Finding Your Own Leadership Style
Finding your own leadership style is much more effective in the long run than just adopting one from a book or another leader.

Finding Your Own Leadership Style

You could fill a library with all of the books about leadership styles and why each is the best. I’ve seen a lot of them come and go and they all have pros and cons. The leaders I respect most have developed their own unique style, rather than adopting someone else’s. When we try to adopt a leadership style that doesn’t fit who we are, we get that queasy feeling and second guess ourselves. Taking on a style that’s incongruent with our personality leads to inconsistent decision making and additional stress. These tips will help with finding your own leadership style for today and the leader you want to be in the future. To learn more about leadership styles, download our Leadership Style Guide and Worksheet.

Finding Your Own Leadership Style Tip #1 – Know Your Values

Values are our own guiding principles for life. We get them over our lifetime from parents, teachers, leaders, and others who have influenced us. In addition to our personal values, our companies and organizations have values. They may be stated or unstated. Sometimes the values of an organization are unstated, which makes it difficult to promote those values. An even more extreme case is when there is a set of published values, but the leadership doesn’t practice them.  To develop your leadership style, it’s important to understand your personal values and how they mesh with the organization’s values. Try this short exercise to determine your values.

Finding Your Own Leadership Style Tip #2 – Determine Key Leadership Traits

Traits are parts of your nature that allow you to align your actions with your core values. They’re things like honesty, commitment, decisiveness or even humor. To live our lives according to our values, we must have certain traits. As we’ve mentioned before, if our traits and actions don’t align with our core values we have internal conflict and conflict with others. We second guess ourselves and get that feeling in our gut something is wrong. Traits are not just things that you’re born with, you can grow and develop them, but it takes time and conscious effort. Think about building traits like trying to build a new habit. Think about the leaders you admire and what leadership traits they have. What traits do you think you need to be a successful leader? What are you strong at, where do you need work on them?

Finding Your Own Leadership Style Tip #3 – Determine Key Leadership Skills

This is the most nuts and bolts part of your leadership style. What skills do you need to get your mission done? Do you have the skills you need to develop your team into future leaders? What skills do you already have? Are there any key skills you feel like you need to develop? Consider soft skills as well as technical skills. The technical skills that got you this leadership position may not be the same skills you need to effectively lead your team.

Finding Your Own Leadership Style Tip #4 – Know Your Personal Communication Style

Important to understand your own communication style. Do you talk more than you listen? Learn to listen, it’s hard, SUPER hard for me and it’s still something I have to consciously work on. Do you get all your thoughts together first and then speak? Or do you think out loud fostering discussion to get to the best idea. One isn’t better than the other but it’s important to know. I tend to think out loud. If I’m not careful it can lead to conflicting messages to the rest of my team. At the end of a meeting or conversation, I summarize the main points and the direction I want the team to go in.

Finding Your Own Leadership Style Tip #5 – Know Your Priorities

What are your priorities for yourself and your team? Accomplishing your mission is almost certainly number one, but what’s next? Is it developing your team members into future leaders? Maybe efficiency on your team is important to you? Developing camaraderie on your team might be one of your priorities. There’s no right answer to what your priorities should be, although your boss might weigh in with their opinion. What’s important is that you have consciously thought about them and communicated them clearly to your team. As time goes by your priorities may shift. This isn’t something you want to do on a daily basis, but is good to revisit every few months or year. If events warrant a shift, give it some thought, make a decision and communicate the new priorities to your team.

I hope I’ve convinced you that finding your own leadership style is much more effective than just adopting one from a book or another leader. That’s not to say those leadership styles are bad. You should definitely look at the pros and cons of each and include the best aspects that work for you. In the downloadable guide, there is a list of pros and cons for each style as well as some areas for you to write down the different aspects of your style. Don’t worry if you don’t figure it all out in one sitting. Finding your leadership style takes time and self-reflection. Just keep asking yourself the questions “Who am I?” and “What kind of leader do I want to be?” and it will come to you!

