Updated: Nov 22
By working SMART, individuals can maximise their potential and reach their goals. This article will help you identify your leadership style and offer tips on developing a growth mindset. While working hard is essential, more is needed. Working SMART is the key to achieving and maintaining success.
Maximise Your Personal and Professional Potential
Explore and establish targets to work towards.
Create an action plan of smaller milestone steps.
Maximise goal potential by aligning milestone steps to your overall end goal.
Maximising your personal and professional growth is essential to reach your full potential. This can be achieved by setting challenging but achievable goals, opportunities for learning and development, and consciously improving your skills and knowledge in all areas of your life. With dedication and a positive mindset, you can unlock your true potential and achieve success.
Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset
What is a Growth Mindset?
Individuals who possess an insatiable appetite for learning are more likely to achieve significant accomplishments. Those with a growth mindset understand their abilities can be enhanced through persistent effort and unwavering commitment.
This mindset allows them to reach higher levels of excellence and success because their passion for learning builds durability and adaptability, the two key personal traits essential for career and business success. They understand that anything is achievable and that your past does not define you.
What is a Fixed Mindset?
Individuals with a fixed mindset believe their intelligence and talent are innate qualities that determine success. As a result, they often focus on documenting their intelligence rather than developing and improving it. Consequently, they may become inflexible and stuck in their ways, hindering their growth and progress and at risk of repeating the same mistakes.
Growth Mindset Activities
Below are a few examples of growth-building activities:
Challenge your mindset by seeking out people who think differently and encourage you to think about things from different viewpoints.
For a week, change your routines and try alternative and new things. Document what you learned about yourself as a result of these changes.
Always stay curious, ask questions and actively listen.
Use daily affirmations to maintain a positive mindset. This is also known as learned optimism.
Setting SMART Goals
To support a growth mindset, set SMART goals, which are the ultimate way to achieve your objectives. By following this approach, you can create a clear path to success that is:
Specific: Effective plan with specific targets in mind.
Measurable: Track your progress and reevaluate along the way.
Achievable: Setting realistic goals that are challenging but achievable.
Relevant: Ensuring that the goal serves a relevant purpose.
Time-bound: Has a deadline and monitors progress.
This systematic approach helps you define your goals precisely and clearly, making them easier to achieve. With this method, you can break down your objectives into smaller, achievable milestone steps, helping you stay motivated and focused on your progress.
Whether you're setting personal goals or business objectives, the SMART approach is the surefire way to success.
Traits of a Good Leader
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, but what are some of the skills and qualities needed to ensure that your leadership gets the best from its employees?
Firstly, you need to have good self-awareness and accountability. This means that when things go wrong, you need to take responsibility and reflect on what went well and what you could change going forward. Acting as a role model, you give praise when warranted and constructive criticism where it's needed.
Secondly, as a leader, it's important to be adaptable and willing to take calculated risks. Goals can shift and change, so you need to be flexible enough to pivot as necessary. This means planning ahead, assessing all potential risks, and utilising your creative problem-solving skills to put the actions required to ensure that when any obstacles arise, you can quickly overcome them and continue moving forward with minimal delays.
Finally, a great leader must possess the ability to inspire and keep their team motivated. The workers will follow your lead, and your actions will determine their reactions. Thus, it's crucial to maintain a positive attitude in difficult situations and to consider a reward system, which will keep your team motivated and productive during favourable and unfavourable times.
Traits of a Bad Leader
Leadership is a continuous journey of growth. Recognising and addressing negative traits builds self-awareness and facilitates positive change. While some of the below may benefit an organisation, they are negative traits overall.
Some of the negative leadership traits are:
An unwillingness to change
Lack of accountability
Setting unrealistic expectations
Being defensive and hostile
Failing to delegate tasks
Inspiring Leadership Quotes
"The true mark of a leader is the willingness to stick with a bold course of action; an unconventional business strategy, a unique product-development roadmap, a controversial marketing campaign, even as the rest of the world wonders why you're not marching in step with the status quo. In other words, real leaders are happy to zig while others zag. They understand that in an era of hyper-competition and non-stop disruption, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special." Bill Taylor
"The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born." Warren Bennis
"Good leaders build products. Great leaders build cultures. Good leaders deliver results. Great leaders develop people. Good leaders have vision. Great leaders have values. Good leaders are role models at work. Great leaders are role models in life." Adam Grant
Types of Leadership Styles in the Workplace
In the workplace, there are many types of leadership styles. Below, I cover four types: Authoritarian, Coaching, Collaborative and Transactional. Each style has its own strengths, weaknesses, methods, and characteristics regarding behaviour and communication styles. Understanding the differences between these styles can help you determine which is most effective for your workers and organisation. By choosing the appropriate leadership style, you can improve the productivity and success of your team.
