Category Archives: #PersonalDevelopment

Choosing One Focus For The New Year

Many people have created, or are creating, their resolutions or goals for the coming year.

Sales, health, increased net worth and network, financial manuevers and areas to improve one’s personal and professional development are usually among the many that people list out in anticipation of a fresh start in a new year.

And most resolutions, and many goals, fall short for a variety of reasons. Much of it has to do with being too ambitious instead of more focused.

Having goals that impact the varied areas of your personal and professional life are necessary. But could they be more impactful if you also chose one goal, one mission, one state of being that had a thread through all of your goals and carried you through the next year?

Think if you will of a person who has the following resolutions for next year: personal development (reading, podcasts), making sales goals (prospects, sales, quotas), better communication, increased network, reduced stress and regular exercise. This seemingly normal amount of goals can also be at odds with competing forces in one’s life as the new year unfolds.

But if another goal, or a core focus, was given to tie these together, say the goal of personal planning, how could this focus impact the other goals in their life?

This focus could take on significant impact in the other goals. If the individual took 20 minutes in their morning routine for just personal planning, they could set the actions needed daily and weekly to make a strategy for attaining the other goals.

Going even deeper, part of the planning focus could be 10 minutes stretching every morning, or meditating, or in prayer, or mind mapping. The mental refreshment and clarity this creates could resonate throughout everything that this person does in their day. This could also meet some of their goals for health, mental acuity and reducing stress.

With a common thread of focus that you commit to never deviate from, you can create a disciplined synergy within yourself that might make this your best year yet.

Find the focus. Connect the dots through your goals. Make that your mission for the new year and see how your goals become easier to attain.

(image: pixabay)

11 Ways To Grow In Your Leadership

Leadership is about giving to and serving others. It’s about creating an environment that enables others to reach new heights of achievement and depths of talents and skills.

And with a career devoted to giving and serving, leaders need to take in frequently as well. Like a river that feeds a valley and keeps it lush, it needs a source itself in order to continue to water the landscape.

While today’s workplace can be quite busy, finding a few regular resources for you to help grow in your influence is essential to stay sharp and refreshed.

So here are 11 ways you can keep growing in your leadership career:

  1. Reading Industry Articles. Keeping up on what’s happening in your industry is essential to understanding trends, best practices and emerging innovations. And most of the articles out there also touch ancillary industries to broaden your skills – such as SaaS development and sales, healthcare advances and regulatory issues, manufacturing and labor relations. Many great leaders are well versed in their fields and other industries as well.
  2. Podcasts. Podcasts are the fastest growing medium today, and for many reasons. The content can be consumed actively – such as in your office or driving – as well as passively, such as when doing your core work, reading or exercising. The accessibility of podcasts from a variety of platforms makes them quite possibly the best time spent in developing your leadership.
  3. Reading Books. Taking time to read good books on business or leadership can work great changes in improving your mind and leadership skills. Retention tends to be higher and you can always pause to ponder a well made thought the author poses. And reading other genres can improve and round out your conversational skills as well – such as historical books, biographies or true stories such as Into Thin Air (which I highly recommend).
  4. Audio Books. Similar to podcast, audio books give a great option for someone to consume a book when they’re otherwise not able to do so. Many people will save books they really want to deep dive into for reading, and leave the other books they want to glean from as an audiobook. Great way to get through a tough book or review a book you read and remember the key points.
  5. Apps. Smartphone apps can cover the entire scope of everything mentioned in this list. Yet beyond what you can learn from iTunes, Google Play or Audible, many apps help you with small leadership snipets like Audvisor or learning a second language like DuoLingo. Plus there are many productivity and goal planning apps that can help you plan, schedule time for personal development and take notes. Find what gaps may be in your growth path and there is surely an app to meet that need.
  6. Seminars. Attending a live seminar is probably the single most impactful thing to grow as a leader. While they can be pricey, a good leader will put a lot of effort into learning, networking and making actin plans to more than justify the cost and create a return not only for their company but for themselves as well.
  7. Networking Events. Local business meetups and industry events are just a few of the networking events you can attend and develop. While many people go to connect and widen their connections, astute leaders will learn about others and ask questions that engage in rich conversations to enable them to learn more about people, emerging trends in a variety of public and private sector areas and areas they may not be knowledgeable in.
  8. Videos. YouTube (and other platforms) is replete with great TEDTalks and videos from Simon Sinek, John Maxwell, Tony Robbins and others. If you can’t attend a seminar, webinar or want to see a particular speaker in action, consuming video content can help you know only learn, but develop your public speaking skills by watching others in action.
  9. Online Courses. Many established leaders and higher learning institutions have online classes available. Whether pursuing a higher degree, learning a new skill, or developing better personal habits or more rounded skills (like speaking, writing or ancillary industries) online courses can be a methodical way to develop some deeper and lifelong talents.
  10. Blogging. Did you know that creating content can also help you in growing and developing as a leader? The amount of knowledge one gains by researching and informing others always produces a more intimate understanding of what you’re writing about. Ask any blogger and they’ll tell you that they learn just as much from posting as does their audience from reading their blog.
  11. Podcasting. Just like blogging, creating your own podcast is a great way to grow as well. One of the unique things that podcasting can create for you is if you interview others. In preparing questions and interacting with those you have on your cast, you get the best of developing from networking, socializing and creating content all in one format. The verbal exercise also helps ingrain the practices your talking about into your psyche and creating inedible leadership impressions on you.

