3 Ways Wise Leaders Make Team Meetings More Productive

Along with so many other responsibilities, a leader is also tasked to call and conduct team meetings. Unfortunately, a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review showed that not everyone is thrilled to attend meetings. For many people, sitting through a meeting is unnecessary, boring, and unproductive. Others even blame meetings for failure to finish an assigned task. Still, in spite of its unpopularity, team meetings are not something you can easily dismiss. 

These scheduled sessions serve many important purposes such as keeping up with members, updating overall goals, and discussing solutions to problems. Therefore, it is a challenge for leaders to ensure that the time taken  to talk with the whole team will not go to waste. With a few pointers, you can make a group look forward to insightful and productive meetings. Check out the following suggestions:

Announce the key questions/topics beforehand.

Ideally, a leader expects everyone in the meeting to actively participate but this is not always the case. Often, the leader and a few people are the only ones doing the talking while the majority choose to sit back and keep silent. It is not entirely because some people are uninterested or have no ideas to share. Most probably, some people just need some time to think things through and understand a topic before blurting out their opinions. Others may also hesitate to talk for fear of committing mistakes. To give everyone a chance to speak their mind, a leader can inform the team of the topics to be discussed and the questions to be asked before the actual meeting takes place. This way, meetings cease to feel like a classroom setting where students are about to take an oral exam. Instead, you give everyone a chance to prepare about the topics and ponder the answers to give. Moreover, this technique even increases the chance to get better suggestions from the team.

Prepare an agenda and follow a schedule. 

Meetings are notorious for being time-wasters. Due to dilly-dallying and pointless talks, a one-hour meeting can easily turn into a 4-hour discussion. The worst part is to discover that in the end, no issue was resolved or any plan created. To avoid these traps, it is a must to set clear objectives for every meeting organized. Along with setting goals, the leader should also prepare a detailed timetable of the flow of the meeting. A specific time should be set for each topic or issue so the leader will be alert when the team is already spending way too much time on a small issue. It will also prevent the meeting from going towards the wrong direction. To make it a team goal to achieve something worthwhile in the meeting, it is best if the leader lays out the agendas for everyone to see. 

 Hold meetings in a new location.

Take note of how people react when you remind them about an upcoming meeting. If your meeting reminder is rarely met with enthusiasm, a simple change of venue can make all the difference. You may have been conducting your meetings in a specific room in your office for the longest time so how about booking a place where the whole gang can go to discuss? The change of scenery is likely to spark excitement so the meetings can also serve as an easy treat for the group. This simple change shows how a leader values the meeting time and can ultimately inspire members to contribute more to achieving the goals for the discussion.

Meetings and the way you conduct them are crucial in the growth and success of a team. Among others, it can prevent miscommunication problems and boost everyone’s spirit. If not done right though, inefficient meetings can even prevent a team from reaching targets. A great leader knows the right techniques to make every meeting a big step towards the completion of goals. 

Brad and Julie Duncan3 Ways Wise Leaders Make Team Meetings More Productive
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How to Foster a Healthy Sense of Adventure in Your Children

“Do one thing a day that scares you.”
-Mary Schmich

Adventure requires risk. According to Merriam Webster, risk is defined as the possibility of loss, injury or peril, and adventure is what follows. Adventure starts the moment you decide to expose yourself to an unknown outcome. Adventure is what happens when you push forward. Despite the fear. Despite the trepidation. Despite the negative possibilities. Adventure is the physical manifestation of the abstract concept of what it means to truly live.

Risk taking is a part of life. We’ve all faced the crossroads of deciding whether to cling to stability and familiarity, or throw caution to the wind and leap into the unknown. Although it’s comfortable to follow a predictable outline in order to arrive at an expected outcome, doing so isn’t always the best option. Setting aside predictability, in the name of adventure, can result in some of the most memorable, life changing experiences, lessons, and opportunities.

As adults, we’ve seen proof and heard success stories about how big risks can pay off. We understand that adventures don’t always end in triumph. However, are still undeniably worthy of pursuit. We’ve experienced the highs and lows of our own risk taking and have learned that a strong sense of adventure is a valuable quality to have.

As parents, it’s our job to pass that knowledge on and teach our kids to be confidently adventurous. Here are three ways to foster a healthy sense of adventure in your children:

Support Safe Risks

As children grow and interact with their world, they will naturally encounter obstacles that’ll force them to decide whether to be daring or cautious. Use those experiences as teachable moments. Model how to weigh the pros and cons of possible consequences. And if the risk is safe to pursue, encourage your little one to go for it! The way you choose to respond heavily influences the type of response your child employs. So, instill confidence by providing the proper problem solving skills to analyze the safety level of the risk, then be supportive when the adventure begins.