All leaders hope they're inspiring others to go do great things, but how do we know? I remind myself of these three tips every day to set a good example.

Inspiring Others – 3 Tips to Set a Great Example

All leaders hope they’re inspiring others to go do great things, but how do we know? When I was in the Air Force, I was always fascinated by leaders who inspired us to do great things. These leaders weren’t inspiring just because they had great words to say or were great speakers. They were leaders who took action and set a great example for everyone around them. My personal leadership style is based on these leaders and the example they set. I always hope that I’m setting a good example for others. I remind myself of these three tips every day to set a good example.

Inspiring Others Tip #1 – Remember People Are Watching

Tip number one for setting a good example is to remember that people are always watching. No matter what we say or what we do there’s almost always someone there to observe it. Unless you live in a cave all by yourself, people are always looking at your words and actions. As young ROTC cadets, our leaders told us, “If you don’t want to it to show up on the front page of the New York Times, don’t do it or say it”. That’s still good advice today. You could cross out “New York Times” and replace it with social media. Remember there’s always someone watching and deciding if you’re setting a good example that they want to emulate.

Inspiring Others Tip #2 – Make Sure Words and Actions Match

One of the best pieces of advice for inspiring others is to make sure that your words and actions match. People watch to see if you do what you say you’re going to do. Do you follow through and take action on the things you say you will do? It’s not just about doing the things you say you’re going to do. It’s also about the example you set with your team. If tolerance and respecting others are important to you, do you set the example? Do you interrupt people or let them finish their thoughts? Are you open to others’ ideas or do you dismiss every idea that comes from someone else? When our words and actions match we set a good example for everyone around us.

Inspiring Others Tip #3 – Share Failures and Mistakes

None of us are perfect and we won’t set a great example by pretending we are. We can try to hide our failures, however, people see through it very quickly. It’s  important to share your mistakes and your failures and what you learned from them. This is key to setting an example that it’s ok to make mistakes and learn from them. We always learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. If you want to inspire others, gather stories where you didn’t do such a great job but learned from it. Share how you turned that failure into success and see how your team responds.

I hope these tips help you inspire your team. They sound simple but take a bit of conscious thought and effort. Remind yourself of these tips every day and see if that makes a difference in inspiring your team to go above and beyond.

Adversity is a fact of life for any of us who challenge ourselves. These three tips might help you with overcoming adversity in your life.

Overcoming Adversity – 3 Tips to Turn Setbacks Into Comebacks

Adversity is a fact of life for any of us who challenge ourselves. I’ve faced some adversity in my life, both personal and professional. Sometimes it turned out great, sometimes not so much. Starting a business has been much harder than I ever thought it would. I knew it would be hard. I prepared myself, but some days are really difficult and I think about giving up. A lot of us take on big challenges because they’re hard. We accept the challenge knowing pain is on our chosen path. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, these three tips might help you with overcoming adversity in your life.

Overcoming Adversity Tip #1 – Don’t Do it Alone

When facing adversity, ask for help from friends and family. Use your support network. The people who really care about you will help you in any way they can. It may not be much and it may not solve your whole problem, but they will give what they can. Even talking about it with someone you trust can add some perspective. At the very least, you’ll feel like you’re not so alone. Connecting with others can help you find the strength and the courage to keep trying. Sometimes it’s enough to find enough strength to get up each morning and try again.

Overcoming Adversity Tip #2 – Find Some Joy in Your Life

This is going to be one of those times where I ask you to trust me because I am really bad at this one. When things get tough I tend to pull back. I neglect things that are fun and light-hearted because I want to solve the problem and get it off my mind. I’m working on it though and getting better at taking time for enjoyment. It helps a lot when life gets stressful. When you’re facing adversity, take more time for the people you care about and the things you really enjoy. I remind myself to find some joy every day. Even if I just do something simple like sitting in the sun or having an ice cream. Keep a little focus on what you enjoy in life and don’t get fixated on what’s going wrong.

