Common behaviours you MUST AVOID when taking on a new team

As a manager or leader, it is likely that you will be asked to lead an already established team… in effect making you the new person within that team.

The first few months of embedding yourself into the team are going to be critical to the success of the team (and yourself), so it is hugely important to get this right.

Here are some common behaviours you MUST AVOID if you want to lead your new team to success:

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Great leadership is made up with the small things, that you probably don’t even think about.

Am I always asked “what is great leadership?”

And if I am honest, this can be a complex question to fully answer, as each leader (and follower) has differing perspectives and approaches.

But there are some basic things that followers want and need…. and followers are the people who decide if you are a great leader or not!

These things can seem small, but do have a big impact on the way followers think and feel about your leadership… Do these and you are on the path to becoming a great leader:

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Be Phenomenal

I believe that life is about reaching for your full potential and becoming the best version of you. You have the power to achieve amazing things, however your choices  determine what you achieve. Choose to be phenomenal!

This is a short video that shares why I know you can reach greatness:

Ego is The Mortal Wound in Your Leadership

We have all, at some point in our lives, had the unfortunate experience of working with a boss who has a big ego. About five years ago I worked on a project with a chief operating officer of a global company and she was totally in love with her ego.

She consistently told me how great she was. I remember the stories now, ranging from her exceptional performance at school, to becoming a ‘big player’ in the business world. According to her, she had done it all… perfectly… every time.

The thing is, she is not the only one… If we are honest, finding a manager or leader with a big ego is not a rare occurrence. In fact you can probably think of a leader in your life who has a massive ego. Or even worse… maybe, just maybe, someone reading this would think of you?

“Our ego hinders our ability to influence more than anything else under our control. Ego is the biggest reason leaders fail.”

Michael McKinney

When a leader’s ego grows to the point were they believe they always have the right answer… a leader will fail.

When a leader’s opinion matters more than their follower’s opinions… a leader will fail.

When a leader stops listening and stop learning… a leader will fail.

When a leader surrounds themselves with people who continually confirm and conform to their will and pander to their self-worth… a leader will fail.

Ego is the mortal wound of leadership. It distracts you from the foundational truth of leadership… The best leaders in the world, bring out the best in other people.

How can we ensure our ego doesn’t get in the way of being a great leader?

Ego isn’t a real thing. It is just an idea. An idea of who we think we are and who we believe we are.

This idea tells us:

“Who I am is what I have.”
“Who I am is what I have done.”
“Who I am is what other people think of me.”
“Who I am is how much stuff I own and how much that stuff is worth.”

An ego, in the simplest of terms, believes that it is separate from everything else and in competition with everything else.

As leaders we need to be aware of our own ego and evolve it, so we become great leaders that serve our followers.

The three levels of ego evolution

Dr. Wayne Dyre, explained that there are three stages of ego evolution in adulthood and I think these have clear links to leadership.

The Athletic.

23119634This is based on “What you look like, is what you are”. It is simply a narcissistic view on life. It is about looking good, rather than doing good.

You will see this in leaders that will attempt to take the credit for other peoples’ ideas and work, in order for them to be seen in a positive light. You will hear these type of leaders continually discredit other people too. This is to make others look bad, in order to elevate their own status.

It is clear that possessing this type of ego will detrimentally effect your leadership. It will erode trust, loyalty, respect and authenticity. All of which, I hope you agree, are critical to leadership.

The Warrior

Guild-Wars-2-WarriorIn my experience, this is the most common version of ego you will find in leaders. This is all about being the best. It is about competing, fighting and being the number one.

In moderation, this can be beneficial to leadership. But when it grows into a self-fulfilling, ever growing and unstoppable ego, then it becomes disastrous.

Believing you are always right and surrounding yourself with only people who say you are right, is frighteningly bad leadership.

Logically, how can any one person be smarter, better and more intelligent than a whole team of people? The simple answer is they can’t. Yet with a warrior ego, a leader won’t listen to others’ opinions. They will lose engagement, value and commitment from their teams.

The Statesman

This evolves from ‘What can I get’ that you find in the first two stages, to a ‘How can I serve?’ focus.

What-is-servant-leadership-ghandi-help-others-1024x576At this stage a leader understands that they are connected to their teams and followers. Their success is the growth and development of their people.

