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Career Advice Leadership

10 Research-Backed Persuasive Leadership Qualities

What’s the difference between organizations that last ages and the ones that die after some time? Why do some businesses with limited resources rise to the top, while others with all the assets get buried with time? 

It’s the leadership that makes all the difference. Leadership gives your organization the strength to stand the test of time. Through great leadership, you can transform an ordinary institution into an extraordinary one.

Your leadership defines the vision, mission, and values of your organization. It is the foundation of how your company operates and has the power to give direction to its performance. 

Hence, it’s imperative that you focus on building leadership skills to attain the objectives of your organization. 

What Makes A Good Leader? Here Are The Essential Leadership Traits…

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way” – John C Maxwell.

Leadership involves influencing a group to attain the desired objective. To influence people, you need to have leadership qualities that make them follow you.

Though there are many qualities of a good leader, a few are universal ones without which you cannot be a successful leader. Let’s get on to them one by one.

1. Empathy

As a leader, you constantly deal with people: employees, clients, partners, media. You cannot manage them until you have an understanding of their feelings. It is not necessary to agree with every point of view, but you need to be considerate about their opinion; this is where empathy comes into play.

According to a high-resolution leadership report, empathy is the number one leadership skill to be a successful leader. 

So, how can you develop empathy?  

You can use your power of being vulnerable to be empathetic. When you are open to vulnerability, you welcome discussions without getting offended. Thus, you connect with people easily. You develop the ability to understand other perspectives by getting in their shoes. 

What if you are not sensitive to people’s feelings?

“One of the worst corporate gaffes”  occurred in a United Airlines plane when a passenger was forcibly dragged out after refusing to give up his booked seat. The CEO, Oscar Munoz, failed to show empathy in his first two public statements, causing a lot of PR damage to the airlines. 

Thus, if you lack empathy, your organization pays a high cost.

2. Great Communication

As a leader, you need to express ideas and share information with a variety of audiences: people within the organization, customers, partners, and stakeholders, among others. You set the vision, mission, values, and culture of the organization and align these aspects with the goals of the business.

Communication is key to these interactions. If you fail to communicate, the goals of your organization may not be met, leading to its collapse. 

Thus, communication is the backbone of your company. However, according to a survey by Harris Poll and interact, 69% of leaders are uncomfortable in communicating with their employees. 

Why do you fail to communicate?  

As George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Communication fails because you fail to travel that extra mile and establish that your message has reached the right audience exactly as you wanted to convey it. 

Also, ensure that you communicate, no matter what the situation. If an unfortunate event causes fear, doubt, and uncertainty, still, “endure the risk of being disliked in the name of cleansing confrontation.”

How do you communicate to achieve the desired results?

You need to be well versed in all aspects of communication to deliver your message. Following are some tips you can use to communicate effectively:

  • Meet people; don’t be known only by your emails.
  • Listen: It helps to get feedback and to identify areas of improvement. 
  • People remember your ideas if you communicate through stories and images rather than statements and documents. 
  • If something goes wrong, ensure you speak up and clear issues. Direct and straightforward communication simplifies and sorts things quickly.
  • Keep your messages consistent and authentic; it builds trust.

3. Resilience And Decisiveness

Your organization is bound to go through turbulent times: leadership transition, organizational restructuring, mergers, PR crisis, and many more. All eyes are on you during these challenges. Your actions in these tough times decide whether your organization will sink or come out stronger than before.

What is it that will make you an effective leader in such adversities? 

It’s your resilience and decisiveness that give you the right mindset to bounce back. To be in control of the situation, you should not buckle down under pressure and make decisions spontaneously.  

Studies prove that to be a successful leader you need to be resilient and decisive. Research by Zenker Folkman found that “the most resilient leaders are viewed as the most effective leaders as well.” 

When you exhibit resilience and decisiveness, you solve issues and prevent worsening of a situation. 

For instance, when two black men were arrested inside a Starbucks store without a crime, there was a public outcry of discrimination. Some were calling for the store manager’s job. 

