Thoughtful Gifts To Give A Leader This Christmas

It is a great privilege to be under exceptional leaders. Their leadership skills and styles are likely to leave you with a wealth of lessons that will help you grow both personally and professionally. Amazing bosses are hard to come by so it is a must to show your appreciation if you come across one. As Christmas is just a few days away, you have a nice excuse to express your admiration for your leader. One thing you can do is giving your boss a useful and thoughtful present. The following are some suggestions for gifts:

Stress-relieving items.

Leaders are usually slumped with so many tasks that stress can become a normal thing for them. Thus, they will surely be grateful for items that can help them maintain grace under pressure. So next time you are out shopping for gifts, keep an eye out for stress-relieving objects that you can give your boss. Scalp massagers, squishy rubber toys, and mini board games are examples of gifts for a leader. Other options include a snow globe that is relaxing to watch or a travel pillow that can make their office cozier. The said items can be carried anywhere or put on a work desk so they can use it whenever needed. You can also choose to give adult coloring books or aromatherapy diffuser.

Items to help them stay organized.

Good leaders are likely to be well-organized so you may want to give them things to help them keep everything in order. A dainty desk storage to hold their pens or even gadgets can keep their workspace tidy. You can also opt for a wall calendar or clock so they never have to worry about time. A nice little journal to list down their schedules or a cute little bag to hold their business cards may seem simple gifts but can be very useful for your leader.

Relaxation vouchers

Some leaders are so busy that even finding time to look for a way to relax can feel like a huge chore. Make things less difficult for them by purchasing a prepaid voucher that they can use to unwind. It can be a voucher that will allow them to have a lovely dinner with their family in their favorite restaurant. Or a gift card that will entitle them to a day of pampering at a spa center. A subscription to a fitness gym so they will be forced to allot time for their health is also a great idea. Your gift will be more meaningful if you base it on the specific circumstances and interests of your boss.

Christmas is a wonderful time to show how much we appreciate the significant people in our lives. If you have a great boss, do not let the season pass by without letting them know your gratefulness. Your simple gesture will motivate them to be even better leaders. 

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Four Simple Hacks To Make Leadership A Lot Easier

Leadership is surely not a role for people who want things easy. More often than not, this job comes with many tasks, huge responsibilities, and high expectations. However, if your wish is to be a competent leader, you do not allow the said challenges to scare you away from the job of supervising people. Instead, you strive to develop hacks and tactics that will help you rise above the overwhelming duties that come with leadership. Current and aspiring leaders may find the tips that are briefly discussed below helpful:

Plan and organize your day.

Success and idleness rarely go together. Therefore, leaders should aim to be as productive as possible. However, it will be harder than ever to maximize your productivity if you do not know the things you want to accomplish. Planning and listing your tasks for the day may be an age-old tactic but many still avoid doing it. It is therefore wise to start your day with a plan. Another option is to list down your goals for the day the night before. Listing too many goals can backfire so you may want to narrow down your goals to the most important things you want to achieve.

Welcome feedback.

Good communication is a major factor in effective leadership. Ideally, you and your team should be on the same page when it comes to matters that involve the group. One way to ensure this is by giving feedback and welcoming feedback from your members at the same time. Making the exchange of feedback a regular habit paves the way for the group to communicate more efficiently. As a leader, you gain insights on how you can further enhance your leadership skills. For the members, it sends a message that you are genuinely concerned about the growth of your people, which can motivate and empower.

Delegate tasks.

Are your tasks piling up by the minute? You do not have to panic because the seemingly impossible situation can be solved by simply assigning some of the duties to your members. Attempting to do everything will likely lead to burnout. It can also make your team members feel bored and unappreciated. On the other hand, trusting your people with certain tasks will lighten your workload and at the same time lift he group’s morale. You also train the skills of possible future leaders in your group. 

Encourage learning and innovation.