As a servant, a leader will gain: Trust, loyalty, respect, authenticity, engagement, value and commitment from their followers.

They will also instantly tap into the collective mind-power and ideas of the whole team, which the Statesman leader, understands is far greater than their own individual intelligence.

Why does leadership fail?

An Athletic or Warrior ego is the most common reason why leaders fail.

What level of ego evolution do you live and work at?

Are you in it to look good? Are you in it to be the number one, have lots of power and make all the decisions?

Or are you in it to serve those around you? To create the environment for people to flourish and grow?

6 Life-hacks to Revolutionise Your Productivity!

“Focus on being productive, instead of busy”

Tim Ferriss

It is a great quote, from the author of the ‘4 hour work week’ and productivity expert, Tim Ferris. The problem is, it is easier said than done! We all live busy lives and the world constantly applies more demands on us than ever before.

How can we possibly become more productive?

This question has saturated my life. I am dedicated to becoming the best and most productive version of myself and if you want more out of yourself and your life, you will know exactly what I mean. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people appear to achieve so much… How do they do that?

I spent years studying this. Studying the highest performers in the world… business leaders, sports coaches, olympic athletes and political leaders and I have found that there are trends and strategies that anyone can follow, which will improve productivity 10 fold.

Focus on just one thing at a time.

Put simply, focus solely on a singular objective until it is completed or you reach a specific milestone, then move onto another task.

What I am saying is that multi-tasking is for losers –  don’t even try! If you do it will make you less proficient and less productive.  

Lots of you won’t believe me, so let’s test it – Get a stopwatch and time how long it takes to do the following: Firstly, multitasking – Do both of these activities at the same time – Count out loud to 100 while writing down the alphabet twice. Secondly, tackle both exercises separately, counting to 100 first, then completing the writing task… Which test produced the better work in the quickest time? 

If you try to multitask you will progress slower and less effectively. Focus on just one thing at a time and you will move quicker and perform better.

Get more done, to a higher standard by focusing on one task at a time.

Scrap to-do lists

There have been many studies on this and overall the resulting statistics tell us that 41% of the average to-do list doesn’t get done. The facts tell us a story, to-do lists are not an effective tool for productivity!

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The highest performing people utilise calendars instead. They attribute all of the days objectives into time blocks. What this does is allow you to stay true to focusing on one objective at a time. You know that you will spend time on everything you need to, so it frees up your mind to the task in hand, rather than worrying about all the different tasks for the day.

 

I have to be honest, when you first start, putting everything into your calendar takes time and it is difficult to maintain the discipline. However I can honestly say that this is the single most effective productivity strategy I have ever used. When it is blocked into your calendar it gets done… it really is amazing!

Never ever sacrifice quality time

This is so important. To be ultra productive you need to be at your very best. This means the quality time in your life is vital because it will re-charge your energy levels and freshen your perspective.

When returning to your tasks after quality time, you will be more energised, quicker-thinking and at you most productive.

Unfortunately most of us will sacrifice quality time because we don’t think we have enough time to deliver on our objectives. So the strategy is: More work and less play.

The problem with this strategy is obvious – The more you deny yourself the quality time you need, the less productive, less energetic and less creative you will be!

Give yourself quality time… You will deliver more, deliver it quicker and at a higher quality.

Only deal with email/social media once per day

Here is a fascinating statistic: People who access their email or social media within the first 40 minutes from waking up, are over 25% less productive that those that don’t.

“Email is nothing but a convenient organising system for other peoples agenda’s.”

Brendon Burchard

Don’t let it! It will be ridiculously rare, impossible even, for an email or social media post to be dealt with instantaneously! If it’s an emergency people don’t normally contact you via email or social media!

Instead of continually spending the day checking your inbox or you phone, block out time on your calendar for email and social media. By doing this, you will literally save hours on your average day!

Have a positive morning routine

The highest performing people in the world… petty much all of them… have a morning routine that pro-actively and consciously sets them up for an ultra productive day.

good-morning-routineYou already have a morning routine. The question is, does yours set up up for a great day? If not, why not?

Morning routines of high performers vary. Some people meditate, others do exercise, many write positive affirmations for the day or a journal.

The routines are different, the desire is the same: create a positive and conscious intention for the day ahead.

