3 Ways Gratitude Enhances Leadership by Shannon Cassidy

3 Ways Gratitude Enhances Leadership

The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more you will have to express gratitude for.—Bill Gates

As we enter the fall season, we begin to think of fall holidays, like Thanksgiving. But gratitude is not relegated to once a year on the 4th Thursday. Gratitude enhances leadership when practiced regularly and results in a more successful enterprise.

How? Here are three ways a simple attitude of thankfulness can change your business:

  1. Being grateful for your employees cultivates loyalty.

A typical day for any leader contains moments where you rely on your team’s expertise and work ethic. In those moments, the simple words “thank you” are vital. Everyone wants to be appreciated for their skill set and when they receive that pat on the back, loyalty to their leader is created. According to an article in Business News Daily, a recent survey revealed that 93% of respondents believed bosses were more likely to be successful if they were grateful.

Simple and sincere appreciation is the most effective form of positive reinforcement, and it’s free. The loyalty of a good employee is an effective tool for any company.

  1. Being grateful for your position as a leader cultivates humility.

Young Benjamin Franklin was said to be cocky and ego-centric.  But he was also smart enough to realize that he was becoming morally bankrupt. He set out to find character traits in which he needed to improve.  He came up with a list of twelve traits. Confident and proud of himself, he showed the list to a trusted friend probably with the idea of boasting of his efforts to improve. His friend then gave him a jolt that led to adding a 13th trait – humility. Leaders who cultivate humility inspire their employees. Egotism in a boss often fuels resentment, but humility creates a cheerful environment where employees want to succeed for the boss and the company.

Freibergs.com made the powerful observation:

When you are in awe of what you have, the immediate response is a deep sense of appreciation: “Whom do I repay?” “What does it mean to give back in life?” “How can I be a better steward of what I have?” These questions leave little room for envy, entitlement, or complaint. It’s hard to complain when we are truly thankful, but it’s hard to be thankful when we think we are entitled and take so much for granted.

Simply being grateful for your position as a leader can improve your company and your team.

  1. Being grateful cultivates mental strength.

For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma.  A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Gratitude fosters mental strength. There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness. This isn’t just a fluffy idea. Several studies have shown depression to be inversely correlated to gratitude. It seems that the more grateful a person is, the less depressed they are. Philip Watkins, a clinical psychologist at Eastern Washington University, found that clinically depressed individuals showed significantly lower gratitude (nearly 50 percent less) than non-depressed controls.

What leader would not want loyalty, humility and mental strength? These qualities can be characteristics of your company when you and other leaders in your company cultivate gratitude. Want a more successful company? Practice gratitude all year long.

Want to cultivate gratitude? Order your own gratitude journal here.

Sources:

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7157-power-perspective-leadership.html

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7157-power-perspective-leadership.html

http://linked2leadership.com/2013/11/26/humble-and-grateful-the-truly-effective-leader/

http://www.freibergs.com/resources/articles/leadership/lead-with-gratitude/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/having-gratitude-_b_1073105.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/

Four Reasons Knowing Your Worth is Vital for a Leader

Four Reasons Knowing Your Worth is Vital for a Leader

If you consider the employers you have worked for in your past, you could probably divide them into two groups: those who knew their worth and those who didn’t. If you think about it in those terms, it will become obvious that the better managers knew their worth.

This intrinsic knowledge is a vital asset to any leader. Why?

Leaders who know their worth delegate with confidence.

We all have strengths. Know what yours are. Be clear on this. When you know your strengths, you can feel confident delegating and leading. When the next project rolls around for your company, knowing your worth will be vital in planning out each undertaking. If you tend to waffle when discussing your talents, you will vacillate when assigning tasks. Any leader who is insecure in launching a project will set a tone of insecurity, and the team members will follow suit. Insecurity breeds indecision and eventually resentment. Know how valuable your skills are.

Leaders who know their worth don’t allow disrespect of anyone on the team.

Too often low self-esteem enters the workplace by way of disrespectful comments. People lash out in disrespect because they feel badly about themselves. As a leader who knows your worth, you can stop this behavior by establishing an environment of respect. This begins with you having high self-esteem and knowing your own worth. You can stop disrespect in your office by displaying respect for yourself and others.

Leaders who know their worth have relaxed followers.

Stressful team members are a problem with any project. They bring their worry to the project, and it naturally spreads to those around them. It is difficult to deal with this kind of stress unless you are a confident leader. Just like stress can spread, confidence is infectious. Anyone on a team performs better when their leader is confident. The tone a manager sets can combat that stress that sneaks in. So as a leader, it is up to you to develop and maintain that confidence. Knowing your worth is the key to confidence.

Leaders who know their worth face any crisis with poise.