Don’t Project Personal Fears

As much as we hate to admit it, parents’ personal phobias and negative self-talk is contagious. Children are perceptive and impressionable, causing them to absorb and mirror the behaviors that surround them. Your attitude, perspective and outlook is the blueprint for your children’s foundation. Therefore, be aware of how you handle risks. Think of the example you’re setting and adjust accordingly. Lastly, when speaking to your children, equalize your emphasis on potential outcomes by highlighting what may go right, instead of only discussing what may go wrong.

Regularly Expose Your Kids to New Experiences

Humans are granted such a short period of life to feel unburdened by the stressors of adulthood. By design, childhood is absent of major responsibility. It is a safe space. To learn, to play and to fail. School-aged children have the luxury of experimenting and discovering who they are, while still covered safely under the umbrella of financial and emotional support. So be intentional. Foster their sense of adventure by tailoring their exposure. Seek frequent, meaningful risks and experiences that will help build character and shape their worldview. Give your child the best start possible to their lifelong pursuit of adventure.

Author Neale Donald Walsch stated, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Risk can be scary, but it can also be gratifying. Do your part to guide your children through coping with the fear and celebrating the reward. Use the three tips above to help foster a sense of healthy adventure. By doing so, you are opening the door to a lifetime of fulfillment.

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Teen-Friendly Volunteer Projects for the Summer

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Poolside lounging, backyard barbecues, beach vacations – three summertime staples that spark joy in almost all of our hearts. But the summer season wasn’t made just for rest and relaxation; the midyear sunshine is also perfect for philanthropy. Though many working adults don’t have the luxury of enjoying the same extended break their school-aged children have, luckily, philanthropy is an equal opportunity activity. When it comes to volunteering, the summer offers endless possibility and plenty of free time to pursue. Here are three teen-friendly volunteer projects for the summer.

1. Building
For those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty, why not dive into a building project? Charities like Habitat for Humanity and The Fuller Center for Housing build homes for people in need, while organizations like Bikes for Goodness Sake build bikes for underprivileged children. If your teenager’s heart lies in education, plenty of nonprofits like BuildOn Global dedicate their volunteer hours to constructing schools for underserved communities.

If building houses and schools requires too much physical exertion, think outside-of-the-box and create your own nonprofit or charity. The business can be as small and short-term as a weekend lemonade stand, or as complex and long-term as an online boutique of handmade crafts. Once the profits start rolling in, take the proceeds and donate them to a worthy cause.

2. Cleanup
Many of the spaces we occupy and enjoy require tedious, behind-the-scenes work to keep clean. However, the bright sunshine of summer provides the perfect motivation to lend a helping hand. Commit to sprucing up the neighborhood. Gather a group of friends and create a gameplan to clean up one (or a few) of the following spaces:

  • The Beach
  • A Heavily Littered Street
  • An Elder’s House or Yard
  • A Local Park
  • Your Neighborhood Common Areas

3. Social
Get social! For all the extroverts and social butterflies, your time and attention can prove to be a priceless gift. Help your fellow man by participating in a bit of good ol’ fashioned, face-to-face interaction. Consider visiting a rest home, hospital or hospice center and sharing your company. Enroll as a Big Brother or Sister (if you are over the age of eighteen) or offer your literary expertise to a summer reading program at your nearest library, bookstore or daycare.

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” — Tom Brokaw

Although the free time that accompanies summer break is traditionally consumed by self-serving pursuits, what better time to do more than is required? There are millions of causes, both locally and globally, waiting for the attention and action of a future philanthropist. You are never too young to make a difference. The leaders of tomorrow start by creating change today. So, this summer, encourage the teens in your life to get out of the house, take advantage of the sunshine and make a real-world impact through volunteerism.   

Brad and Julie DuncanTeen-Friendly Volunteer Projects for the Summer
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Quick Tips To Effectively Work While Traveling

For some people, traveling does not really signal a time-off from the daily grind. Instead, the opportunity to visit new places comes with career related tasks and responsibilities. Juggling traveling and working is not unusual nowadays, as technology has made it possible to have remote jobs too. The idea of not being confined to a physical office in order to grow a career feels empowering. At the same time, knowing you don’t have the full liberty of just lazing around while in a new destination can be a burden. So how do you balance your schedule and personal time so you get the most out of your trip and still excel at your work? Keeping the following tips in mind can help you experience the best of both worlds:

Complete pending tasks.
One of the best things you can do to make your work trip as stress-free as possible is to finish all uncompleted tasks prior to your trip. Save yourself the burden of having pending work hanging over your head while traveling. To enjoy a lighter workload while out and about, you may want to devote extra effort to finish the work you can do in advance. Without pending tasks in the way, you can easily lay out an effective work plan and schedule.