We wish we could do all of these techniques and more on a regular basis. But by knowing what’s available and picking the ones that are both most impactful for your growth and easiest to incorporate into your routine, you can come away with taking advantage of your precious time and the ready access of content to find the best resources for your path.

And with a career devoted to giving and serving, leaders need to take in frequently as well.

What do you use to grow your leadership? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

(image: pixabay)

Easy Ways For Everyone To Be A Better Leader

No matter how long you have been a leader, there is always room to grow.

There is an old but true saying:

If you’re green you’re growing, when you’re ripe, you rot.

Leaders who fail to become better by thinking they have arrived or they don’t need any further teaching or training are in eminent danger of losing their credibility, effectiveness and even imploding in their professional and personal lives.

The most stable, successful and credible leaders have a plan in place for their growth. In spite of their busy schedules, they make time and take time to develop themselves. And quite frankly, so can the rest of us.

So here are five easy ways we can all be better leaders starting today.

Be Truly Self-Aware. Absolutely no one can improve unless they know what thy need to work on. This involves admission of who you are, a desire to improve and the willingness to accept any criticism about yourself. Knowing your shortcomings, flaws, and tendencies is the first rung on the ladder to continued improvement and the most important. Then resolve to fix them one step at a time.

Truly Listen. There are leaders who tell their employees to work harder when they bring up that processes are broken, and there are leaders who will delve into finding the process failures to help their employees work more efficiently and not harder. Listening is truly listening, accepting that everyone has value and their input is meaningful. Helping and seeking to understand others is a characteristic we can always continue to work on.

Read in Context. One of the most challenging areas in communication is doing a quick read of an email, document, or even a text and not understanding the context of what’s read. In those cases, misdirection, wrong counsel, or wasted time in emails and call to clarify could have been prevented if we stopped to process the information. In this current climate of email barrage and limited attention spans, it’s more crucial than ever to master the art of understanding context in order to be a more effective leader.

Be Curious. A dynamic leader is one who learns the world around themselves. Whether it’s industry information, knowledge outside their industry, or learning about other people and their experiences will deepen your relatability, help you be more conversational, and will increase your storytelling in speaking and personal situations. Always find an opportunity to grow your knowledge beyond what you’re focuses are. Ask questions to grow yourself and others.

Speak to Edify. An easy way to boost your impactfulness and get people to trust you is to never talk ill of others. Leaders that defer a critique of someone, and speak their highlights rather than take an opportunity to make a dig are rare. Those that edify allies and enemies in their speech will never have their people wonder what is being said about them – they know their leader speaks highly of them. A quick pause to reflect on what you’re about to say will greatly aid in your leadership development.

No matter where you are in your career, these steps can enhance your growth and create a better dynamic among your teams and organization.

Work on these areas this week and leave a comment below as to how you’ve seen improvements in your leadership!

(image: pixabay)

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