12 Signs Of A Toxic Leader

Unfortunately, we have all experienced toxic leadership at some point in our career.

Toxic workplaces and toxic leadership foster because the leader is either encouraging it, participating in it or ignoring it.

Toxic leaders are corrosive on the long run. They erode their employees confidence, motivation, productivity, trust, loyalty and respect.

Wondering if you are a toxic leader or are in the presence of one?

12 Signs Of A Toxic Leader

12 Signs Of A Toxic Leader

#1. Toxic leaders retain useful information

Knowledge is power and toxic leaders know that.

The longer they can keep you in the dark, the longer they have control over you and the longer they stay in power.

In fact, leaders who retain information are insecure and are afraid of being replaced.

#2. Toxic leaders abuse their power and authority

Any chance that they get, toxic leaders need to remind you that they are in power and that they have leverage (financial leverage most of the time) over you.

This type of leaders have huge egos, consider that their employees are subordinates, and do not care who they have to step over to get what they want.

#3. Toxic leaders micromanage their employees

They don’t give people the time or the space to do their job. Instead, they breath down people’s neck.

In fact, micromanaging leaders are counterproductive and create a stressful work environment.

Which, in turn, slows down team work and efficiency.

#4. Toxic leaders condone poor behavior

They accept poor behavior from their team as long as the team produces results.

For example, they would tolerate workplace bullying if it would bring their team closer together.

In turn, they use fear and diverse punishments to incentivize their team.

#5. Toxic leaders manipulate and play aggressive office politics

They play mind games, use information about you against you, love to manipulate and gas light their own team just to stay in power and to advance their career.

#6. Toxic leaders shift responsibility

They talk about accountability but when push comes to shoves they avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

Besides, when things are great, they take credit for your success. When things go bad, they question your abilities and your failures.

#7. Toxic leaders give orders and don’t expect feedback

For them, it is their way or the high way.

They expect you to follow orders whether that order is right or wrong, whether that order benefits them or not.

The truth is they think that they know best but they actually don’t.

#8. Toxic leaders lie for no reason

They backtrack, bend the rules, adjust procedures, make up stories and rumors to for their needs.

They do not care about the impact of their words and create a culture of distrust.

#9. Toxic leaders protect the status quo

They deeply believe in hierarchy.

They don’t promote change or push innovative ideas.

In addition, they are locked in a particular era, in a particular setting. They don’t wish to modernize or adapt to change.

#10. Toxic leaders are overly emotional

They dramatize everything, have a temper and haven’t got a hold of it.

Their mood usually fluctuates throughout the day.

As a result, their behavior makes people walk on eggshells around them.

#11. Toxic leaders are passive aggressive

Either they play nice to your face and stab you in the back.

Or, they hold their feelings in and act it out instead.

Passive aggressiveness is very difficult to deal with as they don’t offer you any type of resolve.

#12. Toxic leaders lack core values

These leaders are entitled and self-serving.

They do not care about people and put their own interest first, no matter what.

Last Words Of Advice!

Toxic leaders often scare away their best employees.

Toxic leaders are simply fooling themselves because they live in constant fear.

They are afraid of losing control, of losing power, of seeming inferior, of being replaceable…

Furthermore, they let their fear control them and influence their behavior.

It is not necessary for you to play into their hands:

  • Learn from your experiences, about yourself and your limits. You can always extract lessons from a negative experience.
  • Emotionally and physically discipline yourself. Don’t lose your cool. By loosing your cool, you are giving them power over you.
  • Don’t take things personally and don’t let their problems become yours. It’s not about you but it’s all about them.
  • Find emotional support outside of work.
  • Keep your dignity. Don’t let other people actions define your character.

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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10 Things Every New Leader Should Do

When you are a leader, people will be watching your every moves like a hawk.

So, there are a couple of things to do and not to do in order to be unimpeachable and to represent your true self well.

Sometimes, the novelty of the job, the number of people you meet, the quantity of information transiting in your direction, the new type of pressure tend to make you forget your role as a leader.

The truth is that you do during your first few days as a leader will mark memories in the long run.

10 Things Every New Leader Should Do

10 Things Every New Leader Should Do

#1. Create work-life balance

Congratulations on your new position!

  1. Take a moment to drain it all in and celebrate success. When you access a new position, you are either frightened or excited.
  2. Take some time to assess your new role and the advancement in your career, on your success.
  3. Get your personal life together. Have hobbies and a strong support system in place.
  4. Prepare your transition to your new position.

#2. Mind your character

When you meet someone for the first time, they will have a tendency to test you, your principles, character, core values and boundaries.

For example, from your boss to the cleaning lady, they will all check if you get angry easily or his much patience you have.

It is important to always be developing yourself as a leader.

#3. Check your attitude

A positive attitude is everything and will determine your heights to success. During the first few months, it is detrimental to:

  1. Stay visible.
  2. Adopt a winning strategy.
  3. Be aware of your actions. You are now a role model.
  4. Keep a positive attitude and body language, even when you don’t feel like it.

#4. Be approachable

Sometimes, it’s important to seem approachable:

  1. Introduce yourself to people even if you don’t know them or are not introduced. Don’t wait too long before introducing yourself or else it will quickly get awkward.
  2. Remember names when you are being introduced.
  3. Try to get along with people for the first few days.
  4. Help others find their motivation.

#5. Groom yourself and dress like a leader

No matter what people say, first impressions matter unfortunately. Dressing like a leader will help you feel confident and will in consequence increase your ability to lead.