When you prepare to have a great day and set positive intentions, the more opportunity you will have of delivering a great day. 

I have tried a number of morning routines and have developed one that works well for me. This has been another powerful addition to my life and I recommend you experiment with this yourself.

Maintain peak physiology

The last strategy I can offer is the most basic and simple advice ever. Everyone knows it… but not everyone follows it.

The more energy you have the more productive you are!

Therefore the highest performers in the world focus on how they treat their bodies. Ensuring they eat healthy, drink lots of water, sleep at least 7 hours per night and take breaks to relax.

It is really simple advice, but it is often ignored. If you are tired, dehydrated, undernourished then you will not be in peak condition… If you want to be at peak productivity then you need to be in peak condition.

High performers know this and utilise this to their advantage.

Putting it Together

These strategies are utilised by some of the most productive people in the world and they have worked for me too! If you want to improve your productivity, try one or two of these tactics… it could revolutionise your life!

When Will You Decide To Become Great?

Everyday we get a little bit older. Everyday we lose another day of our future.

If we carry on doing the same  things as we did yesterday, in five years time we will still be in the same place we are right now.

Or, if you decide to, you can change your life for the better. It starts with making a commitment: “Fulfilment or nothing”.

Once you have made this commitment, you can then start climbing towards a successful and fulfilled life. You can stop taking the path of least resistance. You can stop doing the things that don’t bring you happiness. Instead, you can take the high road. Instead, you can take the road towards your destiny.

When you decide to commit to fulfilment, you will find yourself climbing higher and higher. You will become stronger, you will become the person you want to be, you will become the best version of you.

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence. Regardless of their chosen field of endeavour”

Vince Lombardi

So I urge you… Climb a little higher everyday. Climb just 1% higher and I promise you when you do this, every night before you go to sleep, you will be able to say “I did something great today”.

Please don’t misunderstand me, climbing to fulfilment won’t just be sunshine and rainbows. It will be hard, it will be scary, you will feel fear and on occasion heartache too.

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But if you keep on taking action everyday, you will learn from every hardship, from every disappointment and from every time you felt scared.

These moments will make you stronger. These moments prepare you for your destiny.

These moments are all worth it because when you commit to fulfilment, you will feel abundance, joy and ecstasy that is beyond words. Your life will take on a whole new level of success, happiness and fulfilment, just by climbing each day… even when it’s tough.

You will know the difficulties were worth it. You will know that you are worth it. You will know that you created your fulfilment. That you created your destiny.

You are the only problem you will ever have and you are your only solution.

It’s not your family.
It’s not your friends.
It’s not your job.
It’s not your boss, your circumstances or your luck.

It’s up to you.

Anything is possible when you know it is up to you.

What if?

What if you could change your life?

What if you could decide to be happy?

What if you could be the person you want to be?

What if you could choose love instead of fear?

What if you knew you were put on this planet for a reason?

What if giving to others made you feel amazing?

What if trusting others allowed you feel trusted?

What if you helped someone in need today?

What if you are not alone?

What if you could inspire someone?

What if you lived every moment to the fullest?

What if the only thing that is stopping you, is you?

What if your past didn’t effect your future?

What if you have a choice?

What if you deserve more?

What if you can be more?

What if you made more time for yourself?

What if you improved 1% everyday?

What if you focused completely on the things that are important to you?

What if you were capable of truly amazing things?

What if your failures only happened to make you more equipped for your successes?

What if you could live your dreams?

What if all you had to do was decide and then keep taking action until you won?

What if you knew you only had one life – Would you chase your dreams or would you compromise?

Never let a “What if” become a regret… Make them a reality.

What do great Leaders actually do?

Leadership is one of the most complex and commonly debated topics in the business and management world today. Everyone has an opinion on what makes leadership and everyone will defend these opinions fiercely.

The fact is, leadership is highly desirable. We all know true leadership can change businesses, industries and the world.

The problem is we can’t all agree on what makes a great leader. The best leaders in the world, any leader for that matter, are all different and that is why we find it so hard to formalise what a leader should do.

Formula for SuccessI think the reason we find it so hard to formalise leadership is because it is not about the leader. Instead it is all about followers.

Followers choose to follow… they cannot be told or forced… They choose.