Pack-up with necessary tools and gadgets.
If you are serious about getting jobs done while on the road, you have to be ready with tools that will help accomplish your tasks. Make a list of gadgets and devices you will need and be sure to pack them all in your bag. Some of the essentials are mobile phones, laptops and chargers. You may also want to bring extra headphones, portable keyboards and flash drives. It also pays to research if the gadgets and tools you will bring will work in your destination (or the configuration steps you may need to do for it to work).  Those who are concerned about security and privacy and do not want to connect to public Wi-Fi can set up a virtual private network (VPN). You can also prevent unexpected laptop troubles by deleting unnecessary files.

Have a contingency plan.
The perennial goal is to have a smooth, productive trip but you are out on an adventure where anything can happen. For your peace of mind, it pays to have a back-up plan in case something goes wrong. It can be as simple as saving your files in a hard drive in case your laptop refuses to boot up. A hard drive copy of the contact details of people at home or in the workplace may also come in handy, in case your cell phone starts acting up. You may also want to read up some information about the local emergency contact numbers in your current destination.

Study your destination.
Every traveler knows the importance of doing some research before a trip. Gaining valuable information about your local destination is doubly important when you have official work to do as well.  You do not want bad weather conditions to ruin your trip, so check out the best time of the year to visit a place. Most probably, you will need a Wi-Fi connection and a working space, so make sure to inquire whether the place you plan to stay offer those amenities. Moreover, reading about travel tips and recommendations will give insights about the best places to go to

Make good use of travel time.
Travel time can be long and direct flights are not always possible. Make good use of stop-overs and other free time while traveling, by finding a good spot where you can plug in your devices and do some quick work. You need sufficient rest to function at your best, so you may also want to steal some sleep while in transit. With proper rest, you will be more than ready to tackle work once you arrive at your destination.

Today, it is possible and easier to earn money while exploring amazing places. Though this great privilege continues to be just a dream for many. If you are one of the few who are lucky enough to get paid while traveling, savor the great chance to quench your wanderlust and advance your career at the same time!  

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Three Ways To Appreciate A Good Leader

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent
in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire

Most of the time, we do not have the liberty or convenience to choose our bosses. And as sad as it may sound, it seems like great leaders are hard to come by these days. Some superiors can be too tough, which can command obedience but also instills fear. Some are too lenient, which can establish rapport, but then breed underachiever. The search for a good leader can be frustrating, so to realize you are under the wing of someone with commendable management skills can feel like winning a lottery. With all the amazing things good leadership brings, the least you can do is show your appreciation. The following are a few ways to show your dream boss how grateful you are to be under their mentorship:

Do more than required.
For a boss, to see his or her staff religiously doing their duties is already an achievement. But if you wish to further give your leader a reason to do better, you may want to show more effort in the work you do. Going above and beyond will show leaders that the people they manage are worth the effort. Aside from  encouraging leaders to keep doing their job well, you are also empowering the whole team. Choosing excellence over mediocrity surely makes the job of a leader easier. In the end, the ultimate person who benefits from your actions is you.

Organize an appreciation day.
What can you do to increase the tribe of good leaders? Organizing an appreciation day can go a long way. This will be helpful because a leader needs a dose of encouragement and motivation to stay competent as well. It can be as simple as throwing a surprise party or get-together. Team members can do something special, such as prepare the leader’s favorite dish or buy a gift the leader always wanted. It is also a great idea to give thank you messages.

Offer a solution.
Leaders have huge responsibilities on their shoulders, so it is a requirement to be disciplined and persevering. Aside from ensuring the smooth flow in a group, leaders are also tasked with solving any problem a team may encounter. With all the hard work involved, one of the best things a team member can do is ease some of the burdens a leader has to face. Aside from making sure that you do not create any trouble for the leader, you can also think of ways to make things easier for the whole team. If the team has an existing dilemma or problem, you can suggest ways to overcome or solve it. By doing this, your boss will truly be thankful to have you in the team.

