Leadership (10)

The essential skill you will need to get ahead is strategic thinking. Every recruiter looks for this skill and is what every successful organization needs. In this article, we will describe a strategic thinker and show you how to develop this marketable skills.7979858495?profile=RESIZE_400x

  1. Strategic Thinkers are Reflective Thinkers

Strategic thinkers have the capacity to reflect. Critical, reflective thinking allows you to dive deep into all the aspects of a problem. It is a habitual way of thinking that enables you to see the issue from all angles. 

If you’re a strategic thinker, you don’t go straight for the easiest or most obvious answer. In fact, you’re likely to be wary of the easy solution and turn the problem inside out before you decide on a course of action. 

Strategic thinkers draw data from many sources to inform their thinking. They explore possibilities and likely and unlikely scenarios. They weigh the pros and cons of potential solutions and think of how each will affect the stakeholders. 

  1. Strategic Thinkers make Great Leaders

The capacity to see all aspects of a situation and think of the possible ramifications makes strategic thinkers natural leaders.

Honing your strategic thinking skills helps to develop and build your strategic leadership skills. 

Strategic leaders can join the dots and make surprising connections and have a particular aptitude for systems thinking. Many people tend to have a narrow vision that doesn’t extend beyond their job or specialization. Strategic thinkers tend to be interested in what everyone is doing and why which gives them a very different perspective on problem-solving. Because they look at the situation from a 360-degree angle, they can assess the impact on the organization as a whole.

This kind of strategic leadership inspires loyalty and trust in employees and clients alike. 

  1. Strategic Thinkers Create More Strategic Thinkers

Strategic thinkers tend to be inspiring. They see and think outside the box. They are enthusiastic about the future and its possibilities and encourage a can-do attitude. 

Strategic leaders tend to ask questions. They think deeply about the issues affecting the organization and prompt others to think about the same issues. They’re focused on the strategic vision, how the organization meets the needs of its customers and stakeholders alike, and how it can go beyond just delivering the same product. 

If you want to foster and signal your strategic thinking, learn to think deeply and ask the hard questions. Go beyond what’s in front of you and think of what is possible.



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Use Humor to Resolve Conflict

The conflict has been brewing all day. The combatants are at crisis point, and it feels like the entire office is holding their collective breath waiting to see what happens next. At this point, they’re ready for bloodshed, or at the very least, some very strong words. 7598321654?profile=RESIZE_400x

The last thing they expect is for one of the key players in the conflict to open their mouths and make a joke? 

Maybe it doesn’t feel like a resolution to the conflict, but actually, laughter goes far beyond being the clichéd ‘best medicine.’  How? First of all, laughter takes the tension out of the situation, which exactly is what’s needed to regain perspective, build stronger bonds, and yes, sometimes smooth over the differences. 

How then do you effectively use humor to resolve conflicts?

  1. Make sure that both parties are ‘in on the joke.’ By keeping humor wholesome – not at the expense of the other person, you’re focusing on inviting them to laugh with you, rather than laughing at them. How can you tell if you’re doing it right? Humor is tricky, and so your best indicator of getting it right is to gauge the other person’s reactions. If they’re not laughing, chances are they don’t find it funny. Stop!


  1. Check to make sure that you’re not using humor as a defensive weapon rather than as a positive tool. If you’re using humor to mask emotions that you’d rather not deal with right now, then it’s time to put a flag on the play. Stop immediately and ask yourself what it is that you’re not dealing with and why.


  1. Work on that sense of humor. Every good comedian knows how to read their audience. The same goes for using humor with another person, especially in a situation that’s already a conflict. Watch the nonverbal cues. What language are you using? Keep the tone positive and light, and mean it. That means don’t use jokes as a means of cruelty. Lastly, consider what you might use as an inside joke. Inside jokes not only keep the situation light but create a deeper intimacy with whom you conflict.


  1. Most importantly, be Playful! A little bit of silly fun is a good thing. Not sure how to tap into that kind of fun and crazy side? Explore humor in other ways so that you always have a repertoire to fall back on. Watch things you find funny on TV or in movies. Listen to jokes. Read the funnies. Find that side of you that likes to play and encourage it with creativity and fun.

And no matter what, cut yourself some slack. It takes practice to be funny. Keep at it, and you’ll find your natural sense of humor, and be able to tap into it when you need to. That conflict won’t know what hit it!

