Empathy.Empathy is the ability to feel what someone else is feeling — to put yourself in his or her proverbial shoes. When your middle manager, Caroline, tells you her son is sick, you know she needs to pick him up from school because she’s a single mother. An empathetic person immediately understands the stress and frustration Caroline must be feeling, and validates it. The empathic leader approves her request to leave early. In addition, the empathic executive empowers Caroline with the option to work from home during the next few days so she can tend to her son. Business leaders of the past would have been indifferent toward Caroline’s situation, feelings or options. Today’s successful leaders recognize the critical nature (and bottom-line business impact) of taking care of their employees. They know that when employees are happy, they’re more likely to be engaged — and engaged employees are more productive. Gary Vaynerchuk described it this way during a recent episode of his “DailyVee” program: “You work for your team — they don’t work for you. How many times have you sat down with [them] one by one for three hours and asked them what they care about in life and how can you help them? That’s the answer, bro. How do you get your team to care? Care for them first.”
Data-driven decision-making.Data-driven decision-making means relying on analytics to guide every business decision. Data-based evidence leads to insights, and executives then can turn those insights into actions that position the business for success. Back in the day, technology limited the amount of available data. It made sense to make decisions based on a combination of gut feelings and past experience. Today, however, the truth is out there, and 60 percent of companies regularly analyze four or more internal data sources before making decisions. “Every company has its problems, and often data-driven methodologies can help solve these problems,” explains Eran Levy of the business-intelligence (BI) platformSisense. “Whether it’s high customer churn rates or ballooning operational costs, data analysis can help you understand where your business is stumbling as well as suggest possible causes and solutions.”
Team-building.To succeed in business in the past, you had to succeed on your own. Success, power, raises, promotions and market share resulted from what you could do better, faster or cheaper than the next guy. Building, inspiring and motivating a team didn’t make sense. Today, we value the power of accomplishment in groups. We know we can get more done if we work together. The Larry Tates of the world never would have asked direct reports for ideas or direction. He was the boss, and he dictated thusly. In his mind, lower-level employees were supposed to work their way up and respect their elders. Today, however, successful executives are not only comfortable relying on their teams for new strategies, they actively foster a culture of collaboration.
Transparency.Corporate transparency is a commitment to informing employees about what’s going on in the company, whether it’s positive or negative. In the past, business leaders kept this information to themselves. Only those in positions of power needed to know the score. Today’s leaders understand that being transparent about company goals and earnings makes employees feel more valued. Corporate-culture consultant Glenn Llopis reinforces the idea that transparency helps cultivate trust. “If you are transparent, especially during the worst of times, you actually strengthen your leadership as people begin to trust you as person and thus will respect you more as a leader.”
Be today’s leader.Although business leaders of the past did help us get to where we are today, let’s stop relying on them for inspiration. It’s time to turn over a new leaf and embrace the modern executive.
1. No shortage of success.There is so much money on this planet it’s crazy. The stock market could lose a trillion dollars and there would still be an abundance of wealth on this planet. Success is not a lottery, bingo, a horse race, or a card game that allows for only one winner. There will never be a dearth of success because it is created by those who have no limits in terms of ideas, creativity, ingenuity, talent, intelligence, originality, persistence, and determination. Notice that I refer to success as something that’s created—not acquired. Unlike copper, silver, gold, or diamonds—items that already exist and that you must find in order to bring to market—success is something people make.
2. Assume responsibility for all results.Taking responsibility for everything in your life is the only way to take control of your life. Crybabies, whiners, and victims just don’t do well at attracting or creating success. It’s not even that they aren’t capable; it’s just that people who typically succeed are required to take big actions– and it is impossible to take big actions if you don’t take responsibility. It is equally impossible to do something positive when you are spending your time making excuses. success is not something that happens to you; it’s something that happens because of you and because of the actions you take.
3. Take only massive actions.When you start operating with massive actions, your mind-set will shift and so will your results. You will end up instigating opportunities that you will have to address earlier, later and in a different way than you would on a “normal” day, so a routine day will become a thing of the past. Taking massive actions will cause people to ask you: “Why are you still out this late?” “What are you doing calling on a Saturday?” “You never quit, do you?” “ I wish my people worked like this.” And even “What are you on?” If you don’t create new problems, then you’re not taking enough action.