A leader only becomes a leader if they have followers who have chosen to do so. Without followers, you are not a leader. This is why leadership doesn’t have strict rules or a formula.

Different followers will follow different types of leaders, so the only thing you can do, is be the best version of yourself and if followers choose to follow, then you are a leader…

 

What do followers want?

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I can only answer this question from my own point of view and I am keen to learn what YOU think, so please comment below! Here are five attributes that I believe the very best leaders display in abundance:

Purpose

The best leaders I have ever worked with had a clear personal purpose or vision of who they were and what they stood for. They communicated this purpose as often as possible. If the leader had a purpose that linked closely with my values and beliefs, then I would instantly feel a deep connection and follow this leader with my heart and soul.

Enlist

A leader I know and one I am inspired by, is brilliant at recruiting people who shared the same values and beliefs as he did. As a follower this was a fantastic experience. Being a part of a team who all had a common goal, not because they were told to, but because they wanted to created a huge amount of energy, passion and creativity. I can honestly say that a leader who surrounds themselves with the people who believe in their vision, pushed my performance and results higher than I could have imagined at the time.

Walk the talk

Simon Sinek articulated this beautifully when he described ‘The celery test’ in his book ‘Start with why’. Those leaders who walk the talk, who stand up for their values and will never compromise on those values to get a quick result. These are the type of leaders I love working for, I know they are authentic and I know they will have my back. As a follower I feel trusted, so I give all of my trust freely to them.
Trust – The best leaders I have ever followed have always ensured that I had the skills and capability to do the task in hand and then allowed me to complete that task in my own way. In simple terms they trained, coached, supported and allowed autonomy. The power of supporting people when they need skills and capability and getting out of the way of those same people to allow creativity and ownership is significant. As a follower I don’t want to feel out of my depth and unsupported, yet I also don’t want to feel as though I am being dictated to or controlled. The leaders that have found that balance, I have followed most passionately.

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Encourage and Value

A really simple idea. As a follower I like to know that I am adding value, doing a good job and my behaviours are positive. These factors, being rewarded with encouragement and praise, really boost my confidence and drive me to perform even better. However as a follower this needs to be conducted in an authentic and personal way to get the best out of me, so by that I mean it is not about incentives and bonuses… Don’t get me wrong more money and prizes were nice, but they never made me work harder or inspired me like genuine encouragement would.

Those were the five attributes that I believe the very best leaders display in abundance, what do you think should be in this list? Please comment below! 

STOP wasting 30 days a year!

I was recently given feedback that I wasn’t ‘present’ while playing with my kids. I was there physically, but apparently I spent half my time looking at my phone. I didn’t even notice I was doing it, but one thing is for sure, my children deserved more from me.

It’s not just my fault though… The current social narrative is that we live in a time that is more connected than ever before. Technology gives us more, faster and life is better… or so the story goes.

The narrative we are told doesn’t tell the whole story…

It’s true we have more connections than ever before. Just look at the average number of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ we have on social media. I myself have over 1500 connections on LinkedIn and a different 1500 on Twitter.

However, even though our ability to connect is greater than ever before, our true deep connections are being diluted and degraded by our addiction with staring at the screens of phones, laptops, TV’s and tablets. This addiction of being ‘plugged in’ paradoxically impacts our ability to connect with the present moment, to be fully immersed in the beauty of now and to deeply connect with the people physically around us.

You will have seen it yourself… In restaurants, coffee shops and other social events. Couples, families, maybe even you, rather than connecting with each other in the moment, they have their faces glued to their phone screens… together, but separate.

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If you are interested in living a fulfilled life, that is energised and joyous, then the simple truth is, our addiction to technology and social media is like a virus eating away at our chances of happiness. I promise you… at the end of your life you won’t say “I wish I had just spent more time on Facebook”.

“Technology is nothing. What is important is that you have faith in people. That they are basically good and smart, and if you give them the tools they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

Steve Jobs

Are you addicted?

Do you look at your phone/social media as soon as you wake up? Do you have your phone within arms reach at all times? Do you look on social media more than 3 times per day?

You’re addicted.

The average person, in the western world, watches TV 3 hours per day – In the USA it’s over 4 hours per day… That is just watching TV!  We haven’t even added the time spent on useless emails, internet or social media!!