Even though you know that clothes don’t define your character, most people make snap judgments.

Also, observe the company’s dress code and dress accordingly.

#6. Keep learning

Learning is a humbling process. Even though new leaders think that they can handle their position with their old skills and their old knowledge, most of them don’t have the necessary skills to be a leader.

  1. Make sure that you study and learn the corporate culture.
  2. Evaluate what you have learned from your previous jobs and from the previous one in your position.
  3. Ask questions even if they make you look or feel incompetent.
  4. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to perform.
  5. Don’t stop learning. Not because you have reached a leadership position that you have to stop learning and stop asking questions.

#7. Build relationships

Building the right relationships is a cultural key to success.

To quickly build relationships and to grow your network, put your interpersonal skills to the test and make a positive first impression.

#8. Watch out for office politics

Office politics in the first few days is risky.

  1. Be mindful of office politics and the cliques that already exist.
  2. Choose your clicks wisely you want to belong to. Do not try to belong to a group in particular or try to be friends with their former colleagues.
  3. Keep your opinion about your colleagues and your work to yourself. There is nothing more disgraceful than a gossiping leader that nobody can trust.
  4. Find out how your new team operated in the past.

#9. Assess your strengths and weaknesses 

You do not want to reach these heights and find out that the positions is not made for you, that you are not capable of achieving success, job fulfillment, job satisfaction.

  1. Understand that different skills will be demanded in your new role. What got you here won’t get you there.
  2. Make sure that you really want this position and that it’s right for you.
  3. Get a hold on your purpose. You will know if you are walking in your purpose by the amount of joy you experience while executing your purpose.

#10. Earn your respect

In your first few months:

  1. Do not try to be liked but to be respected. This is an advice for mostly women who have to annoyingly smile and forcefully be polite.
  2. Don’t be too quick to use your new authority or power.
  3. Start taking responsibility for your actions.
  4. Share your core values and set high expectations for performance, results, conduct, alignment and engagement.
  5. Give respect. Find out where your role starts and ends. There is no need to step on anybody’s toes.

Last Words Of Advice!

The first months are the right time to set right habits.

  1. Don’t stop growing and expect discomfort.
  2. Remember that you are the one who makes the decision.

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.

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

New leaders get into leadership positions by demonstrating greater skills, higher levels of emotional intelligence, better expertise than the teams they were in.

However, for new leaders, mistakes are common and quasi inevitable.

Mistakes show you what you are made of, what you need to succeed, what you need to redirect your career, what you are missing to improve your character.

Wondering what are the common mistakes to avoid as a new leader?

Mistakes don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when they come to light rather than going unnoticed.

When mistakes are made, it makes sense for us to focus on what we have done right, on our strengths rather than our weaknesses.

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

#1. New leaders ego-trip

Some new leaders want to bring attention to themselves, to demonstrate their self-importance and their superiority.

They usually overstep their boundaries, put down their “subordinates” and come off as arrogant. It is safe to say that:

  • They lack self-confidence and self-awareness.
  • Their ego is fragile. They surround themselves with yes men and people who strike their ego.
  • They are entitled to their position and don’t understand that the position requires work and humility.

#2. New leaders power-trip

Leaders who power-trip lack humility and self-discipline.

They use their new position to impose their authority, to remind their “subordinates” that they have power over them and to exact revenge on coworkers that they didn’t like.

Needless to say, power tripping can damage trust and workplace morale.

#3. New leaders don’t deal with their imposter syndrome

New leaders let their imposter syndrome sabotage their efforts.

Leaders with imposter syndrome don’t believe that they are due to their position, don’t believe that they have succeeded thanks to their gifts.

Some of them are insecure, tend to feel like frauds and are afraid of being unmasked.

Some are overzealous. They want to do things their way, be the catalysts of change, challenge the status quo almost immediately.

Some overwork, they show off their skills and try to prove themselves.

Others expect perfection and not excellence.

#4. New leaders don’t know who they are

New leaders are generally unaware of who they are, how they are seen, how they should contribute and of what they now represent.

That is because new leaders:

#5. New leaders don’t update their mindset

Becoming a leader is a long and never-ending process.

However, new leaders have to quickly update their mindset to keep up with their teams.

They have to change their focus from frontliner to strategist, to doing from ordering, to performing a task to planning meetings.

Firstly, they must make a pact with themselves to grow and to improve.

Secondly, they must constantly monitor their words, attitudes and actions.

#6. New leaders don’t understand the requirements of their position

Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. New to their roles, most leaders:

  • Don’t grasp that being a boss, being a manager and being a leader are different.
  • Think “position” automatically implies “authority”.
  • Don’t understand their job description.
  • Don’t fully understand or commit to their role.
  • Fail to see the bigger picture.
  • Get overwhelmed by their positions.
Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. - Vanessa Sylvester Click To Tweet

#7. New leaders stop learning

Even though new leaders think that they can handle their position with their old skills and their old knowledge, most of them don’t have the necessary skills to be a leader.

New leaders face new responsibilities that they don’t have the skills for and :

  • Are too afraid to ask questions and to ask for help.
  • Take too long before initiating leadership training.
  • Have to learn new skills quickly, autonomously, and most importantly apply them.

#8. New leaders stick to traditional leadership styles

Autocratic and commanding leadership styles, though common and easy, are outdated, are rigid, and don’t work anymore, especially with millennials.

People are more comfortable and are able to perform at their best with a democratic leadership style.

Today, millennials expect validation, recognition, rewards, a more deconstructed workplace that is fun, relaxed, motivational yet productive and structured.