When your company has a bad quarter, disappointment is a natural response. When a key person on your team quits, panic can arise. When conflict rears its head at the office, avoidance and denial can be a temptation. However, if you know your worth, that knowledge can lead you away from disappointment, panic and denial.  Instead of dealing with the overwhelming thought of “What in the world should I do now?” your response can be, “We can handle this. What is our first step?”

Jim Rohn said, “You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” That value begins with valuing yourself and what you bring to the table. To be the best leader you can be, spend time in understanding and knowing your worth. You will benefit from this and so will the people on your team.

Source:

http://elitedaily.com/life/motivation/your-self-worth-is-everything/

 

Physical Fitness is Vital to Leadership by Shannon Cassidy

Physical Fitness is Vital to Leadership

Does physical fitness have any bearing on leadership abilities?

The phrase “fit to lead” dates back to the early 1800’s. A leader needed to be spiritually, mentally and physically fit enough to lead a community.

The same could be said today especially physically. Leadership is a taxing position that requires a certain amount of endurance, confidence and decisiveness, all of which have a direct link to the physical state of the body. True to the adage mens sana in corpora sano (“healthy mind in a healthy body”), it is essential to maintain a high level of fitness to keep motivated and disciplined.

It is important as leaders to be actively tuned into the rhythms of our body and the fluctuations of energy we might have throughout each day. Too many leaders put so much energy into leading and achieving that they forget about how important it is to maintain fitness. Why?

 5 reasons physical fitness is vital to leadership

  1. The law of mimicry. Studies have shown that regular team members unconsciously mimic the behavior patterns of their leader. If a leader is undisciplined or not punctual, their subordinates tend to follow suit. In the same way, a leader who does not make caring for her body and health a priority will have team members who will mirror this as well.
  2. Mental wellness. Exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress because it boosts your brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters called endorphins. Also, by solely focusing on your body’s motions for a period of time, you focus less on the day’s stresses, at least for a while. According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, exercise also reduces symptoms associated with anxiety and depression while improving sleeping patterns.
  3. Creativity. Being physically fit gives a leader the ability and brain space to use creative thinking to its utmost. Studies suggest that even moderate levels of exercise increase cognitive abilities and will help you make better decisions and design creative business strategies.
  4. Productivity. Just like a car that is top condition and filled with gas can go on long trips without incident, so a body that is physically fit can produce all that it is required to produce.
  5.  Confidence. Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows. Regular exercise boosts self-confidence through endorphins.

A great leader pays attention to health. John F. Kennedy said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

 

Sources:

http://aboutleaders.com/fitness-and-leadership/#gs.Nax4hU0

http://therussells.crossfit.com/2014/11/03/ties-between-fitness-and-leadership-by-dr-carol-himelhoch/

http://weeklyleader.net/2010/leadership-and-physical-fitness/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2012/10/22/5-reasons-why-good-fitness-makes-for-better-entrepreneurial-leadership/#34cf11c167b5

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469

Five Ways to Recharge Your Body and Soul

Five Ways to Recharge Your Body and Soul

It’s a common scene. You are driving home and you glance down at your phone. Only 1% power left. But you needed to make that one business call before ending your day. You are forced to wait until you get home and plug in the phone charger.

Your body and soul are very much like that phone. It’s probably easy to picture a day when you just wanted to check off one more to do off your list, but only had 1% power left.

But here’s the rub – you still tried to accomplish that task. Many of us ignore the amount of power we have in us, and force ourselves to do more when what we needed was to RECHARGE.

Here are five ways you can plug in your charger and recharge your body’s power to 100%:

  1. Take a walk with no electronics. Follow Robert Frost and take the path less traveled by. Look around you. Consider what you see. Take an extra moment and see the details of that tree. Be a kid and find pictures in the clouds that dance across the sky. Share a “thank you” for four circumstances or people. Even a short gratitude walk can recharge the soul.
  2. Slow down and breathe. Make a conscious choice to drive the speed limit and breathe slowly. Take the stairs or plot the long way to get to your destinations. During this time, if you have to go into any store, go slowly and breathe. Join the longest checkout lane and instead of looking ahead to see when it is your turn, breathe.
  3. Take a long, hot bath with Epsom salts. This isn’t just for Grandma. Epsom salts break down into magnesium and sulphate in warm water and then seep into your skin, soothing aches and providing a natural relaxation. Bath salts and crystals make your skin softer, but Epsom salts address your muscles and nerves. Stay in your bath as long as you can for maximum recharging.
  4. Plan downtime during your work day. Use a break to do a crossword puzzle or listen to a few songs from a soothing playlist. Instead of checking Facebook during your break, read a chapter of a book for the sheer enjoyment of reading. Your downtime can be maximized when you exclude electronics and include peaceful and relaxing habits during that downtime. Back at your desk, you will feel more recharged after a short break.
  5. Get ready for bed earlier and get up earlier. Turn the TV off and spend the last minutes before you sleep talking to a loved one. The importance of sleep is not new. Getting those thirty extra minutes of sleep will give your body the extra energy you need. Get up earlier and take your time getting ready for your day. Rushing in the morning steals peace and uses up extra energy. Take your time and recharge, even as you begin your day.