The CEO, Kevin R Johnson, quickly apologized and made changes in organization policies. Further, eight thousand stores were closed for racial-bias training

4. Integrity

Suppose you have a choice to hire either of the following two employees. 

  1. A professional who has ample work-experience, well-qualified for your role, and excellent technical competency …but has a background of ethical issues. 
  2. Ordinary skills and relatively less work experience, but a proven track record of outstanding work ethic.

Which one would you hire?

I’m sure the second one even though his task competence is not great. What made you choose him? 

Like you want to work with honest people, similarly, professionals look up to integral leaders.  A survey by Robert Half Management Resources found that workers and CFOs cite integrity as a top attribute of corporate leaders. 

It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity, you will never be one.” – Zig Ziglar

Integrity also sets up trust of stakeholders in your business. Investors, customers and partners look for fairness and honesty in your policies and strategies. You need to have a positive moral repute to win their confidence. Integrity helps you build this reputation among all associates.

So how can you emphasize integrity in your organization work culture?

Have a transparent ethics policy for all your business processes; this along with a moral code of conduct gives your organization the clarity to choose the right actions. Frequent audits to check compliance, makes everyone accountable to these values.

5. Enthusiasm To Motivate

A survey by Gallup claims that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work.

Why do so many employees fail to participate actively in work? 

It is because leaders fail to motivate. Motivation drives the performance of your employees and helps you meet and even exceed organizational goals. If you lack the enthusiasm to motivate, you will end up with an inefficient work-force. As a result, productivity will suffer, and you will fail to meet the targets of your organization.  

Want your employees to contribute positively to work?  

Then you need first to have the zeal yourself to achieve the objectives of your business. Be genuinely passionate about your company’s mission. As Simon Sinek puts it, “Great leaders start with why.” If you’re unsure of yours, then you need to do some introspection!

Next, you need to commit to finding professionals whose ambitions fit with what you want to achieve. Once you onboard people where there’s a synergy with your vision, motivation comes down to setting up goals, tracking performance, and giving regular feedback. 

6. Vision And Courage

“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” – Ralph Lauren

Vision is the essence of your leadership. It is the image of your organization’s future in your mind and thus articulates the purpose of your business. Your vision focuses the attention of everyone in your organization on the most important things. 

A compelling vision will motivate your employees by directing them towards a common goal. For example, the vision of Recellular, a mid-sized company, is an example of how powerful a strong vision can be. 

However, in today’s complex business environment, your vision will be challenged by disruptive times like the advent of new technologies, negative economic impacts, and corporate restructuring. 

For example, if your vision is to be amongst the leading IT solutions services providers, you will need to adapt to the new digital technologies. You may have to migrate technology platforms, train employees, invest in engineering infrastructure.

How will you ensure that you stick to your vision in such events? 

You need to be courageous to foster your ideas and make bold moves that transform your business in dynamic scenarios. 

For instance, when Alan Mulally took over as CEO of Ford, the company was losing $18 billion a year. Mulally restructured Ford’s entire product line, automated its factories by borrowing $23.5 million. Ford not only avoided bankruptcy but also became a profitable organization. 

Courageous leadership has a positive impact on various essential aspects of your business, like R&D programs, investments in emerging markets, challenging acquisitions, among others.

7. Creativity

A survey conducted by IBM, of 1500, corporate leaders finds creativity as the most important leadership quality for success.

“Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” – Edward de Bono

No matter what your line of business is, the current times are extremely competitive. And the competition is simply about the generation of new and better ideas. If you are creative as a leader, you will be able to compete with your inventiveness. A creative mindset will help you produce better propositions than your competitors.

Creativity also aids in problem-solving. With a creative approach, you get a new perspective to solve an issue. Creativity gives you the space to think out of the box.

This helps in generating solutions that were not thought of before.

Creativity and innovation are the sides of the same coin. Your creativity brings imagination to work, which helps in harnessing new ideas and aids in innovation.

As a creative leader, you have an innovative mindset that makes you a pioneer. You can think ahead of your time and will always be able to bring something new to the table.

8. Charisma

“Hi Team, Good morning. Please follow your to-do-list for today and meet your deadlines for the day. We don’t want to miss anything.”