They want to understand their role, the impact of their contributions at work, to be involved in the decision-making process, to learn continually and to own their work.

#9. New leaders don’t cater to their past and present relationships

Some leaders stop valuing people, start ignoring their teams and their past relationships. Instead, they tend to:

  • Disconnect from their teams. For instance, they don’t listen to their team and don’t measure their words.
  • Avoid conversations, small talk and nurturing new relationships.
  • Avoid collaboration and do everything themselves.
  • Focus on the results.

Leaders who don’t focus on people are seen to be snobs, insensitive, inattentive.

Dismissing relationships can easily create misunderstandings and conflicts because people have no barometer to measure your intentions, speech or behavior.

#10. New leaders run away from conflicts

New leaders aim to please at first. They sugarcoat, don’t address awkward dynamics, avoid conflicts, run away from difficult conversations, want to be liked and not respected.

They don’t speak up when they have to. For example, they don’t communicate expectations don’t correct employee mistakes when they have to, are no longer transparent because they are afraid of judgement and of losing their position.

In addition, they comply too often because they are not confident about their abilities.

Even if it is sometimes wise to avoid conflict, this strategy is not sustainable.

#11. New leaders shut down dissenting voices

New leaders must get comfortable with people who cause dissent even though the latter are natural catalysts, and easily take risks.

Dissenting voices within the organization usually have a bad reputation.

They are not welcomed in groups, go against the grain, are seen as not playing by the rules, are stifled, are the ones that end up being fired.

#12. New leaders don’t delegate

At entry level, we want to control people, do everything ourselves, be on top of everything all at once and find it hard to delegate.

Some leaders don’t know how to delegate, don’t want to delegate or just find it plain hard to do so. Indeed, it is a hard task because it requires that they:

  • Give instructions to their employees.
  • Have faith in the workers, be comfortable depending on others and believe that the work will be up to standards.
  • Have confidence in their personal abilities and do not be afraid of being upstaged.
  • Do not feel guilty that they are giving too much work to their employees because they were once in their place.

#13. New Leaders fail to navigate office politics

They don’t fully understand the politics at work and don’t take time to grasp it.

It is important that they:

  • Address internal conflicts and discontinue previous leadership issues.
  • Stay aware of the new power struggles. Indeed, they will be compared to previous leaders and compare themselves to previous leaders, have to deal with jealousy and insubordination at first, have to face judgement and backlash from their coworkers.
  • Avoid talking negatively about the previous leader, gossiping about their coworkers with the coworkers.
  • Do not try to belong to a group in particular or try to be friends with their former colleagues.

#14. New leaders don’t take accountability for their actions

They don’t take accountability for their own actions.

Instead, they tend to shift blame, find a scapegoat, are afraid of the words “I don’t know”.

Furthermore, they take credit and don’t shine light on their high performing employees.

Last Words Of Advice!

Mistakes are inevitable, are a factor for change and for:

  • Humbling us and discovering our authentic selves.
  • Exhibiting our vulnerabilities, limitations and blind spots.
  • Showing us what works and what doesn’t.
  • Removing us from our comfort zones.
  • Helping us prioritize and go to the essentials.
  • Teaching us to forgive and to be less hard on ourselves, how to explore and experiment in life, how to learn and change.
  • Making us more resourceful, more resilient, more self-disciplined and building our problem solving skills.

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.

30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Being a great leader depends on how well they know themselves. Leaders must make sure that they are self-aware, clearly communicate their goals and expectations, reach their goals, set high standards, expect quality work and meet deadlines, demonstrate that all their team members matter, show gratitude, don’t settle and spend time with their team.

Needless to say, a little introspection is required from time to time.

Wondering how do you become the best version of yourself? 

30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Sometimes, we end up in or go after leadership positions but don’t understand why or how we got there.

It is always important to assess our goals, values and purpose every step of the way.

1) What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership encapsulates different concepts and key competencies.

For most, 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.

In order to be effective you must figure out what leadership means to you.

2) Why do you want to be a leader? What is your purpose in life?

Most people want to lead because they see themselves in power, in control, with status and doing whatever they want.

However, leaders are always held accountable for their actions, have to serve as models and have to exhibit exemplary behavior.

Without an ethical purpose in mind, they will not be able to sustain their role very long.

If you weren’t a leader, what would you do? What career would you pursue?

3) What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

Do you have sufficient resources to achieve your goals and yourself?

Leaders must find at least one field in which they excel. This will develop their credibility, their confidence and will help you be of assistance to people in need.

4) What are your core values? 

If your leadership roles don’t correspond to your values, it is time to rethink your career.

5) How do you center yourself? 

Learning to center yourself, to choose peace of mind requires that you acquire new healthy habits and that you question your thoughts that most often are an illusion or distorted memories.

Figure out how to preserve your time and energy, how to ensure your growth, how to continually improve as a person, and how to boost your leadership self-esteem?

6) Can you grow within your role and responsibilities?

Some people get into positions to please their families, impress their friends or flatter their own egos.

A job or a role in which you feel boxed in is frustrating, leaves little space for you to develop your skills or maximize your strengths.

7) How do you wish to impact the world and the people around you?

As a leader, you must project yourself in the future and visualize the legacy that you want to leave.

8) Do you walk the talk? 

Integrity is currently a rare character trait and most sought after leadership attribute that can help you succeed in the workplace as much as in life.

It actually goes a long way and projects more authority and credibility than a title or a position would.

