Thinking About Leadership

W.C.H. Prentice in a landmark article defined leadership thusly: “the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants”

Prentice believed a successful leader is one who understands people’s motivations. They are someone who enlist organization members’ participation in a way that brings together the interests and needs of individuals to the group’s purpose. Prentice believed in a democratic leadership that gives organization members a space in which they can learn and grow. Yet, this space needs governed so there is not anarchy.

Prentice’s ideas about how to motivate people to support the organization’s purpose is timeless.

Leaders should always be getting to know their group’s members so they can understand their motivations. And one learning about those motivations using them as impetuous to spur that group member into action for the benefit of the organization and themselves.

Material rewards are important but there should also always be room for personal growth, and it is the leader’s job to create that opportunity. This personal growth should be linked both to the group member’s motivations and too the goals of the organization.

Self-Care for Leaders During the Pandemic

The pandemic has put many leaders in tough positions having to hand out various kinds of bad news to the members of their organizations. So, what can leaders do to stay focused and mentally healthy during the pandemic?

Choose to be compassionate towards others but also yourself. This doesn’t mean making up excuses are letting yourself get away with things. But it does mean you should address yourself kindly. Let yourself have an extra fifteen minutes for silent contemplation or meditation during the day to relax you. Take this lens of goodwill and apply it everything you do and everyone you interact with.

When the future is so uncertain it is hard to hold onto what we are working towards. Take some time to sit down and consider what is important to you and how your work helps you hold on to that. Consider what energizes your and inspires you and why.

While it is easy to look at Covid-19 through a lens of fear and uncertainly it may help to look to at it as an opportunity for innovation. Thinking positively can be difficult in times like these but if you accept what you can’t change and look towards what you can affect positively it might help frame things in a new, refreshing light.

Beyond the 9-5 Part II

Going beyond the 9-5 means staying flexible means more opportunities and the time to take advantage of them, not less.

Of course, embracing the chaos requires one to keep an accurate schedule whether paper or digital. Write down important dates and times, make lists, set reminders. When working within the rigidity of the 9-5 it is often easy enough to know you’ve got eight hours to get it all done, not so for the small business owner.

Finally, while embracing the differences between the rigid 9-5, which for many is a challenge easily met, on must recognize their own limitations. Yes, do things non-traditionally. Yes, take advantage of more opportunities. Yes, be available for an overseas client at 4am and the local client at 4pm. But. On must recognize their own limitations are it is all for naught.

For many new independents it might be difficult to know, at first, what their limits are. Be prepared to recognize that moment in which although you’ve taken juggling lessons you begin to wish you had four arms.

Beyond The 9-5 Part I

Being a small business owner almost guarantees one isn’t going to work a simple 9-5. Some may start their day only a few hours after night owls are going to bed, while others may have nothing but empty hours until lunch time and then it all comes rushing in at once. Others may experience a trickling in over 10-12 hour days.

Working with these irregular hours is key. Breaking up when one works will help maintain energy, focus, and problem solving—we have all experienced a scenario in which no matter how much energy we put into a project we lose sight of what is truly important, become exhausted and our thinking becomes muddled and useless.

When on concentrates on a non-work project for a while it allows our mighty subconscious to come to life and do some problem solving for us, while we get whatever else done. One will come back to the work project with fresh eyes, fresh ideas, and energy to implement them.

Embrace the irregularities involved in running our own business. Insisting on a the standard and rigid 9-5 only limits the possibilities and opportunities.

8 Things Productive People Do Who Work From Home

Many of us are new to working from home. Here are 8 tips to help newbies be productive and successful.

First, wake up early. There will be far fewer distractions. Laura Vanderkam cited a study that found that 90% of executives get up before 6am on weekdays. Jumping right into your to-do list is also recommended, once this is habit you brain get used to being up early and will know that its time to get things done.

Second, jump right into actual tasks. Use here energy and clarity for the real nitty gritty tasks that require the most effort. You can work on planning and communication in the afternoon.

Third, if you are not a morning person don’t fight your inner clock. Work when you are most productive if possible. Save the tasks that take the most effort for when you’ve got the moxy to make the most of it.

Forth, schedule out your tasks the day before. Once you get into the habit this will reduce your stress levels because you won’t be scrambling to figure out what to do next.

Fifth, establish a routine similar to the one you had before you started to work from home. Otherwise things will often break down into chaos and you’ll be far less productive. On the other hand, perhaps a different kind of routine would work best for some. Point being, some kind of routine is required.

Sixth, make sure your workspace and relaxing space are two different places. Again, this will help you brain know what to do based on where you are located.

Seventh, concern yourself with noise vs focus. There may be new noises at home that you aren’t used to. White noise machines, apps like Rainy Mood, or for some quiet music or even noise canceling headphones may help with distractions you didn’t anticipate.

Eighth, don’t forget to socialize. Whether its with colleagues from work or other friends schedule breaks to jump on a video chat, make a phone call or send a few texts during the day.

 

Tips For Presenting or Speaking On a Live Stream

Many of us have been thrown headfirst into interacting with others in our organizations long distance. Phone calls, email, chat or text were all familiar for most of us. However, for many speaking in public over Skype, Teams, WebX or Zoom is a new frontier and it is decidedly not the same has speaking to a live group of people.

So, how should one speak over webcast meeting?

First, just because you are in front of a camera doesn’t mean you need to be an actor. On the other hand, screen fatigue is a real thing and you need to do something to keep your audience’s attention. Don’t exaggerate but be conscious of your facial expressions. Make sure your eyes smile. Look directly into the camera and speak like you are speaking to a friend across the table. Be mindful to keep speaking and looking into the camera. Many of us know that when you are speaking in public in person it is good to make eye contact with everyone—the way to do this over a stream is by setting your eyes on the camera at all times.

Remember, you are speaking to people in their homes and adopting a “fireside chat” style will make many more comfortable. If it is a group of people you know you might even consider dressing down just a touch.

For those who speak with your hands, this isn’t going to work well and can even be distracting. If it helps, allow yourself to hold a pen or some other object to occupy your hands with a mind of their own. Do this outside of the camera’s view.

Preparing the shot before hand is helpful. Odd angles or a busy background can be distracting. But having some items on the desk or on the wall that say something about you can add a personal touch to the meeting. Try to make it feel as though you are inviting the audience into your home as well.

While we are a visual, image-oriented culture audio is very important. If you don’t have much experience speaking into a microphone, practice.  If you are going to be doing a lot of speaking online it might be worth investing in pro-sumer USB microphone so you can place it correctly for the acoustics of the space you are working in.