Overcoming Adversity Tip #3 – Just Keep Going

I know it sounds too simple, but just keep going. Keep working on it, keep looking for a solution and don’t be afraid to tackle it from a different approach. Yes, there comes a time when you have to say I’ve done all that I can and maybe I should let this go, but you really want to exhaust all of the possibilities before you do that. If it’s important to you, just keep trying, tomorrow is a new day, things can always get better and sometimes we need to just keep pushing to get to where we want to be.

So there are three tips for when the challenges pile up and you feel like throwing in the towel. When you don’t think you can go on, remind yourself that you have people who care about you, that there are enjoyable things in life and that you do have the strength to go one more day. Try them when you feel overwhelmed. You’ll find that it helps you keep going.

It is a common misconception that you have to be born with self-confidence. Confidence i can be developed just like any other leadership trait or skill.

Self-Confidence – 4 Tips for Building Self Confidence

A lot of people talk about wishing they were more confident. Self-confidence is one of the most important leadership skills that we can develop. It is a common misconception that you have to be born with self-confidence. Confidence can be developed just like any other leadership trait or skill.

While many people consider me to be a pretty confident guy, there was a time when I wasn’t. I was very nervous going into Air Force ROTC Field Training when I was 19. I wasn’t the best runner, wasn’t the best leader and wasn’t really the best at anything we were going to be facing at training.  Organizing and planning things were skills that I had, but that was going to be a very small part of our experience. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the 4 weeks of training.

All I could do was show up at training and I try. It was hard and there were days I had doubts, but I just kept getting up every morning and trying. I got through the first day and then the second day. Pretty soon a week was done. Then we finished 2 weeks and then it seemed like it was over really quickly. I knew when I came out of that training that I could do anything. I was more confident in my abilities, my leadership skills and myself as a person.

Self-confidence is about trusting yourself to be able to accomplish something you want to do. If you have doubts about whether you can accomplish something, ask yourself, “what would I need to know to eliminate those doubts?”. I know that’s a hard question to ask and sometimes even harder to answer. So here are four tips for gaining more confidence whether you feel like you want a lot more self-confidence in general or just need a little boost now and then.

Self-Confidence Tip #1 – Start Something New

The best thing we can do to boost our self-confidence is to start something new, make a commitment to ourselves and see it through until the end. We may not get the outcome we are looking for, but taking it all the way to the end will grow our confidence. Try a mix of challenges that are easy and hard. Easy ones give us a quick victory and small confidence boost. Harder challenges will have a longer lasting an impact on our self-confidence.

Self-Confidence Tip #2 – Know What You’re Good At

Recognizing what we’re good at helps our confidence. It enables us to play to our strengths when tackling these challenges. We can draw analogies from what we are struggling with and use parallels to apply our talents in new ways. It helps to bring that challenge closer to what we know and understand. It may not work out perfectly and we need to adapt, but knowing our strengths helps us with every problem.

Self-Confidence Tip #3 – Know What You’re NOT Good At

Recognizing what we’re not good at is just as important. When we aren’t good at something we need to get better at it or find ways to overcome it. If we’re really struggling we can find a mentor or guide. We don’t want someone to do it for us, but some support and guidance can push us a little further than we might have gotten on our own.

Self-Confidence Tip #4 – Learn From Failure

Failure is the best teacher and can do wonders for self-confidence if we have the right attitude about it. Don’t be afraid to try, even if you have doubts, especially if you have doubts. We learn the most from making mistakes, seeing it’s not the end of the world, adapting and doing better next time.

On the days when the challenges seem insurmountable, sometimes showing up is all we can do. We might show up and get a terrible outcome. but we can recognize ourselves for showing up and commit to showing up tomorrow and the next day. Even just following through on just showing up will build our self-confidence.

So this is just my best advice for you if you’re looking to build more self-confidence. Looking back on my career and my life, these were the tips that worked best for me. I think they can help you too. Confidence isn’t something that changes overnight, but if you commit to trying to at least one of these tips over a few weeks, I’m confident that you’ll see a noticeable change.