Furthermore, the team you lead, the environment that you work in is a direct reflection of you. If you want a trusting workplace, be trustworthy.

9) Are you open to learn?

Being open to learn and to explore is detrimental to success.

To start the learning process, you can read books, take trainings and classes, and talk to people who are in positions that you aspire to.

Furthermore, you must understand that if you seek knowledge, you will never fully be an expert.

10) Are you developing a healthy work life balance?

Creating work-life balance is not giving equal attention to both work and life.

But, it means that you are satisfied with your contributions to your life and work, that you are able to create a sustainable synergy between both so that you are fueled by them on a daily basis.

To do so, you must focus on the vital few and not let your career affect your personal life and vice versa.

11) Are you self-interested or committed to the collective good?

We choose a certain career because our ever-changing needs and desires align with that particular career but not necessarily with the collective good.

In the leadership position, there is a huge discrepancy between hiring the right person with the right competencies for the job, between hiring someone with lesser competencies to feel unthreatened, between hiring someone to serve you and caress your ego.

There is also a difference between wanting the organization to succeed, wanting the team and the project to shine, and taking all the credit for someone else’s work.

12) What is your favorite leadership style

Leadership style refers to the way that the leader interacts with his or her employees, influences their behavior, motivates them, make decisions for them and for the organization.

A specific leadership style can deeply influence the quality of work, the levels of commitment, the work satisfaction of both leader and employees.

13) Are you emotionally intelligent?

We cannot control everything in our life.

However, we can control how we react to different situations, how we see ourselves and who we aspire to be.

14) Are you able to solve conflicts effectively?

Leaders must be able to anticipate problems and implement solutions for the future. What strategies do you apply? How do you handle bad news? How do you set boundaries? Do you encourage dissension?

15) Do you have interpersonal skills?

There are several components to leadership. One of them is building and maintaining healthy relationships.

Leaders are responsible for the people they hire and the people that they lead. How do you build your team?

16) Are you culturally sensitive? 

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is different.

It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.

17) When have you failed, how have you recovered yourself and what have you learned about yourself then? 

Failures don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when your mistakes come to light rather than going unnoticed.

18) What are your greatest achievements as a leader and as a follower?

It is important to recall the time you have succeeded and demonstrated great leadership.

The memory of past success will serve you right when you face challenges. If you did it once, then you can do it again.

19) Are you able to direct someone else towards success? 

Mentorship is usually the realization of leadership.

It is similar to tutorship, to parenthood, to partnership, or to an alliance.

20) Are you able to delegate?

Delegating increases employee empowerment and talent engagement, leads to higher levels of commitment, innovationmotivation, and better relationships..

21) Are you able to perform under pressure?

As a leader, your behavior in pressure moments impacts those around you and can predict their performance.

22) How do you solve problems and make sound decisions?

The ability to anticipate, to solve problems, to make quick and sound decisions will determine the success of a leader.

23) How do you motivate others? Can you communicate your visions successfully?

Effective communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level.

Your communication skills will also drive change and increase team motivation.

Using those skills, leaders should be pushing a vision for their life, for their family or their organization and it shouldn’t matter whether they have the right relationships, enough money, enough favors, or have hired people with the desired skill set.

24) Are you organized and can you meet deadlines?

Leaders don’t have the luxury to procrastinate because it is similar to self-sabotage. However, they are all subject to it to some extent.

Being organized, methodical, pragmatic will help you gain a sense of satisfaction and will increase your chances of success.

25) Who do you look up to?

It is critical to have a role model who will help you improve, achieve your goals and will show you your life purpose.

Your role model is authentic, relatable and can be a family member, a friend in your entourage or someone you barely know.

26) Can you handle change?

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

Leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise.

27) What do you hate the most and will not stand for?

You can’t always find out what you like but life has a funny way of putting you in front of the things that you hate the most.

28) Can you accept criticism from others?

Accepting criticism implies that you are able to listen, accept people point of view and give feedback as well.

29) Are you becoming too complacent?

30) What do you want to improve on?

 

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.

Overcoming Procrastination & Becoming More Proactive

Whether you work from home or go to the office, procrastination plagues everybody.

However, a leader has no room for procrastination. Leaders who procrastinate are ineffective, unproductive and unaware of their own abilities.

They are unable to make the right decisions at the right time, to take action, to bring forth their vision, to reach their goals, to effectively manage their time, to discipline their thoughts and behavior, to properly manage uncertainty.

Consequently, followers start questioning their leadership potential and credibility.

Wondering how to stop procrastinating and to become much more proactive?

Overcoming Procrastination & Becoming More Proactive

What is procrastination?

Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not being lazy. Instead, procrastination is a defense mechanism.

Procrastination is the action of putting off an important yet unpleasant task, it is avoiding pain and pushing it back for later, it is neither starting nor completing a task.

Procrastination is ruled by fear, memories, avoidance of negative emotions, avoidance of pressure. Procrastination is often times linked to being a perfectionist.

Everybody procrastinates in different areas of their lives. You are a procrastinator if you:

  • lack motivation and resilience.
  • are often overwhelmed and frozen by tasks at work.
  • are afraid of failure or success, are afraid or paralyzed by the limelight.
  • don’t know where to start, are waiting for the right time and for everything to be perfect.
  • don’t find the time.
  • don’t feel like doing anything.
  • are waiting for all your ducks to line up in a row.
  • make excuses for your excuses.
  • doubt yourself and the task that you have to undertake.
  • don’t meet deadlines at work.
  • unable to make decisions or are motivated by the last minutes pressure.

