Every business or organisation needs a great leader. Someone who can get the job done for themselves and inspire others to do the same is rare. A leader first has to be able to manage and lead themselves before they can lead others. Many people go through life in an institutionalised fashion, following instruction from the authorities and refusing anything that doesn't match. These people are not good leaders, through no fault of their own, they don't have the mental capacity to break from their societal grooming. We are all programmed to a certain degree by the surroundings we grow up in and the people who raise us. Some of us, for some reason or other, never really take it on board fully. Some people just can't be shepherded or led, even when those doing the leading have the best intentions! These are the leaders, the ones who, if they can get over their sense of the personal, can become great leaders.
But what is it that makes a good leader? After-all, some people are just sure of themselves and wrong. Some people are so convinced of their correctness that they will go to great cruelties to make sure their opinions fly. Others are just unable to treat people with the respect they deserve. A good leader has brilliant people skills as well as brilliant management skills. Leaders don't nurture resentment or fear, they don't get cross with others, they remain calm and focussed on the issues themselves.
Here are some dualities that great leaders demonstrate when being in charge of inspiring groups of people.
Great leaders have their house in order. They don't just focus on work and other people's order. To be able to stand in a position of influence, we have to show that we are using our wisdom in our own life and it is working. We don't want advice from a homeless person unless it's about how to survive on the streets. This is an extreme example but the general formula is true for any case. Show authority by living it. Let go of work and targets, loosen the grip on the office and get busy with getting your life in order. At least from time to time.
Great leaders understand responsibility for error and for success. When someone makes a mistake or doesn't pull their weight, a leader will act on this. They will have a chat with the worker to find out what is troubling them or what it is they haven't understood. When someone isn't giving their all, it's usually because they're unhappy. It's a leader's job to make sure the work force is happy. But a great leader also knows when someone is doing all they can to get the result. They reward this and celebrate effort. A good leader is not all tooth and nail, but smile and handshake too.
Great leaders follow the guidelines and adapt them for specific purpose. Guidelines are important, they ensure quality every time. They ensure that paying customers get the service they asked for. However everyone is different and everyone has their own thinking behind what they want. A great leader will see when the guidelines have been limiting what is achievable and they will adapt them for the required purpose. Looking at the computer, sucking in some air, and saying “I don't think we can stretch to that” is not leadership.
Great leaders give concrete targets with room for initiative. It's important everyone is on the same page and is working towards the same goal. A leader can build a mental image for the whole team as to what it is they are working towards. They can describe the company personality and encourage workers to follow the guidelines to make sure they fit the theme. However, leaders know we're all unique people with different ways of thinking. They recognise when someone takes the initiative and works in their own way, as long as the targets are met on every turn it really doesn't matter.
Great leaders force innovation by encouraging imagination. We need to be innovative in order to make our way in the world. To get to a point where people want to pay us for doing a job, we have to find problems to solve and solutions to them. This requires a lot of creative thinking and it's vital to provide something unique and practical in order to stand out. All this pressure can make it really hard to think. Stifled by responsibility, we tend to fall into the tried and tested mindset. It's safer. This means leaders have to encourage and tease out the loose, creative, and sometimes wacky ideas that hide behind the prefrontal cortex.
Great leaders gel values rather than overwrite them. Company or team values make sure everyone is working on the same quality level and that clients and customers always get the same level of service. These values are shared by the group and have to be applied by all. This doesn't mean that individuals don't have their own values. Great leaders understand their workforce or team members and their personal values. They work to include and link these ideas and ethics to those of the whole, showing that when tied in, they all point in the same direction. Often, it's just a matter of explaining psychology or business academics for the notion to make more sense.
Great natural leaders still need to learn how to lead. You don't know until someone tells you, even if you're naturally great at something. Think of a computer with no software. It's perfect for running Windows, it's even got the little sticker that says so. But without the installation, it won't run anything. You still need to program your head to think in the ways leaders think in order to be a truly great leader. You've just read this blog post, why not go one step further and take an online course in leadership? You can learn in your own time.
It's a common scene, we go to a museum or gallery and we're bowled over by the immensity of what's on display. We either retreat into ourselves and quickly lose interest in anything but the main attraction of the day or over-enthusiastically venture off and whistle-stop as much as possible. Both approaches can be down to a lack of confidence. When we feel overwhelmed, we react in a way that makes our brain resort to basics. We're not really at the museum any more but navigating a mouse-maze or hiding in a hutch. It's time to slow down, savour the corridors and forget the stuff that doesn't get seen. It will probably still be there next time.
How do we approach an art museum or gallery and get the most out of our visit?
Reserve judgement. Let go of your ideas of what good and bad are and look at the piece from an ambivalent position. Then, from this orientation allow the art to move you. Describe to yourself or others how it moves you, what does it do exactly? Find its lines and angles, feel how they make impressions on your mental processes. If it's music, listen to the elements of it and feel how they influence your mind. If it's a painting, what are the colours saying to you? How do they speak to each other on the page?
Take your time. We can't get to know something intimately in a few seconds. Even a seemingly plain piece with just a few colours and lines has all kinds of allusions hiding between the image. Once we begin to invent a story behind it, the piece evokes a myriad of commentary. Let it do this and learn to appreciate this effect. It's a subtle bite on the daydream of madness not to.
Find the secrets. Some artists design a piece to stand out and get your attention. Others are more subtle. When the two are in the same place, it's easy to overlook the less noisy works. They perhaps have more to say when we draw back the covers. These 'secret' pieces are hiding in plain sight, when your eye is drawn to one particular piece, look to the left and to the right and make use of the time in that spot to fully address all of them. You might find something really invigorating.