Employee motivation is a challenge for every leader. So how do we get our team members to do things that need to be done without being told?

Employee Motivation

One of the reasons we wanted to become leaders was so that we could take on challenges we couldn’t achieve by ourselves. Employee motivation is a challenge for every leader. So how do we get our team members to do things that need to be done without being told?

This week we’re answering a question from Pete. He says, “One thing I’m dealing with right now is trying to motivate people who don’t show initiative.”  To help Pete out with this issue, I’m going to give 4 tips for employee motivation.

Employee Motivation Tip #1 – Understand the Psychology

First, it’s important to remember the psychology of motivation. We need to understand the concepts of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Everyone is both extrinsically and intrinsically motivated to some degree. Extrinsic motivation is motivation by external rewards, whether that’s money, a bonus, time off or whatever the individual desires. Intrinsic motivation is the rewards that comes internally from feeling the satisfaction of doing a job well done. As a leader, you need to understand how each of your team members is motivated and in what proportion. This will require getting to know each team member! Once you know what makes them tick, you can use that knowledge to your advantage when applying the other three tips.

Employee Motivation Tip #2 – Appeal to Intrinsic Motivation

Taking advantage of intrinsic motivation is tricky. You now know more about your team, their hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes. You can use that information to get excite them. Everyone has something they want to see done better in their workplace. Encourage your team members to talk about improvements they would like to see. When you overhear them talking to each other, challenge them to follow through on their ideas.

Employee Motivation Tip #3 – Use Your Resources

To use extrinsic motivation, Use the resources you have. You may not have money for bonuses, but almost every organization has a recognition program. If you don’t, create one. Make initiative a heavily weighted criteria when giving out awards if you can. Get creative. Time off, work from home, flexible schedules, whatever you can think of. Remember, that to incentivize any behavior, the incentive structure has to match what you say you value. If you want to incentivize initiative, recognition and rewards have to reflect that. You can’t give out awards for BLANK and not recognize the people who took initiative to try to make positive change.

Employee Motivation Tip #4 – Build a Culture

Finally, and probably most importantly, we need to be sure that we are setting up a culture on our team that fosters and rewards initiative. This requires some honest introspection on our part as the leader. When our team members show initiative, how do we react? Our reactions, both conscious and subconscious, verbal and non-verbal have a lot to do with how our team will behave in the future. Patience and open-mindedness are key here. If their work is acceptable but not the way you prefer it was done, you have to find ways to build on their work without shutting it down.

If we want our team members to show initiative we have to show them that their efforts won’t be wasted. We need to get to know them as people and what makes them tick. As leaders we have to encourage them to follow-up on their ideas and we also need to use our resources to recognize and reward them appropriately. Most important we need to show that we are open to the things that they show initiative on. Even if it’s not the most important thing on our list or the outcome isn’t perfect.  We must appreciate our team members’ effort if we want them to show initiative. Keep doing that and your team members will keep taking on new challenges without you having to ask them to!

We’re getting to know ourselves better this month at Evil Genius Leadership and today we’re going to talk about personality testing, as well as personality types. There are a lot of different personality tests and a lot of opinions about personality testing in leadership development. Today we’ll look at how to use personality types to know ourselves better, as well as improve our relationships with other people.

Personality Types

We’re getting to know ourselves better this month at Evil Genius Leadership and today we’re going to talk about personality testing, as well as personality types. There are a lot of different personality tests and a lot of opinions about personality testing in leadership development. Today we’ll look at how to use personality types to know ourselves better, as well as improve our relationships with other people.

Personality Types and Personality Tests

Learning our personality type is a great way to get to know ourselves better while developing our leadership style. There are a lot of personality tests that can help us find out more. You can go online and find Meyers-Briggs tests, Big 5 tests, Color type tests, almost anything you can think of. Most of these tests use personality archetypes from Jungian psychology. If you’re looking for a free online test, you can go to psychcentral.com. Also, the personality trait definitions below are from their site.