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Become a Great Male Role Model

Along the pathways of your life, you’ve looked up to different men along the way. Maybe your father read a lot or was always pursuing some activity to better himself and his family. Maybe your 10th-grade math teacher asked you to tutor a fellow student. Whoever they are, the men in your life matter! 7586561470?profile=RESIZE_400x

Wouldn’t you like to be that male role model that boys and young men aspire to be like? The good news is you are! There is someone already looking up to you and copying the traits you have. Compare the list below to how you act now. You choose which you want to teach to the younger people watching you.

Use these strategies to become a great role model:

  1. Go after your dreams. Reflect on what you’ve always wanted out of life. Sure, it’s changed over the years. But what is it right now that you want to achieve? The importance of pursuing your passions is a wonderful message to send to younger people.
  2. Show self-confidence. When you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to, you’re said to have confidence. If you’re confident, it’s probably evident to everyone around you. Young boys and teens, in particular, look up to men who demonstrate an air of “I can do it.”
  3. Hang out with your buddies regularly. When you allow time in your busy schedule to socialize with your friends, you’ll have a more relaxed way of moving in the world.


  1. Have a sense of humor. Usually, boys and young men can relate to each other best when there’s humor and joking around involved. Let that fun side of you come out, especially when you’re around younger people.
  2. Demonstrate a willingness to spend time with kids. Whether they’re your kids, your nephews, or your friend’s kids, give of your own time to be there for them. Do not measure this with quantity. Any time spent is invaluable.
  3. Be open about your work. By nature, kids are curious about what kind of work men do and how that work is accomplished. If a young boy or teen expresses an interest in what you do, share with him your experience, and guide him.
  • You might be the only man in that boy’s life who has taken the time to talk just to him about the subjects he’s interested in.
  1. Reach out. If this is uncomfortable for you consider spending some time at a local Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or other social agency that works with kids and teens. Even devoting two hours a week of your time can make a dramatic impact on someone’s life.
  2. Do something physically active. The research shows that boys learn best when they’re actively doing something. So, take a boy running with you or painting a room. Build a deck together or ask him to help you wash your car. A kid can pick up a lot from taking part in an activity with you.

  3. Give positive feedback. Practice saying simple, positive comments. Any maturing person craves this type of care and attention. Statements like, “Wow, you did a fantastic job painting” or “You’re a pretty good runner” can plant seeds of confidence that will grow stronger over the years in young people.
  4. Avoid macho expressions of physical strength. Although some kids might ooh and ahh if you can bench-press 200 pounds, your role as a male role model is to illustrate that men have all kinds of different talents, skills, and interests. Since most kids have most likely already been exposed to macho stereotypes, find other ways to express yourself to them.

Being a great male role model will bring enormous personal rewards and, sometimes, external accolades.

You’ll feel satisfaction and pride in knowing you’ve contributed in some way to the healthy development of another human being. Put your efforts into becoming the best male role model you can be. Your life and the lives of others will benefit hugely!

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Being a mentor is an important task. Helping lift up-and-coming leaders up and help them grow through a mentorship relationship helps the mentor and the mentee. Outside of mentorship, leaders can help one another out too. Your colleagues need your support to help them thrive, and grow….because leadership isn’t for the weak.7149515276?profile=RESIZE_400x

Everyone faces tough times- Businesses close, projects fall apart, new launches are delayed, and things at home can impact everything else. Leaders need other leaders to help. No one understands the struggles that leaders face better than other leaders. It’s important to lift leaders up and help them grow in the process. 

Be there when your colleagues need you 

Leadership is its own club. People who lead need other people who lead to be there when times are hard…whether they ask or not. If you see someone in the leadership community struggle, get in there, and offer your support. Reaching out and letting someone know you care can make all the difference in how well they cope during a tough time. 

Note- leaders aren’t just working people. A struggling mother or father is a leader. If you see someone who needs support, reach out, and help lift them up.  

Celebrate when your colleagues win  

It’s natural to feel a tinge of jealousy when your “competition” gets a win. Great leaders celebrate big wins, whether they’re for the competition or their friends. Your genuine enthusiasm for other people’s success will only make yours stronger. There’s no limit to the amount of success available to you and those you are in leadership with. Get excited about their accomplishments, and genuinely congratulate and celebrate with them. 

Step in when your colleagues fall down

Sometimes people take a fall. An illness, injury, or even a scandal can set someone in leadership back. Be willing and able to step in when your colleagues fall. Offer to take some of their workload, offer to assist them in practical ways, or take the initiative and lead for them in their absence. You’re a leader, and there’s no better time to lead than when your colleague can’t. 