Wise leaders know the value of continuous learning. To stay ahead and relevant, it is necessary to keep up with the latest trends and invest in continuous education. You can make it easier by seeking advice and suggestions from your team. A monthly contest where members can pitch new ideas that the team can start is one example. You can also organize a weekly meeting where members report about a new trend or share something they learned to the group. Fostering a culture that encourages learning and innovation will certainly make the whole team stronger.

Needless to say, leadership is a highly stressful job. However, the best leaders know how to cope with these demands and even turn them to their advantage. Thus, when things start to feel heavy and unmanageable, take a moment to remember that many things can be solved with a simple hack.

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Three Important Roles That Mindfulness Play In Leadership

“The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.”
– Thích Nhất Hạnh

The ability to remain calm under pressure and stay focused in the midst of problems  – these are just a few traits we expect from people of great wisdom and character. Since we usually hold leaders in high esteem, it is but natural for us to assume (or require) that the head of a group possesses the said characteristics. However, as the world continues to get increasingly competitive, staying cool amid stressful situations is definitely not easy. One thing that can help leaders overcome this challenge is through mindfulness.

What is mindfulness and how to practice it?

We are often oblivious to it but our minds tend to wander all the time. This is why in one or more instances, you probably find yourself guilty of the phrase, “physically present but mentally absent.”  You want to avoid this by practicing mindfulness which is simply the process of training your mind to stay in the moment. Mindfulness can trace its origins in Buddhist teachings and has been used as a basis in designing therapy and wellness programs. 

It is a process of controlling thoughts so you manage to deliver the most appropriate reaction to a certain situation. Meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises are some of the techniques you can use to develop mindfulness. Since mindlessness potentially robs you of the opportunities of the present moment, everyone is bound to benefit from practicing mindfulness. It will most especially be helpful in improving leadership skills. Some of the benefits a leader can gain from it are briefly discussed below:

Promotes self-care.

Too often, leaders find themselves juggling several tasks at once as they try to fulfill  the enormous responsibilities that come with their position. Sadly, this attitude often leads to burnout and stress. Mindfulness, on the other hand opens your eyes to the reality that multitasking does not always lead to productivity. It teaches you to slow down and relax, allowing you to give yourself proper care.  By making self-care a priority, you also make work-life balance possible. In the end, a well-rested leader is most often a better leader. 

Improves work quality.

Mindfulness encourages your mind to tackle one task at a time. This practice may seem to be a slow process compared to others who try to do several things simultaneously. However, giving one task your undivided energy and attention will likely result in an output of higher quality. With more time to polish your work, you also avoid errors and create excellent work.

Strengthens mind power. 

We live in an unpredictable world but while it is almost impossible to control many circumstances, mindfulness teaches us that we can always control our reactions to it. Leaders who follow this principle learn to deal with any situation without breaking down or panicking. As they train their minds to rise above any circumstances, they can successfully avoid being distracted in a chaotic environment. They can likewise be able to make better decisions even during a crisis. 

Leadership is definitely not easy but it doesn’t have to feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders all the time. More likely, a simple change in your mindset can make all the difference. With that, you may want to begin practicing mindfulness today. 

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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. 

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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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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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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.

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How To Be A Better Leader: Improve Your Listening Skills

Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say
– Andy Stanley

It is typical for people to associate effective communication traits with a competent leader. We expect the person who heads a team to be skilled in conveying ideas through talking or writing. This is perfectly understandable because leaders frequently share information and ideas. Their words, whether spoken or written, can form a foundation that can move a team upward or build a sharp axe that can crush a team’s spirit. Indeed, everyone knows that being articulate with words is an invaluable trait for thriving leaders.

Still, aside from the ability to speak and write well, there is one more important characteristic in communication that all leaders should have. This is the ability to listen well. Being a good listener is a crucial trait because a team where the leader is the only one who keeps on talking is not likely to succeed. Team collaboration is best when everybody in the team feels free to share inputs because they know that their concerns do not fall on deaf ears. So how can a leader hone their listening skills? The following pointers may be helpful.