Personality Types and Traits

When you take a personality test, you will find that most of these tests will show you how you score on a continuum of traits. The areas vary from test to test, but they’re almost always a combination of five traits: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness to Experience. Some tests may organize traits differently; for example, Meyers-Briggs tests align the traits on 4 continuums, but tell you the same information.

The 5 Personality Traits

  • Extraversion reflects a person’s preference for certain kinds of social situations, and how they like to behave in such situations. People high in extraversion are energetic and seek out the company of others. People low in extraversion — what some might call introverts — tend to be more quiet and reserved.
  • Agreeableness describes how we tend to interact with others, especially in terms of our altruism and friendliness. People who score higher in agreeableness tend to be more trusting, friendly and cooperative than others. People who score lower tend to be more aggressive and less cooperative.
  • Conscientiousness is how organized and persistent a person is in pursuing their goals. People who score high on this trait tend to be more methodical, well-organized and dutiful than others. People who score lower tend to be less careful, less focused and more likely to be distracted from tasks.
  • Neuroticism shows the tendency for a person to experience negative thoughts and feelings. People who score high on this trait tend to be more prone to insecurity and emotional distress. People who score lower tend to be more relaxed, less emotional and less prone to distress.
  • Openness to Experience indicates a person’s open-mindedness, and interest in culture and art. People who score high on this trait tend to be imaginative, creative, and to seek out cultural and educational experiences. People who score lower on this trait tend to be more down-to-earth, less interested in art and more practical in nature.

Interpreting Personality Test Results

Personality tests give you a score which will tell you how extroverted you are; how agreeable, etc. Looking at these scores together will give you an idea of how your personality traits work together to make you who you are. If your results don’t seem like they describe you accurately, ask someone who knows you really well to take a look. Sometimes it’s hard for us to accept our scores when we see them in black and white, but when someone we trust reminds us how we’ve approached life in the past, we can see a little more clearly.

In leadership, there’s no personality type or combination of traits that makes someone a better leader. Some research shows a very small correlation between extraversion and leadership ability, many of the greatest leaders in history would have qualified as introverts. So if you don’t score high on extraversion, you can still be a great leader.

Personality Types: Considerations for Ourselves and Others

The first thing to remember about personality types and personality tests is that they are not a psychological evaluation. They’re just a guide to give you some more understanding of your own personality. Next, it’s important that we use these tests to give us insight into our own personality and how we can grow to become great leaders. We shouldn’t put people in a box that limits their potential based on their personality type. It’s also important that we don’t use our personality type as an excuse to keep us in our comfort zone or let others on our team hide behind their personality type. I often hear  the excuse, “I’m not extroverted, I shouldn’t have to speak in public”. We shouldn’t let anyone, including ourselves, use this information as a crutch to avoid developing our skills.

I hope this gave you a little bit more insight into the traits that make up our personalities. We should never use this knowledge as an excuse for bad behavior or inaction. This helps us understand our resistance to doing what it takes to succeed. Just like we explored who we are, who we want to be and what we want out of life, knowing our personality type is another tool in our leadership toolbox that helps us know ourselves and develop our own unique leadership style.

Halloween is coming up and this month at Evil Genus Leadership we’re exploring things that we are a little afraid of and how those fears might be holding us back from achieving the awesome goals that we have set for ourselves. We’re all afraid of something, if we weren’t we wouldn’t be human. It’s important that we recognize what scares us and have a healthy relationship with it. Avoiding our fears and scary situations can make us miss out on great opportunities and experiences. By trying to protect ourselves from being hurt or embarrassed, we can actually be holding ourselves back. In our challenge this month, we’ll be asking you to embrace and understand what scares you so that you can start to develop a healthy relationship with it and make it a little less scary.

What Scares You? Take Our October Challenge

Halloween is coming up and this month at Evil Genus Leadership we’re exploring things that we are a little afraid of and how those fears might be holding us back from achieving the awesome goals that we have set for ourselves. We’re all afraid of something, if we weren’t we wouldn’t be human. It’s important that we recognize what scares us and have a healthy relationship with it. Avoiding our fears and scary situations can make us miss out on great opportunities and experiences. By trying to protect ourselves from being hurt or embarrassed, we can actually be holding ourselves back. In our challenge this month, we’ll be asking you to embrace and understand what scares you so that you can start to develop a healthy relationship with it and make it a little less scary.