That’s the language of a cold, distant leader.

Now read this:

“Hi Team, How are you doing? It seems to be quite a sunny day. Anyways, let’s try and finish our work for the day. I am available anytime you are stuck. See you all at lunch 🙂 ”

You feel more connected in the second conversation. Right? That’s the trait you need to be an effective leader: Charisma.

When you are charismatic, you are confident and comfortable in your skin. You do not try to be someone else and are positive about everything you do. There is style and flair in your body language, and you are friendly and approachable. This cheerful attitude gives you the charm that attracts people, and they like to follow you.

However, remember that charisma cannot exist without substance for a long time. People will pay attention if you are charismatic, but you need to know your stuff to keep them engaged.

9. Empowerment

“Leaders will be those who empower others.” Bill Gates

When you delegate tasks, you break a problem into small manageable stuff and let employees work on them.

However, to be a great leader, you need employees to know the bigger picture: let them know what you want to achieve by those small tasks. And then, give them the power to make decisions and choose a method to accomplish it: That’s empowerment.

Empowered employees participate more in the decision-making process and will be more confident in their performance. This will result in better customer service.

For instance, Ritz-Carlton authorized its front desk service recovery employees to spend up to $2000 to change and correct things for its customers. This resulted in Ritz winning the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award twice and being one of the best at customer service.

When you empower your employees, you need to remember that you are still accountable for the outcome. Hence, you need to check that empowerment is working, and your employees are moving in the right direction.

10. Task Competence

According to research, the least competent people have inflated self-assessments and often end up in charge of positions of responsibility.

However, as a leader, your primary role requires problem-solving skills and the execution of complex tasks. You need to have the expertise in analyzing data, making decisions, and streamlining processes. Technical competencies are imperative if you want to become a great leader.

What if you are not good at solving task-related problems but possess all other leadership qualities?

If you focus only on generalized leadership qualities, you are at risk to make inaccurate decisions and overestimate your capabilities. According to research by Cornell University, the least competent people have inflated self-assessments and often end up in charge of positions of responsibility.  

Studies have found that task-related competencies are the best predictor of leadership effectiveness. However, you need to take into account future business trends while developing new competencies. Also, figure out your role and organization requirements while defining leadership competency attributes. 

Conclusion: 

Practicing the qualities mentioned above is imperative if you want to be a great leader. These qualities increase your credibility, which is required for people to trust and follow you. You can apply these to enhance your leadership potential and improve the performance of your organization.  

Which leadership qualities do you possess, and which ones do you wish to acquire? Do let us know in the comments below.

Categories
Self-Improvement

Why Productivity Isn’t Related to Technology: The Novelty Effect

The novelty effect is described as a boost in the productivity that a human experiences when he encounters a change in the method of doing work. It can be a change in technology or a change in the process.

When the human encounters a change in the pattern of doing some work, it’s noted that he becomes more interested in learning about the new change, and hence, it enhances his productivity.

He starts doing the work with renewed freshness and energy which ultimately leads to heightened activity. For example, a person uses his cell phone to click pictures. He takes regular pictures, but it does not rouse his interest, as the cell phone has become a conventional device to him. Now, offer him a DSLR.

This technologically advanced device will pique his interest level. He will start taking lots of pictures with the new product. Ultimately, he would learn new techniques to click better pictures. There will be a vast difference in the way a person clicks a regular picture and the way he clicks a picture with a DSLR.

The person is going through the novelty effect, as improvement in technology has given him a temporary boost in his productivity.

William Hazlitt Writer

Wonder at the first sight of works of art may be the effect of ignorance and novelty; but real admiration and permanent delight in them are the growth of taste and knowledge.

The Temporary Nature of the Novelty Effect

The boost caused by the Novelty effect is temporary, as the increase in the productivity experienced by the person is not perennial in nature. As soon as the monotony of that new technology shows its ugly face, boredom settles in. The person falls back to his old habits, as there is nothing to keep his attention hooked and his interest heightened.