These simple acts of intentionally recharging your body and soul will keep you focused when stakes are high and will reduce the stress that can harm your health. Today as you plug in your phone to recharge, think about how you can do the same for your physical body as well.

 

Sources:

http://www.beyondthejob.org/take-time-to-recharge.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/opinion/09kristof.html

http://theconsciouslife.com/recharge-mind-body-soul.htm

http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/8-ways-to-recharge-your-energy-and-your-spirit

3 Keys to Entrepreneurship from 3 Key Leaders

3 Keys to Entrepreneurship from 3 Key Leaders

Right now in a small town in Indiana, a city in Ohio or a farm in California, young girls are dreaming of their future.  Many of those dreams have nothing to do with the boys from One Direction. Creativity is blooming and innovation is blossoming. Some day, these young ladies may find themselves on Fortune’s list of the Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs. Created in 2009, the program honors extraordinary female leaders who have founded companies.

3 past winners of this honor offer insights into the entrepreneurial world that any business could benefit by following.

The Ability to be Strategic 

Jody Miller is the co-founder and CEO of the Business Talent Group. She is a proponent of project-based solutions that offer independent professionals the opportunity to take charge of their work-life balance. Her company is on the leading edge of redefining the work place.

“You’ve got to have a sense of where the world is going and how you fit into it. If you need to supplement your existing skills, you need to know what those things you need are and how to get them. It requires a constant ability to understand where your skills are and where the market’s needs are, and then you get the skills you need to supply what’s most in demand.”

To be competitive and relevant in the ever-changing work force, you cannot be content in your skills and wait for the perfect opportunity to knock on your doorbell, buzz on your phone or land in your email. You must keep yourself informed so you can have a battle plan.

The Ability to be Flexible

It could be easy to assume that the world of fitness has exhausted all its possibilities from the Jack LaLanne exercises in the 1940s to the current craze of CrossFit. But Payal Kadakia invented something new when she cofounded ClassPass. Customers pay a monthly fee and gain access to thousands of fitness classes in their area. Kadakia started the company two years ago after trying to find a ballet class in New York City. She just wanted to dance that day and couldn’t. Her innovation has changed fitness. Over 7 million people have subscribed to the service.

“ClassPass has pivoted its business twice, and we’re hoping the third time’s the charm. We started as a search engine, then offered the Passport, but ultimately were able to realize our vision through the ClassPass. Despite the evolution, our mission to help people live happier, active lifestyles has always been the same. To overcome the hurdles we faced, we’ve had to be flexible in our approach in order to keep moving forward. It is better to take a few steps back and change directions than to keep going down the wrong road.”

Technology, business and the vast world of social media form a trifecta that is constantly shifting like the hosts of The View. Flexibility in navigating the market is not an asset but a necessity. As Payal Kadakia opines, the willingness and ability to take a new approach in business can make the difference between a company being relevant or antiquated.

The Ability to be Courageous

The ubiquitous cyber-attack is almost a daily headline. Michelle Zatlyn met this phenomenon head on as the co-founder and head of user experience of CloudFlare, a service that speeds up websites and gives them enhanced protection from cyber-attacks. Websites that sign up with this global network load twice as fast and use 60% less bandwidth than other websites. Today, more than 2,000,000 web properties are faster and safer.

“People don’t take opportunities because the timing is bad, the financial side is unsecure. Too many people are overanalyzing. Sometimes you just need to go for it.”

Zatlyn and her company take on the bullies of the internet every day. Cyber terrorism is real and on the up rise. Her courage has led the way to protect sites. Sometimes the ingredient that makes an entrepreneurial venture succeed is simply the guts to try it. We can all make lists of why we should not take a brave step towards our dreams. The ones who tear up that list and make the leap anyway are the leaders in the entrepreneurial world.

 

Women like these will continue to inspire and pave the road for young dreamers throughout the country.

Resources:

http://fortune.com/2015/09/09/2015-most-promising-women-entrepreneurs/

http://nextshark.com/payal-kadakia-how-she-turned-her-love-of-dancing-into-a-startup/

http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Q-A-with-Michelle-Zatlyn-co-founder-of-CloudFlare-2373155.php

http://worklife.wharton.upenn.edu/2015/02/projects-job-jody-miller-business-talent-group/