Avoid distractions.

Even great speakers get bothered by audience members who do not seem to pay attention while they are giving their speech. Aside from being rude, it can also diminish a speaker’s confidence. For this reason, it is very important for leaders to learn how to listen with great attention to anyone they are talking to. To do this, they may have to eliminate possible distractions that can prevent them from focusing on the moment. They may need to turn off phone and email notifications to listen closely to what the other person is saying. A leader who does this will make someone feel respected and valued, and can even motivate them to work more efficiently.

Be genuinely interested.

You can listen with great focus but if you are not genuinely interested about what the other person is saying, the words can quickly fade into thin air. For words to stick in your mind you have to be interested in other people’s thoughts and ideas. This is something that is hard to fake. Feigning interest is not something you can do and hide from for long. On the contrary, good leaders take time to listen to others because they are excited to discover someone’s strength, potential and even weaknesses. For this reason, leaders who desires growth for the whole team aim for real connection and are are eager to get to know everyone on the team.

Pay attention to body language.

Not everyone can express their thoughts well and great leaders know this. To really understand or hear what the other person is trying to say, leaders sometimes need to read between the lines. They know how to notice subtle signs that show if a person is uncomfortable or scared. A bit of sensitivity can go a long way because it will help the leader show the appropriate response that a person needs in a particular situation. For example, a leader who noticed that a person is shy may respond with words that will encourage someone to open up. If a person seems uncomfortable, the leader may give the person more time to organize his or her thoughts.

Do not judge.

A great team is a team where everyone contributes to the best of their ability and does not feel any apprehension in sharing their feedback. To achieve this ideal status, you have to create an environment where everyone is encouraged to speak up. You can do this by controlling your reaction whenever someone decides to give a piece of his or her mind. You have to learn how to listen without letting your emotions get the better off you. You do not make hasty judgments or display uncontrolled anger. Instead you listen patiently until someone is done talking and assess your reactions objectively.

Efficient communication skills can take you places and can help you achieve your goals. But as you freely express your thoughts, remember to pay close attention to what the others are saying, too. Do not forget that flawless speech and writing may make you a leader, but if you want to be a remarkable one, you need to strive to be a great listener.

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Leading with a Teacher’s Heart

Teachers spend their days imparting wisdom through lessons of love, compassion and inspiration. In turn, students grow into more capable, informed and mature versions of their former selves. They take their teachers’ guidance and go on to accomplish more than ever imagined. Entrepreneurial leaders can take those same methods and adapt them for the workplace and net similar results. Here’s how to lead with a teacher’s heart.

Affective Filter

In the teaching world, instructors are aware of a concept called the affective filter. This phrase describes an abstract boundary that plays a hand in a student’s ability to acquire a second language. A high affective filter means the student may feel a combination of self-consciousness, anxiety and tension. Contrarily, a low affective filter is marked by confidence, comfort, assurance and a willingness to take risks. Affective filters can be affected by intrinsic factors but can also change due to the environment or interpersonal interactions. Teachers work to control the second two.

Great teachers foster environments of inclusivity, affirmation and acceptance. They rebuke damaging responses when student mistakes are made and respect each pupil’s preference that affect their ability to process information. Amazing leaders can do the same. Earn your employees’ trust,

New Slate Every Day

Teachers understand that their students are in a constant state of learning, which means they will make plenty of mistakes. When children are in school, they are faced with new challenges every day, some of which causes them frustration and stress. When students feel these negative emotions, they sometimes act out in ways that are not ideal. As humans, instructors naturally feel disappointment and frustration in response, but they habitually try to understand the perspective of their students and offer new mercies every morning. They have high standards and expect the best, but reserve plenty of room for grace.

