Make Time to Read, and You will Be Better Suited to Lead!

Society continues to rapidly change and advance with current technologies, and this has a profound effect on leadership.  As we rely more and more on our devices, picking up snippets of information from various sources, we move further away from reading larger works.  There are many people who rely on daily doses of data in small forms, and never tackle a book on industry analysis, a fiction novel, a biography of a truly accomplished and inspiring individual, or other great works.  This may not seem so bad as the bits of information form wholes eventually, but there are effects that may not be realized until later.

Reading is crucial to a greater understanding of the world around us.  There is magic that happens as we pour over pages full of information, and not just in Harry Potter novels.  This magic is an evolving of ourselves.  An informational book allows us to see a specific area, like business, from another perspective, and to gain valuable insight to the industry in which we work or hope to work.  It helps to provide skills, vocabulary, and a deeper understanding of that particular world.

Biographies and memoirs allow us to see a life, in its entirety, through transformation.  It reminds us of the nature of humanity, and the challenges that erupt for everyone, despite status, race, religion, gender, etc…  It is a chance to see how someone overcomes adversity, and how they build a future on blood, sweat, and tears.  It is an experience in itself because we can connect, even if just through the words that fill each page, with another human being and their journey of existence.  This helps leaders to become more socially adept, and to realize the complexities that make up each life.  This may lead to higher levels of empathy, and compassion.

Fiction stories, the ones that may seem the least valuable to those in a world of business, logic, and facts, may in fact, be the most critical.  The story typically takes the reader on a journey which reaches a conflict or climax, and a resolution.  There are variances, and those novels that change the rules, but there is a need for leaders to get wrapped up in novels with complex conflicts because it requires analytical thought.  Readers naturally attempt to solve the problems, and while the resolution is given, the reader can find other alternatives, and learn to accept the endings they cannot change.  There is also something that must be said of the need for escapism.  As we surround ourselves with an endless stream of facts, news, and critical information, the chance to become a part of another world, involved with fictitious characters, and relax a little, is much needed.

Every leader should create a small amount of reading time each day.  Even if it is just 20 minutes, it is highly beneficial in so many ways.  This is one positive change you can make in your life that will provide you with skills that may be unattainable otherwise.  It leads to creative thinking, social skills, and perhaps the patience that is needed to commit to something longer than 140 characters.   Make time to read, and you will be better suited to lead!

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Find Inspiration in the Details!

How easy it is to be caught in the cyclic nature of the days, the weeks, the months, and the years.  A life becomes a ball of yarn, once linear, until it is wound up as one being that has become you in your physical form.  You embody each moment of your life.  The memories become etched in your face as you age, and the lines and spots on your hands become the insignia for a life lived.

When I think about writing, whether it is creative, for my blog, for an essay, or for business, I realize that sometimes more time is spend on the whole of the piece, and not of the sharpened edges that become crucial elements for effect or understanding.  I can throw a paper together, or write for my blog in a the 21st century style of rushing, but then, the words do not envelop the readers to make them a part of writing.  I want others to see the tiny details that will make my story come to life.  I want them to feel the wind on their face, rustling their hair as crumbled autumn leaves crunch under each footsteps.  I want them to feel the lump that forms in the throat of the parent as they discover their child is dying, and they feel as though the floor has become as unsteady as their future.

Writing, like any other aspiration, takes soul and it requires attention to detail.  When you plan for that job interview, you need to know everything you can about the job, the company, and your qualifications for the job.  Each detail will bring you closer to your goal.  If you are working to become a manager, you need to know your company inside and out.  Learn about the job, the people you work with or would manage, and it will help you to stand out.  An artist, journalist, nurse, scientist, surgeon, public speaker, and politicians all require this important skill.  It takes time and practice to study and gather moments that would have been ignored before, but each moment will make you smarter and more likely to excel.  Take a look around, and find inspiration in the details.

5 Steps to Becoming a Genuine and Confident Leader!

There is an assurance of character that comes when we see someone with confidence.  Not the overbearing or arrogant confidence, but the confidence that expresses the belief in oneself that is rooted in a humble person.  This is the type of person we are drawn to, and the kind of person we should be if we choose to lead, manage, advocate, and inspire.  There is a quality of candor that shines from individuals like this because they do their job while remaining true to themselves.

How can you develop this type of confidence?

1.  Experience.  As you have more experience working through challenges, and life overall, you will learn who you are and what you believe.  You have to have a firm understanding of yourself, how the world works, and how you work in the world to get to a true and mature confidence in your abilities.

2.  Listening.  You need to listen to yourself, your needs, and your desires because this is part of what motivates you and defines your goals.  You also need to listen to the people around you.  How do they react to you?  Is there something that you are doing that works well when communicating with others?  Is there something that others do not respond well to?  You must be able to study human response well.

3.  Candor.  You need to be honest with yourself and others about who you are.  People do not want to find out you are artificial, a fraud, or not truly the person you claim to be.  You should be upfront about your goals, your life, you plans, your abilities, your strengths, and your weaknesses.  Sometimes it is hard to admit your weaknesses to others, let alone yourself.  However, if you are going to become strong and inspiring, you must be genuine and honest.

