Want to Be a Leader in the Future? Use This Time Wisely.

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Right now, you’re stuck in time like no one has ever seen.

It is not news that we are currently living in a world of unprecedented challenges; one that is seemingly stuck at a point in time that most people want to get past. At best, we can work from our homes; at worst we are no longer employed or have a job that requires us to put ourselves in grave danger. 

Regardless of how the unexpected turn of events from the Coronavirus has impacted you or your career, it has most likely brought on feelings of hopelessness or doubt about the future. It’s an essential time to remember the wise words from Victor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning; “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

We don’t control the events; we control our response. 

Instead of giving in to the feelings of desperation and focusing on the monotony of these days on end, open your eyes to the opportunities that this pandemic may lend us. The best leaders use this time, to be successful in the future. It’s what I have started to refer to as “Grind Time.” Here are some ways the best leaders are using their grind time and so can you.

Reinvest in relationships

Relationships with other people are the lifeblood of our life on earth. Research shows that good relationships help people live longer. People in healthy long term relationships are 50% less likely to die earlier. For any relationship to add a lot of value to your life, career (yours or others’) it requires the investment of time.  

Scott Miller reminded me during an interview that, “relationship building requires an effectiveness, not an efficiency mindset.” In the last few weeks, this has come to life during hour-long family walks without my phone. I have been amazed at how effective this has been for my relationship with my wife and kids. The results of being fully present will improve the quality of your relationships to a degree that will shock you.

If you are leading a team at work, your people will absolutely remember how you made them feel in times of crisis. They will remember how much you cared about them and the time you gave them. 

Develop your skills

Your skills and your ability to perform them at high levels are at the center of performance. Webster defines a skill as; the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance. Clearly, there is a difference in acquiring knowledge and acquiring skills.

For example, you could know how to read music, but be unable to translate that knowledge into playing an instrument. You could understand the proper mechanics in hitting a golf ball, but your score after your very first round of golf might not reflect that.  

Now is the time to develop your skills. Tom Bilyeu said it so well during an interview with Patrick Bet-David on Valuetainment, “Money only monetizes once, but your skills can be monetized over and over and over.”

But don’t stop at developing your skills during this time. Help others develop their skills as well. Focus not only on the technical skills but, most importantly on leadership skills that are crucial for team members—things such as positivity, emotional intelligence, communication, and growth mindset.  

Focus attention on innovation

Innovation starts with the mindset of the leader. Innovation is defined as a new idea, creative thoughts, new imaginations in the form of device or method. I summarize it as “finding better solutions.” 

During a recent episode of the Pessimist Archive Podcast, host Jason Feifer mentioned that, “big companies are designed to be good at themselves. It stops inventing and starts refining. When the world begins to change, they end up defending the turn.” 

The best leaders are using the current decline or increase in available time to find better answers to problems, or seeking new and better ways of doing something. They aren’t limiting it to themselves; they are inspiring innovation with their people. One of the leaders I studied for Building the Best is having a “weekly innovation meeting” with his team over Zoom. During this time the team members brainstorm ideas for improving their processes, procedures, and offerings to clients.  

The ideas are not all good, but he has been amazed at the problems and improvements his team has come up with to help the company’s future.  

Closing

You have the power to change the course of your days from one of monotony and tedium to one of opportunity and development. Now is the time when you grind; reinvest in your relationships, focus on innovation, and develop your skills. Today is when you get to start anew.  

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover your current leadership style for free.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company making virtual training easy and effective. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of  Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success and host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

The Top-Rated CEO of 2019 Shares a Perfect Formula for Leadership Success

Everybody loves a good top 100 list. It could be the best cities to live in, the top restaurants, or in this case, the highest-rated CEOs in America. I love Glassdoor’s annual list of the Top CEOs because it’s based on how employees of major corporations feel about their culture and their most senior leader. 

This year the highest-rated CEO was VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger. While some might be surprised by how a man, who was previously ranked 78 on the list, could jump all the way to number one, it didn’t surprise the employees at VMware who gave him a 99 percent approval rating.  He is so committed to the company and his employees he got a VMware tattoo on his forearm and showed it off during his keynote in 2018.

Here’s what Gelsinger said when asked about the award: “Fostering an innovative company culture is paramount to us at VMware, especially now as we enter our next phase of growth. Ours is one of those rare work environments where our people understand they have an opportunity to transform the impossible into the essential.”

You could summarize his sentiments into this: culture is not only of the utmost importance; it starts at the top, but it’s proven by its people. 

If you want to emulate Gelsinger and transform the impossible into the essential in the next year, here are a few tips:

Be true to yourself and rely on core values.

At the center of every great culture are established core values. A core value is a fundamental truth a person or organization holds to be true. A lot of organizations have defined five, one-word core values and put them on a website or wall, but values don’t guide its people or the organization in the least.

“It’s clear to me that our collective success in 2018 was as much a result of remaining true to ourselves and our values as it was of our business strategy and customer focus,” Gelsinger said in a recent blog post on LinkedIn. “We succeed because of our values, not in spite of them.”

Don’t take shortcuts. Define your core values and ensure you remain true to them. The best way to do so is to hire and fire based on your values and put them at the center of what you reward, recognize and talk about them on an ongoing basis. 

Prioritize what’s truly important.

Gelsinger runs a publically traded company with over 20,000 employees. Needless to say, he has plenty to do and not a lot of time to do it. Instead of allowing one of his professional priority to run his life, he sets an example for his team at VMware. 

He wrote, “Wisdom is learning the lessons you thought you already knew. That day [I missed my grandchild’s birth], I made a pledge to myself to keep relentlessly vigilant about prioritizing what’s truly important to me. Don’t get me wrong; I put everything I have into my work at VMware. But I also believe we can all do our best when we bring our whole selves to work.”

For a long time, I thought my team should be working as hard if not harder than me. I would even silently judge them for leaving early or coming in late. Now I understand each person gets energy from different places and their priorities in life don’t have to be the exact same as me. Gelsinger is right, we need everyone on the team to put everything they have into work while they are working. But once they leave work or they turn to a different priority in their life, they need to be present and be where their feet are.  

As a leader, you set an example for your people. Work relentlessly and with maximum effort but don’t forget about your family, health, and faith as well. The better you are at prioritizing what’s important, the better your people will be.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

Ultimate Leadership Academy Do you lead a team and want to elevate the way you lead? Apply to join the Ultimate Leadership Academy. A virtual leadership development program which includes the EO 360° Assessment and Report, 4 Live Instructor-Led Training Webinars and One-On-One Coaching. Learn more here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn professionals into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Successand host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.