If YOU use technology less than the average westerner and your TV, internet, social media etc usage is only 2 hours per day, how much time are you losing that could be spent on doing something amazing? How much time would you have to connect deeply with those you love? How much time would you have to be present and enjoy the here and now?

Well, for a start it’s 14 hours per week.

Or an extra full 2.5 days per month.

Or an extra 30 days a year!

How about over a life-time? Over 65 years you would get 47320 hours… that’s 1971 days…
That is five and a half years… 24 hours everyday, 7 days a week, for five and a half years!!!

Just imagine what you could achieve with your relationships, with your goals, with your life…

Don’t ever tell yourself you don’t have the time and please don’t get to the end of your life and wish you had connected more deeply with the people you love. Don’t wish you had spent more time enjoying the present moment, don’t wish you didn’t have the time to chase your dreams.

Don’t let your addiction to technology ruin your life.

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I am going to commit to change and I invite you to join me in the battle to make our lives amazing.

Together, we can commit to removing all technology from your life for 2 hours everyday – no phones, no games, no TV, no screens of any kind. Just you and real life.

The only rules are no technology and no sleeping during the 2 hour amnesty!

Do it everyday for a month, so you will get 2.5 days extra to do something that matters to you. Tell people you love them, learn new skills or contribute a little more, it’s up to you.

Make a significant difference in your life. I will report back in 30 days to share what I managed to achieve… I hope you will too.

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Understand the four components of making good decisions

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At the age of 24 I had some big decisions to make. I had just been promoted to my first senior management role. I had to make my mark… I had to show that I was worthy of the promotion.

I was also faced with a lot of different decisions to make. The types of decisions I had never faced before and that would define my success in my new role.

To cut a long story short… I messed up big-time and, to put it bluntly, I failed in the role.

What I needed was a set of clear guidelines that would help me make better decisions every time.

Imagine how much better your life would be if you ‘got it right’ more often.

Here is the advice I would give to my 24 year old self, maybe it might help you too…

Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, then make a different choice.

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Make Decisions!

I realise this might sound ridiculous and simple, but one of the biggest problems I faced was being decisive. I wanted the perfect answer. I wanted to understand every possible perspective and unearth every single fact, before committing to a course of action. This isn’t going to happen… ever!

Don’t let issues build and build. They turn into mountains very quickly, so dealing with problems early is dramatically easier in the long run. This doesn’t mean you ignore gathering information. Of course you have to have an idea what you are dealing with, just don’t procrastinate… be bold, be brave… ACTION IS BETTER THAN NO ACTION!

Be able to let go

It is absolutely vital that once you have made a decision and taken a course of action, that you review if it is working on a regular basis. If it is not working, then change what you are doing… adapt your decision.

So many people will make a decision and then will stick to that course of action no matter what. Even if the resulting outcome is not what was desired!

The concept that you are perfect in your decision, is an illusion and needs to be let go. The bottom line is you are a human-being and you will make mistakes… however what you can ensure is that you learn from the actions you take and adapt them accordingly, to ALWAYS get the desired outcome.

Don’t be focused on being right… be focused on getting it right.

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Ask good questions

The questions we ask ourselves will determine the answers we create.

Ask better questions, get better answers. Most people will have an internal negative dialog that becomes self-fulfilling.

For example, if your internal conversation is based on the fear of getting a decision wrong – then the action you would take will be very different from the actions you would take if your internal thoughts are about how fantastic life would be when it has been resolved perfectly.

The questions I ask myself consistently are:

What decision will make me feel the best?
What decision will be the best for the people around me?
What decision will be the best for the wider world?
What decision will I be proud of?

When making your next big decision, write down these four questions and answer them. When you have finished you will have a greater insight as to the right thing to do.

Copy other peoples success!

Whatever decision you have to make in your life, there will be someone in the world who has performed brilliantly in that area.

We are more connected, in this day and age, than we have ever been before. Get on the internet, locate the experts, find out what they do and replicate it…

The hardest way to solve any problem or make any decision is to start from scratch, without any support or advice.

Starting from scratch is deliberately putting yourself at a disadvantage for no good reason. Find out what the best in the world do, then role-model that! The best in the world aren’t magic, they aren’t super-human, they have a process.

Learn the process, apply the process, get good results from that process!

Imagine a world were you make better decisions.