This week in my leadership course we have focused on the leadership practice of celebrating/rewarding the accomplishments of others. This practice is often viewed as “soft” or “emotional” but it is essential to organizations. Leaders who can effectively praise and recognize others will build relationships, sustain commitment, and improve results in their organization. In class we discussed these 5 steps that great leaders can use when celebrating others.
1. Expect the Best – strong leaders set high expectations and consistently demonstrate their belief in others and themselves.
2. Pay Attention – Great Leaders listen to and watch the people they work with and notice what they are doing well.
3. Tell the Story – Great Leaders share the stories of people who have achieved success, done something well, or accomplished great things in your organization.
4. Personalize the Recognition – Great Leaders deliver thoughtful recognition that is unique and meaningful to the individual.
5. Celebrate Together – Great leaders bring people together to say thanks and also to reinforce organizational values and goals.
One of the greatest leaders of our era, Nelson Mandela, passed away yesterday. All of my students are too young to remember the impact he had in South Africa and throughout the world. So today, I felt it was important to spend some time with my leadership students reflecting on his life and accomplishments as a leader. As I was reading about him and his leadership journey a couple of key things stood out for me. First, I think he showed us the power of finding the positives in every situation. I read that during his 27 years in prison he used it as an opportunity to study his jailers so that when he got out he would better understand his adversaries. He also used it as an opportunity to educate himself, he focused on reading whatever he could. Being able to focus on the positives allowed him to survive and even thrive during a tough time. I encouraged my students to choose this perspective and focus on the great people and opportunities that are present in their life. Second, I think he showed us how important it is to have a vision for the future and the amazing things you can accomplish when you commit to your vision everyday. Mandela’s vision of equality guided his daily actions as a leader and led his country to freedom and democracy. One of the reasons why I assigned the #SJAM30Daygrind is because I think this is an important life skill that every kid needs. The ability to develop a vision and more importantly the ability to follow through on a plan to achieve it everyday. Mandela showed the greatness one can achieve when you are able to do this. I hope that my students were able to draw some inspiration from this great leader.
What does the expression “Time is Money” really mean? I think it means that time can and should be invested just like money. Similar to financial investments, time investments grow over time and can be withdrawn later. If you invest time in your career, school, relationships, health, etc those areas of your life will grow and reward you later. The problem is many of us spend our time on the things that don’t matter, the things that don’t reward us later. Developing some basic time management skills might allow you to spend less and invest more.
The first step is to identify what and who is worth investing in. Try asking yourself these three questions:
1. What do you do for fun or enjoyment?
2. Who do you turn to for help and support?
3. What is the best and most meaningful part of your work?
The answers to these questions are where you should be investing your time. In the 7 habits of Highly Effective People, Covey suggests that 80% of our time and energy should be focused on these things or with these people. The other 20% should be spent completing the important and urgent tasks that are part of your daily life. These might include finishing a report, studying for a test, sending emails, etc. Get these out of the way first then you can focus your energy on what really matters. Here are some practical time management tips that might help you complete the 20%.
- Prioritize your to – do list (urgent + important go first, non-urgent + important second)
- Use a calendar or planner
- Touch each paper or email only once
- Find your creative time – defend it
- Find your dead time – schedule it
These practical tips will hopefully increase your productivity, reduce your stress, and create a healthy balance in your life.