Professor Adam Love of the Mississippi State University carried out a study to observe the novelty effect. He chose to understand the effect on attendance of soccer viewers caused by the building of new soccer stadiums.

His study led him to believe that the construction of a new stadium gave an instant rise to the number of viewers who came to watch the soccer matches.

But as he studied the human behavior for the next few years, he realized that the number of viewers started getting reduced in the newly constructed stadiums with each passing year. And finally, the attendance of people in the new stadiums became almost equal to that of the old stadiums.

In some ways, the novelty effect is temporary. As quickly as it enhances the productivity, it is as instantly that the productivity falls back to its initial level.

A new shiny toy can hold our attention for only a limited period. As soon as we get bored of playing with it, we shove it to an isolated corner of our room.

As technology is improving, we are becoming digitally advanced. At the same time, it’s threatening our attention span and patience. And the irony is, we get impatient and bored with the very same technology and gadgets which led to the decrease in our attention span in the first place. Digital technology reduces our attention span by 8 seconds.

The Frequent Software and Hardware Updates are Futile and Unproductive

Do you also get annoyed by the continuous WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook updates that infiltrate your cell phones?

It’s a strategy through which these big companies want to stay in business before another app dethrones them.

Facebook changed the face of Social Media and digital communication when it was founded in the year 2004. Orkut was a vastly used social media site then, but it lacked the easy user interface, privacy options, and more clandestine chats that Facebook offered.

It ultimately made people shift from Orkut to Facebook. After running for 12 years, Orkut was closed in the year 2014. It was a sad moment for each one of us who were introduced to the world of social media by Orkut’s scraps, groups, and messages.

But none of us could handle its immensely old execution, lack of traffic, and stubbornness to not modify itself with time. In fact, with the launch of Facebook, lots of people joined social media for their personal as well as professional use.

Facebook is still the #1 social media website, but the novelty effect has decreased. Around 11 million users have stopped using Facebook since 2011.

As new websites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Google+ have been launched in the market, it’s highly difficult for Facebook to maintain its uno numero position. It’s this reason why these websites continuously try to upgrade and give a better experience to the users in order to keep them hooked. But how useful are such updates?

While Whatsapp (owned by Facebook) is busy in changing the style of its app and Facebook is busy in adding lots of unnecessary features on its website, the only thing users want is: familiarity.

Instagram (owned by Facebook) recently changed the feed without asking its users’ opinions.

It led to a massive opposition by the users, as they wanted the old style to be retained. But Facebook didn’t pay any attention to the opinions and introduced the change. People are not exactly happy with the way the new Instagram looks. They even changed its logo which hasn’t exactly garnered any interest among the users.

Quitting social media can make you happier.

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So, people are much more comfortable with the familiarity for as long as it is not old and outdated. In fact, it has been proved that familiarity helps in enhancing the memory, not novelty.

Such updates hardly add to the immediate user experience, except if the transition is truly path-breaking. Otherwise, it’s wise to stick with what is familiar to the users without committing a mistake like Orkut and letting the technology become so outdated, that the users have no other option except to search for a better option.

How Can You Achieve Productivity?

Long-term productivity is not an overnight achievement, but it’s a continuous process. Companies may come up with new gadgets, technologies, and methods to create an instant effect, but the boost in productivity is transient. The person will fall back to their old habits if permanent measures are not adopted.

It is important to improve a person’s effectiveness and increase their motivation. It will not only enhance their productivity, but it will also improve the standards of their work.

These are the following ways through which productivity can be achieved.

1. Time Is Money: Careful Time Management

Time Management plays a crucial role in helping workers retain their efficiency and energy. There is no point of making them work for long hours, as they can do much better work within a short period without losing their motivation and will.

Carl Sandburg Poet

Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.

Many companies make their workers work for long hours. While this strategy might seem useful, it really is not.

It creates a sense of monotony among the workers who have to spend each single day doing the same thing. Saturdays and Sundays are spent recovering from the tired state a person attains during the 5-days shift.

The traditional route of working 8 hours a day doesn’t impact our productivity in any way. In fact, a study has revealed that working for 8 hours doesn’t make a person do more work, but taking short breaks at regular intervals has proved far more beneficial.