What Scares You? The Challenge

This challenge is going to take a little bit of self-reflection and some personal exploration. As a result, you may face a little resistance from ego in this exercise, so make sure you block out a good bit of time to do it, maybe like 20 or 30 minutes. If feel like you have more to do after the first session, you can always go back and dig a little deeper later on.

Find yourself a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted and make sure you have something to write with. I suggest a notebook or pad and paper because I think you’ll feel more connected if you hand write it, but if using a computer, tablet or phone works for you, go ahead and use that.

Get settled in and think about something that scares you. Is it public speaking? That’s a big fear for a lot of people, so you’re not alone. Is it meeting new people or telling others some bad news. We’ll be talking about ways to deal with all of these situations this month. Don’t worry about how to deal with these fears. Today we just want to identify what you’re afraid of. The second part of the exercise is to write down what it is that scares you about doing that activity.

If you’re afraid of public speaking, maybe you’re afraid that you’ll mess up and people will laugh at you? Maybe you’re afraid that you’ll forget everything you’re trying to say? Or maybe you’re afraid that people just don’t care what you have to say? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have these fear. I’m asking you to do is take some time and write down everything you can think of that scares you about your personal fear. Try not to have any judgement of what others might think or if you should or shouldn’t be afraid of it. Just get it all down on paper.

Embracing What Scares You

The goal here is to get you to recognize that there are things that scare you and exploring what scares you about it. In order to start having a healthy relationship with our fears, we need to recognize them and accept them. Later on we’ll talk about how to become more comfortable with what scares us and use it to our advantage. For now, congratulate yourself for being honest about what scares you and not judging yourself. Most of all, pat yourself on the back for getting to know yourself a little better.

One of our most important job as leaders is to train and educate the members of our team. This is challenging because everyone learns differently. Today we’re going to talk about the seven different learning styles and how you can apply your understanding of them to help your team grow to their full potential.

Learning Styles and How They Affect Your Team

One of our most important job as leaders is to train and educate the members of our team. This is challenging because everyone learns differently. Today we’re going to talk about the seven different learning styles and how you can apply your understanding of them to help your team grow to their full potential.

The Seven Learning Styles

The first of the seven learning styles is visual learning. Visual learners have a preference for using images, pictures, colors, and maps to organize information and communicate with others. They love to use whiteboards or other tools that let them explore their thoughts visually. You will hear them say things like, “Let’s look at it differently, I can’t quite picture it or Let’s draw a diagram or map.” Ways you can help visual learners are by Using color, layout, and spatial organization when talking with them, and using ‘visual words’ like see, picture, perspective, visual, and map.

Aural learners like to work with sound and music and have a good sense of pitch and rhythm. This can be helpful because music evokes strong emotions and aural learners can be tuned into the emotions of others. Aural learners often say things like “That sounds about right, That rings a bell or That’s music to my ears.” You can help aural learners by using sound, rhyme, and music when training them, Using sound recordings to provide a background and help them visualize and when creating mnemonics or acrostics, make the most of rhythm and rhyme, or set them to a jingle or part of a song.

Verbal learners find it easy to express themselves, both in writing and verbally. They enjoy playing on the meaning or sound of words, such as in tongue twisters, rhymes, limericks and the like. They know the meaning of many words, and regularly make an effort to find the meaning of new words. Phrases that verbal learners often say are, “Tell me word for word, The word you’re looking for is and Let me spell it out for you.” To reach verbal learners effectively, incorporate more speaking and writing in techniques. Encourage them to talk themselves through procedures or use recordings of content for repetition. Use rhyme and rhythm in your assertions where you can, and be sure to read important ones aloud. Mnemonics, acronyms and Scripting are powerful tools for verbal learners.