As a leader of adults in a work environment, your standards will undoubtedly include a smaller margin or error, but that doesn’t cancel out the necessity for patience altogether. Follow the example that teachers set and try to start each day with patience and understanding. Remember that your employees are trying their best and want to perform just as well as you’d want them to. However, everyone has the occasional off-day or noticeable mistake.   

Specialized to Each learner  

In many of today’s schools, teachers are presented with a class of unique learners. No two students have the exact same personality, preferences or learning style. To account for those differences, great teachers individualize instruction. Adept instructors constantly assess and reassess students’ needs and progress, then do what’s best to maintain a balance of challenge and accomplishment. They also make small changes to each lesson to help students thrive. For shy students, they may only call on them when their hand is raised. For active students, they may teach a lesson that intertwines exercise with the academic concept. However they can best serve each student, they do.

On the job, leaders too can specialize tasks. Distribute  a communication style assessment and personality test to figure out how each employee works best, then adapt their environment to fit their needs. Pay attention to their communication style, then converse with them using their favorite methods.

Teachers earn their students’ trust and inspire their best work by remaining attentive and sharing information in a kind and effective way. They pour their hearts into every student, every day, without cease. You too can yield the same results with daily practice. Leading with the heart of teacher is bound to help your employees feel secure and valued, giving them the confidence to outperform even your expectations.

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Be A Better Leader With These New Year Resolutions!

Leadership is a journey that has its share of ups and downs. You can probably recall glorious moments when your team aced a big project. There may also be times when your group has to rise through failures and losses. Heading a team can feel like treading a rough road as leaders continuously try various ways to tweak and improve their management styles.

For this reason, the new year is also a wonderful time for leaders. The upcoming year presents numerous opportunities to achieve more and be better! You can avoid past mistakes or hasten current progress by carefully reflecting on the things you can do to enhance or change your leadership tactics. Leaders who set their sights on growth and development can start the year right with the suggested New Year’s resolutions below.

Be more involved with your team.

As a leader, you may enjoy power and privilege to some extent. Yet when you come to think of it, a leader is nothing without a team to lead. This irony illustrates that leaders should make it a priority to connect with the people under their wing. If you hardly know anything about your staff, then you must have been leading from a distance.

This management approach can create problems such as miscommunication and poor judgment. Your staff may also find it hard to develop trust and respect for you. This is counterproductive because a research study published by Ken Blanchard Companies reveals that employees deliver better work performance if they trust their leaders. To be more involved and develop trust with your team, you can arrange social events that encourage interaction. You can also develop an open-door policy so everyone can feel free and confident to voice their sentiments or share ideas.

Be better in time-management.

Does your year-end review reveal that you failed to accomplish many of your goals because you ran out of time for it? It is a clear sign that you need to improve your time-management skills. You can examine the activities that ate up most of your time last year that also did not produce favorable results. Maybe you will realize that you have to minimize office meetings with no clear agenda or you may discover that your staff spends too much on easy, doable tasks. To prove this point, a survey done by Harvard Business Review states the majority of managers view office meetings to be inefficient. To increase productivity in the workplace, you can resolve to eliminate distractions and set strict, but reasonable deadlines for tasks.

Love your role as a leader.

Tasks and challenges appear easier when you love what you do. So as a leader, you may need to do some self-reflection to assess how passionate you are about guiding and coaching a whole team. If you see your tasks as blessings rather than burdens, you are on the right track. But if coming to work everyday feels like a struggle, you may need to change your perspective. Choosing to be grateful for the opportunity to lead is a good start. If you truly enjoy your role, you will be more productive and can lead more effectively. Moreover, your enthusiasm will radiate and positively influence your team,

The New Year is always a time for joyous celebrations because it signifies fresh hopes and new beginnings. In terms of leadership, it is possible that the past year has not been so good, but this does not matter going forward. With the new year ahead, you have a whole new chance to start over, fix things and tremendously improve. Take the first step to improvement by making the resolutions above.  

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