How to stop procrastinating?

Leaders don’t have the luxury to procrastinate because it is similar to self-sabotage. However, they are all subject to it to some extent.

Indeed, the more the task is daunting , the more we push it back. The more we push it back, the less time we have, the more the task becomes daunting.

Stop procrastinating will help you gain a sense of satisfaction and will increase your chances of success.

  1. Take care of yourself first and foremost. Procrastination can affect different aspect of their lives as well.
  2. Assess your strengths and weaknesses, be confident in your own abilities and maximize your potential.
  3. Stay positive, think about your past successes and boost your leadership self-esteem.
  4. Identify your purpose, your goals and understand the 80/20 Principle.
  5. Find meaning and satisfaction in your job.
  6. Learn self-discipline and increase your emotional intelligence. This will help you monitor what you say about yourself and to yourself, make clear and immediate decisions, to fight and understand your emotions. Don’t be afraid of challenging the status quo. Don’t let fear dictate your behavior and your decisions.
  7. Avoid overwhelming yourself, overthinking or over-analyzing a task. Measuring how difficult the task is and being afraid of failure will deter you from achieving any consequential result.
  8. Our perception of pain is programmed by past society and by past experiences. To get rid of that perception, visualize your success and your task accomplished.
  9. Write down what you have been procrastinating on and why. Write down 3 tasks that you must do. Work 5 minutes on each task successively without distraction.
  10. Break down on task in smaller feasible steps. Take the first step, focus on one step at a time and create momentum.
  11. Prioritize these steps: discern urgent tasks from important tasks, use the 80/20 principle. Take care of the hardest and most important task first and focus your energy on that.
  12. Estimate and isolate the time needed to execute your task. You can set a deadline and use a timer
  13. Commit to your tasks.
  14. Measure your progress and remind yourself of your accomplishments.
  15. To manage your time appropriately, anticipate obstacles, withstand challenges and find solutions.
  16. Make sure that your workspace is organized  for the work at hand.
  17. Stay away from distractions. Stay away from internet and social media, turn off your phone, don’t check your emails.
  18. Develop a sense of urgency. It is critical to remind yourself that you will lose the opportunity, to remind yourself of the consequences of not making decisions or taking action, to remember that there is no right time to accomplish your task.
  19. Create a vision board in order to better visualize your goals.
  20. Create a routine and aim for the long-term.
  21. Don’t try to be perfect.
  22. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
  23. Watch motivational videos to get you started.

Don’t wait until you are 100% sure.  The perfect time is now.

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.

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

There are laws and principles that govern the workplace. We can either ignore them, acknowledge them or abide by them.

These laws and principles are the most visible when someone has been promoted, is moving forward or a new boss is in town. Some appear to be jealous, some try to quickly affiliate with the winner, to show their allegiance. Others are quick to sabotage and to compete.

I am not one to willingly participate in office politics. However, in my opinion, because knowledge is power, the best way to avoid politics is to know the rules. I like to know what is happening, how to read a room, to always be aware of my behavior, and to prepare myself for what is coming.

This advice is also valuable for minorities who encounters western group think in the office, who need to be realistic about their situations and want to understand how to advance themselves, how to protect themselves.

Wondering how to navigate office politics and whether or not you should be interested in it?

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

What is office politics?

Office politics is a human concept and is inevitable. It is also very necessary and will go on whether your participate in it or not.

In office politics people seek power, leadership, influence and/or control of other people, more responsibility on their job.

Office politics is a particular hard skill because it requires that you control your primitive, impulsive responses to different situations and that you stay in high alert at all times.

The Perks Of Office Politics

Political animals in the office usually get what they want, to evade conflicts and sometimes create them between different individuals. Political animals:

  • Have influence. They build healthy relationships, even with toxic individuals.
  • Recognize the agendas and powers at play in any relationships.
  • Get the best projects, get promoted, get pay raise and other rewards.
  • Are trusted for their opinions.
  • Get credit for their hard work.
  • Get their career on a positive track.
  • Have the ability and the tools to deal with opposition and usually wins in a conflict.
  • Conserve their energy and focus it on worthwhile issues.
  • Avoid being blindsided or facing unpleasant outcomes.

What We Hate About Office Politics

Office politics is often badly perceived because it can be cruel, be viewed as being calculated and manipulative.

Sometimes, office politics is a dangerous and corrosive game but it is a game. It is part of human nature, a social activity, a marathon and not a sprint.

It is often used to sabotage, to manipulate, to deflect or to create a conflict between people.

Therefore, it is not for the faint of heart. Before starting, you must make sure that you are robust, are not dependent on people or other external factors, that you are emotionally detached from your work and that you can clearly separate your identity from your job.

Furthermore, keep in mind that abusing power on the long run does not lead to success.

Principle #1: Defining your purpose

Having greater goals in life will help you sustain and overcome opposition, avoid being pushed around by people or events. Your ultimate goals can be:

  • staying at a company and getting your pay check to ensure your lifestyle and to guarantee financial stability.
  • staying at a company, evolving, building healthy relationships
  • Living the company and finding better

Either way, set realistic goals, expectations for yourself. Next, stay focus on your goals, use your goals to guide your decisions and your behavior.

Principle #2: Know your strengths, weaknesses and limits

Politics and power will challenge your weaknesses.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you assess your worth, appreciate your contributions at work and determine whether or not you can run with horses. This will also help you identify them in others, understand them, maximize their potential and forgive their weaknesses.