To be under a great leader is a wonderful privilege because you will gain valuable skills and at the same time, discover your potential. You can expect an excellent leader to push you to be better, inspire you to grow and achieve more than you think you are capable of.  So, if you know a great leader, do the world a favor by finding ways to express just how much you value their presence.

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4 Misconceptions Hindering You From Embracing Your Adventurous Side

Anyone would be happy to be described as adventurous. It is generally a compliment implying that someone is interesting, independent and strong. The trait personifies confident individuals who are ready to face any challenge that comes their way. All the positive characteristics make being adventurous a little intimidating. But as they say, there is almost always more than meets the eye. Adventurous people may appear larger than life for others, but in reality, they are just typical people with their share of strengths and weaknesses. Shatter any doubt about your ability to embrace an adventurous spirit by looking at some of the misconceptions about this trait:

Adventurous people are fearless.
Bravery plays a huge role in trying something new, so it is easy to assume doubts and fears have no place in any adventure you take. However, it does not mean that people should adopt a “risk-it-all attitude” at all times. A famous quote even says that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to face it. Therefore, it is wrong to think adventurous people are fearless. Most likely, they suffer from worries and anxieties too, but the main difference is they have learned to adopt skills and techniques to deal with their fear. So, if you are feeling a little scared, do not be too quick to say no to an adventure. Rather, try to look for ways to subdue your fears. When you come to think of it, without the element of fear, an activity may not even be considered an adventure at all.

Adventurous people are young.
People associate old age with retirement houses and routine activities. On the other hand, heart-racing adventures seem to be reserved for the young. So it wouldn’t be a surprise if people beyond their 50’s would think twice about trying new experiences. But the truth is, there are no rules stating an expiration age for adventures. If you have a young spirit, no one can say that you are too old for any adventure. As part of caution, it is still advisable to seek the advice of a physician before starting any physically draining adventure.

Adventurous people are wealthy.
You can’t deny that funds and resources are needed to try new experiences. Travel requires airfare and some activities require equipment. However, do not forget that money is not the most important thing about being adventurous. In fact, lack of funds could even open doors for more unforgettable experiences because you get to make do with what you have. People who are truly adventurous are resourceful and creative, so they can find ways to make exciting activities happen even with limited funds.

Adventurous people are perfectly healthy.
It takes physical strength to participate in extremely strenuous activities, such as mountain biking or rock climbing. Still, adventures should not entirely exclude people with physical limitations (such as disabilities or ailments). Sometimes, adventures can even pave the way to physical fitness or improved health. It can also be a way for some people to discover hidden strengths.

The decision to be adventurous is not something reserved for the privileged few. Given the right mindset and stern determination, anyone can add a sense of adventure in their life. So, if you want more fun and adventure, start by widening your mind and shattering misconceptions.

Brad and Julie Duncan4 Misconceptions Hindering You From Embracing Your Adventurous Side
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Three Ways Great Leaders Rise From Their Mistakes

Leadership comes with great responsibilities. But no one said that the heavy load a leader has to bear requires perfection at all times. On the contrary, the very best of leaders are those that are not afraid to make mistakes. They proceed with caution and minimize errors as much as possible. But they also have a full understanding of the risks involved in their actions. Thus, mistakes do not rattle or take them off guard. They recognize the opportunities that come with every mistake they have made. Great leaders overcome mistakes with ease and can even turn them into opportunities. They can do this by adopting a few key mindsets and principles, which are discussed below.

Accept and react accordingly.

In an organization where leaders refuse to acknowledge errors, problems persist and can ultimately break the team dynamic. That is why wise leaders do not turn a blind eye when something went wrong. Instead, they quickly acknowledge it and are willing to apologize for it if necessary. They are not concerned that these actions willl make them appear weak or incompetent in front of their subordinates. On the contrary, leaders will earn the respect and admiration of their team because admitting mistakes is a decision that takes humility and courage.  

Do not resort to negative behaviors.

As a leader, you are likely wary of making mistakes because they can often lead to negative behavior or situations. Proactive leaders, though, know that negative actions are a waste of time because in the end, they don’t solve anything. It’s important to get to the root of the problem in order to have a clear understanding of how the mistakes happened and how they can be fixed. However, once the scrutiny reveals the names of the people who are responsible or involved with the mishaps, exceptional leaders have the ability to react calmly and constructively.