Physical learners use their body and sense of touch to learn about the world. They like sports and exercise, and other physical activities such as gardening or woodworking. Physical learners typically use larger hand gestures and other body language to communicate. They might use phrases like, “That feels right to me, That doesn’t sit right with me or My gut is telling me’”. To reach physical learners, Use physical objects as much as possible and Use role-playing to practice skills and behaviors.

Logical learners like using their brain for logical and mathematical reasoning. They recognize patterns easily, as well as connections between seemingly meaningless content. Logical learners typically work through problems and issues in a systematic way, and like to create procedures for future use. You might hear a logical learner say, “That’s logical, Follow the process, or There’s no pattern to this”. You can help logical learners by understanding the links between parts of a system.

Social Learners typically prefer learning in groups or to spend one-on-one time with a teacher. They heighten learning by bouncing thoughts off other people and listening to how they respond. Social learners often say things like, “Let’s work together on this.” “Let’s pull some people together to discuss.” Or, “Let’s explore our options.” Leaders can help these people learn by letting them work with others. Using tools like role-playing, mind maps and system diagrams are also useful.

Solitary learners prefer to work on problems by retreating to somewhere quiet and working through possible solutions. Sometimes they spend too much time trying to solve a problem by themselves when they could be more successful by talking to others. Solitary learners often say things like, “I’d like some time to think it over.” Or, “I’ll get back to you on that.”  You can help solitary learners by helping them set clear goals and objectives. Help guide them to align those goals with their values and personal beliefs.

Applying Learning Styles

A potential pitfall is making judgements about people based on their learning styles. It’s important not to assume that someone won’t be good at a certain task solely because of their learning style. We shouldn’t assume someone won’t be good at creating visuals for a presentation because they aren’t a visual learner. It is also dangerous to let others use their learning style as a crutch to avoid new situations. “I can’t take notes because I’m not verbal learner,” is not a true application of these learning styles.

The reality is that most people use a combination of the learning styles. Combining elements of each style can be helpful when working with a group of people. Pay attention to the styles that others use and to incorporate appropriate elements of those styles to communicate effectively. We got our information for this post from Learning Styles Online. Go check them out if you’d like to learn more. You can even take an assessment on their site to figure out what your own learning style is.

Doing our homework is indispensable to becoming great leaders. There’s no substitute for taking the time to learn as much as we can about the situation and the people involved before we make a decision.

Homework – 3 Assignments All Great Leaders Do!

All of our lives we were told how important it is to do our homework. Sometimes it was unpleasant, sometimes there was too much of it and almost always we wanted to be doing something else. What we didn’t realize at the time is that all of those teachers, parents and other people were trying to help us develop a valuable skill in life. Nothing shows you care more than helping people you care about become successful!

Doing our homework is indispensable to becoming great leaders. There’s no substitute for taking the time to learn as much as we can about the situation and the people involved before we make a decision. Often though, we face urgent situations where we don’t have the time to do all of the research we would like to. That’s why it pays to do our homework ahead of time. Today we’ll talk about 3 ways you can prepare ahead of time so that you don’t get caught without the knowledge you need.

Homework Assignment #1 – Get to Know People

First, get to know the people you work with and those who work for you. Also, get to know your boss and the other people you work for. Who are they are as people? What do they enjoy? What stresses them out? How do they communicate with others? What’s the best way to reach them if you have to communicate with them? Also learn what are they responsible for and how it contributes to the mission of the team. How does it fit in with what you do? What are the challenges they face in the workplace? Are there ways you can help them overcome those challenges?

Homework Assignment #2 – Build a Reading List

The second thing you can do is start a reading list. A lot of research has been performed on leadership, management and relationships in the workplace. Find a few topics you’re interested in and make a list of books on those subjects. Try to branch out away from books that are specific about your industry, business, or leadership methods. Take the opportunity to learn about some of the great leaders throughout history. The specific challenges these leaders faced may not be directly applicable today, but many of their leadership lessons are timeless. Also, make some time for books you enjoy. Reading a great novel may not give us solutions to the problems we face in the workplace, but we can relax our brains and foster some creative thought.