To be effective at office politics, don’t directly demonstrate or enunciate your strengths or weaknesses. It is best to wait for the right moment to do so.

In addition, you must seek to enhance your performance, your productivity, to develop competencies that are hard to acquire or hard to replace. and to deliver great results. Then, discreetly promote your results.

Principle #3: Maintaining your leadership capabilities

It is important to learn to keep your peace and your composure at all times by seriously controlling your emotions. This demands a lot of discipline and will help you grow as a person.

Furthermore, lead by example and take care or yourself first. Great leaders have power but stay humble and don’t abuse it.

Seek understanding

To help you manage people, conflicts, to adopt the right behavior, to estimate your position and status:

  • Understand the company culture, values and principles.
  • Understand the people who you work with, estimate their boundaries and assess their attitudes.
  • Believe that hierarchy exist and is gladly enforced in the workplace. This means that you must, at some point, show deference to your “superiors”.This doesn’t mean that your “superiors” have greater character, greater skill sets or greater vision. However, no matter who you are, you won’t be able to freely speak your mind, to make your own decisions, to control your assignments.

Discipline your words and your thoughts

  • Stay away from gossip and rumors.
  • Watch what you say and how you say it.
  • Give substance to your speech.
  • Monitor your behavior at all times.

Discipline your emotions

  • Get rid of your ego and nurture your sense of humor. If you don’t know something, say so and don’t fake knowledge.
  • Don’t waste your time and energy on useless matters.
  • Keep your wits about you.
  • When someone slights you, don’t give them an emotional reaction.

Principle #4: Behave ethically

  • Remain true to your core values.
  • Don’t expect to be treated fairly.
  • Upgrade your character in order to be unimpeachable from the start. People with low or no ethics are unsuccessful in the long run.

Poor character leads to abusive, aggressive, masochistic, sadist behavior and office politics.

When I was working for a long corporation, one person in the office was being bullied. I was asked, as a team member, to participate in the bullying and to force the person to quit.

Most of my team members, for fun or for fear of retribution, would engage in toxic behavior towards this one person, put down false complaints and manufacture false rumors as well.

Without doing the same, I realized that sadistically beating down on someone, engaging in toxic behavior were not aligning with my core values and wouldn’t allow me to sleep properly at night.

To solve the solution, I simply listened to the request, spoke positively about the person, suggested to them that they had to find a better position and found a better place to work myself.

What was your ethically questionable experience?

Principle #5: Building your network and gaining influence

Networking is an important process, especially if your are shy and introverted. Who you know will determine how far you will get.

Here are some tips below that will help you be unbothered, to gain influence and build positive relationships:

  • Protect your reputation at all cost. For instance, if you make promises, live up to them.
  • Have a positive attitude. Avoid being mean or offending people for sport.
  • Act or be confident. It is important to fake it until you make it, to dress confidently and dress for success.
  • Give your best on your job and put your best foot forward. You can even become an expert in your field.
  • Empathetic ally listen to your coworkers. This way, you will get invaluable information about the environment, be solution oriented and build strong relationships.
  • Look to be respected and not to be liked.
  • Seek to integrate the group before you seek to lead it.
  • Target people who can help you achieve your goals and let them know what you bring to the table.
  • Don’t worry what people say about you, don’t gossip or spread false rumors.
  • Avoid too much flattery. You will appear weak to  your peers, will erode their respect and the respect of the higher-ups.
  • Involve people in your decision-making process.

Principle #6: Friend or Foe?

It is detrimental to discern your friends from your enemies, your confidant from your comrade, your constituents from your compatriots.

Keep in mind that:

  • Not everybody is your friend and don’t expect your “friends” to have your back.
  • It is better to have allies than to have enemies.
  • Your enemies won’t stop at anything to block you from achieving your purpose.

In conflicts or challenging situations:

  • Always seek to diffuse tension.
  • Avoid taking sides, power struggles but don’t give in to enemies or attempt to please them.
  • Mind your business and don’t take anything personally.
  • Identify the toxic behavior and the solution for it.
  • Don’t stoop to the level of the perpetrator or please the naysayers.
  • Don’t play the victim or suffer unfair treatment.
  • Ask questions rather than giving answers or have a private chat with an enemy and try to bring them to your side.
  • If you are not in position of power or are not favored at your job, accept it and move on, especially if you don’t know how to maneuver the situation.
  • If excluded from a group, don’t attempt to fit in, just join a new one or leave the place.
  • If you are being openly criticized or insulted, don’t let that affect your self-worth or your work. Agree with the perpetrator without demonstrating emotion.

Principle #7: Change

To handle office politics, one must learn to appreciate change and adapt to it.

  • Stay present, stay resilient and robust to conflicts and change, to your own emotions, to the emotions of others.
  • Learn to deal with change and quickly recover from your blows.

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.

Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

In Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, Simon Sinek believes that every single employee is capable of becoming a leader, of being remarkable, of exercising courage and sacrifice, of investing into the company, and of finding fulfillment at work.

Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't by Simon Sinek

The General Role Of The Leader

In addition, Simon Sinek considers humans as hunters, organizations as tribes and leaders as those who put order within the tribe.

In modern days, leaders are perceived as dominant, are the ones that eat first, are the ones who make the most money, who get preferential treatment and most importantly are those who are supposed to protect. Indeed, they have more resources at their disposal and have to use it appropriately to ensure the survival of their tribe.

However, for long-lasting results, to gain the loyalty and respect of their employees, they must not consider their well-being above the well-being of the tribe. They must eat last.