Great leaders don’t resort to harsh punishments and instead set their attention on the mistakes done and not on the person who did it. Instead of subjecting people to harsh criticisms, they listen in order to learn how the mistake can be fixed or avoided in the future. Criticisms and fault-finding will only damage your team’s morale, which can create more trouble for an organization in the long run.

Focus on lessons and solutions.

Leaders may feel frustrated over a misstep for a while, but it is important not to linger on the mistake and instead look to the bright side. Be aware that mistakes are just a part of the journey and come heavily laden with lessons to learn. Likewise, don’t dwell on negative emotions for too long after a mistake. It is not wise to dwell on bad emotions. Your main concern should be set on how to solve it. Any problem can be fixed, so try to instead plot ways to correct the mistake.  

Do you want an easy way to assess a person’s leadership skills? One way to do it is by observing how they handle mistakes. The mediocre ones may start to panic and end up making decisions that can turn a small mistake into a major problem. On the other hand, great leaders stay cool and collected, giving them presence of mind to turn any mistake to their advantage. So what kind of leader do you want to become?  

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Philanthropy: How to Give a Lot With a Little

The word philanthropy can be an intimidating term for those who feel they don’t have much to offer. But at its purest, philanthropy boils down to “goodwill to fellow members of the human race” (Merriam Webster). We all have the desire to better the world we live in and all it takes is a little effort. Here are three ways to give a lot with a little.

A Little Money

Billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have the type of financial security that allows them to give with wild abandon. We can sometimes feel that our charitable contributions pale in comparison, consequently lowering their impact. But remember, despite the size or amount, all gifts are meaningful when they come from the heart. Even if you don’t have much to spare, something is always better than nothing at all. Here are a few ways to make your dollars count.

Make a Small, One Time Donation

  • Many people choose to donate when and what they can, even if that’s a small amount, one time. Be proud of your desire to give and initiative to act on it. Every gift makes a difference, and any recipient would be honored to accept your act of sacrifice and kindness.

Save Up to Give

  • If your budget is too tight to gift the ideal amount, pick a reoccuring minimal expense you can live without (i.e. coffee, eating out, Netflix) and give it up for a short period of time. Take the money you save and donate it to a cause of your choice.
  • Set aside a few dollars each month, then give the lump sum away for the holidays

A Little Thought

A little thought goes a long way. While financial offerings are often the only type of gift commonly associated with philanthropy, meaningful giving comes in all forms. To start, think of sentimental things people have done for you that made a lasting impression in your life. Make a list of your favorites, then isolate the acts of kindness you deem worthy of replicating.  Below is a list of (non-monetary) gestures to brighten someone’s day.

Make Something

  • Take inventory of your pantry and use ingredients you already have to make a delicious meal or dessert for someone in need
  • Upcycle old articles of clothing to make a fresh, one-of-a-kind outfit to donate to a local charity

Say Something

  • Know of a friend who needs a bit of encouragement? Speak up! A kind word at the right moment can be the ideal gift for someone who is down on their luck
  • If face-to-face interactions make you nervous, share your thoughts in writing. An email, text or handwritten note full of positive sentiments is sure to be received with warm gratitude   

A Little Time

Your time is finite, making it the most precious commodity you own. Unlike money and thought, you cannot earn or create time. Therefore, devoting a few hours to another person’s needs is one of the most selfless donations you can give. Try:

Spending Time with a Stranger

  • You’re sure to find your niche in a place such as a hospice center, the NICU of a hospital, an animal shelter or a food bank.  The investment of your time is an excellent way to show you care, while taking a hands-on approach to transforming lives.

Charles Dickens said, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” Every effort to improve the happiness, well-being or safety of another is a grand gesture that should be undertaken with pride. You can be the change you wish to see, even if you do so little by little. Keep up the good work.

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5 Things To Remember To Be A Great Adventure Buddy

Going on solo adventures is always a unique experience. But isn’t it more fun and exciting to try something new with others? Before you start searching for great adventure buddies, you might want to ask yourself: Are you the perfect adventure friend others are looking for as well? It is important to take time for self-reflection to see if you’re someone others would like to travel with. Listed below are five things to remember to make sure you fit the role of a great adventure buddy:

Limit complaints and negativity.

If you’re looking for a hassle-free trip, you might as well stay at home. You can always prepare to minimize the inconveniences that travel brings, but people with adventurous spirits don’t let obstacles affect them or their trip in a bad way. Negative behavior can ruin the trip and can affect other people in your troop. Instead, opt to spread good vibes and improve everyone’s mood by staying cheerful and positive. One way to limit negativity is by practicing gratitude. Be thankful for the adventure and the people you are with. Thinking about the opportunity you have on your trip will help you focus on the positive things.

