By Marcel Schwantes
Ever wonder if you're true leadership material? Perhaps you've been told you are, but the question is, by what standard? Thousands of leadership books are written each year, many of them with marketing agendas to rehash and repackage what has been talked about for decades.
What is true about leadership that will remain unchanged through the centuries is this: It's about people and relationships. And that requires that leaders have a natural bent for both. If you're not into either, you're not a leader.
And you can start with the proven fact that great leaders aspire to lead by serving the needs of their people. You don't need flavor-of-the-month books and expensive formal training to learn this concept.
But you do need to develop and measure yourself against the standards of great leadership (which I strongly propose to be servant leadership). Here are four top leadership characteristics I have witnessed that float to the top. Do any describe you?
Dr. Travis Bradberry
When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.
Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence.
“No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.” – Jack Welch
Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.
By Rebecca Muller, Assistant Editor at Thrive Global
Carving out time for regular recovery is essential for your mental well-being and performance — but sometimes, planning a traditional vacation can feel overwhelming, or is simply unrealistic with a tight timeline. For instance, if you’re a new parent, an anxious traveler, or a caregiver for a loved one, you might not be able to book a last-minute flight to a far-off destination to unplug and recharge — and that reality alone can be stressful.
“The kinds of vacations we take are highly constrained by the demands of family, school and work calendars, and finances,” Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D., author of Rest and The Distraction Addiction, tells Thrive. “One size doesn’t fit all.” Pang notes that a getaway is often most valuable because it helps you tap into a mindset that allows you to relax — but you don’t have to go away to hone in on that vacation-focused mindset. In fact, even people who do go on traditional getaways can miss the point. “Too many people go on vacation and stay connected the whole time,” adds Arthur Markman, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Bring Your Brain to Work. “They don’t give themselves a chance to recharge.”
By Jessica Hicks, Editorial Fellow at Thrive Global
Knowing how to delegate is essential to successful leadership, but it’s a skill that can be challenging. Some managers don’t like to hand over responsibility, while others might be nervous about appearing disengaged — but what these leaders don’t realize is that delegating can provide growth opportunities for their colleagues, and reduce stress for the entire team.
Plus, managers need additional support. A recent Gallup report found that managing various types of employees and stakeholders can escalate stress for managers, who “need protected time to think, do their own work, and respond to requests.”
If you’re a manager who’s unsure how to hand over a task, check out these tips to make the process more thoughtful and effective:
By Alexandra Hayes, Multimedia Reporter
While at work, I find myself looking for ways to be a productivity wizard. Often, I tend to hit a wall around 4 p.m., but my job, which consists mostly of writing, requires my brain to function like a well-oiled conveyer belt, delivering fresh, coherent thoughts as they are needed (and I like it this way!).
Not all assignments require the same level of focus, so one way I’ve learned to optimize my time is by doing the labor-intensive tasks first. I’ll start whatever it is early in the morning, and I’ll chip away at it for however long my brain continues to produce quality work for. For the most part, this strategy works for me. I dedicate my most productive hours to my most demanding tasks, and getting a head start on those items alleviates the anxiety that can be induced by intimidating deadlines, and the disappearance of time.
by Celeste Headlee
How many hours do you work every week?
Take just a moment and figure out your average. Be careful, though: I want you to include all of your time spent working. Not just the hours that you’re in the office, but the time it takes to check your email while watching TV, or responding to a quick text from a co-worker.
You’re not done yet, though. Now add up all of the time that you spend doing non-work activities while on the job. Any time that you’ve scanned through movie reviews or celebrity news on the internet, or done a little online shopping, or called your partner to ask what they want to have for dinner. More than half of all online purchases are made between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and almost two-thirds of traffic on porn sites happens during the work day. When you add all that up, subtract it from your working hours. What is the final total?
by Suzie Doscher, Executive Coach, Life Coaching and Self-help Author
Knowing you have the skills to bounce back, not only on an intellectual and but also feeling this on an emotional level is true strength. Resilience in my opinion is knowing that no matter what comes your way - you can handle it. You know you have the strength and confidence to get up, dust yourself off and move forward. Your self-esteem is strengthened by this ability. You have the confidence to figure out and fix, or change whatever has set you back.
This might sound easy so it is important to remember that when emotions are present (have been triggered) I can handle this is not necessarily the first thought or feeling that might occur.
Neuroscience has proven when emotions are present the brain’s cognitive resources are the first to be disrupted. In other words emotions overpower thinking in that moment.
When a situation results with you feeling stressed, kicked down, frustrated, angry, unsupported, alone, confused, overwhelmed etc. - these feelings are the emotions triggered by whatever happened in that moment.
by John Rampton
Take a moment to think about the best boss, manager, or leader you’ve ever had. Why did you enjoy working with her? What made you admire her? Did she play a hand in helping you grow personally or professionally?
If you were fortunate enough to work with someone like that, I bet she wasn’t just your boss. She was also a coach who clearly explained what was expected of you while encouraging you to play to your strengths. She educated you and helped you work on your weaknesses. In other words, she empowered, motivated, supported, and trusted you.
At the time, that may not have seemed like a big deal. But research has found that organizations with a strong coaching culture “reported that 61 percent of their employees are highly engaged, compared to 53 percent from organizations without strong coaching cultures.” What’s more, 46 percent in organizations with strong coaching cultures notched “above-average 2016 revenue growth in relation to industry peers.”