It is the role of leaders of an organization to be courageous, to demonstrate empathy, to lay down the foundation for success, to show employees appreciation and to allow them to take appropriate risks.

The Circle Of Safety

The Circle Of Safety contains all the people of an organization. It is a safe space where employees feel fulfilled at work, don’t dread Monday morning, are willing to advance the company’s purpose.

It is an environment of increased commitment, fulfillment, gratitude and happiness, where employees are more relaxed, thrive, collaborate and work for each other.

In the Circle Of Safety, leaders and employees share the same values, pull their respective loads and are committed to the Circle.

Everyone feels valued by their peers, they know that their colleagues have their backs, they believe that they belong to something greater than themselves, that they can safely drive innovation, share ideas and express themselves freely.

By the same token, employees and leaders must independently weigh their decisions and ponder whether or not their decisions are beneficial to the group. It is wise to remember that working toward individualistic goals will hurt the group.

Leaders In The Circle Of Safety

Besides, leaders are the gatekeepers of the Circle. They set the standards, they decide who gets in and who stays at the door.

To create safety, leaders have to meet certain conditions and build a soothing company culture. Company culture in modern days is unnatural because they go against all natural needs, instincts, rights for safety and fulfillment.

If leaders want to create a Circle Of Safety, to establish an innovative, stable, robust, lasting, successful company, they must:

  • Understand that employees are not a means to an end and shouldn’t be exploited.
  • Increase employee cohesion and inclusion. They must no longer fear each other but must be willing to fight external challenges together. Moreover, there is power in numbers: when challenges arise, employees in the Circle Of Safety must put all their differences aside to reach a common goal.
  • Avoid placing money above people but place people above everything else.
  • Remember that they are the models for the organization. Therefore, they must define a clear set of values and beliefs for themselves and for their employees.
  • Inject empathy into the workplace culture and treat everyone fairly. This will make both employees and leaders more human, and make work more enjoyable.
  • Extend trust to earn trust. Trust also lies in the fact that leaders know when to follow the rules and when to break them in order to guarantee the safety of their employees.
  • Help people solve problems. They will in turn, help each other.
  • Listen to their employees.
  • Protect their employees internal conflicts and promote collaboration.

 

The Feasibility Of The Circle Of Safety

Making people feel safe, putting their well-being first is idealistic but impractical.

On one hand, people work out of necessity, are willing to stay in a job that they hate to provide for themselves and for their loved ones. They don’t want to selflessly commit to and invest themselves into the company. They are reluctant to put forth the time and effort because they are not in control and  might not receive the proper rewards.

On the other hand, it is quasi difficult to find organizations that genuinely care for their employees safety and well-being. Most of them tend to care more about reaching numbers and are willing to sacrifice people to get there.

The truth is most companies and leaders display poor character and induce a stressful and fearful culture. Employee disengagement, high employee turnover and health problems ensue.

Abundance and Abstraction

Finally, when leaders have everything in abundance, which is often the case today, they lose the real value of things.

As a consequence, the more their companies grow, the more they are out of touch with their employees and their consumers, the less they empathize with them. To solve this abstraction, leaders should:

  • Get to know their employees personally. Investing time and energy in them will transpire as appreciation.
  • Continually spread ideas, find people, connect with them, build real human relationships and bring them together.
  • Expand their company to 150 employees at most in order to remember everyone and to keep strong relationships.
  • Observe the real impact and results of their time and effort, alongside their employees’. This will consequently increase everybody’s quality of work.
  • Give people the time needed to trust, to find their way and place with the Circle Of Safety.

The Influence Of The Company Culture

The culture severely impacts the survival of the company. When there are no values, no principles, no particular beliefs, when the culture is based on numbers, reports and performance, the company is doomed to fail.

Moreover, leaders with poor character fabricate a bad culture that in turn breeds bad leaders. This is why, leaders are required to:

  • Rely on integrity and trust, spend time with the people they serve and shift their focus to the latter.
  • Find someone to lean on and to help them through hardships.
  • Discover their life purpose.
  • Work hard for what they have in order to value it.
  • Hold on to their responsibilities.

Review

Simon Sinek, in Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, provides an innovative leadership strategy to build a successful organization, to increase employee engagement and fulfillment.

After Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, Leaders Eat Last is intended for millennials and promotes leadership excellence. To develop a successful organization, Simon Sinek encourages us to discover the reasons why we do what we do, to understand people and their needs, to go beyond having good competencies and good managerial skills.

In this great book, Sinek places people at the forefront of the company and demonstrates that building a company from the ground up takes on a whole new sense. He believes that leaders have to take care of the well-being of their employees first and their employees will take care of the rest.

Besides, he doesn’t claim to be an idealist, to believe that all workers love their jobs and that all leaders treat their employees well. He understands that most people work out of necessity.

Lastly, he analyzes our biological needs and transposes them to the modern working world. Our natural needs are powerful forces that we cannot control.

Favorite quote(s)

In our modern world, advancing our careers and trying to find happiness and fulfillment are the definition of success. But the systems inside us that guide our behavior and decisions still function as they did tens of thousands of years ago. Our primitive minds still perceive the world around us in terms of threats to our well-being or opportunities to find safety.

Being a leader is like being a parent, and the company is like a new family to join. One that will care for us like we are their own . . . in sickness and in health. And if we are successful, our people will take on our company’s name as a sign of the family to which they are loyal.

This feeling of belonging, of shared values and a deep sense of empathy, dramatically enhances trust, cooperation and problem solving.