With this type of leadership, they have complete decision-making power and directorial control over their workers. They also make decisions over policies, procedures and objectives with little to no input from their team members.
This type of management is beneficial in organisations where prompt decision-making and adherence to specific tasks are crucial. This type of leader is often the most knowledgeable person in the organisation and is skilled at boosting worker productivity. Industries that typically employ this type of management include construction, manufacturing, fire services, prisons, and hospitals.
Problems with this leadership style are that it can lead to resentment when workers are unable to express their insights, and as a consequence, it can lead to a higher staff turnover rate.
Those who practice this leadership style work collaboratively and can assess the strengths and weaknesses of each worker, helping them to grow and succeed.
These leaders possess high self-awareness, are skilled at motivating their workers and prioritise collaboration over authoritarianism. They actively seek growth opportunities and strive to bring out the best in their workers rather than simply dictating orders.
This leadership style is particularly suited to long-term projects instead of short, high-pressure ones.
Organisations that aim to enhance engagement, performance, and profitability opt for leaders who possess the skills to bring about change management. Such leaders can facilitate the transition or transformation of an organisation's goals, processes, or technologies. Change management aims to devise strategies to implement, control, and help individuals adjust to change.
These types of leaders work with everyone. They share knowledge to decide how to handle projects so they may generate ideas and solutions together before taking any action. A prime example of this can be seen within the education system, where teachers share responsibility and work together for the good of their students.
These leaders are facilitative and focus on the three C's of connectivity, communication and collaboration.
These individuals are not only exceptionally skilled in the art of leadership but also can inspire and motivate their subordinates. They are willing to take calculated risks, sacrificing productivity to pursue innovative solutions that can benefit the organisation in the long run. They are also adept at mediating conflicts between workers and finding healthy solutions.
Industries and organisations prioritising short-term goals, such as technology, advertising, and marketing, benefit the most from results-oriented leadership. In these sectors, efficiency and productivity are crucial, and the results-orientated style operates on a clear structure of expectations.
It also follows a system of rewards and punishments to focus workers towards achieving results. Financial bonuses can be given as rewards, while punishments can be as severe as termination.
A transactional approach can be highly beneficial in high-pressure occupations like those of first responders and the military. By clearly outlining roles and responsibilities, this structure helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and can work together effectively, even in the most challenging circumstances.
Building Self Awareness
Developing self-awareness is a continuous process and a key factor for personal growth and advancement. It's about understanding how your feelings, behaviours and characteristics feed your actions and reactions.
By building awareness, you can comprehend your strengths and weaknesses, accurately recognise your thoughts and emotions, and change behaviours that are not serving you well. It can build effective communication skills and enable you to make informed decisions.
Some things that you can do to help build your self-awareness include:
Keeping a lessons-learned journal
Being mindful of nonverbal communication
Developing a workplace communication strategy
How to Improve Communication Skills
Effective communication involves being mindful of verbal and non-verbal cues, which are equally important in conveying one's message.
Three Strategies to Improve Communication Skills:
Become an Active Listener
Effective communication with colleagues requires active listening. To be an active listener, focus on hearing your colleagues by maintaining eye contact, avoiding distractions like using your phone or computer, and paying attention to body language and non-verbal cues. Additionally, adjust your tone and use reflective listening and paraphrasing techniques to show that you understand them.
Use 360 Feedback
It's a good idea to approach your trusted work colleagues and ask them to assess your verbal and written communication skills. Request them to give you constructive feedback on both positive aspects and areas that need improvement. You can ask them to use a rating scale of 1-10 so that you can track your progress after implementing their recommendations and seek 360-degree feedback in the future.
Use the Three C's of Communication
Effective communication is vital to success. The 3 C's - Clear, Concise, and Complete - are essential communication elements. To make sure your message hits the target, you must consider your audience, your objective, and the response you want to achieve. Keep these in mind when speaking or sending emails.
Developing a growth mindset can help you become more self-aware and identify your weaknesses, allowing you to develop creative and practical solutions to improve upon them. Doing so can unlock your full potential and positively impact those around you, especially those you lead.
A career is a lifelong journey in an ever-changing economic landscape. Therefore, adaptability and continuous growth are essential in maintaining longevity in whichever sector you work in.
I hope this article and its links have helped increase your awareness and inspired further opportunities for growth and development.
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