4. Fear is an indicator to take action.Getting a handle on fear is not easy, but it is critical to success. Maybe fear held you back you from calling on a client, investing money in your company, or maybe moving to a new city for a great opportunity or taking a great relationship to a more serious level. Everyone experiences fear, but it is how you respond to it that ultimately makes the difference in your life. Fear is the great indicator that wealthy and successful people see as the signal to push through and get to the other side to expansion.
5. Criticism is a sign of success.Although getting criticized is certainly not the best feeling in the world, I have great news: Receiving criticism is a surefire sign that you are well on your way. Criticism is not something that you want to avoid; rather, it’s what you must expect to come your way once you start hitting it big. It’s natural to want to avoid criticism because it’s usually attached to something negative. However, the more criticism you get, the more attention you are receiving, because people can’t criticize something without knowing about it first. Don’t focus on what they’re saying. Focus on the fact that you’ve created such a success that people can’t stop talking about it.
- Take mindful moments: One simple approach is to integrate straightforward mindfulness activities into meetings and retreats. By punctuating planning exercises with deliberate time for those present to simply connect with their breath and recognize unnecessary distractions, organizers can create the conditions for intuition to arise. As Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter wrote in HBR in March, it’s possible to integrate simple practices of focus and awareness throughout a workday. Google’s Chade-Meng Tan, has developed dozens of such workplace meditation modules that could fit neatly into planning retreats.
- Explore alternative scenarios: It’s also possible to inject an element of mindfulness without meditating at all. Scenario planning exercises, for example, open decision-makers to numerous, plausible alternative “stories of the future” that inherently challenge assumptions and mindsets. Corporations including Shell and governments including Singapore have used such practices — first and foremost for their heuristic value — with considerable success for decades. Much like meditation, the practice of nonjudgmentally assessing different plausible futures is a practical way of shining light on old unexamined thought patterns and making room for new ideas.
- Visualize positive outcomes: As Daniel Goleman argues, positivity is part and parcel of focused attention. “Pessimism narrows our focus,” he writes, “whereas positive emotions widen our attention and our receptiveness to the new and unexpected.” Organizational leaders can benefit from imagining organizational “end-states” during strategy sessions. This can be as simple as posing a variant of the question Goleman suggests— “if everything works out perfectly for our organization, what would we be doing in ten years?”—and taking time to contemplate.
- Self-awareness: having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives.
- Self-regulation: Self-regulation, which is like an ongoing inner conversation, is the component of emotional intelligence that frees us from being prisoners of our feelings. People engaged in such a conversation feel bad moods and emotional impulses just as everyone else does, but they find ways to control them and even to channel them in useful ways.
- Motivation: Plenty of people are motivated by external factors, such as a big salary or the status that comes from having an impressive title or being part of a prestigious company. By contrast, those with leadership potential are motivated b y a deeply embedded desire to achieve for the sake of achievement.
- Empathy: For a leader, empathy means thoughtfully considering employees’ feelings – along with other factors – in the process of making intelligent decisions.
- Social skills: Social skill is friendliness with a purpose: moving people in the direction you desire, whether that’s agreement on a new marketing strategy or enthusiasm about a new product.
The Jan. 9 issue of Parade magazine says that meditation is the No. 1 health booster available.
And a recent NBC News story revealed that Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco falls quiet twice a day as the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students meditate for 15 minutes, with remarkable results. “Quiet Time” has decreased suspensions by 79 percent and attendance and academic performance has noticeably increased.
So, why is meditation just now being discovered (or re-discovered)?
All the evidence says quiet reflection creates greater awareness of your thoughts and feelings. It helps you to see things in a different way. It has a calming effect and can help relieve stress and frustration. In that space, you can make decisions with greater clarity and think more positively, creatively, and productively. It brings greater harmony between your brain hemispheres, which are often, if not usually, at odds with each other.
Personal reflection helps us to change our natural, default setting to a more aware and considerate state. It helps us conquer instinctual negative reactions and to become more proactive. In our reflection time, we can consider how we’ve thought, felt, and acted in past experiences and how we could have reacted differently. This then carries forward into how we act in the future.Read More on The Huffington Post