Working for more than 8 hours a day can increase the risk of heart diseases by 67%.

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Companies should promote time management. Regular breaks must be given to the workers, and they should not be made to work for an entire year. Many times vacations are not offered, and it’s one of the reasons that people get tired of working and leave the jobs.

It should be kept in mind that workers are mere humans who need time to re-energize themselves in order to work more efficiently.

If you're running short of time, then I suggest you to try these office workouts by Karen at Positive Health Wellness. You'll pump more oxygen to your brain and boost your productivity.

​The average person uses 13 different methods to control and manage their time.

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2. Meticulous Allocation of Resources

Instead of wasting money on redundant updates, it is wiser to allocate necessary resources meticulously. It is only possible by providing the right resource to the right person.

A deeper study might be required to understand what works for a particular person. There is no use asking a person to handle digital marketing when he is not even acquainted with technology but is good at handling manual labor work.

Also, resources should be made available at the proper time.

Take the example of electronic gadgets as a resource.

Many people provide gadgets to their kids at an early age, thinking that it will help them to become more technologically advanced and a quick learner. But it can affect the kids negatively.

A study published by Daily Mail UK states that 67% of parents are irked because their children spend most of their time hooked to their computers or Televisions. It is hindering the growth of the children and making them lazy.

85% kids within the age group of 13 to 17 own a cell phone.

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Hence, resources should be allocated to the right people at the right time to see a permanent rise in their productivity.

3. Follow the Approach of Minimalism

It is easy for us to get distracted and lose our focus. It can lead to indulging in unnecessary tasks while paying less attention to what is important. The best way to deal with this problem is to lead a minimalistic lifestyle and reduce the clutter.

Minimalism follows the ideology of “less is more.” It encourages people to let go of unnecessary objects, relations, and aims, and to keep only those things close which are required. Minimalism can be as basic as deleting the unwanted folders from your desktop to as complex as giving up most of your clothes in order to lead a simple lifestyle.

The Dalai Lama Monk

If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness.

The formula of minimalism can be used in enhancing productivity and reducing the amount of time spent on unnecessary tasks.

For example, instead of compulsorily spending an hour daily hanging out in a pub, you can decide to spend the time doing nothing and sit alone in a park for a change. This break from your busy schedule packed with people and events will help you to introspect, revitalize, and simplify.

Instead of stuffing lots of activities into your schedule, decide to reduce those activities and get some free time.

Minimalism promotes a happier lifestyle with less clutter and more focus on the essentials.

Minimalism began after World War II and mainly focused on visual arts.

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4. Continuous Improvement is the Way to Success

Madonna Singer

No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you've come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.

Instead of focusing on improving their gadgets, humans should pay attention towards improving themselves.

The latest technology might give you a necessary kick for some time, but it is up to you to maintain your enthusiasm and the will to learn.

E-books are introduced instead of hard copies because they are easier to handle and offer something different to students. Although it seems like a great transition for the tech-savvy generation, this survey has revealed that E-books are no better than traditional textbooks.

It depends on how persistently a student studies for achieving good marks, and not on the change in technology.

In fact, if any boost in their skills is observed due to the novelty effect, it ultimately reduces when the novelty effect wears off.

Conclusion

The world is rapidly changing as new technology is making its way into our daily routine. We have become more advanced. Technology has helped in reducing our work and saving our energy.

But technology cannot be the only way through which the productivity of a human can be raised.

Instead of investing time and money in giving numerous updates several times a week, it’s much more beneficial to offer bigger changes that can help in making work easier for users. But as science and technology are still developing, it is not easy to provide instant solutions to the existing problems.

So, humans should invest in themselves. By making themselves more productive in permanent ways, they can ultimately escape from the slavery of technology.

Productivity doesn’t need to rely on technology, as technology is the consequence of human productivity. We should not get stuck inside an eternal race in which our only motivation is the next upgrade. It will only lead to degradation of the human potential.

When are you going to stop looking for the next technological update and boost your productivity now?