Being in leadership is a brotherhood, unlike any other. There’s a comradery between leaders who have worked hard to encourage, mentor, and motivate their teams. They need the same encouragement themselves. Leaders lean on leaders who understand and have the unique abilities to support them and help them grow too. 

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Your promotion to leadership isn’t the end of the line. You’ve only just begun the leadership journey. Becoming a leader qualifies you to lead others, but your skills will grow over time, making you more and more effective. Growing as a leader should always be the goal. Whether you’ve just begun or you’ve been leading for years.7149480488?profile=RESIZE_400x

The best leaders have things in common. They are generally- 

  • Confident
  • Considerate
  • Consistent


Being confident, considerate, and consistent are not static things. They change all the time. Being confident wanes from time to time when life throws curve balls. Being kind and considerate of others can be a challenge when you’re overly stressed or worried. Consistency gets jeopardized when life is overwhelming or underwhelming. That’s why great leaders are always working on these areas of their lives.

Here are some practical ways to keep growing as a leader in the areas of confidence, consideration, and consistency.  

Confidence- Pay attention to what gets you down. We all have triggers that affect our confidence. It’s possible to be highly confident in one area of life and utterly wrecked in another. Pay attention to what gets you down at specific points in your life. Your confidence might need to be bolstered here and there, even when you’re leading. Life’s circumstances can trigger areas where you don’t feel strong. Seek to find solutions when you feel your confidence getting weak, and you’ll be able to overcome your insecurities and become a more effective leader in the process. 

Consideration- Pay attention when you feel foul. When life’s firing on all cylinders, it’s easy to be kind and considerate. People respect leaders who are fair and decent. They resist leaders who are harsh, unrealistic, and mean. Your personal life could be affecting your leadership. If you’re going through a tough time, it’s a great time to stretch and grow and learn new stress management techniques or how to “acknowledge your feelings and not live by them.” Whether you are leading your family, a community project, or a team at work, being considerate is a primary character trait of successful leadership. 

Consistency- Pay attention when you are erratic. One of the key characteristics of great leadership is dependability and consistency. That you show up the same today, tomorrow, and down the line is crucial. The surest way to breach trust with others is to be erratic. When it comes to leadership, consistency is critical. If you find that you are going through a season where you’re dropping the ball, or you are acting in unpredictable ways, it’s a great time to grow as a leader and learn how to manage yourself and get back on track.

Leadership is not a destination. Being an effective leader includes a commitment to grow. The issues you face today won’t be the same tomorrow. The people you lead on and off duty will cause you to need new skills. Keep focused on your confidence, consideration, and consistency so you can grow and maintain high-quality leadership skills.


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If you’re in a leadership role, you didn’t get there on your own. Someone at some point, poured into you and helped shape you into the person you are! Having a mentor can make all the difference when it comes to being an effective leader. Being a mentor helps pay forward the help you’ve been given and the lifetime of knowledge you’ve accumulated.7140133056?profile=RESIZE_400x

Mentoring others makes you a better leader because it helps you

  • Teach a broader range of skills
  • Motivate new leaders
  • Keeps you grounded

Mentoring teaches more than the obvious.

Mentoring an up and coming leader requires more than basic skills. Mentoring someone to do a task in and of itself is a great thing to do. Passing on traditions and expertise has been a form of teaching for generations. Mentoring someone in leadership surpasses practical skills and includes esoteric skills that go beyond the technical aspects of a trade. Mentoring leaders teaches the psychological and interpersonal skills that make great leaders.

Mentoring motivates new leaders.

Part of the role of leadership is motivating others. Getting them excited about the possibilities and feeling confident about what they can accomplish. Mentoring new leaders is the epitome of motivating. Sure, you’ll have to cover the challenges of leadership- which are many, but overall you can help motivate a new leader to be their best. This, in turn, drives you and helps remind you of the benefits of being a leader as well.

Mentoring keeps you grounded too.

Being in leadership should be humbling. Serving others is what leadership is all about. Being a leader has perks and advantages, but it also has harsh realities those who aren’t in leadership don’t have to face. Mentoring others keeps you grounded and reminds you that leadership is an important responsibility and that the well-being of those you lead is in a leader’s hands.

Mentoring is an excellent way to sharpen your leadership skills and transform you as a leader. Teaching up-and-coming leaders the nuances of their roles can help them become better leaders in a shorter amount of time. Remember those who taught you along the way and show your gratitude by paying it forward to the people you are fortunate enough to impact. Your teaching time can be learning time for you because your mentee will surely have something new to teach you as well. Celebrate your mentees and help them achieve their best by mentoring them and pouring into their futures.