Be respectful.

Diversity may be everywhere but differences won’t be a problem if everyone shows respect to one another. Always remember that respect is a two-way street. If you want to receive respect, accept that the views of others may differ without judgment. You can’t expect others to think or act the same way you do, but you can change the way you react to it. Instead of looking at diversity as a source of conflict, instead, see it as an opportunity for learning. Being exposed to people with different backgrounds can broaden and enlighten your mind.  

Resolve to do more.

For an organized group adventure, participants may be assigned certain responsibilities. While your travel buddies will be grateful for you to do your part, consider going a little above and beyond. Maybe you have extra time and can lend a hand to others. Be a valuable companion by seeking out more ways you can help.

Be a problem solver.

It’s normal to go into an adventure hoping everything will be perfect. But it isn’t always what happens. You may even notice a lot of room for improvement. But being a good adventure buddy means working through it. Instead, think of solutions that you can suggest to the group. If you meet problems with solutions, you can look forward to even better adventures to come. You also make travel a more comfortable and positive experience for the people you are with.

Show independence.

You may be traveling with a group, but you can’t expect your travel buddies to be responsible for you. So in one aspect, it is a good idea to get ready for an adventure as if you are going on a trip alone. This mindset will urge you to familiarize yourself with the area and equip yourself with the necessary items you need for an enjoyable trip. By doing it this way, you avoid being a burden to others. Instead, you become an asset to a group because being prepared will allow you to contribute ideas or offer help to others when needed.

People typically love and crave adventures. Our daily routines provide comfort and stability, but once in a while, we still feel the need to do something out of the ordinary.  As adventures keep the zest in life burning, it is inevitable that we find ourselves wondering — what makes a great adventure? Surely, it is not as simple as blindly plunging into the unknown. It takes great planning, wisdom and courage. Another thing that makes an adventure unforgettable are the people you share the experiences with. But before searching for your perfect travel buddies, start by making sure you are a great one yourself.

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Four Ways To Genuinely Show Empathy In Leadership

Do you want to get a glimpse of the kind of leadership that makes an outstanding organization? You can by simply observing those in leadership roles. In a team headed by a great leader, people do their tasks with passion and commitment. If only all companies were driven by great leaders, the world would be a much better place. Too often we see people expressing discontentment over management styles. In this unfortunate scenario, people tend to be unmotivated and underachieve. This brings to mind the age-old question of what makes a good leader? However, with all the traits that differentiate a great leader from a bad one, empathy is certainly one of them. The ability to put oneself in another’s shoes is surely a trait that all leaders need to learn. In a way, good leadership without empathy seems impossible. The following four pointers will show how you as a leader can show empathy.

Display emotional intelligence.

Empathy is a trait that allows you to relate to the circumstances of others. It requires one to be patient, caring and kind. It is also something that is hard to fake. Leaders who want to show empathy have to start the process within themselves. The first step is to develop positive traits associated with emotional intelligence. Build a character that others would like to emulate and empathy will come naturally.

Truly listen.

It isn’t unusual for people to approach a leader for some wise words or advice. Sometimes the best support a leader can give is simply lending an open ear. Allot time to listen to what people on your team have to say about certain topics, projects or issues. Great leaders don’t just do all the talking. On the contrary, they continually encourage others to share their opinions or ideas.

Learn and understand the work each person on your team does.

Problems are likely to arise on a team where leaders have little to no inkling about the job that each person on the team does. This stresses the importance of having a broad understanding of the work that everyone is doing, even if a certain skill is not part of your expertise. You should take time to understand the skills needed and challenges involved in each project. It can be done by studying the nature of your employee’s job or spending time with team members while they do the task. Aside from making it easier to show practice empathy to others, it can also raise the spirits of team members.

Show your vulnerable side.

It is important for leaders to appear strong. But no one said you can’t show vulnerability. In fact, leaders who are honest about their strengths and weaknesses can help others become more comfortable around them. Leaders who share how they overcome past difficulties with others makes it easy for people to share and bond over their own experiences as well.

Anyone who aspires to be a leader should understand the great challenges that come with the role. In fact, if you would ask someone to write down all the traits and attributes that an excellent leader should have, you may end up with a long, never-ending list. One trait that will always be present? Empathy. To aim to be empathetic is always a great idea; it will make you an exceptional leader and a better person, too.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Ways To Genuinely Show Empathy In Leadership
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