Quite often, what’s good for one is not necessarily good for the other. Working exclusively to advance ourselves may hurt the group, while working exclusively to advance the group may come at a cost to us as individuals.

Leadership is about integrity, honesty and accountability. All components of trust.

Ratings 3.75/5

Author

Simon Sinek

 

Daniel Coyle

MEET THE AUTHOR

Daniel Coyle is a contributing editor for Outside magazine. Daniel Coyle is the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code.

The Talent Code by David Coyle

In The Talent Code, David Coyle explores how talents are created and nurtured throughout life. He first demonstrates that talent is a consequence of deep practice, is  ignited and occurs in mysterious places and at different moment.

The Talent Code

The Deep Practice Process

People with talent take time to practice, have a great deal of concentration and focus. They counterintuitively practice failure to make themselves successful later on. This is what David Coyle calls deep practice.

Deep practice is to talent what a whetstone is to a knife. It sharpens a natural ability and converts failed situations into learning experiences. That is why, gifted people are found in hot beds where events seem accelerated and fluid. On the outside looking in, gifted people look strange.

To go further into the deep practice process, break a skill into small components, learn them, learn their variants, search for their potential errors, gradually correct these components.

In addition, studies have shown that making mistakes, correcting them, deep practicing and working through failure force us to function at the edge of our abilities and talents, allow us to improve our resilience and our ability to learn.

Talents develop a strategy to building up a skill so that they can accurately measure their progress, sense mistakes before they occur, adapt their strategy in case of failure, customize it to different situations, avoid blaming their success on luck.

Afterwards, in a unchallenging situation, a small effort will produce big results and will guide you towards your talent sweet spot.

The Importance Of Myelin

According to Daniel Coyle and to early reasearch, the learning process in talented people starts in our brain with myelin. Myelin is a microscopic substance in the brain, insulating neural circuits, strengthening and regulating neurological signals, that decreases with age, that drives our perception of the world, that increases our ability to learn, to talk to read and to communicate.

Furthermore, myelin creates habits that they can only be removed by creating another one. It follows the same rules universally and doesn’t grow without a conscience action on our behalf.

Needless to say, by deep practicing, we build higher and automatic skills, we train our neurological signals to borrow a specific path and to increase the quantity of myelin in our brain.

How to rewire our brain while being cognizant of myelin

Theses studies are still in the early ages. However, deep practicing, repeating an action, watching talented, skilled people allows us to imitate them, to rewire our brain.

According to Ericsson’s research, to optimize the level of myelin in your brain, it is detrimental to practise daily between 3 to 5 hours.

The Ignition Process

According to Daniel Coyle, talents come from more than genes and environment. Deep practice, not enjoyable at first, is the first step to developing talent and requires time, commitment, energy and passion.

The second step is understanding and implementing the ignition process which allows us to create and sustain motivation. Ignition operates through emotion and visualization of the future, sparks intense unconscious response and accelerates progress.

Moreover, this process does not follow basic and regular rules. The ignition process is triggered by certain signals or primal cues, by a lack of safety, by education, by exposure to a different environment and to aspirational figures. It is also triggered by words, motivational and inspirational language, by high value messages, by praises and affirmations.

To get people motivated, it is important to “speak to the ground-level effort, affirming the struggle”, to congratulate them on their hard work. To sustain the ignition process, one must have self-discipline, understand their priorities and be accountable for their errors.

Identifying and Igniting talent in others

Talent coaches are viewed as great leaders and teachers because ignite our talent and using our talents can change our lives and those of others around us. Talent coaches:

  • Are people who were talented but unsuccessful but who have taken the time out to identify the reasons why.
  • Are generally quite and reserved.
  • Are warm and empathetic.
  • Listen more than they speak.
  • Offer short targeted advice instead of motivational and inspirational speeches.
  • Are committed to and are sensitive to their students, to the people that they coach. For example, they customize their messages to their students.
  • Are sharp and capture every information regarding their student.
  • Pay attention to details, rehearse the words that they will potentially use.
  • Measure their voice, control their body language.
  • Live by their values and principles.
  • Breaks down their message in “chunks” and understand the importance of deep practice.
  • Have an ability to locate the strengths, the sweet spots of an individual and to pull them out their shell and out of their comfort zone.

It is clear to say that the spotlight is rarely shun upon the coach, that teaching and leading is a skill on its own and the best coaches spend decades nurturing their coaching skills.

To help young talented people to build their skills, it is important to seek out someone talented but who doesn’t seem like it, someone who is wise, who doesn’t engage in small talk, who doesn’t necessarily have diplomas or graduated from summa cum laude from a top-notch school.

Review

In The Talent Code, David Coyle is an easy to read book that ambitiously identifies the origin of talent in individuals. He gives an interesting spin on how talent is created—not born— and nurtured. To prepare for his book, David Coyle had to travel for research, had to interview scientists, coaches and teachers and to visit talent hotbeds.

The Talent Code is extremely useful to people who are shy, introverted, who lack motivation and the fire necessary to pursue their gift, who seek to coach and lead and who seek a strategy to build strong skills.

It is also detrimental in the music industry, in business, in corporate , in the education and sport fields. Furthermore, after reading this book, I have a greater respect for people with talent but also for people who are able to nurture talent in others.

Favorite quote(s)

The conventional way to explain this kind of concentrated talent is to attribute it to a combination of genes and environment, a.k.a. nature and nurture.

Ratings 3/5

Author

David Coyle

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