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Most leaders started out as followers. Leadership comes from mastery of a concept or idea and inspiring and motivating others to achieve a common goal. Good leaders have spent significant time in the trenches and never stop, even after they’re promoted. 7137580078?profile=RESIZE_400x

Being a leader and being the boss is not synonymous. Leadership requires a willingness to take on more responsibilities than the team and to be willing to work just as hard, if not harder. Sadly, if you are in a leadership role and act like a boss, you give leadership a bad name. The imagery of someone sitting at a desk with their feet up while others do the work that they claim for themselves leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. The idea is that leaders have paid their dues and don’t have to work hard anymore. Sadly, this is a way that leadership gets a bad name. Also, some leaders lose touch with what it takes to be on the front lines and diminish or discount the hard work of the people they lead. In both cases, this can cause a rift between leaders and teammates.

 The best leaders have a heart for service and never stop. No matter how high their leadership title, great leaders serve others and seek to understand better the needs of the people they are leading. Here are some easy ways to continue to serve, even when you’re the leader-  

  • Don’t be afraid to do the work too
  • Seek to determine what others need
  • Ask more questions
  •  Delegate, but be sure to do the work too.

The best leaders make time to get alongside the people they serve and do the work too. Delegating is an essential function of leadership. You can’t lead if you are doing all the work, but it’s important to keep morale high and keep your skills polished too. You can do both by working alongside the people you lead and showing them there’s nothing you aren’t too important to do. 

Find out what people need to make things easier.

The people you lead have a lot on their plate. They have on and off duty lives too. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what they need offers opportunities for you to serve them and build their trust and respect for you. Great leaders know when their teams need something to make their work easier or to offset troubles they have off the clock. Stay in touch and in tune with your teams, and you’ll transform your leadership skills exponentially. 

Always ask questions.

Leaders have to hand down a lot of policies and procedures that their teams have to follow. Whether it’s your family or people you lead for work, asking them questions and getting their input can help everyone feel heard and valued. Sometimes someone you lead might have an idea or a process that is better than the one you implemented. Great leaders include their wealth of resources in their leadership. This includes asking questions of the people they lead.

Serving others, even when you’re the leader, is vital. There’s no title too high that excludes someone from service. There are many ways to lead and many ways to serve, and the two always go hand in hand.

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“The people with the greatest love, not the most information, will influence us to change.”- Bob Goff

Bob Goff is the New York Times best-selling author of the book Love Does. His quote reminds us that it isn’t what you know that matters as much as how you behave. You may have all the knowledge in the world on relevant subjects which will make you an expert, but if you don’t have the social skills to lead others with love, you won’t be very effective. 

Goff shared a story in a blog post about Galileo, a scientist who used a telescope to determine that the Earth and the other planets rotated around the sun. At the time, this went against the standard beliefs in science and caused Galileo to be arrested and jailed. What Galileo discovered was the truth, but his truth threatened those in leadership, and instead of listening, they reacted defensively. 7137551476?profile=RESIZE_400x

As leaders, it’s essential to realize that information changes and what we think we know might be proven ineffective or wrong at some point down the line. As a leader, how you treat others is more important than what you know. Here are some keys concepts to keep in mind- 

Key Concept- Being challenged doesn’t require defensiveness.

Some leaders feel that their authority should not be questioned. A leadership role indeed holds an expectation of authority and, in most cases, deserves respect; however, respect is earned not mandated. If your authority is being challenged, keep your peace and your maturity and determine if the challenge is worthy. If so, embrace the challenge and work together to seek a solution and embrace the new information with gratitude.

Key Concept- Seek to inspire, not command.

Leadership should inspire others to want to take action on behalf of the leader or the common goal the leader represents. How you treat others will determine how willing they are to serve the cause. Great leaders inspire people to go beyond what they might do on their own. By serving as an example, doing the work alongside others, and being the hardest-working member of the group, leaders can encourage others to give their best as well.

Key Concept- Surround yourself with people smarter than you are.

Great leaders know that life’s an ever-evolving thing, and it requires life-long learning. No one person can know everything in all areas. Influential leaders surround themselves with people smarter than they are in certain areas and empower them and support them to shine. They aren’t threatened by someone else’s knowledge or the fact they don’t know everything. Authentic leadership includes the humility of being less knowledgeable and making no apologies.

What you know isn’t as important as how you operate. Being a great leader includes knowing your stuff, but more importantly, it involves being kind, compassionate, and treating those you lead with dignity and respect.