4.  Learn to accept your failures as easily as you accept your successes.  Everyone want to succeed, but you have to fail first.  You have to fail many times, and then some, before you get the type of success you really want.  This means hard work, repetition, analyzing your failures, and moving on.  If you can openly accept your failures, you will find that you will learn from them faster, and you will find success much more quickly.

5.  Be open to advice.  You have to be confident in your abilities, but also recognize that you do not know everything.  You will continue to grow and learn as you lead and inspire.  It is a never ending process, and it will help you to expand.  Learn from others, including the people following you, because those lessons may turn out to be the most fruitful.

Confidence is a truly necessary asset for leadership roles, but make sure you are genuine in your confidence.  Be the person that people admire, not the one who is arrogant.  Admit fault, claim success, and speak candidly.

Leading is Adapting!

To be a leader is to be a performer.  Always in the eyes of others, and always trying to reach various audiences in a way that works for them.  It is something that takes work, and is a never-ending process of learning.

I have found that the various leadership roles I have taken on have enabled me to grow, and that knowledge is something I can carry with me into new roles.  It is also knowledge I can pass on as I am practicing them now.  Every leadership experience is different, and advice may not work in one instance, but it may work very well in another.  As a mentor, I try to express the need to evaluate the leadership role individually and the people involved.  Everyone will react to different leadership roles in varying ways.  To be a leader, one must be able to adapt, to pick up cues, and to realize that failure will happen, but it is merely an opportunity to learn how to succeed.

A leader must be a chameleon, always changing to meet the needs of the environment they are in.  The trick is, they must do this while being true to themselves.  I have worked with many people, and the personality of each individual requires me to adapt to them, to communicate in a way that will help them to realize what my message is.  It can be incredibly difficult at times, and this is why a leader needs to be passionate about their role.  If a leader believes in their message, they will do what they can to convey it appropriately.

If you are a leader and not getting the results you want, you may need to change the methods you are using to fit your audience.  You should always look for ways to improve your abilities, ways to grow, and ways to adapt!

Notice the Potential and Strength of Others!

Being a leader takes great skills. However, leaders often neglect to see the potential in others.  To lead is to inspire and to instill a desire to achieve potential in others.  If you want to have an impact, notice the people around you, the people who work with and for you.  When you see strengths, point it out to them.  Some may not even realize the possibilities they have building inside of them, and it may take someone like you to help them see it.

The important thing to remember is that everyone has special skills and talents, and many of them go through life without ever realizing their potential.  If these people make up a team, and you help them to realize their strengths, you will have a more valuable team, and you will earn the loyalty of others.  People want to be seen, and when you walk through the day without taking a few moments to truly see the people you connect with, you miss out on an opportunity.

Do not view others as just a worker, view them as a human being, and a valuable asset to your team or organization.  When you change how you perceive the people around you. your view of them will change.  Then, incorporate your ability to pay attention to details.  This is how you will find each remarkable quality that makes others special, and this will make you a better person, and a better leader.  Notice others, and they will notice you!

The Payoff of Perspective!

Everyone has an important asset that is often overlooked, but if highlighted and used properly, it can bring potential payoff.  This great asset is perspective, which is unique to everyone.  We all have a different past, culture, experiences, and views that provide a distinct way of viewing the world.  We can see potential, solve problems, and create products or content that are based on our history.

This can be negative if you have had poor experiences and translate them to new situations without proper evaluation.  It is key to learn how to take experiences, good and bad, and learn from them, while also creating the ability to discern the differences between past situations and new ones.  If you can find a way to utilize your unique perspective while also being innovative in the present, you could build an incredibly bright future.

Challenge yourself to pay more attention to how you view specific situations, and why you think the way you do.  This will help you to gain control over your perspectives and the resulting reactions, and allow you to be more creative in how you handle yourself in the future.  Find ways to best use your experiences to shape your actions, and it will payoff for you, making you stronger and more useful in your career.

Communication is Crucial!

To lead others, to inspire, to write, to speak, to manage, to work with, or to do anything, you must be able to communicate.  In fact, communication is a key aspect to success overall.  If you cannot convey your ideas to others, you cannot lead them.  From words, to writing, to body language, and facial expressions, we communicate our thoughts, needs, ideas, and perceptions regularly.  However, it is a skill to communicate effectively.  This type of communication takes time and work to improve.  It requires you to be able to read others, to know how to shift your tone and expressions for specific situations.

One of the greatest ways to improve your communications skills is to read a great deal, and to have conversations with a diverse group of people.  Attention to detail is critical to picking up subtle cues that will help you to reach an individual.  As a leader, or in a position at work, this will help you to work with the diverse corporate climate or to reach people you would have been unable to clique with previously.

Do not underestimate the power of the written word and the ability to edit your work.  Bad grammar can remove credibility quickly and create a problem for you in your career.  Know how to write well, and how to sound professional.  A good first impression often comes from a written communication, like email, and can make or break you in a professional setting.  The most important thing, is to seek improvement.  If you know your communication skills need some work, do not put it off.  Opportunities may open up, and you want to be able to present yourself in the best way possible.