Homework Assignment #3 – Stay Current

Finally, we should keep up with the trends in our industries. Understanding ideas that others in our business are pursuing shows where our industry is headed.  This leads to innovative ideas that make our company or team more competitive. Reading trade publications, attending conferences and trade shows or even just networking with others can give us insight into what the future holds. It takes a long time to develop the experience and judgment that help us decipher trends, so the sooner we start paying attention to them, the more useful that information will be to us.

Homework isn’t just for school. To be the kind of truly great leaders we want to be, we need to do our homework every day. Study and preparation helps us understand the people around us. We also benefit from the timeless lessons that great leaders from the past have taught us and understand the direction the world is headed in. Doing these “homework assignments” regularly helps us make informed, educated decisions that provide great outcomes for our teams and our businesses!

Great leadership is a discipline that requires lifelong study and self-reflection. There are a lot of leadership concepts to explore and it's hard to decide what to study next. Today we’re going to help you build the outline of a Leadership Development Plan. This plan will be your roadmap that guides you through developing your skills and leadership style.

Leadership Development Plan – Why You Need One!

Great leadership is a discipline that requires lifelong study and self-reflection. There are a lot of leadership concepts to explore and it’s hard to decide what to study next. Today we’re going to help you build the outline of a Leadership Development Plan. This plan will be your roadmap that guides you through developing your skills and leadership style.

The Leadership Development Plan highlights the kind of leader you want to be and assesses how you’re doing on that path. It also documents concrete action steps you are going to take to get there and when. We’re going to draw on some of the work we’ve done in other posts, so if you’d like to check them out before going forward you can find them below.

Building Your Leadership Development Plan

First, break your goals down into near, mid and long-term time frames. I like to use the time frames of right now to 2 years from now as short-term, 2 to 5 years as mid-term and 5 to 10 years as long-term, but you can choose whatever time frames suit you best. Include your personal goals on this plan as well. Including goals you have about family, community or even great life experiences will help get your whole life organized.

Next, we have to determine the traits and skills we’ll need to have to make those goals a reality.  Some of the skills we need for long-term goals may also be beneficial in our near and mid-term goals as well so we should list them accordingly. Fill in the traits and skills you feel you need to achieve every goal in all 3 categories.

Self-Assessment and Action Steps

Now comes the really tough part, doing honest self assessment about the traits and skills we feel like we need to have to achieve our goals. Sometimes we are too hard or too soft on ourselves when it comes to these kinds of assessments. If you have a hard time objectively assessing the areas that you’re really great in and the areas you could use some work in, ask a friend or trusted colleague to give you their opinion.

Once you have a good idea of the traits and skills you need to work on, we need to write down concrete steps we can take to build them. Keep adding specific action steps for every area you feel like you need to work on. Don’t forget to include dates that you want to complete these steps by.

Now you should have a few pages worth of well-defined actions you can take that will build on each other to get you all the skills and experience you need to achieve your goals and become the kind of leader you want to be.

Using Your Roadmap

Treat you Leadership Development Plan as a roadmap, rather than a strict list to do in an exact order. If you want to learn one of the skills in your plan a little earlier than you planned, go ahead and do it. Just like you can change the order of destinations on a road trip, you can adjust your plan. Also, don’t be afraid to take a detour off your original roadmap if an interesting opportunity comes up. Add that new destination to your map and broaden your horizons!

Links:
http://evilgeniusleadership.com/authenticity-core-values/

http://evilgeniusleadership.com/core-values-4-steps-to-unlock-your-authenticity/

http://evilgeniusleadership.com/leadership-traits/

http://evilgeniusleadership.com/leadership-style-tips-for-developing-your-key-leadership-traits/

Leadership Skills – How to Assess and Build Them

http://evilgeniusleadership.com/developing-skills-5-ways-you-can-level-up/

Setting Effective Goals

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