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Some people set out for leadership. They want to be in a leadership role and take charge. Other people find themselves in leadership roles reluctantly. They don’t necessarily see themselves as leaders, but circumstances or necessity dictates that they’ve got to step up and lead. Either way, both potential leaders bring more than positive skills to the plate.7135135693?profile=RESIZE_400x

We’ve all got habits that we need to break—too much fast food—Binge-watching Netflix and other patterns that don’t serve us. Leaders have bad habits, even when they are leading others. Breaking bad habits can make you a better leader. Breaking bad habits does more than reduce the negativity in your life; it molds you into a better and more effective leader. Here’s how- 

Losing the bad habit is one thing, but what you learn in the process is a secondary benefit. Dropping the bad habit itself will make you healthier, but overcoming the mindset and behaviors that accompany the bad habit is equally beneficial. Example: Dropping the fast-food habit will make your body healthier. Dropping the thoughts and actions associated with buying and eating fast food goes even farther to make you a better leader because you can model and teach these skill sets.

Here are 3 bad habits you can break that will make you a better leader 

Break the complaining habit

Complaining is a form of passive aggression. Complaining has no room in a leader’s tool kit. Complaining is an immature way to manage stress. Sure, recognizing that something isn’t right is essential. Analyzing things for their merit matters, but going on and on about it without making changes is worthless. Venting has its place in the right context, but complaining wears people out and gets them riled up. Solving problems and finding solutions to whatever needs to be changed is the answer. Great leaders don’t complain about things; they tackle them and take action to solve the problem.

Break the gossiping habit

The surest way to sabotage your leadership is to gossip. Talking about others behind their backs doesn’t do anyone any good. As the saying goes- snuffing out someone else’s light doesn’t make yours shine brighter. Dropping the gossip habit is a bad habit that all good leaders eliminate. You can avoid gossip by refusing to speak negatively about others as part of your standard. You can avoid gossip in groups by removing yourself from conversations that include gossip. You can also set the standard with the people you lead and those you influence by making it a policy not to gossip. This policy needs to be written in your actions, not an email. 

Break the avoidance habit

Leaders get things done. That’s why they’re leaders. Leaders don’t wait to be told what needs to be done. They recognize and see what needs to be taken care of and take the initiative to do it. If something is difficult, they find help. If something is too complicated, they seek guidance. Leaders don’t procrastinate, and they don’t avoid anything. This includes avoiding tasks, avoiding difficult conversations, and avoiding challenges. Dropping the avoidance habit helps make leaders more consistent and effective.

Whether you are asking to lead or being pushed into it, you might have some habits worth breaking before you do. Breaking these habits can help transform your effectiveness as a leader and make your overall life experience much better.

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Being a leader isn’t something you take on and off like a coat. Leadership skills and operating from a leadership perspective is something leaders do on and off duty. That’s because the skill sets that make a great leader also make great 

  • Spouses
  • Parents
  • Community partners
  • Volunteers


  • Mentors 

Great leaders don’t go to work and put on their leadership hats only to take them off when they leave. Great leaders lead in all that they do. They lead by how they 

  • Solve problems
  • Approach conflict
  • Prioritize their schedule
  • Treat people in their lives


  • Much more! 

Great leaders succeed in their leadership because their leadership skills are ingrained in their everyday life. How you see them when they lead is also how you’ll see them when they’re behind closed doors.

In the truest sense, everyone is a leader one way or another. Your title might not officially place you in a leadership role, but you are leading. Whether it’s leading your family, friends, or a small group of people volunteering in the community, you are leading. Taking on a leadership mindset on and off duty can help you be a more effective leader that people willingly and enthusiastically follow.

It’s important to realize that people are always watching, and in doing so, they are evaluating one another’s leadership skills and getting behind the people who are leading the way. People feel comfortable with others who are confident, considerate, and consistent in their behavior and their attitude. 

Not all leaders desire to lead. Some people are placed in situations where they are required to lead despite their preference to blend into the crowd. Leadership is essential, though, and having the courage to lead…even when you don’t want to…is important too. Sometimes you’ve got to take the reins and do what’s best for the situation.

Whether you plan to lead or find yourself leading unexpectedly, you are going to lead at some point. Everyone is leading somehow and making things better for others in the process. Be aware of the importance of leadership and having a leadership mindset, whether you are at work, at home, or in the community. Be mindful of your impact on others and be sure that your leadership style is motivating and encouraging so you aren’t overrunning others or making them feel inadequate. The best leaders consistently make those they lead feel empowered and capable of whatever tasks need to be done.


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