Let your feelings guide you. When we're at ease and not anxiously running around or loitering in the lobby, we get the sense that we ought to go this way or that. It is a kind of magnetism, perhaps instigated by subconscious symbols and guidances laid down by the designers, or maybe it's just what you had for breakfast. Trust your instincts and allow the journey through art to be a fully immersive one.
Choose wisely. It's okay if the brief description doesn't tickle your fancy. We can say no to art and no-one will think there's something wrong with you. Sometimes it just doesn't reach us and that's fine. There will be plenty more. Sidestep the stuff that feels dry to you or the concepts you find vain or unimportant. They're made for someone else. Maybe next time you visit, you'll think differently. Until then, enjoy something else.
Are you in teaching? Find out how to use inquiry to make the most out of museum trips.
Working together is almost vital for any worthwhile project. We rely on each other and when efforts are combined in the right way, results are achieved no one person could have gained on their own. The problem is, that people are not always able to spread themselves evenly over a problem. When we have a team of people, getting a nice fit of skills over the issue is more difficult. There are various methods of looking at issues and problems that we can apply in order to solve them. If you're in a group of people with a common purpose, you will need to apply all of these factors in determining a positive outcome.
Although face to face conversation is useful, and the most able to communicate the holistic argument, we can easily adapt to online communication. Video, voice, and text are all able to communicate the information we want to get across. Being able to communicate where our knowledge lies and what our skills qualify us to do is paramount to effective teamwork. Not shying away from our lack of skills enables the job to be done better. Your skills are still important, even if you can't do everything needed. We're all unique and able in different ways.
Cooperation is when groups of individuals have an open network of skills and information with tools available to the whole. Each person has an agenda which can be different from the others. What's important is the sharing of resources and abilities in order to make everyone's job easier. Cooperation gives rise to effective goal reaching for individuals who cooperate with each other.
Collaboration on the other hand is when group members cooperate to work on one project between them all. The members each have a shared idea of what the goal of the collaboration is and they decide between them how best to achieve it. Collaborative projects produce unique and new ideas that have been fashioned by the continual input of several perspectives.
Coordination is the way the first two concepts are implemented. This requires the rationing of tools and facilities, the management of people's time, and the directions given to each member. Coordinating people to the most effective role for themselves takes an understanding of the dynamics of the goal. Depending on whether you are coordinating a cooperative project or a collaboration will require different levels of input.
These teamwork skills are going to be stronger and weaker for us in unique ways. One of the reasons we use teams is because as an individual we are not as able. But bonding the individuals together in an effective way is a skill in itself, knowing the various types of teamwork helps us to get it right.
Are you good with people, do you work as part of a team? Why not try this online leadership training.
Being creative is no easy pie. We have to apply a lot of thought and action into a project for it to become something worthwhile. Thinking and doing takes energy, lots of it, so why waste energy on things that don't feed the creative spark? Here are some sticky traps we sometimes find ourselves in that stop us in our tracks. Learn to avoid them, and if you find yourself in one then apply gradual change to your thoughts in order to free yourself.
Overthinking. Spending too long deciding on what to do by checking all the facts and their related ones to make sure then going back to the beginning is just a circle. Action needs you to make that move. Think about it as riding a bicycle. You can study the mechanics and the physics until you understand the entire device. It's only until you sit on it and start peddling that you learn to ride. So start your project, make moves, and use the guidance as the helping hand who can be by your side. One day in the future you may not even need to check the books any more.
Lack Of Self-Confidence. You might be super confident with your frying pan or your football but what about in yourself? Do you believe your ideas are good ones? Do you believe that you are equally as able to achieve your goals as the next person? Lack of confidence may cause you to think twice. Who, me? The truth is, we're all nervous and we all want to just get the best out of any situation. Most of us handle this to a point until we feel overly so. This is when we begin to lose confidence. This is like a muscle that we can work on, build up, and lift bigger expectations over our heads.
Ignoring The Critics. They sometimes are just trolls, but sometimes they do have a point. It's no biggie if someone hates your work, or if they find something not to their taste. Try to see the funny side, let go of your personal attachment to the opinion. You did your best, you will do your best again and unless you've had a bump on the head you'll know more than last time. So listen, learn, and then ignore.
Comparisons. Hmm, this is this way and that is that way, what am I? Who cares, really, do your thing and do it your own way. We are all individual people with unique characters. Sure, when you want to improve something you can look to other things and compare techniques etc. however the more you liken yourself to another person, the less freedom you will have to work on your own ideas. The comparison becomes a subconscious template for your future ideas, and that means they probably won't be as good as the first.
Failure Mindset. You've learned vital information, you've worked hard, the effort and time has all gone into making you someone new. You have something to show for it, just not what you set out to get. Look to the future, this is not a time test. So you thought it was a hundred meter sprint and it turned out to be a marathon. So what? Just keep going. You're not here to dwell on the finish line but to get the most out of reaching it possible.
Cowardice. We're not asking you to sign up to the military. Just have a bit of guts and stop caring what other people think. What are you afraid of? Do you want to do this or not? Some people might laugh at you or treat you like you don't deserve to do what you're doing but just brush it off and they will move along. People in general respect courage and confidence.
Prejudice. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. Catastrophising about how terrible the non-existent thing will be is only going to stop it from being made. Expecting the worst out of people and yourself, not permitting yourself to go ahead because you believe those cowards who are too afraid to do it themselves, writing yourself off before you press on. Non of this will get you anywhere!! if it's an innovative, creative, and artistic idea that you have and you want to see it through, go ahead.
Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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