various parts of your life (career, work processes, leadership styles, lifestyle, health) and accomplish the most important goal. These goals must have value. Writing down goals allows you to solidify them subconsciously and to get everything into place.
- Write down what you really want and write it down as if you are writing it from the future, having already achieved your goal.
- Work on this one goal all the time. 20 Percent of your activities will result in 80 percent of our results. It is a known fact that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in a basket. Instead, choose the basket to put all your eggs into.
- Review these goals on a daily to keep your commitment to yourself.
- Divide your goals into smaller steps to make your plan more coherent and easier to achieve.
- Identify the obstacles, the knowledge needed, the relationships that you have to build to achieve your goals.
- Measure your progress with parameters like money, time, energy, emotional investment. You can even create a deadline. If you miss a deadline, create another one.
- Share your goals with those that will implement it.
Last Words Of Advice!Don’t beat yourself or your team up for not realizing all your goals. Have you used the 80/20 principle and what have you noticed? What is one of the goal that you want to accomplish? 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. Subscribe to Journey To Leadership
Are you self-sabotaging at work? 18 Tips to Learn to improve your work performance and climb up the corporate ladder
We all have a dream of outperforming ourselves at work and staying consistent and moving up in our career.
However, we have difficulties bringing our wishes and expectations to life.
Furthermore, in the fast and highly competitive corporate world, some of our attitudes, assumptions, values, flaws often render us completely ineffective, come in the way of us being the best version of ourselves, from learning new skills, from developing our talents.
The reality is that, despite our best intentions, we are often our worst enemies, are unable to improve our career, to achieve our definition of success, to satisfy our higher purpose.
We thereby harbor dissatisfaction, self-defeating thoughts and resort to self-sabotaging actions.
Wondering how to become a better performer, a better contributor, a better leader in the workplace and control the self-sabotaging tendencies?
Most of the time, self-sabotage takes roots from collaborators sometimes abusing substance, striving too hard for materialistic success.
Self-sabotage also stems from an inability to control extreme negative thoughts and emotions such as anger, guilt or resentment, and an inability to control other people. Indeed, in the workplace, low performing employees and leaders tend to either:
- complain too much about circumstances,
- not take action or initiative,
- doubt their capabilities,
- be addicted to praise,
- struggle to live up to other people expectations. Not pursuing your true purpose and implementing somebody else dream cause you to subconsciously rebel against your current situation.
- act impatient,
- be unable to follow rules or respect authority figure,
- be unable to handle the pressures of responsibility;
- misinterpret the image they have of themselves
- be busy or lack time management skills,
- lack conflict resolution skills,
- fear the unknown,
- fear criticism, looking ridiculous or being embarrassed,
- fear change or fear success,
- feel rejected or reject their own being,
- fear failure. Failures are usually blessings in disguise.
How to improve these bad habits and become an effective member of the workforce?
Becoming a better performer and contributor in the workplace doesn’t end at solely executing your duties and providing acceptable results, it also means working on your character and core values. To enable effective performance in the workplace, it is necessary to:
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses and ground them into reality. I cannot stress enough how self-discovery is an important and long life process that allows to:
- upgrade your moral compass and create new ethical standards,
- accept our unique distinctions,
- evaluate your role and contributions at work,
- assist, be assisted by coworkers or team members with a complementing set of skills.
- Understand your interests and abilities. This way you are able to develop your core capabilities, to choose the work that stimulates you the most, the workplace in which you best fit in and the team that complements you the best.
- Keep learning, grow your knowledge and your emotional intelligence that you may increase satisfaction at work, to envision greater possibilities, to overcome obstacles and to be successful in every area of your life by:
- doing something new, something different, challenging your thoughts and your routine,
- nurturing your natural curiosity about the world, about what you don’t know,
- breaking routine and mindless actions to stimulate your imagination,
- tackling your fears and negative emotions head and listing the consequences of your actions.
- Adjust your self-image to reality by writing down:
- the qualities you have about yourself and the ones you want to acquire,
- your trigger points. Don’t let identifying your trigger points to get discouraged and give up on yourself. Noticing your self-sabotaging habits is actually beneficial to you: you are probably not in the walk of life that you wish or supposed to be in.
- Act responsibility, be proactive, take initiative. Take on more responsibility and assignments, perform them with enthusiasm and motivation in order to become confident in your abilities, autonomous, dependable, emotionally mature and trustworthy. Indeed, the more you take on responsibility, the more you learn about yourself, the more you understand the consequences of your actions, the faster you admit your mistakes as soon as you notice them, the better you remain accountable especially when things go wrong, the more you grow, the more you gain competencies, the more you are willing to take initiative and even risks.
- Discipline yourself by inspecting and readjusting your thoughts, actions and behaviors to set standards, and dominating your immediate desires and impulses.
- Stay true to yourself. Avoid comparing yourself to others and competing with others.
- Allow yourself to think. In silence, without looking for distractions, confront yourself, make peace with yourself, strengthen your decision-making skills, observe bad habits, and therefore learn more about yourself, find your true purpose, learn to trust your intuition and inner feelings. Meditation, quiet contemplation, introspection are the key to staying alert, to increase your performance at work, to develop and recognize good ideas, to stay engaged and more conscious of your life.
- Define clear goals and seek better methods to become more productive, more competent in the workplace.
- Learn to insulate yourself from the noise in the workplace.
- Vary your experiences and get out your comfort zone.
- Take care of your physical health. Exercise regularly.
- Make a good impression, from day one, without overdoing it and running a political campaign, by dressing appropriately and being punctual.
- Respect and treat people the way you would like to be respected and treated. Uplift people instead of bringing them down or being considered as a toxic coworker in the workplace. Develop relationships and properly manage people emotions, don’t impose your emotions on others, don’t create enemies where you can have a supportive friend. As a result, you can become a good contributor and a valuable team member.
- Embrace change, renew your coping and self-defense mechanism.
- Expect to make mistakes, to learn from them and keep it moving.
- Avoid naysayers and haters like the plague. Change your circle of friends if they are the ones bringing you down.
- Service others. Servicing others doesn’t mean to submit to everyone and to every order. It means doing your best to get along with one another.
Last words of advice!
If you happen to abuse substance or are in emotional distress in the workplace, don’t be ashamed, you are not alone. Please talk about it to your closest family and friends, or find the nearest Workplace Help Center.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
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The Importance Of Becoming A Self-Disciplined Leader
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. 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:
- 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.
- Take well-known online tests, such as StrenghtsFinder2.0 and StandOut, and cross-reference them.
- Asking the people closest to you.
- 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.
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13 Leadership Tips For Your First Day On The Job
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.”.
12. 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.
13. 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.
Last Words Of Advice!
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.
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